Posted by: RAL CONSULTANTS BUREAU - PANAMA LAW | April 13, 2013

Tips For Your First Immigration Trip to Panama

Once all the paperwork needed to apply for your Pensionado Visa has been assembled plan on being in Panama City for at least five working days, minimum.

After our first meeting, plan to stay a couple of days for the documents to be translated into Spanish by an officially-certified panamanian translation service.

We will then be making two trips to the Immigration offices and a visit to a doctor’s office for a physical examination as required by Immigration.

On our first visit to the Immigration offices you will be registered with the department and a couple of days later, when you are officially in the system, we will return to get your first one year- identification card, known as a carnet. Do NOT plan on touring the countryside before this card is issued to you. since your passport, required to be able to tour the country, will be also needed to file the visa. You must be in the city to hand your passport to us. There are plenty of places to go and things see right here in the city to keep you from being bored.

Bring something with you to read or distract yourself. You will be waiting in the immigration offices.

Bring plenty of $20 bills. Immigration does NOT accept anything larger. Since Panama is an international banking center you can easily make cash withdrawals at any of the numerous ATM machines around the city with your credit card.

If you choose to start the process in November, bear in mind that there are five national holidays that month: the 3rd is Separation Day, the 4th is Flag Day and the 5th is Colon Day. Five days later, on the10th, it is The Uprising in the Villa de Los Santos and the 28th is our Independence Day. December 8th is Mother’s Day. These are all National Holidays and all government offices are closed.

Buy a prepaid cell phone when you get here. You will need a local phone number so my office can contact you. Cell phones are inexpensive in Panama and as you walk around the city you’ll begin to think there is a phone store on every block. You can buy one for as little as $30.00 and another $5 bill will give you more time than you’re going to use on your first visit. You also need to provide a local address when filing for your visa.

Proper dress is required when visiting the Immigration offices. You will not be admitted if you are wearing shorts or flip-flops. Other than the shorts and flip-flop rule your dress will not effect the processing of your application, but remember; you never get a second chance to make a first impression. While a summer-weight suit certainly shows you are serious about process, a pair of slacks and a sport shirt are perfectly acceptable.


  1. If I had a criminal record from 17 years ago and I get it authenticated will I be able to get through immigration?

  2. How much do you charge to get a pensionado visa? Do I use your office address while getting the visa?

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