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Always carry your identification documents

Police regularly and randomly request identification documents from people roadblocks, bus stations and other locations around Panama.

While in Panama — either commuting through the city or traveling around the country — we strongly recommend that you carry your passport with you. Alternatively, carry a notarized copy of the photo page of your passport and the page bearing the stamp with the date of your entry this is recommended for traveling around Panama City.

If you have a visa from Panama’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stamped in your passport, carry a notarized copy of the photo page of your visa and the page bearing the validity of your visa.

If you have an identification issued by Panama’s National Immigration Service, that is valid for identification inside Panama as long as it has not expired. We still recommend carrying notarized copy of the photo page of your passport and your stamped visa, if the latter applies.

While traveling outside Panama City for research, you may also wish to carry a copy of a letter from the Visitor Services Office that explains your status at STRI, and your STRI identification card but please note your STRI identification is not valid for legal purposes in Panama. 

Driver’s license

Foreign driver’s licenses are only valid in Panama for up to 90 days, regardless of the length of time you are approved to stay here as a visitor. You can apply for a regular Panamanian driver’s license if you have a visa from the National Immigration Service; or if staying up to 180 days,it may work if you use the International Driver’s License from your country of origin.

A note on attire

Panamanian government offices have fairly strict dress codes, even for visitors and even when it is extremely hot outside. Officials are likely to refuse to allow you entry to the premises if you are wearing shorts, T-shirts, sandals or sleeveless shirts and dresses.


For questions and issues related to immigration:

Celideth De León
Office of Legal and External Affairs
+507 212-8050     

Please note: Please remember that you are ultimately responsible for checking your travel documents upon arrival for expiration dates, needed extensions, documents/permits or exit requirements before departure. Failure to comply with applicable laws is subject to fines or deportation.

All information regarding immigration is subject to change without notice.

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