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Official Matters

A tourist can remain in Panama for 90 days, which can be intended to 90 additional days with the previous presentation o a return ticket and proof of economic solvency.

If an extension in necessary, a formal request, with documents attached, should be presented to the National Immigration Bureau.

There is no to obtain departure permits to leave the country, provided that the visitor complies with the terms of the tourist status. If a tourist exceeds the time allowance without a legal extension or justification, a fine will be charged according to the exceed time.

Many countries do not require visas nor tourist cards to enter the national territory, such as:

German, Holland (The Netherlands), Belgium, Austria, Poland, Luxembourg, Israel, Italy, United kingdom, Bolivia, Chile, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Portugal, El Salvador, Spain, Finland, Greece, France, Singapore, Guatemala, Switzerland, Honduras, Uruguay.

Countries whose citizens require a stamped visa:

Chad, Cyprus, Egypt, The Philippines, Peru, Dominican Republic, Thailand, Ecuador.

Countries whose citizens can enter Panama with a tourist card or visa;

Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belice, Bermuda, Brasil, Canadá, Colombia, South Korea, Curasao, (Dutch Antilles) United States, The Vatican, Granada, Guyana, Iceland, Jamaica, Japan, Malta, México, Mónaco, Norway, New Zealand, Paraguay, Western Samoa,Taiwan, Trinidad & Tobago, Venezuela.

Stamp Visas: can be obtained al Panamanian consulates abroad.

Authorized Tourist Visas: Can be obtained at Panamanian consulates abroad with the authorization of the Immigration Bureau in Panama and the approval of the National Security Council.

Tourist Cards: Can be Purchased at air lines or travel agencies, cards cost $5.00. All tourist must have valid passport, with the exceptions, of citizens of the Unites States of America, who only need a proof of nationality to obtain a card.

Departure Tax: A tax o $20 has to be paid at Tocumen International Airport by every departing passenger.

Taxis: Fares are based on a zoning system, A cabbie must show you his zoned map of the city of you challenge his charge. If you have a bunch of places to visit around town, the easy way is to hire a cab by the hour, negotiable. Prices differ between small taxis and large taxis, Between Tocumen Airport and Panama City’s hotel the official rate is $15.00 a person, if you share the cab with up to four others ,or $30.00 if you want the vehicle to yourself.

International Transportation
Panama is the "HUB" of the Western Hemisphere. And there are International and National flights daily between Panama and many U.S. cities, Central/South America and Europe. It is a 2-3 hour flight from Miami or slightly more from Atlanta, New Orleans or Dallas. These flights generally arrive at Tocumen International (Panama City) in the evening and depart in the morning, so it may be necessary to spend the first and last night’s there. If you arrive by 2PM, you should have time to catch the last shuttle to David from Albrook Field, which is at a different location and only 30 minutes from Tocumen International.

Once you have your retirement pension visa, see the benefits. These include COPA/Continental, Delta and American as well as the national airlines. The discount apply only when purchased directly through a Panama located airline or travel agency (not on-line) for all ticketing originating in Panama.

Transportation National

  1. Car rental.
    For those considering leasing a car and driving from Panama City, it is not recommended . the traffic is horrendous. It is a 7-8 hour drive and you will most likely arrive late, over exhausted and waste two precious days of exploration fun.

    Although the Inter-American highway is in good condition, try to avoid driving at night because of the late afternoon rains and areas of construction. A word of caution. Be alert because there may be pedestrians, bicycles and animals on or near the road. Speed limit is 100 Kph (60 Mph) on the main highway with zones of 60 Kph (40 Mph). School zones, (many with no speed signs) are 40 Kph, so slow down when you see one. They use radar so be vigilant and always stay in the right lane.

  2. Bus
    Panama has a extensive inter-city transportation system with a new large terminal located as part of the to the Albrook Mal. The large modern buses are comfortable and air conditioned so keep your jacket handy. They usually show two movies (English w/subtitles) and stop half way (Santiago) for lunch. Fair is about $15 and a 25% discount applies to pensioners. Once in David, take a cab to Thrifty at the David Airport to pick up your car rental. Although there are buses serving Volcan, things are spread out.

