Important Coronavirus (COVID-19) travel
In England, you must have a permitted reason to travel abroad and complete the declaration form.
Some countries have closed borders, and any country may further restrict travel or bring in new social distancing rules with little warning. Check our advice for each country you will visit or transit through.
When you return, follow the rules to enter the UK from abroad (except from Ireland).
The FCDO advises against all but essential travel to:
- the whole of Panama based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.
From 4am on 15 January, visitors who have been in or transited through Panama in the previous 10 days cannot enter the UK. British and Irish nationals, and third country nationals with residence rights in the UK arriving in England from Panama will be required to quarantine in a hotel. Different requirements apply for arrivals into Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
From 1 January onwards people with residence rights include: holders of Indefinite Leave to Remain; holders of existing leave to enter or remain (i.e those with biometric Residence permits) or an entry clearance/visa that grants such leave e.g. students, workers, etc (excluding visit visas); holders of EU Settlement Scheme (“EUSS”) leave; those who have rights of entry under the Withdrawal Agreements (including returning residents with a right of residence under the EEA Regulations and EEA frontier workers); family members of EEA nationals with rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.
Travel to Panama is subject to entry restrictions
- International flights have resumed to and from Tocumen International Airport
- Entry to Panama is closed to anyone, with the exception of Panamanian nationals and residents, that has been in either the United Kingdom or South Africa within 20 days of their arrival in the country
- Panamanian nationals and residents that have been in the UK or South Africa in the past 20 days are allowed to enter Panama, but will either need to take a COVID-19 PCR test no more than 48 hours before they travel, or carry out a test at the airport on arrival at a cost of USD 50.00. Regardless of the result, all will be required to stay in a designated government quarantine facility for as long as the local health authorities deem necessary
- Entry to Panama is open to Panamanian nationals, residents, tourists and business travelers who have a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate and who have not spent time in the United Kingdom or South Africa in the 20 days prior to their arrival. The test must be taken no more than 48 hours before you travel. If you cannot do this, a test can be taken at the airport on arrival at a cost of USD 50.00. If the test is positive, there is a mandatory requirement to quarantine for at least 7 days at a government facility
- Upon your arrival in Panama, you will be asked to fill out an Affidavit of Health form. This document is available in Spanish and English.
See Entry requirements for more information before you plan to travel
Preparing for your return journey to the UK
If you’re returning to the UK from overseas, you will need to:
- provide your journey and contact details before you travel
- check if you need to self-isolate on your return
If your return journey to the UK transits another country, you should check whether it is subject to a travel ban or any other additional requirements. If so, contact your travel provider.
Check our advice on foreign travel during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and sign up for email alerts for this travel advice.
If you’re planning travel to Panama, find out what you need to know about coronavirus there in the Coronavirus section.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to get travel insurance and check it provides sufficient cover. See the FCDO’s guidance on foreign travel insurance.
For information about COVID-19 vaccines, see the Coronavirus page.
Normally, foreign driving licences are only valid for 90 days following your entry to the country. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and until further notice, the local transit authorities are issuing rolling extensions each month to the 90-day validity of foreign driving licenses. See Road travel
If you travel to the Darien province you should do so only with an organised group to destinations under the surveillance of the Panamanian police. See Local travel
Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Panama, attacks can’t be ruled out. See Terrorism
UK health authorities have classified Panama as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For information and advice about the risks associated with Zika virus, visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.
You can contact the emergency services on 911. Alternatively, call 104 for police or 103 for ambulance and fire.
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.