New immigration changes in Panama: SEM, Special Regularization Process and Aviation
Executive Decree No. 238 of June 10, 2019
Requirements to apply for permanent residency for executives of Multinational Headquarters offices (“SEM” for its acronym in Spanish)
As of June 11th, 2019, the requirements to apply for the Permanent Resident Permit for Executives of SEM companies who i) continue working at a SEM company, and ii) no longer work for a SEM company.
This Residence Permit will be applicable to those foreigners that are working or that had worked for a SEM company for a minimum of 5 years. This five (5) year period can be counted continuously or in intervals.
Permanent Residence Permit for personnel currently working for a SEM company:
This category was established by means of Law No. 57 of 2018, that modifies the Law 41 of 2007 (SEM Law).
Among the requirements for this category, are the following:
Permanent Resident Permit for Personnel who has stopped working at a SEM company:
This category previously existed and was established by means of Law 45 of 2012 and regulated by Executive Decree No. 822 of 2013.
Among the requirements for this category are:
Executive Decree No. 249 of June 10, 2019
Procedures and requirements to apply for permanent residency for foreigners who have obtained renewal of their provisional residence permits of 10 years and 6 years immigration regularization permits
As of June 13th, 2019, date on which Executive Decree No. 249 became effective, the procedure and request to apply for Permanent Residency for foreigners who have obtained their 10- or 6-year immigration regularization were established.
Foreigners with a Provisional Residence Permit of 10 year or 6 year may apply for the Permanent Residence in Panama, after this period of time. Previously, there was no Permanent Residence for this category.
To apply for Permanent Residency, foreigners must provide the common requirements established in Executive Decree No. 167 of June 3, 2016, and the Income Tax good standing certification.
The costs will depend on the nationality of each applicant. Children under twelve (12) years of age, adults over eighty-five (85) years, those suffering from terminal diseases (verifiable), persons with profound disabilities and for humanitarian reasons, are exempted from this payment. This was established by previous decrees.
Executive Decree No. 237 of June 10, 2019
Executive Decree No. 182 of May 28th, 2019, through which the temporary residence permit as employee of aviation companies was created, is modified.
As of June 11th, 2019, the current Executive Decree for the Subcategory of Temporary Resident as Employee of Aviation Companies located in the Republic of Panama, is modified.
This Temporary Residence Permit, once approved, will be valid for six (6) years. Upon expiration of this term, the petitioner may apply for permanent residency. Previously, this permit was going to be granted for two (2) years, extendable for the same term each time, until completing the total term of six (6) years.
To apply for the permanent residency, the foreigner must additionally provide:
The applicant may apply for the work permit with the immigration provisional ID card. Hence, without having a resolution granting residency. Previously, applicants could only file this work permit application when having an approved residency resolution.
With this Executive Decree, the possibility of including couples in common-law relationships, as dependents, is again authorized.
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