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Old 14-06-2014, 08:50   #1
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Panama Visa Update for Vessels

Panama is changing the visa rules regarding cruising vessels.
When you enter Panama you will pay $193 for a cruising permit good for a year and renewable twice, so you can stay for three years without the boat having to leave. With your cruising permit in hand, Immigration will issue a Maritime Visa good for a year and renewable every year for $100 at Colon or PC.
If you leave Panama for a visit home or whatever, you will get the standard 6 month visa when you return and may need to renew your Maritime visa if 6 months is not long enough to get you to your next cruising permit.
At the end of the three years, you must take your boat out of Panama for a few days and come back and start all over again.
No doubt this will all change next week.
They are also working on an easy way to obtain Panamanian residency.
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Old 14-06-2014, 09:58   #2
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Re: Panama visa update for vessels

Do you know if the cruising permit is good for one calendar year, or tied to the documentation renewal date? This changed in the recent past so that the cruising permit expired when the documentation did. For US documented boats, this was a ridiculous thing since the documentation needs to be renewed yearly.

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Old 14-06-2014, 11:20   #3
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Re: Panama visa update for vessels

Panamanian residency is very easy. Buy a piece of real estate. Done!

Same is true with the Bahama Islands.
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Old 14-06-2014, 18:59   #4
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Re: Panama visa update for vessels

Not correct. Purchasing real estate in Panama does not automatically give you residency.
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Old 14-06-2014, 19:03   #5
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Re: Panama visa update for vessels

Can anyone answer whether the cruising permit is still tied to the documentation renewal date? This is a timely issue for our plans right now.

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Old 14-06-2014, 19:20   #6
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Re: Panama visa update for vessels

When I renewed my permit in Bocas in March, my USCG doco was a few days away from expiring (renewal in process). The port captain noticed this and went out of his way to make time in his schedule to get this done for me quickly. His take was that he could issue a new permit (for a full year) only if my USCG doco had not expired yet. He did just that, so not tied to expiry date in that case.
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Old 14-06-2014, 20:37   #7
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Re: Panama visa update for vessels

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Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Not correct. Purchasing real estate in Panama does not automatically give you residency.
Person of Means Visa (POM)
If you’re not a pensioner, and do not plan to work or engage in business activities in Panama, the Person of Means (POM) visa may be the best option for you. To apply, you must be prepared to make a fixed-term deposit or invest $300,000.
Basically, you can structure your investment in one of three ways:
  • by spending a minimum of $300,000 on property in Panama;
  • by placing $300,000 in a fixed-term deposit in a bank with a physical branch in Panama;
  • or via a “mixed use” split between a property purchase and fixed-term deposit, provided the total adds up to at least $300,000. For example, if your dream property costs you $280,000, you may place $20,000 in a fixed-term deposit to qualify for this permit.
You must keep the property and/or fixed-term deposit until you are granted your permanent residency (at present this takes approximately three years). Once you have your permanent residency, you can do what you like with the property—including sell it to get back your cash (and hopefully a profit on the sale). Likewise, you can withdraw any/all funds from your deposit post-term.

Source: Panama Visa | Panama Visa Requirements | Panama Residency Visa
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Old 14-06-2014, 20:40   #8
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Re: Panama visa update for vessels

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Originally Posted by mcerdos View Post
Panamanian residency is very easy. Buy a piece of real estate. Done!

Same is true with the Bahama Islands.
The Bahamas? I don't think it's that simple.
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Old 14-06-2014, 20:43   #9
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Re: Panama visa update for vessels

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The Bahamas? I don't think it's that simple.
Permanent Residency

There are no taxes levied on capital gains, corporate earnings, personal income, inheritance, or dividends; therefore, depending on a person’s nationality, significant tax benefits may be obtained from establishing permanent residency in the Bahamas.
Permanent residency can be obtained by owners of residences valued in excess of $500,000. Applicants for this status of residency must be of good character and prepared to show evidence of financial support. Such an applicant must state that he intends to reside permanently in The Bahamas.
A person holding a certificate of permanent residence who wishes to include his wife, or dependent child under the age of 18 and ordinarily resident in his household, may have them endorsed on the certificate at the time of his original application or at a subsequent date.

source: Living in The Bahamas - How to obtain residency in The Bahamas
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Old 14-06-2014, 21:37   #10
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Re: Panama visa update for vessels

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Originally Posted by mcerdos View Post
[COLOR=#666666][B]Person of Means Visa (POM)...
Source: Panama Visa | Panama Visa Requirements | Panama Residency Visa
As even this incomplete information shows, buying a piece of dirt does not grant you automatic residency. Part of what it omits, is that you must still apply for residency and meet the other requirements such as background check etc. Its not "buy" = "done".

Getting residency in Panama is not hard, and they offer a lot of different residency programs, but it is not automatic.

Also, International Living is a sales and marketing racket, not where I suggest you go for unbiased information.

If you want I can PM you contact information for an attorney here in Panama who handles residency etc.
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Old 14-06-2014, 22:43   #11
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Re: Panama visa update for vessels

for most here, the friendly nations route would be a good option for residency in panama....at this moment.
..and you would need an attorney in panama.
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Old 15-06-2014, 00:41   #12
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Re: Panama visa update for vessels

There are very few countries that won't grant you some form of long term visa or residency with a sizable investment as long as you're not going to be working. The US does the same.

Most don't have that ability or flexibility so may look for other ways. For those the long term visa in Panama makes a lot of sense.
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Old 15-06-2014, 01:02   #13
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Re: Panama visa update for vessels

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Originally Posted by mcerdos View Post
Permanent Residency
There are no taxes levied on capital gains, corporate earnings, personal income, inheritance, or dividends; therefore, depending on a person’s nationality, significant tax benefits may be obtained from establishing permanent residency in the Bahamas. . . .
Warning: If you are a US citizen you may owe US taxes regardless of the source and location of the income. - Unless - you renounce your US citizenship. It can get complicated so professional advice would be a good idea prior to assuming "residency" in a foreign country will reduce or eliminate your taxes.
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Old 15-06-2014, 01:08   #14
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Re: Panama visa update for vessels

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Warning: If you are a US citizen you may owe US taxes regardless of the source and location of the income. - Unless - you renounce your US citizenship. It can get complicated so professional advice would be a good idea prior to assuming "residency" in a foreign country will reduce or eliminate your taxes.
Good warning. It's a lot easier to add a country than get rid of one in this respect. You will be held accountable for US taxes unless or until you can prove you're no longer required to file them. There are expatriate situations but income sources come into play. It gets complicated. Get someone experienced in such issues.

This same situation exists between states where re-establishing residency can be complicated.
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Old 15-06-2014, 04:28   #15
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Re: Panama visa update for vessels

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Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
Warning: If you are a US citizen you may owe US taxes regardless of the source and location of the income. - Unless - you renounce your US citizenship. It can get complicated so professional advice would be a good idea prior to assuming "residency" in a foreign country will reduce or eliminate your taxes.
Yep, and taxes are slightly more complicated with the new FATCA regulations. So, the Bahamas may not tax you, and many other venues do not too, but Uncle Sam still wants his cut.

These same regs also increase reporting requirements on foreign banks. As a result, many Americans in Panama have had their bank accounts closed because the banks don't want to deal with the reporting.

If you are considering foreign residency in Panama, or anywhere, hire a good agent/attorney...makes it much easier. Hire one state-side too, and then you don't have to go back to the USA and do the paper chase on that end either.
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