For now, Panama is the easiest place in the world to establish residency. By far the easiest option is through the Friendly Nations Visa, which applies to nationals of more than 40 countries, including the US, Australia, most European countries, Israel, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, South Africa, and several Latin American countries. Citizens of any of these countries can obtain residency in Panama extremely easily by merely demonstrating ‘economic activity’ in the country.
You don’t have to actually live in Panama. In fact, Panama’s immigration code now only requires that the visa be renewed after two years (which should be done in Panama). Aside from that, you don’t really need to spend any time there.
Five years of residency later you’re qualified to apply for naturalization.
What makes this passport so attractive for many is that there are exceptionally low requirements for how much time you have to be on the ground in the country to qualify. This makes for an excellent “Time” option, in which you don’t actually have to spend time in the country to qualify.
A second excellent benefit is the country’s territorial tax system, which means that Panamanian residents and companies only have to pay local tax on their Panamanian-sourced income. So as long as your income is earned outside of Panama, it isn’t taxable.