What You Need to Know About the Panama Digital Nomad Visa


It may be home to the famous Panama Canal, but there’s much more to Panama than the artificial waterway. With huge biodiversity, the incredible nomad hub of Panama City, and the beaches of Bocas del Toro, Panama has everything you could hope for as a remote worker far away from home. Launched in May 2021, the Panama digital nomad visa, known simply as the “Short-Stay Visa for Remote Workers,” allows digital nomads to live and work in Panama for up to nine months. 

From the minimum income requirements and application fees to a certificate of good health and the application process itself—find out everything you need to know about the Panama digital nomad visa in our guide to remote working in the country. 

What is the Panama Digital Nomad Visa?

The Panama digital nomad visa, known officially as the “Short-Stay Visa for Remote Workers”, is a long-term visa designed with remote workers in mind. It was introduced in response to the drop in tourism caused by the global pandemic, combined with the rise in remote work and a widely adopted “work from home” attitude. The Panama digital nomad visa allows digital nomads to live and work in the country for an initial nine-month period with the option of renewal for a further nine months. In the most basic sense, applicants must either work remotely for a foreign company, work as a freelancer with foreign clients, or own a business abroad to qualify for the nomad visa.

Panama joins neighboring countries Costa Rica, Colombia, and Ecuador in offering a long-term visa for remote workers. Check out our global digital nomad guide, which showcases the complete list of all countries currently offering a digital nomad visa.

Why is the Panama Digital Nomad Visa Better Than a Tourist Visa?

Although entry rules vary depending on the nationality of the visitor, guests may stay in Panama for a maximum of 90-180 days as a tourist. With the Panama digital nomad visa, successful applicants can spend an initial nine months in the country with the option of renewing for up to 18 months total. Despite the long-term stay, applicants are not required to pay any additional taxes when living and working in the country. After spending a minimum of six months in Panama, nomads may be permitted to apply for tax residency.

Panama Digital Nomad Visa Requirements 

Unfortunately, Panama’s Short-Stay Visa for Remote Workers isn’t open to all. To qualify, digital nomads must satisfy the following criteria:  

  • Valid Passport: The applicant's passport must be valid for at least three months at the time of application. 
  • Remote Worker: All applicants must be remote workers as either freelancers, remote employees from a foreign company, or foreign business owners. 
  • $36,000 USD Minimum Annual Income: Applicants must prove a minimum annual income of at least $36,000 USD to prove financial stability. This can be completed by providing bank statements. 
  • Health Insurance: Applicants must show proof of health insurance with coverage in Panama.
  • Clean Criminal Record: All applicants must provide a certified clean criminal record.

How to Apply 

The Panama digital nomad visa is one of the most difficult for remote workers to apply for. Our step-by-step guide is designed to walk prospective nomads through the in-person application process.

Step 1: Collect all Necessary Documents

The first step in applying for any digital nomad visa is to first collect all of the documents required for application. Applicants must provide the following when applying for the Panama remote working visa: 

  • Valid passport (Minimum three-month validity)
  • Three passport-sized photos
  • Proof of annual income (bank statements etc.)
  • Proof of remote work (signed company letter, proof of company ownership, an outline of services, etc.)
  • Certificate of good health
  • A certified criminal record check

Applicants should note that all documents that have been issued abroad must be both notarized and apostilled before submission.

Step 2: Make a Visa Appointment

Once all necessary documents have been collected, remote workers can then make a visa appointment with their local Panamanian embassy or consulate. Depending on the nationality of the applicant, visa appointments may be scheduled in a neighboring country. Upon attending the visa appointment, applicants will be required to fill out the visa application form and display their documents. 

Step 3: Make the Visa Fee Payment 

Following the visa appointment, applicants will be required to make the payment of the visa fee. The fees listed are currently listed at $250 USD for the National Immigration Agency and a further $50 USD for the visa card.

Step 4: Await Approval

The final step is for digital nomads to simply await the verdict of their visa application, which could take 30 days from start to finish.

Why Choose Panama for your Next Remote Working Trip?

For remote workers, the country is split into two main nomad hubs—Panama City and Bocas del Toro and although other destinations can be great for remote work, the bulk of travelers choose one of the two. Bocas del Toro is popular for its beaches, but for a real buzz in the big city, Panama City is best for remote workers.

For a quantitative evaluation of the country, we can use the 2021 Legatum Prosperity Index, an annual independent study utilizing more than 100 different indexes. Panama ranks 51st out of a total of 167 included nations with the figure aiming to give a realistic overview, taking into account everything from health and safety to infrastructure and market access. It scores particularly well in the natural environment index, ranking 31st globally, and in healthcare, ranking 48th. Panama does, however, struggle in a handful of different areas and ranks 92nd globally for education, 88th for enterprise conditions, and 78th for living conditions. 

Remote Work Culture in Panama

Panama offers a fantastic remote work culture and infrastructure for digital nomads in both Panama City and Bocas del Toro with laptop-friendly cafes, coworking spaces, and digital nomad communities. Dedicated coworking spaces include Panama Coworking Center, My Office Coworking, and Spaces, although it is popular for nomads to spend time working either from cafes/restaurants or from an apartment thanks to the low rental prices.  

Panama enjoys high-quality internet with fixed broadband ranking in 24th position on the global scale. Remote workers should expect to find average download speeds of 110 Mbps with upload speeds of 14 Mbps. However, mobile internet does not fare as well and average download speeds of 14 Mbps and upload speeds of 11 Mbps should be expected.

Cost of Living and Quality of Life in Panama 

The cost of living in Panama is estimated at an average of 33% lower than in the United States. Rental properties are also inexpensive, estimated at 58% lower than equivalent U.S. properties. Ultimately, an individual digital nomad living and working in the country should expect to pay approximately $660 USD (without rent) in living expenses. For a family of four, the monthly living expenses are expected to reach a value of $2,385 USD (without rent). 

The low cost of living is matched with a moderate quality of life ranking with the country scoring an almost perfect 50% score with 123/240. Panama performs well in the climate and cost of living index, low in the purchasing power index, and moderately throughout the remaining indexes.

Healthcare in Panama

Using the 2021 Legatum Prosperity Index, Panama is ranked 48th position, between Vietnam (47th) and Peru (49th) when looking at the health pillar showcased in the study. This pillar offers insight into the overall health service quality in the country, including information on mortality rates, risk factors, illness outcomes, and health systems. All digital nomads looking to apply for the Panama remote working visa must show proof of health insurance. A range of different travel insurance providers will offer this service, although we would recommend a nomad-specific insurer that covers the nuances of international remote work. 


With an initial nine-month visa period up for grabs (with a further nine-month extension available for qualified remote workers), the Panama digital nomad visa could be a good option for laptop-wielding globetrotters. With two major nomad hubs, Panama proves to be one of the most popular remote working destinations on this side of the Atlantic. Now, with the specialist visa, a new wave of travelers can experience the magic of the Central American country. 

The visa is, however, not open to all, and a clean criminal record, coverage of health insurance, and $36,000 USD annual income are just some of the qualifying criteria. This visa process is one of the tricker options available to digital nomads and with an in-person appointment required for application, you may be required to travel to apply. 

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