Intel & DataLatin-America

Q1 Data Shows Sharp Downturn in Panama Friendly Nations Visa Interest

Q1 figures for capital-based immigration to Panama reveal rising interest in independent means visas in the country but falling demand for investor visas, particularly the Friendly Nations Visa:

  • Jubilados y Pensionados (independent means) visas: 375 approvals in Q1 2023 (+13% year-on-year)
  • Friendly Nations (investor) visas: 557 approvals in Q1 2023 (-37%)
  • Other investment-based visas: 83 approvals in Q1 2023 (-7%)

Panama approved 1,414 independent means visas (Jubilados y Pensionados) in 2022, the highest such number since record-year 2011, when it approved 1,421. 2023, however, may well be the year in which this category sees a new all-time high in approval volume; in the first quarter of this year, 375 main applicants received independent means visas in Panama, which – if extrapolated to the end of the year – would equate to 1,500 visas in 2023.

FNV interest, meanwhile, appears to be moving in the opposite direction. If as many FNVs are approved in the remaining three quarters as in the first, this category will see a couple hundred fewer visas approved in 2023 than in last year.

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Historically constituting 9 out of 10 investor visas, the FNV's decline is also pulling down approval volume for investment-based visas overall this year. In our article on the topic from March, we explained what's causing the decline in FNV approval volume:

In the second half of 2021, Panama raised its minimum investment requirement for the FNV from practically nothing to US$200,000 (see also: 3 Ways Panama’s Friendly Nations Visa Became Less Friendly Over the Summer). As might have been expected, the announcement of the coming price hike gave rise to a surge in filings in the latter half of 2021 that Migración Panamá spent the better part of last year trying to manage. We expect to see approval volumes in the FNV category continue to dwindle as 2023 drags on.

Even excluding FNVs, investment-based visas as a group are now also declining. All of the three biggest non-FNV investor visas - Qualified Investor, Self-Solvency Fixed Deposit, and Self-Solvency Real Estate Investment - are on a trajectory to see fewer approvals this year than in 2022.

If you like data-driven articles like this one, you'll love the IMI Data Center, the world's largest collection of investment migration statistics, with more than 350 graphs and charts on dozens of IM programs and markets.

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