This page has information on travelling to Panama.
This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.
The authorities in Panama set and enforce entry rules. If you’re unsure how Panama’s entry requirements apply to you, contact its UK embassy, high commission or consulate.
You will not need a visa to enter or travel through Panama as a visitor.
Panama encourages the use of the IATA Travel Pass app. This app will have up-to-date information on travel restrictions, authorised labs for COVID-19 tests and vaccine information. It will have the option to enter personal data, such as vaccination information and tests undertaken. The government will accept the “OK to Travel” certification from this app as a validation for COVID-19 tests for travellers.
All restrictions or requirements around COVID-19 have been lifted. No need to present negative test results, vaccination scheme or declaration form.
You will be required to give the address of your accommodation and a contact telephone number.
Children and young people
There are no specific requirements for children and young people.
If you’re transiting through Panama
Transiting is when you pass through one country on the way to your final destination.
Unless you meet entry requirements for Panama, you will not be allowed to leave the airport during your transit.
Check with your airline before departing.
Check your passport and travel documents before you travel
You should check with your travel provider to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
If you are visiting Panama, your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of exit from Panama. Your passport must also have an unused page.
If you are a resident in Panama, your passport must be valid for 6 months from the date you arrive.
British nationals don’t need a visa to visit Panama except if arriving by sea. You must have a return or onward ticket and the equivalent of USD 500 or a credit card.
If you enter Panama by land from Costa Rica, and are not a legal resident of Costa Rica, the immigration authorities may ask you to show proof of onward or return travel to your country of legal residence.
You may be detained by immigration officials if you attempt to renew your tourist visa by visiting a neighbouring country, including Costa Rica. You must follow the relevant rules and procedures when seeking to extend a visa. The British Embassy can’t intervene in decisions made by the immigration authorities. For more information visit the Panama National Migration Service website.
From 1 October 2021, British nationals entering Panama now have a 90 day (3 month) tourist visa stamped in their passport to mark entry to Panama. Extensions are not normally allowed unless you apply to change your immigration status within the 90 days (for business purposes, marriage, etc). For further information on entry requirements, check with the Embassy of the Republic of Panama in London.
When transiting the Panama Canal, if you disembark the ship, your passport will be stamped by the immigration authorities. You do not need a visa unless you are staying in Panama for more than 90 days. Immigration officials do not board transiting cruise ships to check passports.
If you arrive in Panama by sea, except via a cruise line, you will need a visa. There is a fee of USD 100 plus USD 5 registration per person for passengers and crew members of vessels. Other fees may be charged, for example for cruising permits. Make sure immigration officials properly stamp your passport with the date of entry into the country. Check with the Embassy of Panama in London for further details.
A USD 40 airport tax is charged on departure. This is usually included in the airline ticket fare. Check with your carrier.
Yellow fever certificate requirements
Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.
Permanent Residency Law
The Government of Panama has created a sub-category of permanent residency for foreign nationals of 22 countries with which Panama has especially friendly relations, including the UK. The decree allows British nationals to apply for a permanent residency permit to undertake commercial or professional activities (subject to certain limitations). For more information contact the Panama National Migration Service on (507) 507-1800 or contact a local solicitor prior to your arrival in Panama, as a number of the documents required must be legalised (issued with an apostille), which can only be done by the Legalisation Office in the UK.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Panama. Your ETD must be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Panama. You should check the requirements of any country that you intend to transit on your journey.