Visas

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Overview

It is not STRI policy nor Panama’s immigration authorities to recommend or allow visitors to renew 90 or 180-day stays by leaving the country and returning for a new period. The application of this rule is subject to the discretion of immigration authorities.

The National Immigration Service tracks the number of times a person enters and exits the country and identifies when a person does so in order to renew  90 or 180-day visits, depending on the visitor's nationality. If you plan to remain in Panama for longer than 180 days, you must follow the local Panamanian laws in order to achieve this.

There are different options for long-term scientific visitors to STRI. Available options depend on various circumstances including nationality, length of stay and the visitor's status at STRI. Please read below.

Please note:

Overstaying your visit will result in a $50.00 fine per month of upon exiting Panama. Expired immigration documentation may result in detention by immigration authorities and possible expulsion from the country.

Fines for overstays can be paid at the Immigration Main Offices before departure. If you are in this situation, please contact Ms. Celideth De Leon, deleonc@si.edu at the office of External Affairs at least one week before departure to help you to fill out the corresponding documents and to schedule a visit to immigration to pay the fee.

Scientific / Research visas

From 6-24 months or longer

If you are going to stay at STRI for longer than 90 or 180 days or more, as a visiting researcher/fellow (depending on your nationality). Please notify the Visitor Services Office when you arrive. Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify to apply for a Short-Term Visa for Researchers and Scientists (Visa de Corta Estancia de Investigadores y Científicos), or any other proper visa category to legalize your stay.

It is important to begin the application process as soon as you arrive. Delays in submitting required paperwork may result in fines with Panama’s National Immigration Service. STRI’s External Affairs Office will assist you in processing your application.

Required documents

Background check

A police record from your country of residence or origin is an essential document for all Panamanian visa applications. This documents has to be issued by the corresponding police authority, notarized and given an apostille certification. If it is not in Spanish, the record must be translated into Spanish by a certified translator in Panama. We can provide you with a list of certified public translators in Panama, if needed.

Police records are valid for six months unless indicated otherwise on the document.

Citizens of the United States of America, Canada, England and Venezuela would not be able to obtain the background check (certified police record) in Panama. If you arrive at STRI and are in need of a certified police record, please visit here. If your embassy is not listed, please check with your Country’s embassy in Panama for further details.

Marriage certificate

A marriage certificate, duly certified, is an essential document for all Panamanian visa applications. (According to Art. 26, Panamanian Family Code, a legal marriage is between a man and a woman).

Please note:

Not all countries are signatories of the Apostille Convention. Document legalization procedures for people from these nations differ. Consult a Panamanian embassy or the Legal and External Affairs Office to ask about specific information.

Required documents

Registering with immigration for a Research Visa

In addition to the criminal background check and a round-trip ticket, you will be notified by the External Affairs Office regarding other documents needed for a longer stay at STRI.

Extensions

It is possible to extend a Short-Term Visa for Investigators and Scientists. Please initiate this process by contacting the Legal and External Affairs Office at least one month in advance.

Contact

For questions and issues related to immigration:

Celideth De León
Office of Legal and External Affairs
+507 212-8050
deleonc@si.edu     

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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