Panama is a country located in the extreme southeast of Central America whose official language is Spanish. The tourism sector represents a large part of the country's economy, with tourists coming mainly from the United States, Europe, Canada, Central and South America, each with different entry requirements that we show you below.

Below you have an index with all the points that we are going to deal with in this article.

Documentation and visa

Depending on our origin, we will have to pay attention to the entry requirements to the country that we must meet. However, these are the basic documents that every visitor must carry with them:



  • Valid passport
  • Return ticket to the country of origin
  • Economic solvency

All tourists, regardless of their origin, have to present their valid passport (with at least three months until its expiration date) and the return ticket, as well as demonstrate that they have economic solvency to obtain permission to cross the border through the National Border Service (SENAFRONT).

Whether or not you need a visa will depend on the person's country of origin, including the member states of the Latin American and Caribbean Economic System (SELA). The immigration authorities of the Republic of Panama will require one type of visa or another depending on the origin of each person.

Listed below are the countries that require each type of visa, as well as those that benefit from the Visa Suppression agreement and those that do not require a visa to enter.

Multiple entry and exit visa

Those people who wish to remain in Panamanian territory for a period of more than three months and have requested the temporary or permanent visa, they will have to request a Processing card for 3 months while they wait for the visa to be granted.

If after three months, the visa has not been granted yet, it must be renewed and extended until one year. Therefore, we will need a multiple entry and exit visa to the country, which will allow them to leave and return to the country freely during the waiting period.

Short stay visa

A short-stay visa is granted to those foreigners who do not intend to establish themselves as residents in the country and whose stay will not exceed 9 months, since this period of time is non-extendable. The seven types of existing short-stay visa are listed below:

  1. Short Stay Visa in Panama for business
  2. Short Stay Visa in Panama for Researchers and Scientists
  3. Short Stay Visa in Panama to Visit Relatives
  4. Short Stay Visa in Panama for Medical Treatment
  5. Short Stay Visa in Panama for International Humanitarian Assistance
  6. Short Stay Visa in Panama as Merchants and Investors by Special Laws
  7. Short Stay Visa in Panama for the Banking Sector

Tourism card (TT-3)

People who do not need to apply for a visa must obtain the Tourist Card (TT-3) at the time of arriving at the Panama airport. In what follows we list the countries that can enter Panama with a TT-3:

  • A: Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Netherlands Antilles
  • B: Bahamas, Barbados, Belize
  • C: Canada, Colombia
  • D: Dominica
  • E: U.S
  • G: Grenada, Guyana
  • I: Cayman Islands, Virgin Islands (USA)
  • J: Jamaica
  • M: Martinique, Mexico, Montserrat
  • P: Puerto Rico
  • S: St. Kitts, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and Grenada
  • T: Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos
  • V: Venezuela

This card has a cost of ten American dollars (8 euros) and, if we do not acquire it through the airline with which we fly, we can buy it from the immigration authorities when we arrive in Panama. Citizens of countries that need a stamped visa can choose to enter Panama with a Tourist Card or a Stamped Visa.

Authorized Visa (VA-1)

The authorized visa is required for those countries whose citizens, for reasons related to immigration policy, need the prior authorization from the Migration Directorate to enter Panama.

There are two ways in which it can be requested: either from the country of origin or through an interested person who is a Panamanian resident. The person who is going to travel will have to specify if it is for tourism or immigration reasons. Once the request is made, Migration will have to approve it so that the interested party can enter Panama.

Below we list the countries that require an authorized visa:

  • Cuba
  • Haiti
  • Suriname

Stamped Visa (VE-2)

The stamped visa does not require prior authorization from the Migration Directorate and can be obtained either at the Panamanian Consulate or bring it already stamped from the tourist's country of origin. The countries listed below must enter Panama with a stamped visa depending on the length of your stay:

  • If the stay exceeds 30 days: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Colombia, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Martinique, Mexico, Montserrat, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos and Venezuela.
  • If the stay exceeds 90 days: Anguilla, Netherlands Antilles, United States, Cayman Islands, Virgin Islands (USA), Puerto Rico, Saint Kitts, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Vincent and Grenada.

Tourists from the Dominican Republic they are obliged, whatever the duration of their trip, to present a stamped visa. Ecuadorians, on the other hand, since June 2015 no longer have the obligation to acquire a visa to enter Panama.

Visa Suppression (ASV-4)

For the following countries, the need for a visa has been eliminated because they maintain reciprocal agreements with Panama: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Uruguay.

Visa Waiver (EV-5)

The following countries they do not need to present a visa to enter Panama, so the documents mentioned in section Required Documentation: Denmark, The Vatican (Holy See), Cyprus, Egypt, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Spain, Finland, France, Holland (Netherlands), Hungary, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Greece (Hellenic Republic), Singapore and Switzerland .