  3. Air Shuttle
    By far the most convenient, two airlines serve the Panama/David route: Aero Perlas and Air Panama. Schedules and purchasing tickets can be done on-line. Remember, these one hour, three flights daily, depart from Albrook field, which is a different airport from where you arrived and ten minutes from you hotel. They charge a modest fee for over 25 pounds. If you are grossly overweight, take your luggage to the “Ecomiendas” (Air freight) desk next to the check-in counter and it will go on the same flight at a lesser rate. Since most international flights arrive late, it is best to take the next day, 9:30 - 10:30 AM, morning flight.

How to get to Volcan from David.
These directions are purposely made large so you can print them out and put them on your seat.

As you leave the airport (North), take a left. Proceed 2-3 Km curving to the east and stay in the left lane.
When you reach the traffic signal, turn left.
Continue straight (north) 2-3 km (past the McDonalds and a good place to stop for a snack) to the 4 lane divided inter-American highway and turn left (west). Be cautious, this is a difficult exit.
Continue about 25 km (15-20 minutes) until you come to the town of Concepción and turn right (North). You will have some warning of your upcoming turn as there will be light post in the median and a series of three gas stations on your right. One block after the Shell station turn right. There will also be a sign "Volcan 34K".
It is a scenic 30 minute drive up the mountain over an newly paved road. Once in Volcan, stop at Romero’s Market right across the street from the Shell gas station and give us a call 771-5948 or 6650-8564 cell, on the public phone on the wall near the left and we will come down and lead you to your hotel.


To qualify for a visa, Panama gives the opportunity to abroad, to apply the obtaining of visas of different nature, such as: tourist Visas, Short-stay Visas, Temporary residences, Permanent residences, Residence or Retired or Pensioned, Residence of rentier retired, among others.

All documents issued abroad must be authenticated

To authenticate the certifications There are two ways that you can use to authenticate your documents (Please select only one method):

Method No.1: authentication via the Panama consulate or the Embassy of Panama. You must bring photocopies of personal identity documents and forms of bank accounts that require authentication to the Panama consulate or Embassy of Panama that is nearest to you to authenticate your documents. Please remember that if you use a Consulate/Embassy in Panama to authenticate your documents you will not need to be notarized.

Method No.2: Authentication of notary and Apostille.

You must carry your photocopies of personal identity documents and forms of bank accounts that require authentication to be notarized and then bring them to make them an Apostille for your authentication. In the United States, Mail boxes Etc. and UPS store have notaries that will them stamp their documents so they are faithful copies of his original $10.

United States Apostille offices are fast, the documents are usually ready within 2-3 days.

For Canadian citizens, Canada does not have Apostille. You can use the method No.1: take it to a consulate or Embassy of Panama to authenticate them. Below are listed the Panamanian consulates in Canada:

Panama consulate in Toronto: 2788 Bathurst Street: North York, ON M6B 3A3, Canada(416) 651-2350

Embassy of Panama in Ottawa: Tel:(613) 236-7177 Fax: 236-577, 130 Albert St,Ste 300. Ottawa

Panama consulate in Vancouver: 407-1112 pender St West,Vancouver, BC V6E 2S1,Tel: (604) 682-6128/230 - 3108 (24 h),Fax: (604) 682-0528

Panama consulate in Montreal:1425 René Lévesque Blvd West,Suite 504,Montreal, QC,H3G 1T7,Tel: (514) 874-1929.Fax: (514) 874-1947

Visas for permanent residence: These visas are granted to foreigners in final form by virtue of that abroad: Contract marriage with a national, Make investment, Or has the status of retired or pensioner.

In condition of investor: This immigrant visa requires a minimum investment of $100,000.00 through a company or enterprise of the investor. Must be presented the request of Visa immigrant and met once the term of one year from the date of its adoption is the obtaining of permanent residence with the right may request to ID. Presented once the Immigrant Visa application, are you granted a temporary licence valid for three (3) months, while your Immigrant Visa application is processed. If the application has not been approved, met the three months, will become you to grant to the applicant a licence temporary for three months. Fulfilled the immigrant visa application process, the applicant will receive his immigrant card quality of immigrant investor and the respective stamp in your Passport that is valid for one year.

Can who apply for this permit? an alien who enters the national territory that is retired from active life and who earned a minimum income of two thousand dollars ($2,000.00) monthly from exclusively product of deposits interest fixed-term of the National Bank and must be free of all liens or warranties of any nature.

