Tourist Visa Reduced to 90 days

Panama’s Tourist Visa has been reduced from 6 months to 90 days (3 months) as published in the government’s Gazette (La Gaceta), Jan 10 2017. 

Executive Decree No. 320 of August 9, 2008 , was altered by President Juan Carlos Varela to state immigration authorities of the National Immigration Service will now issue tourist visas for a term no longer than 90 days (three months).

The change was likely triggered by the growing number of people living and working on tourist visas, according to the newspaper La Estrella de Panama. The law hopes to increase the number of people living and working in Panama legally by offering some leniency to those working on attaining residency. In the new decree, Article 16 speaks to the National Migration Service granting a term of six months to foreigners applying for migratory, temporary, and permanent residency. The extension will cost $ 50.00.

 

What does this mean for expats in Panama?

The new decree will not affect those who are currently visiting Panama on an existing tourist visa,  this means if you entered Panama prior to January 10th 2017, you will have 6 months before your visa expires. However, what it does mean is that expats living on a tourist visa, who do not have permanent residency, will be forced to leave Panama more frequently to renew their tourist status.