When traveling to Panama, your nationality and the types of activities you will conduct during your trip will determine whether you may travel lawfully as a business visitor or if you require a work permit. Please seek advice from your immigration counsel if you are uncertain about the specific types of activities that constitute business or work.
As a business visitor to Panama, you may engage in the activities below. While this list is not exhaustive and other activities could qualify as business, you may:
Nationals of the European Union, the United States, and many other select countries are eligible for a visa waiver and are not required to obtain a visa in order to enter and conduct business activities in Panama. Additionally, many foreign nationals who normally require an entry visa to Panama but who have a valid visa or residence permit from Australia, Canada, Japan, Singapore, the United States, the United Kingdom, South Korea or have a Schengen Visa may also be exempt from the entry visa requirement.
If your nationality is not eligible for a visa waiver, you must obtain a Tourist Visa from a Panamanian Embassy or Consulate prior to travel. Please obtain an individual assessment before traveling to determine your eligibility for a visa waiver.
The activities below, whether paid or unpaid, generally constitute work under Panamanian law. This list is not exhaustive, and many other professional activities are considered work in Panama, even if conducted for a short duration.
Business visitors traveling to Panama to engage in select professional activities, such as establishing business subsidiaries, carrying out commercial transactions and/or participating as a bidder of public tenders, may be eligible to apply for a Short Stay Business Visa after arrival to Panama. Please consult with your immigration counsel for additional information and to determine your eligibility for a Short Stay Business Visa.
The requirements for work authorization depend on your qualifications, nationality, on the nature and duration of your work and on whether your employer has an entity in Panama. The most common types of work authorization for Panama are:
Panama does not offer long-term work authorization exemptions.
Inevitably, the legal and strategic considerations impacting visa selection, as well as visa waiver and work authorization eligibility, entail the careful consideration of many factors. We recommend that you consult with your immigration counsel before taking any course of action.