A visa may be required. We cannot assist in processing this document, but we provide instructions on how to apply.
All About the Panama Tourist Visa
Looking for lush rainforests, idyllic islands, long sandy beaches and a bustling capital city? Panama will tick all the boxes and more, not to mention the opportunity to see its impressive canal crossing the country and connecting the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.
Before you decide which national parks to visit and the best snorkelling spots to include on your trip, it’s a good idea to get clued-up on the requirements to enter the country. Which policies apply to you will, of course, depend on your nationality.
There are 3 different categories of visa for Panama:
A large number of countries including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, the USA, plus all European countries, fall into the first category.
Meanwhile, some other nationalities like China, India, Nigeria and Pakistan will need to arrange for authorisation before travelling.
On this page, we will explore each travel pass in detail and explain the processes and requirements to get them, as well as everything you need to know if you are on the list of exempt countries.
- 1 What Is the Difference Between a Panama Authorisation vs the Stamp Visa?
- 2 Panama Visa Requirements and Eligibility
- 3 Visa for Panama Application Process
- 4 Panama Visa Application Form and Documents
- 5 Panama to Visa Status Check
- 6 How Much Is a Panama Travel Visa?
- 7 More Panama Visa Questions and Information
What Is the Difference Between a Panama Authorisation vs the Stamp Visa?
The stamp and the authorised visas are very similar. Not only do they look the same, but the documents, terms and application process are the same as well.
The main difference between the 2 permits is that the authorised version, as the name implies, needs to be authorised by the National Directory for Migration (NDM).
The fact that it needs to be sent to the Directory for verification, as well as the standard embassy checks, means that the process takes much longer. Whereas the stamped entry doesn’t generally take more than 30 days, the authorised version can take up to 60 days.
Panama Visa Requirements and Eligibility
The first thing you need to ask yourself is ‘do you need a visa to go to Panama?’ Below you can find the list of nationalities that require each type of visa and those that don’t.
Panama Visa-Free Countries
A total of 118 nationalities can enter Panama without any sort of permit. You can stay for up to 180 days, with the exception of Colombia, Nicaragua and Peru nationals who can stay up to 90 days.
Here’s the full list:
Antigua y Barbuda
Papua New Guinea
St. Thomas & Prince
St. Kitts and Nevis
Trinidad & Tobago
United Arab Emirates
United States of America
Central African Republic
Visa for Panama Application Process
Let’s take a look at the processes to get each type of visa.
Simply fill out the tourist card form on arrival and get stamped into the country. Easy!
This permit is only available through a consulate or embassy in your country of residence. They also decide how many days you will be granted. It’s the most complex kind of entry permit because authorisation needs to be granted by the National Directory for Migration (NDM). Here are the steps to get yours:
- Apply in person or send by post
- Pay the processing fees
- Return to the embassy or consulate to receive a stamp
If your application is successful, you will need to visit the consulate or embassy to receive a stamp in your passport that will allow you to enter Panama.
It can take up to 60 days to process this kind of authorisation, so please make sure you apply with plenty of time.
This process is a little more straightforward, as your travel pass isn’t checked by the NDM. That said, though, you still need to get a stamp from the embassy or consulate in your country of residence.
This pass is only if you are visiting as a tourist and they will decide how many days you will be granted, but it’s usually valid for 30 days.
The 3 main steps are the same as above, but the processing time is generally quicker as it goes through fewer checks. However, you should still allow 30 days to get it.
Panama Visa Application Form and Documents
Once you have checked the lists above, you will know which category your nationality falls under.
Below we tell you all about what exactly you need to provide to apply for an entry permit. Importantly, though, there is an exception to having to get one, granted you fulfil the following criteria:
- Hold a valid residency permit or visa for the USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, Singapore, South Korea, Australia or European Union.
- It’s a Multiple Entry permit valid for at least 6 months.
- It must have been used at least once to visit the designated country.
If this applies to you, then you can visit Panama for 30 days without any sort of pre-authorisation.
No additional documents are required, but you must have the following:
- A passport valid for at least 6 months.
- Proof you have at least 500 USD (bank statement, credit card, cash).
- Onward travel booking (flight, bus or boat out of Panama).
- Fill out the information on the tourist card.
You can get the entry stamp before you travel from your embassy or consulate. However, it’s very easy to get it on arrival.
Authorised and Stamped Visas
Although the process is a little different, both the authorised and stamp visas require the same documents, so to apply for either you will need to provide the following:
- Completed and signed application form.
- 3 passport-size photographs.
- Copy of passport, including pages with exit and entry stamps (passport must be valid for at least 3 months).
- Copy of ID card of your country of residence.
- Return flights or onward travel bookings.
- Proof of funds to cover your trip (minimum 500 USD).
- A copy of any previous entry permits to Panama.
- Hotel reservations or letter from a sponsor in Panama.
- Proof of payment of the fees (see below for more details on this).
- Yellow fever vaccination booklet.
The 8 pages of the application form can look a little daunting, but don’t worry, the information required is basic and several pages are taken up by footnotes. The main sections you will need to fill out are:
- Personal information.
- Passport details.
- Contact details.
- General information about your trip (dates, location, length of stay, etc.).
- How you will support yourself financially.
- Sign the last page.
Proof of Funds
There are several options to prove you have enough funds to cover your trip:
- Bank statement.
- Employment letter with your latest payslip.
- Pension payments.
Panama to Visa Status Check
Currently there is no online process to obtain any kind of entry permit here, which means it isn’t possible to check your application once you have submitted it.
Once you have submitted your application with all the relevant documents, you will need to wait a few weeks for it to be processed. The embassy will be in touch when the application is approved and you will need to visit in person with your passport to get the stamp.
Therefore, if you would like to find out at what stage of the process your permission is or if you’re concerned because your departure date is approaching, you should contact the embassy or consulate directly via phone or email or you can visit in person if you prefer.
Likewise, you will be informed if for any reason your application form is not successful. It’s important that you make sure you enter your contact details correctly when you fill out the form, so the representative can reach out when necessary.
How Much Is a Panama Travel Visa?
Both the authorised and stamp visas currently cost 50 USD. The fee should be paid by bank transfer and a receipt of the payment needs to be included in your application for it to be accepted.
If you are applying in person, you may be able to pay in cash, but this will depend on your local embassy or consulate. Make sure you check beforehand if the option is available if you wish to pay in cash.
Please note that, if for any reason your application is not successful, the fee will not be refunded.
More Panama Visa Questions and Information
We hope you have found this page useful. In case you still have any doubts, we have included this section with our most frequently asked questions in relation to the requirements and processes to enter this country.