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Monday, April 22 2019 @ 10:17 PM UTC

FAQ: Which Is Better - Pensionado or Married To A Panamanian?

Why Panama & Frequently Asked QuestionsBy DON WINNER for - This question came up today on the Americans in Panama Yahoo email group: "Question.....I have a Pensionado Visa here in Panama.....indefinite term. I am married to a Panamanian. Is there an advantage to me to obtain a different visa.....perhaps a "married to Panamanian" visa....or, is there something else I need to know that I am not aware of? Dual citizenship?"

My Answer: . As a "married to a Panamanian" you apply through immigration for permanent residency. This is much different than the "pensionado" status - which is really just an indefinite visitor visa status with a few perks. As a "married to a Panamanian" you will eventually be given a Cedula and permanent residency. You only have to renew your cedula every ten years or whatever when it expires, just like everyone else. It's easier to do things like open bank accounts, obtain loans, etc. There are other benefits as well. For example, five years after obtaining a cedula you can legally obtain a license to sell real estate. And, there are other similar kinds of things. Having a cedula makes living in Panama full time a whole lot easier. The whole process takes about two years and there are interviews to make sure you are "really" married - questions like "what color are the curtains in the living room" and "does your husband snore" - stuff like that. And, since I am receiving a pension from the US government as a military retiree, I also qualify for all of the benefits associated with the "pensionado" programs, so for me it's a "two-fer" sort of deal.

Copyright 2011 by Don Winner for Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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