Do I Need a Visa to Go to Panama? (And How Long Can I Stay)

Want to go to Panama for a vacation? Are you looking at having a piece of Panamanian paradise? Going to Panama means getting a visa for you and your family. If you’re not sure if you need one, we can help you with that.

Panama provides a 6-month tourist visa upon arrival to 126 countries. This visa-free list includes countries like the US, UK, most of Europe, Russia, and Baltic States, Australia, and Japan. If you have a multiple entry visa valid for some countries like the US, UK, and EU nations, you can also get a 90-day visa exemption.

Panama’s visa application procedures are some of the most specific in the world. Let’s see if you need a visa to get to Panama and enjoy its beauty with your own eyes. This is a must-read if you plan on going there.

Countries With Visa Exempt Status in Panama

Panama has visa exemption policies for different countries, as per Panama’s Executive Degree 521. 126 countries at the moment don’t need a visa to enter Panama as a country. This list doesn’t count Panamanian nationals who have a Panama national ID or birth certificate.

These countries are:

All European Union citizens
Andorra Mauritius
Angola Mexico
Antigua and Barbuda Micronesia
Argentina Moldova
Armenia Monaco
Australia Mongolia
Bahamas Montenegro
Barbados Namibia
Belarus Nauru
Belize New Zealand
Bhutan Nicaragua
Bolivia North Macedonia
Bosnia and Herzegovina Norway
Botswana Palau
Brazil Papua New Guinea
Brunei Paraguay
Cambodia Peru
Canada Qatar
Cape Verde Russia
Chile Saint Kitts and Nevis
Colombia Saint Lucia
Comoros Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Costa Rica Samoa
Dominica San Marino
Ecuador Sao Tome and Principe
El Salvador Saudi Arabia
Fiji Serbia
Gabon Seychelles
Georgia Singapore
Grenada Solomon Islands
Guatemala South Africa
Guyana South Korea
Honduras Switzerland 
Hong Kong Taiwan
Iceland Thailand
Israel Tonga
Jamaica Trinidad and Tobago
Japan Turkey
Kenya Ukraine
Kuwait United Arab Emirates
Liechtenstein United States 
Madagascar Uruguay
Malaysia Vanuatu
Maldives Vatican City
Marshall Islands Vietnam

These countries have a special 180-day visa-free entry to Panama. Anyone who has any visa to any of these countries and permanent residents can avail of this privilege. All you need is to buy a ticket, fly to Panama, and get your visa at the airport.

Entry is also valid for countries with holders of US Re-entry Permit, known as the form I-327. People who also have a US employment authorization card, known as form I-766, with the remark “Valid for Re-entry to the US” or “Serves as I-512 advance parole,” can take advantage of this privilege.

It’s crucial that if you’re entering Panama, you need to have a passport with at least 3 months’ validity. If you plan on staying for more than 5 months, you can get an extension visa. All you need is to visit the Offices of Immigration in Panama and follow their instructions.

Other Visa Policies When Visiting Panama

If you plan on going to Panama, there’s also a particular clause called Article 2 in the Executive Decree 521. This clause allows anyone with a valid multiple entry visa or permanent residency documents to partner countries to get a 90-day visa exemption. This exemption started in August 2018, which includes the states of:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • European Union countries
  • Japan
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • UK
  • US

If you have a multiple entry visa to any of these countries, there are further details you must fulfill. These details are crucial to get that visa exemption that you want if you’re going to Panama.

First, you need to have a valid passport with at least 3 months of validity in it. You would also need to have entered the country that furnished you with a multiple visa. For example, you would need to enter Korea at least once so you can avail of the visa-free privilege in Panama.

You would also need to have at least 6 months of remaining validity on your multiple-entry visa. If you have a permanent residence card in the US, you can get the same privileges too. Panama’s immigration would also ask for at least $500 of financial solvency when entering. A round trip ticket is a must too.

Diplomatic Passports for Non-Exempt Countries

Diplomatic passports for some non-exempt countries can also net you an entry exemption in Panama. These countries include:

  • Cuba
  • Dominican Republic
  • Haiti
  • Philippines
  • Indonesia
  • China
  • Venezuela

Countries not in the above lists or do not meet any of the above requirements need to request a visa approval process. To do so, it’s best to visit the local embassy in your country and request for verification of requirements.

