It’s essential to have a concrete retirement plan, especially if you plan to retire overseas someday. Unfortunately, when it comes to retiring abroad, one of the biggest impediments to a peaceful retirement is the issue of legal residency. While most countries allow tourists to stay for a duration of 3 to 6 months, the visitors must return on the expiration of their tourist visa. Post-retirement, this is precisely the kind of hassle that most people hope to avoid.
The other problem is that many countries are very expensive to move to. Some requiring more than $100,000 in investment in the country, or annual payments of $10,000 or more just to keep your residency.
Thus, getting permanent resident status is essential for retirees to ensure unrestricted physical movement as well as enjoying other benefits, such as discount programs for retires. The good news is there are a few countries that offer easy-to-qualify permanent resident permit options that allow foreign retirees to settle in a country by providing proof of pension income over a certain amount. Panama is one such country and is currently considered to be one of the world’s top retirement havens.
Many people consider the Panama Pensionado Visa to be the most generous retiree visa option currently available. Countries, such as Costa Rica and Ecuador, also have attractive retiree visa plans, but none compares to this retiree visa option by Panama. Pensionado is the real reason why Panama has been able to attract thousands of retirees in only a short period.
The qualifying criteria, in terms of income, is also quite low. Anyone receiving $1,000 USD per month post-retirement income plus $250 per dependent is eligible to apply for this visa program. Now this pension income needs to be life long, and come from a government or public pension, or a recognizable private or public company pension. Examples would be Social Security pension, teacher’s pension, police, fire, military etc, or private or public company pensions like from a company like Ford, IBM, Microsoft, etc.
The most significant advantage of this Visa program offered by the Government of Panama is that unlike other residency permits, retirees who hold this Visa are given permanent status and aren’t asked to renew their Visa ever. The second most know advantage is that whom ever holds a Pensionado Visa in Panama, whatever your age, and all women over 55 and men over 60, participate in the Pensionado Discount Program, offering discounts on many things you will purchase and use in panama.
One thing to remember, and this can be very important to some, with the Pensionado Visa, you will never be able to apply for a work visa. You can, however, open a business, and manage it, but you will not be able to do a job in that business, that a Panamanian could do. So, if you plan in coming to Panama, includes something like opening a bed & Breakfast, and you intent to cook breakfast for your guests, or clean rooms, you will need to consider an alternative Visa, like the Friendly Nations Visa.
Benefits of the Panama Pensionado Visa
Every person who holds this Visa is eligible for specific discounts within Panama. The discounts provided cover three categories: Medical, Services, and Entertainment. The complete list of discounts are at the bottom of this article.
Pensionado Visa holders are eligible for several medical benefits. To start with, all people who hold this Visa are entitled to a 15% discount on services received in hospitals and private clinics and a 20% discount on a doctor’s fee. Similarly, people with this visa type are also eligible for a 15% discount on dentists’ fees, a 20% discount on prosthetic devices, and a 15% discount on optometrist examinations. Over and above this, all visa holders can also claim a 10% discount on prescription medications.
Other than medical benefits, Panama Pensionado Visa holders also get discounts on several services. For instance, all retirees who hold this Visa can claim a 25% discount on their power bill up to the usage of 600KWs. Similar, retirees can also claim a 25% discount on single residential phone service and a 25% discount on the water bill, but only if the water bill does not exceed $30, which it never will in Panama.
The Panama Pensionado is a golden ticket in several ways. Not only does this Visa make people eligible for medical and services discounts, but it also provides them with the eligibility to claim deductions on movie tickets (50% discount) and bus, train, and boat tickets (30% discount). Visa holders can also claim a 25% discount on air tickets for flights originating from Panama. With Pensionado, visa holders can also apply for up to 30% to 50% discount on hotel bookings and up to 25% discount in restaurants.
With age, it becomes more difficult to keep a full-time job and earn money. It is, thus, that governments around the world make special rules and regulations to help the seniors of their country. At least some do. When it comes to discounts and services extended to the retired, Panama has outdone almost every other country in the world. The senior citizens are respected in Panama, they even have special lines at the bank and other service locations.
About Retire in Panama Tours
If you have been contemplating retirement and are inclined towards Panama as your retirement destination, we recommend you take one of the one-week tours that Retire in Panama Tours offers. The company is run by Oscar and Rod, who have over 15 years of experience in the field of Expat Relocation Services. During your one-week-stay in Panama, you will get a chance to see how Panamanian people, how you could live and an expat in Panama, and whether this beautiful country is the right choice for your retirement.
It’s more than a tour . . it’s an experience.