“Oh, how beautiful is Panama,” Janosch already knew many decades ago. What is there to the famous quote? Quite a lot! Green jungle, dreamlike beaches, the skyline of Panama Cityor a swim with starfish. Here you experience days and weeks in which one highlight chases the next. And the best: You can observe two oceans at the same time. Is the entry to Panama unproblematic?
For the stay in Panama a passport is logically required. It is not feasible to enter the country with a passport. On the day of entry, the document must be valid for at least three months. If a longer stay is planned, the validity must be given until the last day. You may stay in the country for 180 days without applying for a visa. However, proof of onward or return travel is required. So you have to present a return or onward ticket. In addition, you will need a residence permit for the country to which you will travel from Panama. Your financial situation is also important to the authorities in Panama. When you enter the country, the officials will want to see proof of how you will be able to support yourself financially during your stay. You should have 500 US dollars in cash or in your bank account.
What if I stay in Panama for more than 180 days?
Whoever wants to stay in Panama for more than half a year must take care of a residence permit in time. The so-called Residencia is not to be neglected. The Panamanian authorities control the observance of this relatively strictly. If you forget to apply for a residencia and are caught without a title, you may be banned from re-entering the country. If you want to enter Panama with enough assets in an estimated ten years, you will not be allowed back into the country due to the statute of limitations.
Exception Ship Entry
If you come to Panama by sea, you face a slightly different legal situation. For one thing, different financial guidelines apply. You will have to pay an entry fee that ranges from $100 to $200. It doesn’t matter if you arrive on a sailing ship, a yacht or any other boat. There is also something to consider here when it comes to visas. You will receive a visa upon entry, which is only valid for 72 hours. If you want to stay longer, please immediately seek the migration authority in Panama. The authority is located at the arrival airport. Here you will receive your tourist visa, which grants you 180 days of stay. Failure to do so may result in significant fines or deportation. If you enter by boat through the territory of Guna Yala (San Blas Islands), make sure that the immigration office does not forget to stamp your passport. If there is no official in sight, you will have to find a responsible employee who can guarantee you the stamp. This formality cannot be made up! If you forget the stamp, you will be considered as an illegal immigrant!
Entry from Costa Rica
Caution is also advised if you are traveling to Panama from Costa Rica. If you are coming by land, you must have both Costa Rican exit and Panamanian entry stamps! Travelers must purchase tax stamps from the municipal government (Municipalidad) and then get an entry stamp at a separate immigration (Migración) counter.
So you have to take some initiative and care to have a stress-free entry as well as a relaxed stay ahead of you. Because only so you can enjoy this paradisiacal piece of earth also properly! Here you can find the entry requirements of Costa Rica.