Traveler help

Tips, documentation and requirements to travel to Panama

Panama is a country located in the southeast corner 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
  • Ticket back 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 prove that they have financial solvency to obtain permission to cross the border through the National Border Service (SENAFRONT).

Documentation needed to enter Panama

The need or not for a visa will depend on the country of origin of the person, 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 are eligible for the Visa Suppression Agreement and those that are not required to enter.

Multiple entry and exit visa

Those who wish to remain in Panamanian territory for a period exceeding 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 their 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 foreigners who do not intend to establish themselves as residents in the country and whose stay is not to 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 Family
  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
The visa to enter Panama

Tourism Card (TT-3)

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

  • TO: Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Netherlands Antilles
  • B: Bahamas, Barbados, Belize
  • C: Canada, Colombia
  • D: Dominica
  • AND: U.S
  • G: Grenada, Guyana
  • I: Cayman Islands, Virgin Islands (USA)
  • J: Jamaica
  • M: Martinique, Mexico, Montserrat
  • P: Puerto Rico
  • S: San Cristóbal, 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 US 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 upon arrival in Panama. Citizens of countries that need a stamped visa can choose between entering Panama with a Tourism Card or with a Stamped Visa.

Authorized Visa (VA-1)

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

There are two ways by which you can apply: 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 they do it 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
  • Surinam

Patterned Visa (VE-2)

The stamped visa does not require the prior authorization of the Migration Directorate and can be obtained either at the Panamanian Consulate or to 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 their 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, San Cristobal, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Vincent and Grenada.

Tourists coming from the Dominican Republic They are required, regardless of 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 types to enter Panama

Visa Suppression (ASV-4)

For the following countries, the need for a visa has been suppressed 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 the section will be necessary Required Documentation: Denmark, The Vatican (Holy See), Cyprus, Egypt, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Spain, Finland, France, Netherlands (Netherlands), Hungary, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Greece (Hellenic Republic), Singapore and Switzerland.


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 trade is established or the person selling said merchandise.
  • 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: Medicinal products and plants for medicinal purposes, firearms when they are not for military purposes, explosives and ammunition, as well as other non-lethal self-defense items are considered to be imported products. For the importation of the previous articles, a Phytosanitary Certificate must be requested to verify that they comply with the phytosanitary import requirements specified. These certificates will only be issued for that purpose. For more information, you can click on this link.
Import requirements to Panama

Labor migration

Any foreign citizen who wishes to work in Panama will have to request the Work Permit Card, which will be granted if it meets the requirements required by Panamanian law in relation to the processing of work permits, which we list below.

Basic requirements

  • Application or power of attorney: The original and a simple paper copy must be submitted, which must include the full address of both parties (employee and entrepreneur).
  • Four passport-sized photos: In addition, the full name of the worker must appear on the back of each one.
  • Certificate of the Direction of Migration and Naturalization: it has to appear the immigration status of the person requesting it.
  • Certified photocopy of the applicant's national identity document
Labor migration to Panama

Foreigners with Panamanian spouse

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

  • Photocopy of the passport of the interested party: a photocopy of the page where their identification data should appear.
  • Marriage certificate: it will have to be issued by the Civil Registry.
  • National identity document of the spouse
  • Birth certificate of the spouse: it will have to be obtained in the Civil Registry.
  • Migration Card
  • Birth certificate of the children (if any)


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 on a regular basis and are recognized by the Panamanian Ministry of Education . In addition, you must meet the requirements mentioned below:

  • Affiliation to the Foreigner Registry: This can be done through the Directorate of Migration and Naturalization and a form must be filled out. If the student is of legal age, then he may do so on his 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, he will have to declare that he is responsible and assumes all the economic expenses of the student.
  • Enrollment in all subjects: the student must enroll in all subjects that correspond to the curriculum, whether bimonthly, four-monthly, semi-annual, annual, etc. and in the morning.
  • 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.
Study in Panama


In order 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 application, you must include the following documents:

  • Application and power of attorney
  • Five extrajudicial statements made before the Civil Circuit Judge of your country of origin
  • Migration Status Certificate
  • Certificate of the Directorate of Certification or, in the case of Spanish citizens, of any Expedition Office
  • Economic solvency (by means of a Work Letter, the income statement and a bank reference letter)
  • Nationality of the interested party or the interested party
  • Photocopy of the valid passport of the interested party
  • Two passport-sized 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 resident status in Panamanian territory.

Thus, those Latin American Italian citizens, Americans or Europeans who have dual citizenship, can make a request 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.

Panama-Italy Agreement

Breed Pot

The program Panama, Breed Pot 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 fulfilled the corresponding requirements.

However, the latest edition of the program Panama, Breed Pot took place in 2014 and as of 2015, this program ceases to be current.

Any foreigner determined to live in Panama must agree to carry out their corresponding immigration process to obtain some of the different types of visa already existing according to Panamanian laws.

Driving license

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

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

To do this, they will have to complete 36 hours of theoretical class and 20 hours of driving practices under the supervision of an agent of 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 submitted during the process, click on this link.

Recommended vaccines

Even if there are no mandatory vaccines 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 should know that there is a risk of contracting malaria.

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Finally, we have selected the previous and next article of the block "Prepare the trip"so you can continue reading:

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