Panama: New visa rules take effect for restricted nationals

What is the change? Panama has made changes to its entry requirements for visa-required nationals.

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What does the change mean? Effective Jan. 13, nationals of visa-required countries may enter Panama for tourism or business with a visa or proof of residence issued by Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom or the United States, provided other requirements are also met. Schengen Visas will no longer be accepted as a basis for entering Panama.

  • Implementation time frame: Jan. 13.
  • Visas/permits affected: Authorized visas.
  • Who is affected: Visa-required nationals traveling to Panama.
  • Impact on processing times: Visa-required nationals who do not have one of the visas listed above must obtain an authorized visa from the National Immigration Service. The process for obtaining a visa this way takes five to six months.

Background: The new rules came about under a recently issued decree that took effect Jan. 13.

Those entering Panama on the basis of one of the visas listed above must also be sure that the visa is valid for multiple entries, is valid for at least one year from the day of entering Panama, and has been used at least once to enter the issuing country before travel to Panama.

Travelers who have met these requirements will be permitted to stay in Panama for 30 days, renewable for an additional 60 days.

BAL Analysis: Affected travelers should take note of the changes and assess whether they need to obtain a new visa before traveling to Panama.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Panama. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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