Saturday, August 16, 2008

New Regulations for Immigration Law are enacted

Minimum amounts for investment visas are increased

As announced in a previous posting, regulations for Immigration Law were being drafted. Executive Decree 320 of 2008 was published this week and gives the fine print for the Immigration Law enacted in early 2008.

Effective August 26, the main changes from current practice would be:

- Tourists may remain in the country only for 90 days, with only those with an original period under 90 days being able to ask for an extension to complete the 90 days when justified (Art. 21),
- Foreign workers within the 10% maximum must have a salary of US$850 monthly to apply for residency and work permit (Art. 79), up from US$500,
- Foreign executives representing foreign multinationals under the WTO Marrakech-round visas must have a salary of US$1000 monthly to apply for residency and work permit (Art. 92), up from US$500,
- Investor permanent visas may only be granted after having asked for three 2-year temporary visas for a total of 6 years (Art. 95),
- Agricultural visa minimum investment is raised to US$60,000 (Art. 96), up from no minimum,
- Forestry temporary visa minimum investment is raised to US$60,000, up from US$40,000, with an additional requirement of 10 hectares purchased (Art. 100),
- Forestry permanent visa minimum investment is doubled to US$80,000, with an additional requirement of 20 hectares purchased (Art. 180),
- Small-business investor visa is eliminated,
- Macro-business investor visa minimum investment is raised to US$160,000, up from US$100,000, with an additional requirement of 5 Panamanian full-time workers (Art. 185, 188),
- Self-solvency investor visa minimum investment is increased to US$300,000, up from US$100,000, left in Panama bank account for 3 years (Art. 192).
- Self-solvency investor visa minimum investment alternatives include also real estate for which at least US$300,000 is paid for, free of mortgage (Art. 193) or a mixture of a 3-year deposit and mortgage-free real estate up to a combined minimum of US$300,000 (Art. 194),
- Self-solvency investor visa real estate may be held under a Private Foundation which founder or beneficiary is the applicant,
- The minimum return on a Panama National Bank CD for the Rentista visa is increased to US$2,000 monthly, up from US$750 (Art. 196),
- Pensionado minimum income is raised to US$1,000, up from US$500, or a mixture of US$100,000 in directly-held Panama real estate (Art. 200 - it does not specify if the property is free of mortgage),
- Pictures must show the face of the applicant (no full burkha pictures) (Art. 245),
- Tourists must enter with passport having no less than 3 months of duration (Art. 255),
- Multiple-entry permits may be issued for up to 5 years, up form 2 years (Art. 262).

The final text of the 2008 Immigration Regulations and Law can be downloaded in PDF files (Yahoo registration required):
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Live_in_Panama/files/ED320_08Migracion.pdf
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Live_in_Panama/files/DLey3_08Migracion.pdf

More about the new Panama Immigration Law in:
"Collapse" at Immigration offices
30-day countdown to new Immigration law requirements
Immigration and Visas
Regulations for Immigration Law are being drafted
2008 Immigration Law finally published

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1 comment:

Linda McKee said...

Thanks for the simple clarification of the new immigration law. Can you please tell me when the multiple entry permit is advisable or necessary?