The investment in fixed-term must be in the amount of US $260.000.00, approximately will be for a minimum period of five years,(5 years).

On investments, the visas for investors in Panama are classified under the following headings and amounts:

Investment in the field of reforestation - $80.000.00,Investment in companies or business-$160.000.00, Real estate investment-$300.000.00,Investment in fixed deposit-$300.000.00.

If it is retired or pensioner either by a public or private entity as basic requirement is required to make the pension you receive, by a minimum of $1,000.00 per month coming from foreign source

Documents should be prepared in your country before applying to be resident as a retired pensioner foreigner:

Certificate of Apostille criminal not history of you and your dependents.

Apostille retirement letter is where clearly point you receive a monthly pension of more than US $1000.000.00, and that the letter mentions is that pension or retirement of lifetime or lifetime

Banking account status of any personal account where you receive your retirement payments monthly in their country.

Law or Gazette where point to that institution or public entity that retire you abroad, grants such retirements of lifetime.

Marriage certificate, and certificate of birth to children entire Apostille document.

Documents that should prepare the retired pensioner in Panama and submission to the national service of migration process.

Already in Panama, with its ready documents from abroad, need to prepare another local documentation: between pictures, medical examinations, powers, statements, etc. to complete the requirements.

Once complete the local documentation (photos, notarized, among others), added all this to foreign documents, proceed to registration to the national service of migration of Panama and subsequent presentation of their case; with the immediate issuance of a processed meat as a temporary resident of Panama for 1 year, during your migration process; most stamping "Multiple Visa or permission of input and outputs".

Important: The time of application, since their arrival, local documents and final presentation preparation, is about two (2) weeks. But once presented, the authorities regularly take about 6-7 months of analysis of your file until grant final resolution as a "permanent resident of Panama".

  • Investment visas
    You must establish a Panamanian company showing that you have invested at least $10,000 have at least three Panamanian employees.

  • Marriage
    By marrying a local, you can obtain a resident visa but you must still obtain a work permit if you plan to be employed. Then it is a ten year battle to maintain the permit and residency.

  • Work
    Please do not waste your or our time by asking. Next to impossible.

    What to bring
    What to sell, what to ship and what to throw out. Our recommendation, eliminate the most you can as everything is available in Panama at usually lower prices than the states. Name brand refrigerators, stoves, washing machines, dryers, TV's, sound/video systems, etc. are all available. Things to consider shipping are, your keep sakes, clothes, favorite furniture and good quality tools.

    Make a complete inventory with estimated cost for custom and number the cartons so can find what you want without unpacking everything later. Customs will generally open a few and skim over the rest. You are exempt up to $10,000 worth of merchandise but They don't keep an accurate account as long as you're reasonable.

    Although you may wish to ship your vehicle, life is not that easy. Import duty is still vague. Although immigration says it is free of import tax, customs follow other regulations and they do not talk to each other. Make sure you have your pension card!

    Do not put the car in the shipping container! It will not only hold up clearing your household effects until the car’s papers and tax have been paid (3-4 weeks), the fee is $50 a day for storage. Even if the import duty is exempt, you still have to pay 5% sales tax! So, if you consider shipping cost, storage, documentation and services , it can be over whelming it’s simply not worth it. Beside warranties are not honored nor parts available for cars not supported in Panama. It gets worse driving down from the states and the car can be confiscated simply because the import grace period for expired.

    Gas runs about the same as in the states but diesel is 30 cents less per gallon. There is a wide selection of American and Asian (gas & diesel) cars, 4X4's and pickups to choose from. Generally, prices are less than in the states. Besides being cheaper, you have warranty and parts. Bottom line, buy one here. Used cares are also available but have to be checked thoroughly.

    If shipping a container, you might want to buy it and use for storage or shop. Look in the yellow pages for "International Freight Forwarder" (nearest seaport) or international movers. These people provide complete "door-to-door" service. They prepare all documents and recommend/have a Panama import agent. They make the arrangements to have it declared and you should be there to show your pension card and make sure you have it before you ship! The two major ports in Panama Las Minas near Colon (50 miles from Panama City) on the Atlantic and Balboa on the Pacific near Panama City.

