How to get an investment residence permit in Latin America

Latin America with its tropical climate, unhurried lifestyle, and lack of the alarming news agenda that Russians are accustomed to, does not seem like the most obvious option for relocation. However, it is here there are many interesting opportunities for registration of residence permits, which tells the director of investments Global Citi-Zen Ivan Barkhatov

For a long time, Latin America was an underrated destination for relocation and immigration status among Russians – because of the proximity of Europe, the popularity of Turkey and other more understandable areas.

Today the situation is changing. For example, some states of the Caribbean basin (Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica) closed the programs of investment citizenship for Russians in March 2022, Montenegro plans to suspend a similar program on December 31, 2022. In addition, due to the rush and influx of applications for review of existing popular programs of citizenship and residence permits (residence permit) has increased markedly (in Turkey, for example, from two to six months).

In this situation, increases the attractiveness of Latin America, where most countries have visa-free travel for citizens of Russia to 90 days – that is, you can come and wait for the immigration status. It is also worth noting the climate, the good economic dynamics and the high level of digitalization of most regions. According to the Financial Times, hundreds of Russian digital nomads are already interested in Latin American countries.


The level of development and cultural diversity of Panama is more like Miami, even the second official currency there is the dollar. According to the World Bank, Panama’s GDP grew by more than 15% in 2021 and, based on forecasts, in 2023 the country’s economic condition will only strengthen. Panama has a high level of security, well-developed banking system and insurance industry.

Because of this, investment residence permit in Panama is becoming more and more relevant. Moreover, this is one of the fastest options for obtaining residence permits – registration takes only one to two months. 

Among the advantages that gives a residence permit – legal stay in the country, the opportunity to work in international companies and subsequently obtain a permanent residence permit. The state is considered one of the oldest tax havens – in Panama there is no taxation on sources of income originating from another country. Residents who earn income in the U.S. can reduce their tax base by $160,000 per year. Also worth noting is the mandatory annual residency period of only seven days. 

There are several ways to obtain immigration status for an investment. You can invest in development projects or real estate of different types: residential, offices, stores, hotels. Another option is to invest $500,000 in Panamanian securities or deposit $750,000 at 2-4% for five years. Residency in the country can also be obtained for the support of environmental resources of Panama under the 1992 law (incentives for reforestation). To do this you need to donate at least $ 500,000 to the Rainforest Foundation or invest in a fruit plantation from $ 210,000. By the way, the income from the agrarian business is not subject to any taxes.

Costa Rica 

In Costa Rica, too, you can get a residence permit, donating to the preservation of local forests. The amount of investment will be much lower than in Panama – from $100,000. If you plan to develop a business in Costa Rica, it will be a strategic move that fits well with the current agenda for the country.

According to the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), Costa Rica unveiled its Decarbonization Plan in 2019, to be implemented by 2050. The state wants to become a leader in environmental and sustainable development issues, which means there is a great demand for bioeconomy projects that meet the requirements of the Paris Agreement. In addition to providing financial support to the Forest Fund of Costa Rica, you can get a residence permit by investing $150,000 or more in real estate for business, development project, shares or other securities.

Note that the residence permit does not give the right to work for hire, but this restriction does not apply to freelancers and employees of companies that work remotely.

The country is politically stable and safe to live in. Costa Ricans have some of the highest incomes in Latin America. Immigration status in Costa Rica will open bank trust accounts and reside in the country without any restrictions, and residence permit allows visa-free travel to 150 countries, including Schengen Area, Britain and Japan.

The period of obtaining a residence permit – six to nine months, and citizenship is issued after four years of residence in Costa Rica. It is worth mentioning another advantage of this citizenship – a year and a half after its execution you can apply for citizenship in Spain. 


The architecture of Buenos Aires looks like a combination of Madrid, Berlin and Paris, so fans of Europe will be very comfortable in the country. The population is more than 15 million people, and about 70% of them are historical descendants of Italians. There is an option to obtain a residence permit through proof of financial independence – you must have a minimum income of at least $ 1800 per month.

The second option is to invest in local companies or create your own business with an investment of $100,000 or more. In Argentina, the residence permit is issued in two to three months, and the process of obtaining full citizenship takes five years.

An Argentine passport is the 12th strongest in the world. Argentine citizenship allows visa-free entry to 170 countries, including the EU and Britain and the Schengen Agreement countries. If your interests focus on the United States, you can apply for a 10-year B1/B2 visa or an E-2 investment visa. Citizenship can be obtained through naturalization (you must live in the country to do so) or by the birth of a child, in which case the parents will also receive citizenship within a year.


The country is attracting a lot of foreign direct investment, including because it has a unique transit position between Latin America and the United States. For example, in August 2022, President Lopez Obrador reported a record amount of investment in the first half of the year.

Small and medium business is one of the priorities of Mexico’s development. Therefore, obtaining the status of a resident contributes to the creation of new jobs in the country. The investor must create four jobs, which in cash terms is $137,000.

Another option is to invest in real estate. This can be either one property or several projects from different developers. The main thing that the total amount was more than $ 200,000. 

You can apply for a residence permit and through the confirmation of financial independence, but please note that this option does not give the opportunity to open their own business and the right to work in Mexico. To issue a residence permit will need to show proof of savings in the account (at least $ 34,000) or a monthly income of $ 2,000 or more. Immigration status will take three to five months to process. 

The main advantage of Mexican citizenship is visa-free travel to 159 countries, including the Schengen Agreement and New Zealand. In addition, Mexican citizenship makes it possible to obtain Spanish citizenship in just one year, as well as to apply for a 10-year visa to the United States. And, of course, a citizen can open bank and trust accounts. Finally, for some, the bonus will be the historical monuments of Mexico: there are 34 UNESCO World Heritage Sites – more than in the whole of America.

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