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I plan on applying for permanent residency in Panama. I have been here since October and am always told that there are a lot of Canadians. Most of the information posted is focused on Americans. I would like to get a Canadian's point of view and any special issues that they have faced when applying for a residence visa.I know the Canadian health insurance will have different requirements. Any advice and suggestions would be appreciated.  Thank you

 

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There are quite a few Canadians in Panama.  Check out the facebook page under the same name.  I believe Cdn health care requires you to spend about 6 months in Canada otherwise there is a waiting period ( but bot if you are a refugee). There are health insurance plans here and while they can be expensive, they provide far superior service to anything the Cdn public system does.

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On 3/31/2016 at 6:29 PM, BBriand said:

I plan on applying for permanent residency in Panama. I have been here since October and am always told that there are a lot of Canadians. Most of the information posted is focused on Americans. I would like to get a Canadian's point of view and any special issues that they have faced when applying for a residence visa.I know the Canadian health insurance will have different requirements. Any advice and suggestions would be appreciated.  Thank you

 

hi Barbara, here's a few things you may find helpful.

Any documents from Canada which you provide for a residency application will have to be notarized and then sealed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa. This is because Canada is not a party to the Apostille agreement, established in the early 60's, which provides for a universal standard of authenticating documents.

Most people access their Canadian pension income by having it deposited directly in their Canadian bank account and withdrawing cash here via ATM.

There can be a 25% withholding tax applied to Canadian income if Non-Resident status is not declared. http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/nnrsdnts/ndvdls/nnrs-eng.html

The Canadian Embassy is very helpful if a citizen requires assistance.

The Canadian health care system is not accessible here.

Meanwhile In Canada

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If you are from Ontario the requirement is that you spend 153 days in Ontario for OHIP. Other provinces differ by a month. It all may change. 

If you are a legal resident of Canada or deemed so [that is you can convince CRA you intend to return as a permanent resident] the 25% withholding tax can be waived. You can get some of that back anyway when you file your annual return.

You can get reimbursement from OHIP for medical expenses in Panama. You have to pay up front [it's important to have a healthy reserve fund for emergencies], but then you can submit within a year all hospital bills [supposed to be in english] for repayment by OHIP. My sister had a kidney infection here. We saved all the bills from Mae Lewis and got it all back within a month of her return. 

We don't use ATMs much for Cdn withdrawals. We wire transfer through a clearing house in New York to our local bank. You can fiddle with the exchange rate that way. We use local debit and credit cards. We find it convenient. It works out to about the same price. You can also bring in up to $10,000 with you without reporting to FINTRAC. 

It can be frustrating and confusing, and you may have to do things over and over, and you will experience 'petty tyrants', but once it's all done it's fairly acceptable.

I strongly recommend going right to an E-Cedula to get residency here in Panama. It's worth it in many ways.  

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Just a few things that need to be mentioned in regards to our health care in Ontario.  Ohip allows you to be out of province for 7 months. There are other provinces that allow the same. Worth while checking if your not from Ontario.  Also you can also get a two year extension with ohip which will allow you to be out of province for the two years without losing your coverage.  Upon return you will have to be in Ontario for 153 days if you again want to apply for this extension.

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OHIP requires that you meet the residency requirements of 153 days for 5 consecutive years between extensions -

Vacation/Other Reason Two-year terms (provided specific residency requirements are met for 5 years between each term)

Ontario Drug Benefits aren't available during this time. 

 

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