Panama has been becoming one of the tourism hotspots in the world where people from different cultures visit the country’s striking sceneries and embrace their culture. It’s not hard to see why-- the turquoise colored water of the San Blas Beach and it’s powdery white sand is picture-perfect, a visit to the Panama Canal is enticing, and the lush rainforest of the Soberania National Park is just mesmerizing.
We’ve been to Panama for a sailing trip from Portobello to San Blas Islands (since this is a haven for sailors and those wanting to learn how to sail) and this country holds a special place in my heart since this is where Jonathan asked me to marry him. Yay! Writing this article brings back all the kilig and before this ends up as a love story, let me make it clear that this is how Philippines Passport Holder like me can get that Panamanian Tourist Visa! :p
ALL APPLICANTS MUST APPLY AT THE PANAMIAN EMBASSY IN THEIR HOME COUNTRY. THE ONLY EXCEPTION IS WHEN THERE IS NO PANAMIAN EMBASSY IN YOUR HOME COUNTRY.
HENCE, ALL FILIPINOS MUST APPLY AT THE EMBASSY & CONSULATE GENERAL OF THE REPUBLIC OF PANAMA AT THE 11TH FLOOR NATIONAL LIFE INSURANCE CO. BUILDING 6762 AYALA AVENUE, MAKATI CITY.
WHO ARE EXEMPTED FROM GETTING A PANAMA TOURIST VISA?
As per Executive Order 521-2018, all travelers - regardless of nationality - will be eligible for exemption to Panamanian tourist visa if they possess multiple-entry visas or permanent residency documents of any of the following countries:
European Union member states
Further, the visa/s must have a validity not less than six (6) months from the date of entry in Panama and must have been used once prior to their trip.
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR OBTAINING A TOURIST VISA FOR PANAMA?
These are the ff. Documents that you have to gather for your Panamanian Tourist Visa Application. This is a long list but do not be overwhelmed, it’s actually easy to get these things:
1.A formal letter addressed to the Consul General explaining your intention to travel to Panama, your proposed itinerary, your financial situation, etc.;
2. Duly filled-out application form;
3. Passport, with a validity of at least three (3) months from the date of entry in Panama;
4. A government-issued ID which could be your Driver’s License, Postal ID, PhilHealth, Pag-Ibig, PRC License, etc. other than your passport;
5. Three (3) passport sized photos, with a colored photocopy of all three (3) together;
7. Proof of lodgings which could be a Hotel Reservation or Letter of Invitation in case you’re staying with a friend/relative;
8. Medical certificate from an accredited clinic if the trip is health-related;
9. Economic solvency documents which may include Bank Statement within the last three (3) months, Latest credit card statement within the last three (3) month, Statement of income from last fiscal year. If economically dependent, then you need to have an Affidavit of Support signed by a family member who will shoulder the expense during the trip, and his/her proof of economic solvency which must include US Dollar banknotes worth at least $500.00 and photocopy thereof;
10. Proof of employment/profession which may include your Certificate of Employment, Accreditation by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (for the self-employed and freelancers), Pension and Retirement Documents (for the retirees), Certification of Enrollment from the school/university (for students), whichever is applicable; and
11. Letter of invitation If invited by a Private Company or a Private Individual. You should also have a Photocopy of signatory’s passport and cédula, Bank certification or income statement of the company, Utility bill showing the location of the company’s office/individual’s residence, and an Affidavit, in case company/individual shoulders the expenses of the visa applicant.
STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE ON HOW PHILIPPINES PASSPORT HOLDER CAN APPLY FOR A TOURIST VISA FOR PANAMA
Step 1: Complete all the requirements stated above;
Step 2: Fill in the Application Form;
Step 3: Submit your documents at the Embassy & Consulate General of the Republic of Panama at the 11th Floor National Life Insurance Co. Building 6762 Ayala Avenue, Makati City; and
Step 4: Wait for the decision!
FAQS ABOUT APPLICATIONS FOR PANAMA TOURIST VISA
1) How much is the visa fee for a tourist visa?
It is $60 and it must be paid in USD. Try to bring the exact amount.
2) Do they accept walk-in applications?
Yes, but note that although walk-ins are accepted between 8AM-1PM, it is encouraged that all applicants set an appointment beforehand by calling them at (+63 2) 478 6495.
3) Do I need to photocopy my documents?
Yes. It is also encouraged that it should be a colored photocopy especially the ID Photos and the Copy of your Passport Biodata Page.
4) What’s the schedule of the Embassy of Panama?
It is usually from 8 AM- 5 PM provided that there are no holidays. Receiving hours are from 8 AM to 1 PM and releasing hours are from 1 PM to 5 PM.
5) Can I ask someone to submit the documents on my behalf?
Yes. It could be your friend, relative, or a travel agency provided that you give them an Authorization Letter.
6) Do they accept documents by mail?
7) How long is the visa processing time?
It takes around 5-10 working days.
8) Is the processing fee refundable in case of visa denial?
Not at all.
9) Do I need a vaccine when visiting Panama?
It depends. Panamanian migration authorities will demand proof of vaccination if the trip originates from or transits through the following countries:
Yellow fever: Brazil and African countries
Measles: USA, Venezuela, China, Greece, Spain, Italy