A Panamanian man - citizen wearing a cowboy hat

Panama citizenship is achievable for many people from nations around the world. Many Expats from around the world are choosing this Central American paradise as their home, but what about those who choose to stay? Here’s your complete guide to Panama citizenship and the powerful Panamanian passport.

How to get Panama Citizenship and Nationality

The Panamanian Constitution governs Panamanian nationality. Check out Title 2 of the constitution “Citizenship and the Status of Foreigners” which includes articles 8 to 16 with the details.

Panama Citizenship By Birth Or Birthright

Panama nationality law applies Jus Soli (the right of soil) or birthright citizenship.

So if you were born in Panama, you are a Panamanian citizen. And, this right is regardless of the nationality or legal status of your parents.

The exception is that the children of foreign diplomats are excluded.

Panama Citizenship By Descent Or Option

Panamanian nationality law also applies Jus Sanguinis (the right of blood) in two cases. This law applies to children born outside the country.

  • If your parents were born in Panama, then you can claim citizenship as long as you return to live in Panama. Importantly, there is no age restriction in this case.
  • If your parents are naturalized Panama citizens, you can claim Panamanian citizenship. However, you must make Panama your home country before you are nineteen years old.

Panama Citizenship By Adoption

Anyone adopted by Panamanian nationals before seven years old is automatically a Panamanian citizen. However, after seven the adopted child will need a naturalization certificate.

Panama Citizenship By Marriage or Parenthood

There is a three-year naturalization qualification for two family groups:

  1. Anyone married to a Panamian national.
  2. Anyone who has had a child born in Panama, where the other parent is a Panamanian national.

In either case, you’ll have to complete the naturalization process.

Panama Citizenship By Naturalization

Panama has a specific requirement for naturalization. Specifically, you must be a permanent resident for your qualification time. This means that temporary residence permits and visas do not count. Happily, permanent residency is achievable for many, and you don’t have to live in the country to maintain PR status.

Please see our articles on Panama Visa and Residency options and Panama’s Friendly Nations Visa.

The naturalization period varies depending on who you are and where you come from. There are three main groups.

Family Members: Three Years

  • Spouse of a Panamanian national.
  • Parent of a child born in Panama, where the other parent is a Panamanian national.

Selected Latin American and Spanish citizens: One – Three Years

Panama has a Reciprocity Law with selected countries. So, if you come from these places, your naturalization is the same as a Panamanian in your home country.

  • One Year: Colombia, El Salvador
  • Two Years: Argentina, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Spain
  • Three Years: Uruguay

Everyone else: Five Years

The standard naturalization period is five years as a permanent resident.

Requirements for Naturalization

  1. You must give up any other nationalities (where possible) when Panama becomes your home country as part of the process. However, countries like the USA and Argentina do not accept this process as official renunciation.
  2. There are tests and exams which you need to pass.
  3. Spanish Language
  4. Panama’s history, geography, and civil rights. See the 37-page study guide here.
  5. Finally, you’ll need to swear to uphold the Constitution of Panama.

Panamanian Citizenship By Investment

Panama does not have a direct Citizenship by Investment program. However, you can use one of the Residency by Investment (RBI) opportunities as a pathway.

The RBI programs lead to permanent residence, and after one to five years, you can qualify for naturalization.

Residency by Investment options include:

  • Panama Friendly Nations Visa: Minimum USD$200,000.
  • Panama Reforestation Visa Program: Minimum USD$100,000.
  • Person of Means Visa: USD300,000.
  • Business Investor Visa: USD160,000.

Please check out our detailed article for full details of all these Panama investment visa options.

The Benefits of Panama Citizenship

The Powerful Panama Passport

A Panamanian passport gives you great freedom. In fact, more than 170 countries and territories offer visa-free travel or a visa on arrival. See Appendix 1 for a full list.

Panama passport holders enjoy a 90-day visa waiver for the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA), and the SCHENGEN area. This covers both tourism and business travel.

The passport also entitles you to Panamanian Embassy support when you are traveling.

Pass on Panamanian Nationality to your Kids

Panama nationality is heritable, so as a Panamanian, you can pass on the passport. It doesn’t matter how you qualify; your children will have the opportunity to become Panamanian.

Live and Work in Panama

Panama is attracting Expats from around the world, and a Panamanian passport will make you a part of this great nation. There are some restrictions for permanent residents, but as a citizen, you’ll have full and unrestricted rights.

How to Apply for Citizenship in Panama

The application process is complicated, with many agencies involved. The Panama Immigration Office issues visas and PR, and it will also certify your permanent residency.

But that is just the start. Your application ends up with the Panamanian President, via the Government Office, and the Ministry of Government and Justice. Each step requires different documentation and evidence.

For this reason, the process can take a long time, up to three years in some cases.

