Departure to Panama City

Passport, Visa & Permits to Panama City

Home > Expat Guides > Central America > Panama > Panama City

This section is intended for reference only. We strongly recommend that you contact the embassy directly for the most up-to-date information that pertains to your specific situation.


You must have a valid passport to travel abroad. A passport is an official government document that certifies one's identity and citizenship. The process and cost associated with getting a passport can be high, so start the process at least six months before you plan to leave.

Your passport must be valid 6 months beyond your intended stay. Minors are allowed to travel on their parents' passports up until aged 15 years.

Visas for Panama

A visa is a stamp or endorsement placed by officials on a passport that allows the bearer to enter the country. This permission is called "entry clearance".

Panama immigration requires all applicants for any type of visa to be physically present at the immigration office in Panama.

Who needs a visa for Panama?

Most visitors to Panama will need a visa. However, there are some countries that allow free travel for up to 180 days. For example, a visa is not needed for most Western English-speaking countries, all European countries except Albania, most of South America and some countries of Asia and Africa countries. Check with your embassy on the requirements.

Visitor Visa for Panama

A visitor visa is for someone who does not intend to live in Panama because of their travel to the country. A visitor usually intends to travel to Panama for family reasons, work, or vacation purposes. With a tourist visa, one can visit Panama for up to 90 days (three months).

Student Visa for Panama

Student visas are for those who intend to take some educational courses in Panama for credits towards a degree or certificate. visitor visa is for someone who does not intend to live in Panama as a result of their travel to the country. A student visa will allow the holder to obtain legal residence in Panama for the duration of their curriculum calendar.

Applicants must register all subjects pertaining to the plan of study for either the two-month period, quarter, semester, or module period.

Work Visa in Panama

Work permits are for those who intend to hold a paying job during their time in Panama. You must apply for a work permit through the Ministry of Labor. You must also apply for a resident visa through the Immigration office.

If your employer doesn’t provide you with an attorney, immigration visa and Ministry of Labor processing services, you will have to hire a competent immigration attorney who knows Panama labor laws. The requirements for a Panama work permit are as follows:

  1. The Panama Work Permit application must be filed by an attorney.
  2. A letter of responsibility issued by the future employer in Panama must be included with your application.
  3. You must include three copies, one of which must be the original, of your future full-time employment contract.
  4. You must provide certificate(s) of school records and professional experience in your field of study. These must be legalized by a Panamanian consul or some other internationally recognized consulate.
  5. You must provide eight passport sized photos.

Permanent Residence in Panama

A permanent resident visa is for someone who has the intention of living in Panama long-term. There are six visas that grant permanent residence:

  1. Panama Friendly Nations Visa - If your country qualifies as one of the 50 friendly nations to Panama, you can move to Panama to conduct economic or professional business activities.
  2. Panama Self-Economic Solvency Visa - This visa requires you to make an investment of at least $300,000 USD towards a Panama real estate property, $300,000 USD into a three year Panama bank time deposit, or a total sum of $300,000 USD for both towards both investments.
  3. Panama Business Investor Visa - This is obtained by investing in a Panamanian business with at least $16,000 USD in capital stock.
  4. Panama Reforestation Investor Visa - One is required to make an $80,000 USD investment to purchase at least five hectares of titled land in a government certified reforestation project.
  5. Panama Retired or Pension Program - This is for anyone over the age of 18 who obtains monthly pensions or annuities of at least $1,000 USD for the rest of their lives.
  6. Marry a Panama Citizen - One can become eligible for permanent residence if they have had a valid and legal marriage to a citizen of Panama.

Citizenship in Panama

In order to become a citizen of Panama, one should have been a legal resident for at least three to five years depending on their resident visa. To apply, one must provide the following:

  • Five testimonials from non-familial Panama citizens.
  • Medical documentation showing good health.
  • A notarized copy of the applicant’s entire passport.
  • Proof of means of income by an employer or bank statement.
  • A written statement renouncing current citizenship.
  • A power of attorney form requesting confirmation from the Personal Identification Division that the applicant was indeed a legal resident for three to five years.
  • Two passport-sized photos.

Update 23/06/2018


Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Pinterest Addthis

Recommended Service Partners

International Movers

When you move internationally you are taking a big step. Lots of things are changing and you have a million things to think about and take care of. If you are able to select a top of the line moving company that moves for a modest price, it can take a big weight of your shoulders in busy times.

Our network of international removal companies can move your furniture & possessions to Panama and anywhere overseas.

Filling in the form at the bottom will allow you to request up to 5 quotes from various moving companies. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.

Do you have comments or personal information to communicate about this article? Add your comment.

Go to the Forum to talk more about passport, visa & permits to Panama City, departure.

Find more definitions and general answers on expatriation issues in the Expat FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions).

Stay connected

- My Life Abroad -
A selection of expat stories

"A fun compulsive read!"
J. Matcham, Amazon

"I strongly advise people ready to live abroad to read this book!"
Patrice, Amazon