You will not need a visa to enter or travel through Panama as a visitor.
An electronic affidavit of good health for all travellers needs to be completed before entering the country. The affidavit form is available on the Panama digital website. The completed affidavit will generate a QR code which will be scanned on arrival at Panama City Tocumen Airport.
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.
You will be required to give the address of your accommodation and a contact telephone number. You will also be required to download a tracing application to your smartphone.
Whilst tests can be carried out on arrival in Panama, some airlines may deny boarding a flight to Panama if you do not already have a negative COVID-19 test result.
If you’re fully vaccinated
Panama classifies travellers as fully vaccinated or not fully vaccinated. If you’re fully vaccinated, you can enter Panama without needing to test or quarantine. To be considered ‘fully vaccinated’ you must have proof of a completed vaccination programme (see proof of vaccination status) and must complete the traveller affidavit form before entering the country. If you are a seaman, you should physically present your vaccination card with the required doses at your port of entry.
At least 14 days must have passed since your second dose of the vaccine and the vaccine must be approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centre for Disease Control (CDC).
Find out if you qualify as fully vaccinated in Panama on the Panamanian Ministry of Health website (in Spanish).
Proof of vaccination status
You must present proof that you have been fully vaccinated to qualify for entry to Panama as a vaccinated traveller. If you do not have proof, you will be treated as if you’re not vaccinated.
Panama will accept the UK’s proof of COVID-19 recovery and vaccination record and proof of COVID-19 vaccination issued in the Crown Dependencies. Your final vaccine dose must have been administered at least 14 days prior to travel. Your NHS appointment card from vaccination centres is not designed to be used as proof of vaccination and should not be used to demonstrate your vaccine status.
If you’re not fully vaccinated
You are considered ‘not fully vaccinated’ if you have not received all doses necessary to complete a vaccination program in the country where you were vaccinated or have received no doses. If you are not fully vaccinated you must take a COVID-19 test 72 hours before arrival and show proof of a negative PCR / antigen result or have a test carried out at the port of entry, at your own cost.
Whilst tests can be carried out on arrival in Panama, some airlines may deny boarding a flight to Panama if you do not already have a negative COVID-19 test result. See information on getting a test before entry.
Once you arrive in Panama, you will need to take another test and quarantine for 10 days. You will need to quarantine at your own accommodation or at a place indicated by the Panamanian Ministry of Health. You can choose to take a PCR test on day 4. If the test is negative you can leave quarantine.
Find out if you qualify as fully vaccinated in Panama on the Panamanian Ministry of Health website.
Children and young people
Children under 12 years of age are exempt from any type of testing and quarantine if their parents, care givers or guardians comply with the COVID-19 entry requirements to enter Panama.
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.
Panama does not require a negative COVID-19 result to exit the country, however you are encouraged to check the entry requirements for the country of your final destination as they may vary.
You may be denied boarding if you do not comply with the necessary health requirements of your destination. Do not attempt to travel if you have a positive test result. If you are denied boarding because of a positive COVID-19 test, you will be required to quarantine at the designated facilities in Panama until relevant Panamanian health authorities have cleared you to travel.
Mandatory quarantine expenses will be covered by local health authorities, however quarantine facilities are basic.