Import

The customs control regime of the Republic of Panama authorizes the importation of foreign products as long as the following documents are presented:



  • Original commercial invoice: which must include the name and address of the place where the business or the person selling said merchandise is established.
  • Bill of lading: it must include at least the following names: sender or shipper, buyer or consignee in Panama and port of departure and landing. The final destination of said product must also appear, as well as the brand of each item, the number of packages, the weight, the description and the price, both in the original currency in which the transaction was made and in its equivalent. in balboas (national currency of Panama).
  • Phytosanitary certificate: Products of restricted import are considered drugs and plants for medicinal purposes, firearms when not for military purposes, explosives and ammunition, as well as other non-lethal articles of personal defense. For the import of the above articles, a Phytosanitary Certificate must be requested to verify that they comply with the specified phytosanitary import requirements. These certificates will only be issued for that purpose. For more information, you can click this link.

Labor migration

Any foreign citizen who wishes to work in Panama will have to apply for the Card for Work Permits, which will be granted if you meet the requirements of Panamanian law in relation to the processing of work permits, which are listed below.

basic requirements

  • Request or power of attorney: the original and a plain paper copy must be presented, which must include the complete address of both parties (employee and employer).
  • Four passport-size photosIn addition, the back of each one must include the full name of the worker.
  • Certificate of the Directorate of Migration and Naturalization: the immigration status of the person requesting it must appear on it.
  • Certified photocopy of the applicant's national identity document

Foreigners with a Panamanian spouse

These are the documents that every foreign worker with a spouse of Panamanian nationality must present:

  • Photocopy of the interested party's passport: a photocopy of the page where their identification data appears must be submitted.
  • Marriage certificate: it will have to be issued by the Civil Registry.
  • National identity document of the spouse
  • Spouse's birth certificate: it will have to be obtained from the Civil Registry.
  • Migration card
  • Children's birth certificate (if any)

Report

Foreign citizens who want to study in the Republic of Panama, whether in a public or private center of basic, intermediate, higher or specialized level, are authorized to do so if their studies are regular time and are recognized by the Panamanian Ministry of Education . In addition, you must meet the requirements mentioned below:

  • Affiliation to the Immigration Registry: this can be done through the Directorate of Migration and Naturalization and you have to fill out a form. If the student is of legal age, then they can do it on their own. If, otherwise, he is a minor, then the person responsible for the minor will have to issue a letter that must be authenticated by the consulate. In it, you will have to declare that you are responsible and assume all the financial expenses of the student.
  • Enrollment in all subjects: the student must enroll in all the subjects that correspond to the study plan, either bimonthly, quarterly, semester, annually, etc. and in the morning hours.
  • Presentation of the registration receipt before the Consulate of Panama: This document must be in Spanish. In case the original is not in Spanish, it will have to be translated by a sworn translator authorized by the Government of Panama.

Naturalization

To be able to request to obtain a Nature letter, you will have to have lived at least 5 years in the country, or 3 in case your spouse has permanent residence in Panama. In this request, you must include the following documents:

  • Application and power of attorney
  • Five extrajudicial statements rendered before the Civil Circuit Judge of your country of origin
  • Certificate of immigration status
  • Certificate from the Cedulation Directorate or, in the case of Spanish citizens, from an Issuance Office
  • Financial solvency (through a Letter of Employment, the income statement and a bank reference letter)
  • Nationality of the interested party
  • Photocopy of the valid passport of the interested party
  • Two passport-size photos

Panama-Italy Agreement

The Panama-Italy Agreement arose from Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation between the Republic of Panama and the Italian Republic in order for Italian citizens to enjoy the status of residents in Panamanian territory.

In this way, those Italian Latin American, American or European citizens who have dual nationality, can make an application to the National Migration Service and, in this way, obtain a permanent visa and, with it, the treatment of permanent residents of Panama.

You can get more information about this agreement by clicking on this link.

Crucible of Races

The program Panama, Crucible of Races It consisted of an extraordinary immigration regularization process carried out by the National Migration Service of Panama.

Through this extraordinary process, those foreign citizens interested in obtaining Panamanian nationalization could initiate the corresponding legalization procedures, as long as they met the corresponding requirements.

However, the latest edition of the program Panama, Crucible of Races took place in 2014 and as of 2015, this program is no longer valid.

Any foreigner decided to live in Panama, must agree to carry out the corresponding immigration procedure to obtain some of the different types of visas that already exist according to Panamanian laws.

Driving license

For foreign citizens who enter Panama as tourists, it will not be necessary to obtain a Panamanian license; they can drive with their foreign driving license.

On the other hand, immigrants who wish to stay in Panama for more than three months and want to drive will have to obtain a Panamanian license from the Central American Transit Services (SERTRACEN).

To do this, they will have to do 36 hours of theoretical class and 20 hours of practical driving under the supervision of an agent from the Transit and Land Transportation Authority.

You can only obtain permission from categories A, B, C or D. To find out about the documents that must be presented when completing the procedure, click on this link.

Recommended vaccines

Although no mandatory vaccinations for entry into the country, the ones listed below are highly recommended:

  • Yellow fever (especially in rainy seasons)
  • Typhoid fever
  • Hepatitis A and B
  • Tetanus

In addition, if we are going to visit areas such as Bocas del Toro and Darién we must know that there is a risk of contracting malaria.

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