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Visas in Panama

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There are different types of residency visas in Panama. You can choose between the tourist visa and the retirement visa.

You can choose from different types of visas to travel to Panama. Your choice will depend on the motives of your stay in the country. Citizens of certain countries (see article Traveling to Panama) are exempted from visa for short stays, that is from 90 to 180 days. Citizens of other countries have to apply for a tourist visa at the Panamanian authorities in their home country.

You can also apply for a retirement visa if you want to retire in this Central American country.

Tourist visa

Anyone entering Panama, except those who require a stamped visa (i.e. citizens from Cameroon, China, Congo, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ghana, Haiti, India, North Korea, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Turkey, Ukraine and Vietnam) must have a tourist visa on arrival. The tourist visa allows you to stay for a maximum of 90 days in the country. Once this period has expired, you can leave and come back for another stay of equivalent duration. Indeed, the visa is renewed at each new entry in Panama.

 Good to know:

You must absolutely leave the country once your visa has expired. Otherwise, your tourist visa renewal request may not be accepted.

Retirement Visa

Anyone who is more than 18 years old and who receives a monthly pension may be eligible for a retirement visa. This type of visa applies especially to beneficiaries of a pension from a government entity, social security, military or a private company offering a life pension to its employees.

To qualify for the retirement visa, you must produce proof of revenues of around US$ 1,000 per month, plus an additional sum of US$ 250 for each of your dependents, that is a total of about US$ 2,000 per month. This amount must be credited every month on your bank account in Panama.

 Warning:

You are strongly advised to hire a lawyer to assist you in the procedures. The visa should be delivered within 30 days following your application through your lawyer.

 Good to know:

Your children will be considered as your dependents if they are less than 18 years old. However they will not be eligible to permanent residency in Panama if they are more than 25 years old.

The retirement visa grants many benefits such as discounts on movie and concert tickets, bus and train fares, hotels and restaurants, etc.

Proceedings

Documents required to obtain the mentioned visas are:

  • a passport valid for more than six months as from the date of your request
  • a medical certificate
  • a clean criminal record for the past five years
  • six passport-size identity photos.

Fees of some US$ 1,500 apply.

National identity card

Once you have obtained your permanent residence permit in Panama, you are required to apply for Panamanian identity card. You lawyer will handle the procedures and notify you once it is ready. In general, documents required to obtain a Panamanian identity card are your passport or driving license.

 Warning:

Your request will be rejected if you are not dressed properly when the application is submitted and while taking the identity pictures. Men are required to wear long pants, long sleeved shirts and closed shoes. Women should not wear sleeveless clothes, shorts or flip flops.

 Useful link:

Immigration Service of Panama www.migracion.gob.pa

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See also

Pensionado visas will cost between $1000-1500 per person. Because of the cost, you may find that this visa is not worth it.
To be authorized to work in Panama, you can choose between the temporary work visa and the specific countries program.
The investor visa grants permanent residence in Panama for two years. The agricultural investment visa grants six years temporary residence.

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