Pensionado Visa cont. Perks:

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The World’s Best Shortcut…

….and possibly the world’s best retirement package as well. Today, as promised, I offer more details about the Pensionado Visa provided by the government of Panama. Yesterday I discussed the various requirements to obtain the Pensionado Visa, the paperwork, time frame, legal & admin necessities and the system and purpose of this enticement. In today’s post I’ll itemize just a few of those perks, the benefits provided to entice people to move to Panama, the world’s best shortcut.

Let me reiterate: the government of Panama is basically in competition with other countries in tossing out the welcome mat for retirees. Surrounding countries, indeed several countries across the globe offer similar benefit packages seeking expats. They want our money; meaning, they want people from other countries—the United States, Canada, Western Europe, other South American countries to transfer their bank accounts and incomes, (and themselves) and live in Panama. It’s a tasty deal; here’s partly why:

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Coffee is a very tasty deal

(A Great perk one might say)

Only kidding a little bit. Coffee can be found anywhere, of course. It seems these days there’s a Starbucks or Cup-O-Joe on every corner and alley. But Panamanians grow some of the best Java in the world, and a lot of it comes from the western mountainous region around Chiriqui Province where we’d like to live. I’ve plugged Kotowa Coffee here, but there are more coffee farms in and around Boquete than you can shake a stir-stick at. Here’s a short list of farms/tours etc. So, speaking of ‘perks,’ coffee is definitely one, even if it has nothing to do with the Pensionado Visa.

Here are real perks that come with the Pensionado Visa.

From Don Williams’ blog Chiriqui Chatter, the Pensionado Visa can mean a substantial savings, but as with anything else, the rule of caveat emptor applies. Consider the source of the claim before relying on it. That goes for anything you read on my blog as well, BTW. Here’s what Don Williams says:  ‘Remember you can make numbers look any way you want them to look.’ His point is that ‘savings’ can mean simply that things purchased in Panama might be cheaper than in ones former country anyway, thus not true savings.

But enough with the forewarnings; here are actual benefits:

  • One time Duty tax exemption for household goods up to a total of $10,000.
  • Duty exemption for importing a new car every two years.
  • 50% off entertainment anywhere in the country (movies, concerts, sports)
  • 30% off bus, boat, and train fares
  • 25% off airline tickets (See COPA Airlines)
  • 50% off hotel stays from Monday through Thursday
  • 30% off hotel stays from Friday through Sunday
  • 25% off at restaurants
  • 15% off at fast-food restaurants
  • 15% off hospital bills (if no insurance applies)
  • 10% off prescription medicines
  • 20% off medical consultations
  • 15% off dental and eye exams
  • 20% off professional and technical services
  • 50% reduction in closing costs for home loans
  • 25% discounts on utility bills
  • 15% off loans made in your name
  • 1% less on home mortgages for homes used for personal residence

Tax Exemptions: As a qualified “Panama Pensionado Visa” holder, you will be entitled to:

  • A one-time exemption of duties (taxes) on the importation of household goods up to US$10,000 in total value.
  • 100% duty exemption on the importation or purchase of an automobile every 2 years.* (Source: Panama Offshore Legal Services.)

Next blog post will cover personal experiences with the Pensionado Visa. Stay tuned, thanks for reading and consider following our blog.

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