Compared to some other countries, the legal requirements for visiting Panama are pretty straightforward. Before you get ready to set off on the vacation of a lifetime, check out our top tips for visa requirements and other useful information you’ll need to know about Panama visa types before you depart. We’ve highlighted the most common visas below. For further information and details on visas, please take a look at the Ministry of Public Service’s official website.
If you plan to visit Panama for less than 180 days and are a citizen of the United States, Canada, the European Union as well as some other countries, you do not need a formal visa to gain entry to the country. You will, however, need a passport that has been valid for at least three months at the time of your arrival. If your passport is not valid for at least three months when you arrive in Panama, immigration officials may turn you away or otherwise deny your entry to the country, so it’s important to make sure your passport is up to date.
It’s also worth noting that if you travel to Panama as a tourist, you’ll be charged a $5 entry fee when you book your ticket. Most airlines will factor this into the overall price of your fare and you won’t seem to notice other than the tourist card you fill out while on your flight. Make sure you also have an onward/return ticket within 180 days of your arrival, and you’ll be all set to enjoy Panama! Check this list of countries that are exempt from Panama’s visa requirements if you’re not sure whether you’re eligible. If you see your flag has an X on the last column to the right, then you can travel to Panama only using your passport.
Many people choose to live in Panama after they retire, and if this sounds good to you, a pensionado visa, also known as a “retiree visa,” is the way to go. To be eligible for this visa, all you have to do is prove that you have a pension or other financial retirement plan that pays a minimum of $1,000 per month. An exception to this requirement is that if you intend to purchase property worth at least $100,000, the monthly requirement drops to $750. If you plan to go down this route, you’ll need to provide the Panamanian government with full documented evidence of both your pension plan and the solvency of the company through which it is issued.
There are many benefits of obtaining a pensionado visa. For example, you’ll receive a 25% discount on all flights, both domestically and internationally, and you can also save money at major restaurants, hotels and movie theaters. You can also get discounts on certain medical services, prescription drugs and even household utility bills. Just present your card!
Executive Order 343
After spending some time in Panama, many people decide they love it so much they want to stay permanently. Fortunately for them, Panama’s Executive Order 343 makes this a possibility. This immigration directive was signed into law in 2012, and permits people to apply for permanent residency through a standard process.
To demonstrate eligibility for residency under Executive Order 343, you must possess a summary of a police background check notarized by the Panamanian consulate in your area; utility bills demonstrating that you have established a presence in Panama; bank statements providing you can support yourself financially; and valid photo identification, among other documents. To learn more about Executive Order 343, visit this webpage (in Spanish) to see the original order.
Boasting some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world, it’s easy to see why Panama is such a popular destination for expatriates hoping to start a new life in Central America. One of the easiest ways to do this is by applying for a reforestation visa.
This type of immigration document permits you access to Panama as a permanent resident, and can also qualify you for full Panamanian citizenship. In order to qualify for a reforestation visa, you must invest at least $80,000 in one of five foreign-owned land projects across the country that are dedicated to preserving the beautiful landscape of Panama. An ideal way to invest in conservation efforts and secure permanent residency at the same time, a reforestation visa is a popular choice for environmentally conscious individuals who want to live in Panama.