Panama provides South Africans with numerous compelling reasons to move abroad: It boasts a stable economy, investment opportunities and a welcoming culture/society, plus offers an efficient legal residency process at an economical price point.
Panama residents can get a subway ride for less than $1, dine out for $8 or watch a new international movie release for $6.
1. Ease of Residency Application
Panama makes gaining residency relatively straightforward, yet having a lawyer with expertise in immigration law is invaluable to ensure a smooth experience. Mundo ensures all our tour participants arrive with everything they need prior to leaving home so that there are no unexpected hurdles waiting them when they arrive in Panama.
To establish residency in Panama, the primary requirements are having a verified bank account and sufficient income. You also need to demonstrate strong personal and commercial ties to Panama – owning property can help demonstrate this point.
There are various residency programs available, but the Friendly Nations visa program stands out as being particularly streamlined. Citizens in this program can acquire permanent residency within six months and five years later become eligible to apply for citizenship.
2. Low Cost of Living
Panama boasts a relatively low cost of living compared to its regional peers, thanks to modern infrastructure, reasonable property prices, and an accessible healthcare system.
Boquete in Panama can offer two-bedroom units at approximately half the cost of similar apartments in the US or UK.
Education in Panama is also affordable. Public schools provide free education from kindergarten to three years of secondary school while private schools may charge a fee.
Concerned about language barriers? Luckily there are numerous expat communities in each country to connect with and meet people from. Some offer language and cultural training classes to newcomers while some even have volunteer programs where you can help out fellow expats in need in your region.
3. Low Taxes on Foreign Earned Income
Due to Panama’s offshore reputation being highlighted by the Panama Papers, many misperceptions exist about this country that could mislead individuals regarding taxes, immigration and business matters. This can particularly apply when it comes to taxes.
Panama provides individuals and corporations alike with some very favorable tax advantages. Individuals may deduct mortgage interest payments and health insurance premiums; businesses can deduct services rendered, fees paid out to non-residents based on Panamanian rates, royalties paid out or services used based on Panamanian rates.
Panama boasts an excellent education system, ranking 80th globally on The Education Index and providing private schools offering options based on language, religion and heritage. Immigrating to Panama can count on support from an extensive international community.
4. High Standard of Living
Panama boasts an exceptional quality of living, drawing many expats – retirees, digital nomads and those looking to relocate for work – thanks to its comfortable lifestyle featuring diverse housing options, international schools and world-class healthcare services.
Many expats find their medical expenses are far lower in Asia and Europe compared to back home, such as an average doctor visit costing less than $50 or even as little as $15!
Panama provides an attractive standard of living due to its infrastructure and vibrant culture, featuring an international population. Panama welcomes expats from across the globe and is similar to Miami or Hong Kong in that its culture makes it welcoming for Westerners unfamiliar with Latin American customs.
5. Investing Opportunities
Panama can offer foreign investors substantial returns when investing in property, particularly through short-term rental investments that yield returns of 6% to 8% net after expenses.
Panama stands out not only due to its strategic location and global significance of the Panama Canal, but also for its pro-business government that offers generous incentives to foreign retirees and investors. Furthermore, its modern infrastructure, well-developed banking sector, tourism industry, and significant political stability.
Panama has recently emerged as a business haven, due to global tensions disrupting traditional trading partners and low overhead costs and government incentives that draw major multinational companies here. Furthermore, with an established service-based economy and welcoming culture/society that welcomes South Africans seeking an opportunity abroad.
6. Friendly Society
Panama boasts a diverse population of expats who love its tropical climate, bustling economy and welcoming society. Most Panamanians speak English fluently and welcome newcomers from all backgrounds with open arms.
Malaysia is an ideal location for conducting business, boasting world-class highways, banking and telecommunications infrastructure, pro-business policies, low inflation and favorable tax incentives that have attracted significant foreign investment over the past 20 years.
If you are considering moving to Panama, there are a few essential considerations you need to address before beginning the application process for a residency visa. One key consideration should be understanding your reasons for making the move – these will vary for everyone but there are some shared factors you should keep in mind; these could include: