Panama Digital Nomad Visa
What should I know about Panama Digital Nomad Visa?
The Digital Nomad Visa (DNV for short) is an entry permit issued for freelancers who wish to temporarily reside in a foreign country while performing their work online. Worldwide, it is also known as the Freelance Visa or Remote Worker Visa. The idea of this new type of entry permit emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic when countries living off tourism wanted to rebuild their economies damaged by the lack of visitors.
In Panama, the Digital Nomad Visa has been available for all foreign tourists since May 2021. The Panamanian government introduced a new visa law by Executive Decree 198. It was officially named the Short Stay Visa for Remote Workers and stays valid for 9 months, with the possibility of extension for additional 9 months.
There are already a few countries in the region of Central America that offer Freelance Visa to their visitors. Among them, there are Barbados, Bahamas, Dominica, and Costa Rica. The authorities of these nations claim they have introduced the DNV for foreign visitors to encourage tourism and improve the economic position of their countries after the pandemic.
Who is eligible for the Panama Freelance Visa?
In order to be eligible for the Digital Nomad Visa to Panama, foreign visitors must have a valid employment contract with a company registered abroad or prove that they perform work as independent freelancers. It is important that you cannot do business with any company located in Panama.
Moreover, it is obligatory that you perform your work remotely with the use of electronic communication methods. You may use your laptop, tablet, or computer to finish the commissioned tasks.
How to apply for the Panama Digital Nomad Visa?
The Panama Digital Nomad Visa application process is not complicated, but it may take some time.
To be given the permit, you must follow a few simple steps:
- prepare the required documentation
- schedule a meeting at the Embassy
- fill in the visa application form at the Embassy
- submit the required documentation
- pay the mandatory visa processing fee
- wait for the visa approval notice
The average waiting time is around one month, however, it may increase due to internal visa processing conducted by the officers in Panama.
What is more, remember to check your application form for any spelling mistakes. If there are any discrepancies in the provided documentation, your visa may be delayed or denied.
Your Freelance Visa to Panama must be issued through a lawyer from the national immigration service. You need their assistance to fill in the application form properly.
What are the requirements for the Panama Digital Nomad Visa?
The Freelance Visa to Panama is available for all foreign remote workers who are self-employed business owners or those who work for a company registered abroad. Nevertheless, regardless of occupation, they must meet a few mandatory requirements to obtain this entry permit.
It is necessary to have a status of a remote worker for the Nomad Visa. You should have proof of being self-employed and conducting your own business online or working for a company outside of Panama and communicating electronically with your clients.
It is strictly forbidden to work for any Panamanian enterprise on your Remote Worker Visa.
To be given the Panama visa for remote workers, your monthly income should be at least $3,000. You may use authenticated bank statements or relevant certifications in order to prove sufficient income.
Moreover, if you wish to obtain the Freelance Visa to Panama, you are obliged to additionally provide authenticated bank statements proving your minimum annual income is $36,000.
There are some documents that are required from every foreign citizen who wishes to visit Panama.
To be given the Panama Short Stay Visa for Remote Workers, you must prepare the following:
- completed application form
- original and copy of valid passport
- three copies of biometric photographs
- certificate of medical insurance covering travel to Panama
- certificate of clean criminal record
- certificate of being in good health
- commitment to return to the home country by the visa expiry date
- commitment to decline employment contracts from Panamanian companies
Moreover, there are some additional documents required from remote workers who are self-employed and wish to apply for the Freelance Visa to Panama:
- declaration describing conducted business activities, offered services, past revenue, and projected revenue
- proof of being self-employed and owning a business
In case of working for a company located outside Panama, you must also provide the following documents issued abroad:
- declaration describing your role in the enterprise and conducted activities
- declaration describing the method of performing work remotely
- statement describing earned monthly income and annual income
If you have collected all the necessary documents, you may proceed with the visa application process for remote workers. Your immigration lawyer or the officials from the Embassy will inform you if there are some additional certifications needed.
What are the advantages of the Panama Digital Nomad Visa?
There are many benefits to living in Panama that foreign visitors may enjoy with a Remote Worker Visa.
- High quality of life. In Panama, many digital nomads can combine remote work and relaxing holidays. While residing in the country, they have a great chance to visit the fantastic cities, get to know the vibrant culture, and meet the local residents of Panama.
- Good Internet connection. Panama offers foreign freelance workers an excellent connection, which is crucial for completing their tasks online. Because Panama is connected with other countries by undersea fiber cables, digital nomads do not have to worry about the Internet being too slow.
- Low cost of living. Every person that performs remote work in Panama may enjoy their stay not only because of the beautiful, natural scenery but also due to the low cost of living in the country. Compared to other nations that offer a visa for freelance workers, Panama is relatively affordable.
How to extend the validity of my Panama Digital Nomad Visa?
The Panama Short Stay Visa for Remote Workers allows all eligible travelers to stay in the country for 9 months. It is possible to renew the entry permit for additional 9 months if you need your visit to be a little longer - you must schedule an appointment at the immigration office in Panama City.
What else should I know about the Panama Digital Nomad Visa?
Above is the most important information concerning the Short Stay Visa for Remote Workers. However, you may find some additional details useful while traveling to Panama as a freelancer.
Payment of Taxes
In Panama, there is a territorial taxation law, meaning that independent freelancers who perform remote work are exempt from the tax requirement as long as their income is earned in their home country.
If you reside in Panama longer than half a year, you may apply for a tax residency so that you can avoid paying taxes in your country. Moreover, Panama has a progressive income tax rate; therefore, the amount of money you must pay depends on your annual income.
Traveling with Family
Contrary to Digital Nomad Visas available worldwide, the Panamanian DNV does not allow its holders to bring their closest relatives with them to the country. Every family member (a spouse or a child) must apply for an individual entry permit to cross the borders of Panama.
Panama Friendly Nations
If you wish to stay in Panama longer than 18 months or would like to apply for permanent residency status, you may consider registering for another visa type - Friendly Nations Visa.
The permit is available for citizens of over 50 countries around the world and allows relocating to Panama to conduct various business activities. In order to obtain the visa, you should either invest $200,000 in real estate in Panama or be legally employed by a Panamanian company.
The Friendly Nations Visa is generally issued for 2 years. However, after this time, you may apply for the status of Panama permanent resident.