Panama Tourist Visa Information | Extension, Updates, Facts



Do I need a visa to enter Panama?

The information on this page was last updated in January 2013 by PTY Legal Consulting. You can also check this page (Embassy of Panama in the USA).

In this page we try to answer the following questions:

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We do our best to keep the Panamanian Visa information up to date as possible. If we know about any changes, we will publish it here as soon as we know about it. If you read it here, you can be sure of it 99% of the time. But we are not omniscient and there could by some change that we are not aware of. of any changes so that we can update this information. We recommend double checking with a Panamanian Consulate, Embassy or ticketing agent for airlines that fly to Panama to obtain the most updated and accurate information. You can also visit the National Directorate of Immigration and Naturalization of Panama's website.

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What are the requirements to enter Panama?

ALL VISITORS require a VALID PASPORT (that doesn't expire in the next 3 months) and an ONWARD/RETURN TICKET.

Additional requirements vary according to nationality and are subject to change. Citizens from certain countries need a tourist card, others need an authorized visa and others do not need anything. To know if you require a visa depending on your nationality please carry on reading or click here. You are recommended to check with a Panamanian Consulate, Embassy or ticketing agents for airlines that fly to Panama to obtain the most updated and accurate information.

In practice, the ticket requirement is mainly for those who enter Panama by bus or by boat (but sometimes they do check at the airport).

If you're flying into Panama the most probable scenario is that you'll not be asked to show a return ticket and in case you're, be sure to at least have a return ticket valid within 1 year of entering the country. If you plan to be in Panama for more than 180 days, then it is likely that you'll be applying for some type of visa after entering the country and the authorities may have a few questions about your intentions. In this case you should be able to explain your plans and then allowed to enter the country after correctly informing the authorities about what you want to do.

If you enter Panama by bus or by boat you'll have to purchase a return ticket by land or by water because the authorities may ask for it and if you do not have it you'll run into unnecessary trouble and you'll end up buying it anyways. If you expect to leave the country in a different way then the way that you plan to enter Panama and you still do not have that return ticket, then our advice is that you purchase any return ticket. For example, if you enter Panama through Costa Rica by bus, but plan to leave by plane and you still have not bought that ticket, then just buy the cheap bus ticket: it will only cost you $10 and you'll avoid any unpleasant situation.

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Do I need a Visa to enter Panama?

It depends on your nationality. Citizens from the following countries DO NOT need a visa to enter Panama because their countries hold treaties with Panama that entitle their citizens to visit for up to 180 days without a visa: Andorra, Angola, Antigua y Barbuda, Arabia Saudita, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Belarus, Belgium, Botsuana, Bhutan, Brazil, Bolivia, Bosnia y Herzegovina, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Canada, Czech Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Corea del Sur, Costa Rica, Croacia, Cyprus, Denmark, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, England, Fiyi, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Georgia, Gibraltar, Granada, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Holland, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Japan, Jamaica, Kenia, Kiribati, Iceland, Italy, Ireland, Israel, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Kuwait, Letonia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macao, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malasia, Maldivas, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauricio, Micronesia, Mexico, Moldovia, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Namibia, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zeland, Nicaragua, North Korea, Norway, Palaos, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Rumania, Russia, Saint Kitts y Nevis, Saint Lucia, Salomon Islands, Samoa, São Tomé and Príncipe, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweeden, Switzerland, Tailand, Tonga, The Vatican, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, USA, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela and Vietnam.

Citizens from these countries can apply for an extension for up to another 30, 60 or 90 days. Petitions are approved or denied on a case-by-case basis. Immigration recommends you apply at least a week before your time is up. For more information about extending your stay in Panama please read on or click here.

They can always also leave the country for 3 days (Costa Rica is right next to Bocas del Toro and Boquete so it's easily done) and then come back and get 180 days more.

Citizens from all other nationalities either need a Tourist Card or some other type of Visa.

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Do I need a Tourist Card to enter Panama?

If you can enter the country without a visa, you certainly do not need a Tourist Card. A tourist card is basically a piece of paper or a simple form that you fill out and purchase for only $5. No worries, if you're entitled to a tourist card no one will say no unless you're a wanted criminal!

Nationals from the following countries DO REQUIRE a tourist card (US $5), available from Panamanian embassies and consulates, airlines serving Panama, border crossings, or at the international airport: Antigua, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Denmark, Granada, Greece, Guyana, Iceland, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, San Marino, South Korea, Suriname, Taiwan, Tobago, Trinidad, USA, Venezuela. In other words, if you're on this list, do not bother going to a consulate or embassy to get a tourist card: once you're on your flight you'll probably be given one and if not, when you land on Tocumen Airport you'll be able to purchase one before going through immigration.

Nationals from Chad, Ecuador, Egypt, Philippines, Perú, Dominican Republic and Thailand require tourist visas and should contact an embassy or consulate before coming to Panama.

Citizens from these countries can apply for an extension for up to another 30, 60 or 90 days. Petitions are approved or denied on a case-by-case basis. Immigration recommends you apply at least a week before your time is up. For more information about extending your stay in Panama please read on or click here.

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How can I stay for longer in Panama?

Once you're in Panama, anyone can apply for an extension. There is an immigration office in David, Chiriqui, where citizens of certain countries, including the U.S. and Canada, can apply for extensions. Citizens of Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia, among others, must travel to Panama City to request tourist visa extensions, as the tourist visa they are granted upon entering Panama is classified as "restricted".

In order to have a tourist visa extension (up to an additional 90 days more), you need to do and know the following:

  1. Show your passport to the Migration Department. They need to see your passport stamped.
    Habla Ya will help you out by taking you to the migration department in David. You'll have to pay for the transportation.
  2. The request for extension is subject to the approval of the director office.
    If everything in your passport is O.K. (for example your tourist card is still not expired or just about to expire) and there isn't any strange reason for them not to grant the extension to you (if you haven't commited a crime in Panama or your country doesn't want you back), then they'll give it to you. Please remember that you have to have a valid return ticket within those 30, 60 or 90 days and your extension will be given until the date of your return flight. To the date none of our students has been refused an extension.
  3. Request for extension of tourist visa duly completed & the letter of responsibility.
    At Habla Ya you'll be able to fill out that form. Habla Ya is the responsible of the student so we take care of the letter of responsibility.
  4. The guarantor must be Panamanian or resident of Panama.
    That will be Carlos, the Director of Customer Experience at Habla Ya.
  5. The letter must include copy of identity of guarantor.
  6. Copy of return ticket (valid for 1 year, within the dates that you want the extension for).
    At Habla Ya you'll be able to make that copy.
  7. Copy of passport data and last entry or tourist card.
    You make this copy in our school as well.
  8. The visa extension card will cost $15 USD.
    Student will also pay for transportation to and back from David.
  9. The tourist extension process takes 4 working days upon presentation at the window.

Is very important for you to know that we always help out our students in these and other matters.

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