I’ve just arrived in Panama City, Panama.
When I came in through customs, instead of getting in the long line with all the people coming in from other countries as tourists, or the long line of Panamanian citizens, I got in the short line with all the foreign residents. I am one, y’know.
This usually surprises people, because I live in the USA. In Utah of all places! I was born in California, and though I’ve traveled the world as a musician and lived in places like Australia, New Zealand, and Canada — Panama seems kinda out of nowhere, I get it.
So why Panama? A couple reasons, but mostly because I don’t think the next 40 years in my home country will look much like the last 40 years. I don’t know what happens next, but I know having options becomes even more important the less we’re sure about. Panama is a way of hedging my bets.
Having 100% of my personal life, my business, my money, and all my future options for these based in any one place screams of “design flaw” to me. Diversifying my presense to a more global one means I’m not as bound to the destiny of that one place, and not as confined to it.
After doing extensive research, I found that Panama would be the easiest place in the world for me to gain a second legal resident status. On the night of the 2016 election, I finally pulled the trigger on the paperwork. I opened a business, a bank account, and came in as an Entrepreneur under the Friendly Nations Visa program. It took a few weeks and cost some money for lawyers (my Spanish isn’t great), but with their help it was fairly straightforward thing to do.
Now I just have to make sure I visit at least once a year to keep my residency current, and the rest of the time it doesn’t matter much to Panama where I am. Visiting Panama annually is no great burden, I assure you. I like it here! Though I’d prefer to be joined by my partner, and she couldn’t make it this time so I’m keeping it quick.
In the next three days, I’ll be applying for my Panamanian Driver’s License, receiving my bi-annual full medical checkup (at a dramatically lower cost, higher quality, and better convenience than I can get in the US), and doing the prep to turn what has been a financially dormant business into an active one in 2020. Plus brushing up on mi Español.
For family reasons, it doesn’t work for me to spend more time here yet. When that changes, I look forward to going deeper into this lovely country. In the meantime, I plan to enjoy my visits and quietly build out my life’s options.
I’d encourage you to do something similar. Let me know if you have any questions about how to get started.
And if the voice of David Lee Roth isn’t in your head just yet, allow me to fix that. You’re welcome ;)