    There is no reason why you have to abandon that lovable mascot. If you arrive late, the animal will most likely have to remain at the airport overnight. It will be released the next day after inspection by a government veterinary and them that the pet will remain isolated from other animals for 90 days. This is called, "in-house quarantine." The charge per animal by the health authorities is about $100 each.

    Here we provide certain recommendations as you bring your pet from the State to Panama. We have made the effort to provide the most up-to-date information, but sometimes there are changes in procedures required by the Panamanian Government. Before travelling with your pet to Panama we recommend to verify current rules with the nearest Panama consulate or office of veterinary services of the USDA (Department of Agriculture of the United States) http://www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/ncie/iregs/animals/.

    The requirements are as follows:

    I. certificate of health.

    You must obtain a certificate of your pet's health; It must have a maximum date of 10 days prior to your trip. The document must certify that your pet has good health, which is free of parasites and with the following data:

    -the name of your pet


    -name and surname of the owner and the country of residence

    -list of vaccines that have been brought to the pet; This should include information on the type of vaccine, the manufacturer, and the batch number.

    -confirmation that vaccine rabies was administered him thirty days before travel, but not more than 6 months before the date of travel.

    II. authenticate with USDA health certificate

    Two copies of the health certificate must be authenticated by an official of the veterinary service of the USDA. The USDA Veterinary services have offices in almost all States of the us. You can locate the nearest office on its web site (http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/area_offices/). The price of this service is $24 per certificate, but various animals may be included in a single certificate.

    III. authenticate the certificate of health

    After authenticating with the USDA health certificate the certificate must be:

    Authenticated at a Panamanian consulate for a fee of $30.

    Locations of the Panamanian consulates in the USA: Embassy of Panama, 2862 McGill Terrace, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20009, phone. (202) 483-1407, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, the Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, San Juan, San Diego, San Francisco and Tampa, Florida.O -Apostille by the office of the Secretary of State in your state. The cost of the apostille in most States is about $10 to $20. Check the correct procedure in your State with the State authorities in your area.

    IV. application to quarantine at home.

    If you want your pet to pass quarantine in his house instead of the Government facilities you must request permission to quarantine at home for at least two weeks before traveling to Panama.

    V. arrival to Panama

    Once your pet arrives to the airport in Panama an official veterinarian shall review the documents of the animal and deliver new documents with permission for home quarantine for a period of 40 days. Processing the permit takes approximately 2 to 5 hours. The quarantine at home has a cost of $130. If your pet does not have authenticated health certificate the animal would have to spend a period of quarantine for 40 days at the airport. The cost of quarantine at the airport is $12 per day. The official veterinarian at the airport has Office hours Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 12 noon, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 12 noon. If your pet arrives in Panama outside office hours vet would have to wait in the airport quarantine until the veterinarian to make the entry process.


    For your consideration when choosing an airline for your pet:

    1. some airlines limit the animals travel during the summer and winter months.

    2. the majority of the airlines allow your pet to accompany you in the cabin of the aircraft, provided that it complies with its size and weight rules.

    3. usually there is an additional cost for travelling with your pet. Some airlines calculate the cost according to the weight of the animal, others have a standard cost.

    4. it is recommended that your pet flight is direct, non-stop. You can minimize the stress that your pet suffers during the trip.

    Facts and Tips for travelling with your pet by the USDA:

    1 you can prevent injury to your pet with a House dog that is suitable for your pet. The majority of wounds in animals in transit occur when mascot escapes or attempts to escape from your House for dogs. Make sure that your pet is not able to open a gap in the booth, lock is strong and not allowed to escape and doghouse dogs is mounted correctly.

    2. your pet would be more comfortable during the trip if you are acclimatised to his Doghouse dogs prior to travel. Acclimating her locate your pet in your House of dogs several times a few days before the trip. Also your pet can feel more relaxed with his clothes placed in the booth during the trip. An old t-shirt that you have used to sleep can serve since it would have its smell.

    3 it is recommended to sedate your pet for a trip by plane. The AVMA (American Association of veterinary medical) has information on its site about this topic: http://www.avma.org/careforanimals/animatedjourneys/livingwithpets/sedate.asp

    Importation and exportation of birds is prohibited. However, many exotic birds like canaries and parrots are available along the road side, or at Melo that have many locations including Panama City and David.

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    Last update: 6/6/2010 2:03 PM