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Purchasing property in Panamá, it is relatively easy for a foreigner

Panama is a country in Central America, bordered by Costa Rica to the west, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The capital and largest city is Panama City, whose metropolitan area is home to nearly half the country’s 4 million people.

Panama was inhabited by indigenous tribes before Spanish colonists arrived in the 16th century. It broke away from Spain in 1821 and joined the Republic of Gran Colombia, a union of Nueva Granada, Ecuador, and Venezuela. After Gran Colombia dissolved in 1831, Panama and Nueva Granada eventually became the Republic of Colombia. With the backing of the United States, Panama seceded from Colombia in 1903, allowing the construction of the Panama Canalto be completed by the US Army Corps of Engineers between 1904 and 1914. The 1977 Torrijos–Carter Treaties led to the transfer of the Canal from the United States to Panama on December 31, 1999.

Revenue from canal tolls continues to represent a significant portion of Panama’s GDP, although commerce, banking, and tourism are major and growing sectors. In 2015 Panama ranked 60th in the world in terms of the Human Development Index. Since 2010, Panama has been the second-most competitive economy in Latin America, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index. Covering around 40 percent of its land area, Panama’s jungles are home to an abundance of tropical plants and animals – some of them found nowhere else on the planet. Panama is a founding member of the United Nations and other international organizations such as OAS, LAIA, G77, WHO and NAM.


The country has consistently performed favorably in the Human Development Index (HDI), placing 69th in the world as of 2015, among the highest of any Latin American nation. It has also been cited by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as having attained much higher human development than other countries at the same income levels, with a better record on human development and inequality than the median of the region. Panamá also has progressive environmental policies, being the only country to meet all five UNDP criteria established to measure environmental sustainability.

It was ranked 42nd in the world, and third in the Americas, in the 2016 Environmental Performance Index, was twice ranked the best-performing country in the New Economics Foundation’s (NEF) Happy Planet Index, which measures environmental sustainability,and was identified by the NEF as the greenest country in the world in 2009. Costa Rica officially plans to become a carbon-neutral country by 2021. By 2016, 98.1% of its electricity was generated from green sources.

Interested in buying properties in Panama?

If you are interested in buying properties in Panamá, it is relatively easy for a foreigner, unlike many other countries that have many restrictions or do not allow the purchase of land by foreigners. For you to buy a property in Panamá you do not have to be a resident; you have the same right to buy a property that citizens of Panamá.

You should have a well-qualified real estate agent assist you in your purchase. Much of the job of the agent is to research title, along with your attorney, and to make sure that all of the documentation is correct and filed with the proper government agency.

Purchasing property in Panamá may seem very different than where you live but I have worked with many buyers from many parts of the world and can help you to understand the process. Most foreigners buy property in the name of a corporation set up by their attorney. It is easy and inexpensive, and also provides some liability advantages. Title insurance is available from companies like Stewart Title and First American Title.


Loans may also be available, depending on the type of property and your home country. Closing costs are minimal, property taxes very low and there are no capital gains taxes in Panamá.

If you are from the U.S. I know how it is done and can recommend the right attorney to complete the paperwork. Buyers from outside of Panamá are making their way here for many reasons.  Some are looking for a second home or getaway, and have a property management company rent their condos or homes when they are away.

Others use their second home or condo as a home base to escape those cold winters in the northern hemisphere. There is that other group that has decided that they have shoveled snow for the last time and wanted a slower, simpler lifestyle that involves sandals and shorts year-round.

Information about traveling to Panamá:

  • Americans do not need a visa

    Americans do not need a visa to enter Panamá. However, they must have a valid passport and a return ticket to leave Panamá. (Either to return to your country or to go to another country). The United States passport must be valid for a minimum of one day from the day you enter Panamá.

  • Not need a tourist visa to enter Panamá

    Citizens of other nationalities do not need a tourist visa to enter Panamá if they have a tourist visa, a crew visa or a business visa (multiple entry) from the United States of America or Canada. Note: This visa must be stamped in the passport and be valid for at least 1 day (the duration of the stay can not be longer than the validity of the visa and can not exceed 30 days).

  • Americans do not need a visa

    If the foreigner has permanent residence, a student visa, a work visa in the United States or Canada, he does not need a visa to enter Panamá. In addition, you must have a valid passport for at least six months from the date of entry into the country and a return ticket. Note 1: This type of visa must be sealed in the passport, and must be valid for at least six months. Note 2: Permanent residents must present their green card (ie green card), which must be valid for at least six months. Note 3: Proof of residence stamped in the passport, refugee status, parole or work cards are not accepted. If this is what you have, you should find out if you need a tourist visa at the Consulate in your jurisdiction.

  • the tourist visa

    For foreigners who do not fulfill any of the above requirements, the tourist visa will depend on their nationality and must apply at the Consulate in their jurisdiction.