Panama Digital Nomad Visa: How to Get One in 2024
Home to one of the most famous thoroughfares for global trade, Panama has been one of the thriving economic centers of Central America for centuries.
With the diversity and bustle of Panama City, the beautiful natural biodiversity, and countless stunning beaches to explore, Panama is a fantastic place for digital nomads to start exploring the Western Hemisphere.
If you’re planning to head to Panama on your next trip, here’s a guide to the key features of the Panama digital nomad visa and how to successfully apply for one.
The Panama Digital Nomad Visa
The Panama digital nomad visa is officially called the Short-Stay Visa for Remote Workers. It allows foreign remote workers to live and work legally in the country for up to nine months as an initial period, with the option to renew the visa afterward for an additional nine months.
Some of the great benefits you can take advantage of with a Panama digital nomad visa include:
- The ability to stay in the country for up to 18 months after a successful renewal, as opposed to the tourist visa’s maximum of 180 days.
- Zero tax on income from outside of Panama, thanks to the country’s territorial taxation system.
- A universal application process with no restrictions based on the applicants’ nationality, unlike some other nomad visas.
- An affordable visa application process compared to other popular digital nomad visas.
How to Get the Panama Digital Nomad Visa
Though the Panama digital nomad visa application process is fairly simple compared to some other remote worker visas, it’s essential to understand its different phases to maximize the chances that your application will be successful.
Here’s a walk-through of how to get the Panama digital nomad visa.
Step 1: Confirm You’re Eligible
Panama’s Short-Stay Visa for Remote Workers has several eligibility requirements you’ll need to meet to ensure your application doesn’t fall at the first hurdle.
Before you actually start your application process, you’ll need to ensure you:
- Have a valid passport with at least three months’ validity from the date you make your application.
- Are you a remote worker with proof that you work as a freelancer, an employee for a foreign company, or the owner of a foreign company?
- Have a minimum annual income of $36,000 USD.
- Have health insurance that’s valid in Panama and includes a certain level of coverage for medical care and emergencies.
Step 2: Gather the Necessary Documents
Once you’re sure that you’re eligible, you’ll need to gather all the necessary documents you’ll be prompted for as part of your visa application.
Aside from a passport with three months of validity, you’ll also need to organize:
- Three passport-size photos of yourself.
- Proof that you meet the minimum income requirements via bank statements.
- Proof of remote work, e.g., through a document of company ownership, client contracts, a contract of employment, etc.
- A certificate of good health from your doctor.
- A certified criminal record check from your country.
Note that all of these documents must be notarised and apostilled to be a valid part of your application.
Step 3: Fill Out the Application Form
Unfortunately, the Panama digital nomad visa can’t be completed wholly online.
To complete the application, you’ll need to fill out and sign the application form in person at your local Panamanian consulate or embassy. Note that this appointment may need to be in another country, depending on where your current residence is. Use the Panamanian government website to find out which consular district you’re currently living in or whether you’ll have to travel to a consulate outside of your home country.
Step 4: Submit the Application
When you turn up to your appointment with all the required documents, you’ll need to let the embassy agent review your proof of income, criminal record check, and other documents, then fill in the visa application and sign it in person.
Step 5: Pay the Visa Fees
With the application form complete, you’ll need to pay a $250 USD fee for the visa and a $50 USD fee to obtain a visa card.
Once you’ve made the application and paid the required fees, you should receive a resolution from the relevant consulate after roughly 30 days.
Pros and Cons of the Panama Digital Nomad Visa
Panama is just one of the countries in Latin America and across the world that have invited remote workers through their digital nomad visas. If you’re weighing up a few options for new destinations, here’s a quick list of the Panama visa’s pros and cons to help you decide:
- An affordable tax regime with zero tax on income earned from business activities outside Panama makes it a beautiful visa for freelancers and business owners.
- Extended stay for up to 18 months after a successful renewal of a nine-month visa, vs the tourist visa maximum stay of 180 days.
- Affordable visa application fees compared to many other digital nomad visas offered by other countries.
- Panama’s government has plans to take the visa application process online, which may be rolled out in the near future.
- At present, the Panama digital nomad visa application process requires you to be physically present at your local Panamanian consulate or embassy. This can make the overall process difficult or stressful compared to other visas, which can be completed wholly online.
- The extensive list of required documents can present a lot of administrative work for digital nomads planning to live and work in Panama. These documents must all be notarised and apostilled in your country, too, adding another item to the to-do list.
- The nine-month initial duration of the nomad visa is considerably shorter than other digital nomad or temporary resident visa terms.
The Panama digital nomad visa could be the perfect way for you to explore this amazing part of Central America while working with a foreign entity. We hope this guide has helped you decide whether this visa is correct for you and plan for the next steps in your digital nomad journey.
If you’re looking for insurance for your visa application, be sure to check out some of our global insurance plans for digital nomads.