(June 24, 2021) On May 20, 2021, Panama’s government published an executive decree authorizing a visa for foreign remote workers. The visa is aimed at attracting professionals who can benefit from extended stays in Panama in order to telework from there. The government expects that the presence of these professionals will foster tourism and consumption of Panama’s goods and services and ultimately help to reactivate Panama’s economy, which has declined through the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The visa is available for foreigners whose work duties or services are provided to companies located abroad. Thus, professionals who work locally in Panama or who generate income by providing services to Panamanian companies are not eligible to apply for the telework visa. Accordingly, foreign professionals who obtain the visa and thereafter perform duties representing their employers in Panama could face the cancellation of their visas.
In order to apply for this immigration option, foreign professionals must meet a number of requirements, including:
- Proof of income from a foreign source of more than US$3,000 per month (or US$4,000 per month per family).
- Proof of health insurance.
- Letter from the foreign employer located abroad.
- Affidavit of nonacceptance of a job offer or agreement to provide services in Panama.
Professionals who work independently for their own enterprises are also eligible to apply for the telework visa. They must generally fulfill the same requirements applicable to employees of foreign companies. In addition, independent professionals must provide proof of ownership of their foreign companies and a notarized affidavit describing the nature of their work activities.
Panama’s government has indicated that it will launch an online platform to process applications for this visa program, which will allow an initial stay of nine months that may be renewed once for an additional nine months.