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Expat Guide: A Legal Update on Panama’s Ever Changing Immigration Laws

Article Summary:

Expat and blogging author of the Boquete Panama Guide provides a community update on recent immigration law changes and additional information on potential changes to Panama’s bearer shares laws from a Q & A session with a Panamanian lawyer.

Photo Credit: Trendz

Original Article Text From Boquete Panama Guide:

TCM: Rainelda Mata-Kelly, a Legal Update

Rainelda Mata-Kelly made trip to Boquete to provide our community with an update on some of the changes in immigration law and in a long question and answer period clarified many other issues for people.

I am going to attempt to summarize.

If you are looking for a Visa she recommended two options as best today. The Pensionado visa if you are retired, do not want to work and can show a pension of $1,000 a month for yourself and another $250 for a dependent.
The other option is a creation of this government and allows anyone from forty seven different countries to put $5000 in a bank account and apply for a visa that includes a work permit. This is the winner right now, no income requirement, work permit and permanent resident status in about six months. Rainelda pointed out the rules on this visa are cloudy and interpretation might vary with a new director of immigration, but for now this is a great option.

She emphasized the current need for an FBI report for US citizens and the fact they are rejecting people with arrests, even if never convicted of a crime.

If you are a pensionado and want a Cedula E she recommended getting one. She is going to confirm that the costs have not increased from the $60 government fee. Under the current interpretation of the law Pensionados with five years residency and a Cedula E , can request citizenship. In response to a question she did point out that you are required to renounce your prior citizenship when accepting Panamanian citizenship and the impact of that will vary depending upon your original citizenship.

The question came up about the email circulated by News.boquete from a local law firm saying bearer shares are going away by 2016. Rainelda said there is discussion of a change in law due to international pressures but no law has been introduced into the legislator and nothing has changed at this time. The law may or may not change in the future. Her advice was that she does not recommend bearer shares to her clients but if you have them, the fear of an uncertain change to the law is not reason to do anything now; wait.

In response to questions she discussed the use of Private interest foundations for protecting assets and how they differ from Trusts and corporations in Panama. If you do have a Private Interest Foundation be aware the Tasa Unica, the annual fee to the government for the Foundation has be raised from $300 to $400. The rate of $300 remains the same for corporations.

There was a lot more but I failed to take notes.

Link to Original Article:

From Boquete Panama Guide

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