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Saturday, November 17 2018 @ 10:33 AM UTC

Obtaining A "Reforestation Visa" Through Panama Teak Forestry

Teak & Reforestation By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - I've recently published several articles and posted videos to YouTube about investing in plantation teak in Panama, specifically with Panama Teak Forestry. When I published this article - Ten Good Reasons To Invest in Panama Teak Forestry - I immediately started to receive questions via email regarding the "reforestation visa", such as this one - "Don, Does the teak investment qualify as 'reforestation' for immigration purposes? Thank you. DE." Well, the answer is yes and no, as you'll see.

A Straight Up Investment In The Company: If you simply invest in Panama Teak Forestry, then no, that has nothing to do with the "reforestation visa" program.

What Is The "Reforestation Visa? The Republic of Panama has passed a law which allows for foreigners to qualify for permanent residency status if they make a minimum investment of $80,000 is reforestation. The "spirit and intent" of the law is to attract new foreign direct investment in the country, to entice people to spend their money to help in the reforestation of Panama, and in return the investor qualifies for a visa as a permanent resident in the Republic of Panama. This is not a new program, it's been around for awhile. At first the minimum investment was $40,000 dollars, then they did away with it for awhile, then they brought it back and the minimum investment was raised to $80,000 dollars. And why would you want one of these things, anyway?

If You Don't Qualify For A "Pensionado" Visa: Many of the members of the community of English speaking expatriates come to Panama and obtain permanent residency status under the "pensionado" (pensioner) visa program. In order to qualify, you must have a steady source of income from something like Social Security, a military retirement or VA disability, a pension from a private company, or some other source of regular and recurring income - that you can document and prove. Panama wants retirees and pensioners to move here to live their golden years because it's a great deal for the country - earn your money there and spend it here - what's not to like? However some people want to move to Panama and live here as a permanent resident, but they don't (yet) have any kind of a steady and recurring source of income that would qualify them for the pensioner's visa. In that case, the "reforestation visa" is a viable option.

The Land It Titled In Your Name: One of the important elements of this program is that the land must be titled in your name. You own it. You spend your $80,000 dollars to purchase the land and plant the trees. This is important, and it's the reason why a direct investment in a company like Panama Teak Forestry does not qualify for the "reforestation visa" program, because you're buying shares in a company, and not land in your own name.

Certified and Approved By ANAM: In Panama the "Autoridad Nacional del Ambiente" (ANAM) (National Environmental Authority) has to certify and approve your reforestation investment in order for it to qualify under the "reforestation visa" program. This is the most difficult part to get done. The ANAM is an autonomous entity of the Panamanian government, and while it is theoretically possible to come down to Panama, spend a minimum of $80,000 on land and teak, and then do the ANAM certification and approval process yourself (without going through a company like Panama Teak Forestry) - doing so would be much more difficult, expense, time consuming, and frustrating. But anyway if you want to, go right ahead and buy your land, plant your trees, and then start to try to figure out the ANAM process. Good luck with that, and let me know how it works out for you. But there's an easier way.

Panama Teak Forestry Has It All Set Up: Over the years many people have participated in Panama Teak Forestry's "reforestation visa" process. The company already owns more than 750 hectares of land total, and they always keep a couple of what they call "visa plots" separated and ready to go. All of their teak plantations have to be certified and authorized by ANAM anyway, and it's possible to sell five hectares to an individual investor and to segregate that small lot out from the larger parcel, that's already been inspected and approved by ANAM. Right now they have two or three of these plots ready to go. They are already planted with teak (so, it's been growing for awhile). It takes about three months to do the paperwork, and after that you've got your permanent residency status under the "reforestation visa." And by the way, you also are now the proud owner of 5 hectares of plantation teak, planted with about 5,500 teak trees. Or maybe less, depending on age. Plantation teak has to be "thinned" as it grows so the total number of trees gradually reduces over time.

Does Not Include Legal Fees: Under the law, the $80,000 has to be spent on reforestation. It does not include the legal fees or expenses required to present your application for the "reforestation visa" before the Panamanian immigration authorities. I understand that costs somewhere between $1,000 to $2,000 depending on the lawyer chosen. But anyway, it's important to point out that the lawyer's fees and costs are not included in the $80,000 investment in land and reforestation teak.

I Made This Short Video: This short video covers many of the same points highlighted in this article;

If You Want More Information: Feel free to contact me via email at don@panama-guide.com. You can also call my Magic Jack (US) number (845) 514-9893 or my cell phone in Panama +011 (507) 6614-0451.

Related Articles and Additional Information:

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

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