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GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT PANAMA

VISAS FOR RETIRED OR PENSIONED PERSONS in Panama

- PANAMA PENSIONED TOURIST'S VISA

- PANAMA RETIRED PENSIONER'S VISA

- THE SIMPLE OR MULTIPLE RETURN VISA in Panama

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GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT PANAMA

Panama is a warm and tropical country that counts with all modern world facilities, to satisfy the tastes of the most demanding residents and visitants. By nature, it is a country opened to the world.

GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE

Panama is located between Costa Rica and Colombia, having an extension of approximately 77,082 squared kilometers and it is located in the Northern Hemisphere and the Occidental Hemisphere, uniting Central America and South America.

It has a laying “S” silhouette, bathed by the Pacific Ocean, which coastline has an extension of 1,634 Kilometers and by the Caribbean Sea, which coastline has an extension of 1,246 Kilometers, that allows having an interesting variety of flora and fauna, as well as a coastal region and many beaches, perfect for all kinds of water and marine activities.

Panama has a tropical humid climate in a depression climatic zone away from the risky storm zone of the Caribbean, with temperatures ranging from 87° to 95° F (25° to 32° Centigrade), except for the elevated zones where the average climate is between 70° and 80° F (16° to 18° C), many times described as a privileged country for its climate and geographical position.

Panama has two climatic seasons only, a dry season, that runs approximately from January until April and the rainy season that runs from April until December.

POPULATION

Panama’s population is 2.8 million approximately, concentrated in Panama and Colon, the cities where the Panama Canal ends. The majority of the population lives in the Pacific side, leaving the Caribbean side a bit inhabited.

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Its population is constituted by descendants of European, Afro-Antillean, and Asian immigrants and by local Indians. The official language is Spanish but English is commonly spoken, especially in the cities of Panama and Colon.

Panama has a high index of alphabetization, as it invests great economic efforts in the country’s human resources, through elementary, high school, and university education. There are two state universities, with centers covering the whole territory and many private universities.

The majority of the population is catholic, but the Constitution recognizes freedom of religion, so people professing Judaism, Protestantism, Muslim, and Buddhism live in harmony with the catholic majority.

POLITICAL ORGANIZATION

Panama is organized as a democratic, representative, unitary, and centralized republic. Public powers come from the people and are executed by the State through the Executive, the Legislative and the Judicial Power or Body, whose particular faculties and limitations are expressly indicated in the Constitution.

The republic is administratively divided in nine provinces and three Indians territories. Political representatives are elected by direct vote, while members of the Supreme Court of Justice are designated by Parliament, after a proposal made by the Executive Power.

The nation’s capital is Panama City, where the government resides and inhabited by approximately 1.5 millions.

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ECONOMY

Panama allows the free circulation and use of the United States dollar, even though the official currency is the Balboa.

Main exportation products are coffee, bananas, sugar, meats, seafood, and minerals. And, principal sources of foreign currency are generated by the banking system and general services, free zones (Colon Free Zone), tourism, commerce, agricultural activities, and the Panama Canal.

Privatization of state companies positioned the country in a liberal line allowing access to the World Trade Organization and the globalization economic process.

INFRAESTRUCTURE AND TRANSPORTATION

 
   

Panama counts with a road infrastructure constituted by two main roads, the Boyd-Roosevelt road, that goes from North to South, that unites Panama and Colon, as well as the Pacific and the Atlantic or the Caribbean, approximately 81 Km. long and the Pan-American road, that goes from West to East, from Paso Canoa, at the border with Costa Rica, to Yaviza, in the Province of Darien, where it ends in the major tropical rain forest region called "El Tapón del Darién", at the Colombian border. From these, the majority of the rest or the roads have been developed.

There is terrestrial communication between Panama and the United States through Central America.

In Panama there are many international aviation companies, from all over the world. Only one, COPA AIRLINES, is Panamanian. This simplifies airway connections to any destination in the world. About four airlines serve passengers internally, having flights to province capitals or tourist places.

Panama counts with as series of airports capable of serving international and national air traffic. Tocumen, located just outside Panama City is the main one, serving passengers or cargo on any type of plane. Second in importance is Albrook Airport, located in the former Albrook Military base, serving air traffic from Panama to any place within Panama and charter flights. Other national airports are France Field (in Colon), Enrique Malek (in David, Chirquí), Changuinola, Manuel Niño (in Bocas del Toro), Chitré, Yaviza, La Palma, El Real de Santamaría, Piñas Bay, and Contadora.

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TELECOMMUNICATIONS

We count with modern telephone services that allow direct and easy communication with any country, as well as postal and radio offices and television channels. Besides, there are many facilities for the connection to television services either by international cable or by satellite.

TAX SYSTEM

The tax system is based in two main principles, the legality and the territorial principles.

According to the first one, nobody should pay any tax or contribution that has not been legally established. While the second one means that Panamanian tax law is strictly applied to taxable income produced within the territory of the Republic of Panama (Section 694 of the Fiscal Code), so all transactions that are made, executed or that has all effects outside Panama, are exempted from income taxes.

These two principles allows for the creation of a series of regulations that has defined the country as a tax heaven.

LABOUR AND MIGRATORY REGIME

Panama has a modern labor regime applicable without discrimination between nationals and foreigners working in its territory, by virtue of the principle of equality, recognized in the Constitution and the Labor Code’s territorial principle.

However, a foreign worker must first comply with all Migration and Labor Ministry’s requisites, obtaining a proper visa and work permit. Foreigners coming to Panama with a tourist visa are not allowed to work.

Foreigners wanting to stay in Panama for some time, must apply for an Immigrant’s visa (in case permanent residency is wanted), a Temporary Visitor’s Visa (for a temporary stay), or a Special Temporary Visitor’s Visa (for executives whose income is more than US $1,000.00, directly paid from an office outside Panama). There are other visas that may be solicited, such as Investor’s Visa, Pensioned Tourist Visa, and Retired Pensioner’s Visa. The last two grants special privileges to its holders.

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INVESTMENTS STABILITY

Panama is trying to turn its territory into a first world country for foreign investors. With this purpose, the government has promulgated a law to guaranty foreign investments’ stability and security. Section 1 of this Law establishes that the State will protect and promote investments made in the country, in all economic sectors, considering investments disposition of capitals, either in cash or credit facility, assets, or transferal of assets destined to the effective production of goods or services.

The law also warrants investors’ free disposition of all resources produced or generated by its investment, transference of capital, dividends, interests, and utilities to other countries, free trade of its products, private property and industrial property rights, all subject to equal conditions according to laws and regulations applied to nationals.

 
   

Activities foreseen and protected under this Law are those developed by natural or juridical persons investing in tourism, industrial, agricultural exports, forestry activities, mining, commercial free zones, telecommunications, construction, ports and train facilities, energy, and other designated activities.

Activities described above shall have tax stability, warranty against expropriation and against nationalization. At the same time, any difference arising between the investor and the Government under this law shall be submitted to commercial arbitration, representing an advantage for its impartiality, quickness, and economy, compared to the ordinary justice system.

WHERE TO LIVE IN PANAMA

PANAMA CITY

As mentioned above, Panama City is the capital and where there is a major concentration of the population. It’s a lively city with all modern accommodations and amenities.

EL VALLE

Just 2 hours from Panama City, it is a beautiful town surrounded by mountains and with exuberant vegetation.

BOQUETE

Located on the skirts of the Baru Volcano, in the Province of Chiriqui, near Costa Rica, it is a coffee growers’ paradise, with temperatures between 70° and 80° F and beautiful vegetation.

Also recommended are places like David and if a beach front is preferred, Coronado or Playa Blanca.

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