In 1966, the nations of Italy and Panama forged a treaty called The Mutual Friendship, Commerce and Navigation Treaty which allows Italian citizens to get permanent residency in Panama. Under Law 15, this treaty allows Italian citizens the freedom to conduct business or work in in Panama. The objective of the treaty is to encourage Italians to establish economic and professional activities in Panama. The benefit is the Italian citizens can get residency in Panama easier than almost any other nationality. This Visa does NOT require neither an initial investment nor purchasing a property in Panama.
Fun fact – Italian explorers were among the first Europeans to settle the land of Panama some 500 years ago. The buildings in Panama Viejo (now in ruins) were largely built by Italians. Italian migration to Panama has always been strong, and many notable Panamanians are of Italian descent. For example, The $1 coins in Panama are called “Martinellis” (after former president Ricardo Martinelli) who is of Italian descent.
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Requirements for Getting Residency in Panama as an Italian Citizen
- Enter Panama with an Italian Passport.
- Notarized Power of Attorney and application.
- Notarized photocopy of applicant’s passport.
- Five (5) passport-size photos.
- Background check from Italy or country of residency.
- Health Certificate.
- Proof of Italian Citizenship, such as Italian ID, Birth Certificate (valid only for 6 months), or any other document that properly identifies the applicant as Italian.
- Declaration of personal background.
- Panamanian bank reference letter with a balance greater than USD $5,000, to demonstrate economic means.
- Check for USD $250 to the National Treasure.
- Proof of economic ties with Panama, in the form of a corporation, ownership of titled property, or a job offer. It is possible to open a company in Panama to fulfill this requirement.
Can Spouse and Dependents Be Included in this Visa?
Yes, dependents are included. Note that the applicant’s spouse and dependents do NOT have to be Italian citizens to be included in the application. This means that if you are are an Italian Citizen by Descent, but your wife and children are not, you can still apply. This includes the spouse, dependent parents of the nucleus family, children under legal age, and single students under the age of 25. The dependents will each have to provide a non criminal police record.
- If the application needs to include dependents, the applicant also needs to include:
- Letter of accountability for these dependents.
- Proof of ties between the applicant and each dependent.
- Proof of address – applicant and dependent must live in the same address.
- If the dependent is 18 years old or more, single status and student status certificate.
Did the Panama Italy Treaty Visa Change When the Friendly Nations Visa Changed?
No! This visa remains unchanged, despite the changes to the Friendly Nations visa. This program is still active.
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What is the Duration of the Visa/Permanent Residency?
This is an indefinite permanent visa leading to Panamanian citizenship after five years. This process also provides a path to obtain Panamanian ID (cedula).
Can Panamanians Move to Italy Under the Panama Italy Treaty?
Yes, Panamanian citizens likewise enjoy the same benefits in Italy where they can move and receive indefinite permanent residency and start businesses without having to apply for investor’s visas or a work permit.
Are There Italian Language Schools in Panama?
Yes there is an Italian language high school called Instituto Italiano Enrico Fermi in the San Francisco neighborhood of Panama City. The Enrico Fermi Institute accepts students all the way from pre-kinder to primary school to high school, finishing in 12th grade. It is a private school and teaches the Italian, Spanish, and English languages. Tuition costs to attend are below.