When you apply, you must also show that you are:

  • Of good character. The evidence is police reports from Panama.
  • In good health. You’ll need a certificate from a Panamanian healthcare professional.
  • A legal permanent resident for the required period.
  • Able to financially support yourself and your dependents.

We have partnered with one of the best law firms in Panama when it comes to service and fair pricing. They will guide you through the whole process and make it much easier for you. You can book an initial consultation with them here.

Panama does not allow Dual Citizenship

Official the answer is no; Panama does not allow dual nationality. So, you should give up the passports of any other country when you become a citizen through naturalization.

But, there are some grey areas.

  1. Counties like Argentina will not let you legally renounce your nationality.
  2. The USA and other countries require a formal declaration to renounce, and the Panama ceremony does not qualify.

People born in Panama may be eligible for multiple passports through descent and other pathways. But, Panama sees you as giving up your Panamanian nationality if you take on different nationalities. This implied renunciation is covered in Article 13 of the Panamanian Constitution.

Can you get Panamanian citizenship?

“Yes!” is the answer for many people. And, for many people, Panama citizenship and a passport will be a great option.

The many available pathways also make this an attractive option. But, it does have pitfalls.

The Panama citizenship application process is complex and can be difficult. Being rejected is a huge opportunity lost, not to mention the money wasted. We strongly suggest using an experienced immigration lawyer to ensure you get the best outcome, the first time. Using our 8-point assessment process, we have found a fantastic law firm in Panama to help you through the process. Please click here to book an appointment with them to discuss your case.

Appendix 1 – Visa Requirements for Panama citizens

Visa-free, visa on arrival, or eVisa

  • Albania
  • Andorra
  • Anguilla
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Armenia
  • Aruba
  • Ascension Island
  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belarus
  • Belgium
  • Belize
  • Benin
  • Bermuda
  • Bolivia
  • Bonaire
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Brazil
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Bulgaria
  • Cambodia
  • Cape Verde
  • Cayman Islands
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Comoros
  • Cook Islands
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Curaçao
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Djibouti
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • El Salvador
  • Estonia
  • Ethiopia
  • Faroe Islands
  • Finland
  • France and territories
  • French Guiana
  • French Polynesia
  • Gabon
  • Gambia
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Gibraltar
  • Greece
  • Greenland
  • Guadeloupe
  • Guatemala
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Guyana
  • Honduras
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Jamaica
  • Jordan
  • Kenya
  • Kosovo
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Laos
  • Latvia
  • Lebanon
  • Lesotho
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Macau
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • Malta
  • Martinique
  • Mauritania
  • Mauritius
  • Mayotte
  • Mexico
  • Micronesia
  • Moldova
  • Monaco
  • Montenegro
  • Montserrat
  • Mozambique
  • Myanmar
  • Nepal
  • Netherlands
  • New Caledonia
  • Nicaragua
  • Niue
  • North Macedonia
  • Northern Cyprus
  • Norway
  • Pakistan
  • Palau
  • Palestine
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Pitcairn Islands
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Qatar
  • Réunion
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Rwanda
  • Saba
  • Saint Barthélemy
  • Saint Helena
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Martin
  • Saint Pierre and Miquelon
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Samoa
  • San Marino
  • São Tomé and Príncipe
  • Seychelles
  • Singapore
  • Sint Eustatius
  • Sint Maarten
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Solomon Islands
  • Somalia
  • Somaliland
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • South Ossetia
  • South Sudan
  • Spain
  • Sri Lanka
  • Suriname
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Tajikistan
  • Tanzania
  • Timor-Leste
  • Togo
  • Transnistria
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Turkey
  • Turks and Caicos Islands
  • Tuvalu
  • Uganda
  • Ukraine
  • United Kingdom
  • Uruguay
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vatican City
  • Vietnam
  • Wallis and Futuna
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Visa or permit required

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  • Abkhazia
  • Afghanistan
  • Algeria
  • American Samoa
  • Angola
  • Australia
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Bhutan
  • Botswana
  • British Indian Ocean Territory
  • Brunei
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Cameroon
  • Canada
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • China
  • Clipperton Island
  • Côte d’Ivoire
  • Cuba
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Eritrea
  • Eswatini
  • Falkland Islands
  • Fiji
  • Ghana
  • Grenada
  • Guam
  • Guinea
  • Haiti
  • Iraq
  • Japan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kiribati
  • Kuwait
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • Mali
  • Marshall Islands
  • Mongolia
  • Morocco
  • Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (Artsakh)
  • Namibia
  • Nauru
  • New Zealand
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • North Korea
  • Northern Mariana Islands
  • Oman
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Puerto Rico
  • Republic of the Congo
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Senegal
  • Serbia
  • Sierra Leone
  • South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
  • Sudan
  • Syria
  • Thailand
  • Tokelau
  • Tonga
  • Tristan da Cunha
  • Tunisia
  • Turkmenistan
  • U.S. Virgin Islands
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United States
  • Vanuatu
  • Venezuela
  • Yemen

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