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New immigration changes in Panama: SEM, Special Regularization Process and Aviation 

by Albalira Montufar

Published: June, 2019

Submission: June, 2019

 



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.


Comments:


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:


 


  • Proof of affiliation to the Social Security Authority.
  • Demonstrate to have worked in one or several SEM companies, for a minimum of five (5) years with:
  • A letter from the SEM company where the applicant currently works, stating the job title, salary, description of duties and time worked;
  • In case the applicant previously worked for several SEM companies, the 5 -year minimum term will be proved by filing one of the following requirements:
  • Letters from the SEM companies where the applicant has previously worked, stating job title, salary, description of duties and time worked;
  • Copy of the ID Cards or Resolutions that granted the SEM Permanent Resident Permit, or;
  • Sworn Declaration before Public Notary indicating the information of the applicant, job title, salary, description of duties and time worked.

 


 


  • Bank Certification Letter issued by a bank with license to operate in Panama, that reflects the applicant has at least four medium figures. In case of dependents, the amount must increase US$ 1,000.00 for each dependent.
  • By means of Law 57 of 2018, the foreigner who obtains this Permanent Residence:
    • Will be subject of payment of income tax, social security and educational tax, as they apply for the earned salary and labor remunerations, and;
    • Will no require additional authorization to work in any SEM company.

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:


  • To prove that the applicant worked for a minimum of five (5) years at a SEM company or companies, with the following:
    • Letter from the SEM company where the applicant worked, detailing job title, salary, description of duties and time worked;
    • In case the applicant previously worked for several SEM companies, the 5 -year minimum term will be proved by filing one of the following requirements:
      • Letters from the SEM companies where the applicant has previously worked, stating job title, salary, description of duties and time worked;
      • Copy of the ID Cards or Resolutions that granted the SEM Permanent Resident Permit, or;
      • Sworn Declaration before Public Notary indicating the information of the applicant, job title, salary, description of duties and time worked.

 


    • To prove that the applicant has done a minimum investment of US$ 150,000.00 in Panama, through one of the following:
      • Time Deposit Bank account with a minimum duration of 3 years;
      • Real estate property under the name of the applicant, free of liens or;
      • A combination of a time deposit bank account with a minimum duration of 3 years and a real estate property, under the name of the applicant, free of liens.

Dependents:


  • Dependents of the Permanent Personnel of SEM Companies can be included, if they prove they have at least 2 years of holding its residence permit as dependents. Previously the law established that, only the dependents with 5 years of having their residence permit, could apply for this category.

 


  • In case of dependents that do not comply with the 2-year minimum term of holding their Residence Permit as Dependents, they will be able to apply to the Residence Permit as dependents of Permanent Residents, established through the Executive Decree 320 of 2008, only if the Permanent Residency of the main applicant is already approved.

 


 


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.


Comments:


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.


  • Foreigners interested in applying for this permanent residency can file it personally or through an attorney. This was established in the Executive Decree No. 169 of May 22, 2015.
  • The amounts collected from the Immigration services of this permit will be allocated in an 80% to the Ministry of the Presidency for social assistance and 20% to the Special Fund for the Development of the Human Resource of the National Immigration Authorities. 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.


Comments:


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:


  • A certification issued by the Social Security Authority proving the payment of a minimum of nine (9) consecutive installments; or,
  • Income Tax good standing certification.

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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