FAQ Panama Legal

What is Panama currency? It’s the balboa, and has been pegged with the US dollar since the year 1904. Does the Panamanian Government encourage foreign investment? Yes, the Panamanian Government has devised several laws and incentive opportunities that greatly encourage and protect foreign investments in Panama.

Yes! Many consider Panama to have one of the best retiree benefit programs in the world.

Should I carry my passport with me in Panama?
Yes! You must carry your passport on you at all times. Immigration laws are very strict in Panama and to avoid any complications, it is best to carry it with you, day and night.

Do I need a Panamanian attorney for the immigration process?
A Panamanian attorney is required to process the documents, and you must sign a power of attorney to represent you in the immigration process.

Can I open a bank account in Panama?
Yes, foreigners can open personal & corporate bank accounts in Panama.

Can foreigners start a business in Panama?
Yes, foreigners can start almost any type of business in Panama.

Can I qualify for a Panamanian passport/citizenship?
You can qualify for citizenship by marrying a Panamanian or with certain types of Visa, such as the Investor Visa.

Is asset protection available in Panama?
Panama is famous for its asset protection corporations, private interest foundations, and banking laws.

What is an apostil?
An apostil is an international form of notary. These are typically required for immigration as well as other legal uses.

What about banking privacy laws in Panama?
Panama has some of the best banking privacy laws in the world.

Can foreigners purchase property in Panama?
Yes and in fact, the same laws that protect local Panamanians landowners also protect foreign landowners.

How many square feet are in a square meter?
There are 10.76 square feet in a square meter.

What is the standard real estate broker commission and who is responsible for paying that?
Realtor or agent commissions are usually 5% of the selling price and the SELLER pays this in Panama, not the Buyer.

Does Panama have property taxes?
Panama has a siding scale annual property tax system depending on the property value.

Can I buy a property in Panama in a name of a corporation or do I have to use my personal name?
You can purchase property either in your personal name or by using a corporation in Panama.

Are there historic properties available in Panama?
Yes! Panama City’s largest historic district is Casco Antiguo/Casco Viejo and there are tones of beautiful historic properties just waiting to be discovered.

Are there benefits for restoring historic properties in Panama?
Absolutely! Panama’s Law #9 provides a long list of excellent tax benefits, exemptions and incentives for restoring a historic property.

Does Panama have an MLS (Multiple Listing service)?
No, not like in the USA.

What is ACOBIR?
ACOBIR (Association of Real Estate Brokers and Developers) belongs to international organizations and federations such as National Association of Realtors (NAR), International Federation of Real Estate Professional (FIABCH) and many others. It is dedicated to the brokerage, promotion & regulation of real estate in Panama.

What is Titled Property (Titulado)?
Titled Property is similar to deeded property with full rights of ownership.

What is concession Rights property (concesion)?
Concessions are leaseholds obtained from Panama’s government with set terms.

What is Possession Rights property (derechos proposorios)?
Rights of Possession (ROP) are government properties occupied or used by individuals (or organizations) over time. Right to posses are generally granted by government entities with a simple certification.

Can foreigner purchase tiled property in Panama?
Yes, and again, the same rights that protect Panamanian landowners protect foreigners.

What is a “promise to purchase contract?”
It is the preliminary contract between the seller and the buyer. It gives the buyer time to work out financing and due diligence before finalizing the purchase.

What is an Escrow?
An escrow occurs when a 3rd party is hired to hold the buyer’s funds and to transfer said funds to the seller when titled passes to the buyer and is registered with the Public Registry.

Does Panama have closing costs?
Yes, they can vary from $500-$2,500 or more depending on the value of the property. The buyer is responsible for paying his legal fees, notary fees and registry costs.

Does Panama have Capital Gains Tax?
Yes, the seller assumes the payment of a 10% capital gains tax.

What are construction costs in Panama?
This varies greatly and can be anywhere from $45-$125 per square foot depending on the area and the quality of finishings.

Can foreigners acquire mortgages in Panama?
Yes, rates are similar to that of the USA (6-7%), with the terms up to 30 years and financing up to 70% of the property value. However, this will vary case by case.

What are common property maintenance costs in Panama?
Between 10 cents and 15 cents per square foot. Example: a 1,500 square foot apartment would cost about $150 per month.

How many acres are in a hectare?
One (1) hectare is equal to 2.47 acres. One acre is equal to 0.446 hectares.

Is Title Insurance available in Panama?
Yes, title insurance is available in Panama and it is highly recommended!