Panama Visa For Green Card Holders

For non-American Green Card holders a very common question is: is it possible to obtain a Panama Visa for Green Card holders?

Are you a US green card holder and want to learn if you can travel to Panama? This article will discuss what visa or permit you will need to travel, stay, work or retire in Panama.

Green card holders are currently exempt from the 30 yearly entry period limit, but will likely have to renew their visa every 6 months. Several cases were recently reported with green card holders who were denied entry at Santiago airport upon arriving from Panama based on their INM visa having expired 6 months before.

Panama Visa For Green Card Holders

Applying immigration to Panama, while a vital decision, is not something you should take lightly. Receiving a Panama visa, especially a residence permit, is not an easy to achieve. If you are fortunate enough to have been admitted for immigration to Panama, then congratulations are in order. Immigration itself can be thought of as quite complicated; therefore, obtaining your residence permit should be relatively straight forward.

Panama welcomes hundreds of foreign scientific visitors every year. The country is supportive of STRI science and provides a generous framework to accommodate foreign researchers. Familiarizing yourself with immigration requirements will help get your visit off to the best start possible.

Immigration requirements vary depending on your nationality but most international visitors can stay in Panama for 90-180 days without applying for a visa. Please read the following information for specific entry requirements, how to extend your visit and for some essential tips on how to navigate immigration successfully.

Immigration regulations change without warning, so please review the following information even if you have visited us before. Our Legal and External Affairs Office is available for any questions.


Essential Information

Entry Requirements

The Republic of Panama is the host country for the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. The Panamanian government has generously granted certain special considerations to STRI that allow us to facilitate your visit.

Officials from Panama’s National Immigration Service control entry to Panama and enforce immigration laws and regulations. Regulations are modified regularly so, even if you have visited us before, it is important to review immigration requirements. All visitors to STRI must comply with current immigration regulations.

In general, foreigners can visit Panama for 90 days without a visa, depending on country of origin. Please see the country lists below for exceptions and details.

If you are a scientific visitor to STRI and will require more than 90-180 days to complete your research, you will need to contact our Office of External Affairs for information on length of stay or to make arrangements. Please see our Visas, Extensions and Driver’s License page for details.

Please note:

On the first business day after your arrival in Panama, visit STRI’s Visitor Services Office at the Tupper Center in Panama City to register your visit. This will greatly facilitate your visit to Panama and any research activities that require immigration services or scientific permits.

Panamanian police officers may request your identification papers, including your passport, when you travel through the country or within Panama City. Please see our Immigration: Essential Information page for more information.

If you plan on staying in Panama for 90-180 days AND driving during that time, you will need a license issued in Panama. Please see our Visas, Extensions and Driver’s License page for details.

Required documents for STRI visitors to Panama

Upon entering Panama, you will need the following documents and information:

  • A passport that is valid for at least three months after date of entry.
  • A round-trip bus or plane ticket as proof that you plan to leave.
  • Proof of solvency: either $500 USD in cash, traveler checks, or credit card or debit card with most recent monthly statement.
  • A certified police record from your country of permanent residence, in case there is a chance you will stay longer than 90- 180 days in Panama (apostilled and translated into Spanish). This document is an essential requirement for obtaining a short-term scientific visitor visa. See Visas Required Documents for more information.

Additionally, STRI strongly recommends you bring:

  • A letter from STRI stating that you have been invited here as a scientific appointee or research visitor
  • The address of where you will be staying while in Panama
  • Proof of yellow fever vaccinations depending on country of origin, please see our Health and Vaccinations

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