Living in Panama guide

Find out all you need to know to relocate and live in Panama with the expat guide

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General information


Visas, passports and entry requirements
  • You do not have to be a resident of Panama to be able to get married there. You can opt for a civil or religious marriage.

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  • You will not need a visa if you are planning to stay in Panama for a maximum of 90 days. You are required to produce justifications for extensions.

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Work visas, work permits, working holiday visas and residence permits
  • Pensionado visas will cost between $1000-1500 per person. Because of the cost, you may find that this visa is not worth it.

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  • The tourist visa entitles you to a 90 days stay in Panama. This visa may be renewed at each exit from the country.

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  • To be authorized to work in Panama, you can choose between the temporary work visa and the specific countries program.

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  • The investor visa grants permanent residence in Panama for two years. The agricultural investment visa grants six years temporary residence.

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Labour market, how to find a job
  • You must have a good command of English and knowledge of Spanish to be hired in Panama. The minimum wage has been fixed at US$ 310.

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  • You must have a professional visa to be allowed to work in Panama. Start your job search well in advance on the Internet and in local newspapers.

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  • Panama City enjoys a developed and prosperous economy. Job opportunities are available in numerous fields: services, tourism, trade...

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  • No restrictions on nationality and residence apply for the setting up of a business in Panama. You can also create an offshore company.

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How to rent a house or an apartment, leases and rental agreements
  • Panama has a variety of accommodation for all tastes and budgets. The rental duration, conditions and the price can be negotiated with the owner. A deposit is generally required.

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  • Expatriates from around the world are more likely to invest in real estate in Panama. Prices are rather affordable, varying according to regions.

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  • Panama's capital city offers a wide variety of accommodation options. You can rent a studio, an apartment or an individual house.

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Student visa, University registration
  • If you want to study in Panama, you can register in a Panamanian public university, an American university or a private educational institute.

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Health care

Public and private health systems
  • Panama has many public, private hospitals and clinics which offer quality services. But you have to subscribe to an insurance before traveling.

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Open and manage a bank account
  • It is not difficult for an expat to open a bank account in Panama. You must present your ID documents, bank references, etc. A deposit is required.

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Tax system, income tax
  • There are different types of taxes in Panama: income tax, capital gains tax, value-added tax (VAT). Residents have to pay income tax.

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Train, bus, plane, car rental
  • Panama has a highly developed transports system including aircraft, bus, train, subway, taxi and boat. Cars are also available for rent.

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Driver's licence

Driving requirements
  • You are allowed to drive in Panama with your foreign driver's license for a 90 days stay. You will need a local driver's license for longer stays.

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moving, formalities and useful tips
  • You should hire an international mover if you are planning to settle in Panama. You must also subscribe to damage insurance.

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Phone line, internet provider, post office
  • Panama has several land line and mobile network service providers. Your choice will largely depend on the length of your stay in the country.

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  • You can easily access to the Internet in Panama. Service providers offer different types of connections: dial-up, broadband and wireless.

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Sports, leisure and cultural activities
  • You can practice different types of sports in Panama: football, golf, tennis, squash, horse riding and cycling. Water sports also very popular.

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  • During your leisure time in Panama, you can explore its lush forests, pristine beaches and neighboring archipelagos, the Panama Canal...

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  • Your pet will need a health card and a rabies vaccination certificate to be authorized to travel with you to Panama.

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  • Panama customs do not impose many restrictions on foreigners. However, firearms must be declared on arrival. These will be retained until your departure.

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  • If you are moving to Panama with less than 6 years old children, you can register them in a child care center or pre-primary school.

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