If you plan on traveling to Panama, it’s best to wait for your local embassy to grant you a visa. If you get visa approval, you must do a personal visit to the consulate. This will allow the embassy to stamp your visa for entry.

How to Get an Authorized Visa to Panama

passport with visa

To get an authorized visa to Panama, you need to follow crucial steps and regulations. First, you need to complete and sign a visa application form in Panama. It’s best to boost the application with a letter of intent to the Consulate General of your embassy. This letter needs to inform the reason of visiting Panama.

You need to show your flight itinerary or e-ticket showing a round trip ticket going to and out of Panama. Show a copy of your passport valid for at least three months, together with all its pages. Provide three 2×2 photographs of the traveler with a white background.

Pay the appropriate processing fees. These can be payments to the Servicio Nacional De Migracion and Consulado De Panama. Prices will vary depending on where you are, which should amount to $50 and $10 respectively.

Provide your proof of solvency or the proof of solvency of the person who gave a letter of invitation. Provide a hotel reservation or the residence of the person who gave a letter of invitation.

It’s crucial to have all your documents translated into Spanish.

Understanding Panama’s Economic Solvency

For anyone planning on visiting Panama without an exemption, you need to show economic solvency. Pocket money of at least $500 is essential, together with a hotel reservation. If you are comic through someone’s invitation, the inviter’s economic solvency needs verification too.

As proof of solvency, you can show it through:

  • Certified bank documents with the traveler’s name,
  • Traveler’s check with the traveler’s name
  • Applicant’s three months bank statement
  • Applicant’s three-month credit card statement
  • Work certificate with the latest paycheck
  • A Spanish translated letter from your employee detailing your wages
  • Tax returns from the past year
  • Bank reference for businessmen
  • Reasonable proof of income

The inviter should also provide documents for economic solvency. These documents include bank certification, declaration of rent, and letter from work with the last date of Social Security Fund.

If the traveler is a minor, they need to have a parent or guardian to handle the entire process.

Stamped Visas for Panama

passport with stamps

For some countries, they would need to apply for a stamped visa to get to Panama. Approval for a stamped visa needs the same details from the traveler. You would need to visit a local consulate in your country and apply.

The application process for a stamped visa takes around 30 days, depending on document verification. Countries allowed to use stamped visas include:

  • Cameroon
  • The central African Republic
  • Cuba
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ghana
  • India
  • Malawi
  • Philippines
  • Republic of China
  • Republic of the Congo
  • Swaziland
  • Togo
  • Venezuela
  • Zimbabwe

These countries would follow the same paperwork as listed for authorized visas. Your local consulate may also ask for other documents to prove financial solvency or to prove you will not overstay in Panama. These can include certificates of employment, medical certificates for health-related trips, Pension and Retirement documents, or proof of enrollment in schools.

Conclusion

For those planning to visit Panama, it’s crucial to understand the processes of getting a visa. Depending on where you’re from, you can get special visa exemption privileges for as long as 6 months.

There are about 126 countries that have an automatic visa exemption in Panama. All these countries need to do is to visit Panama and get their 6 months tourist visa from the airport. If you plan on staying longer, you can get an extension from the Office of Migration.

For some countries, people with diplomatic passports will have an automatic visa exemption. These countries include Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Philippines, Indonesia, China, and Venezuela.

If you don’t qualify for any visa exemptions, you would need to undergo a visa application process to visit Panama. This visa application process involves, among other things, a valid passport and economic solvency documents.

Visa application processes can last between 30 to 60 days. It’s best to finish the application process before finalizing your visit to Panama. For further details for your local application, it’s best to contact your local consulate for more details.

Visiting Panama is a beautiful experience that you need to do at least once in your lifetime. Panama is happy to have visiting tourists on its premises. All you need is to have a valid visa.

Are you planning to visit Panama at any time soon? Which places are you planning to go? Panama has something for everyone, so we’re sure you’d love it here.

Matt Romero

I’m Matthew Romero, one of the guys behind PanamaLifeInsider.com I am incredibly passionate about Panama, its beautiful territory, and all the incredible opportunities which offer to people coming here from all over the world both either visiting and settling. In this blog, I decided to share my passion with you!

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