Working Legally in Panama
It is necessary for expats to obtain a work permit in order to legally work in Panama. The expat’s employer is typically responsible for obtaining the work permit on their behalf, however, the expat is also required to provide relevant documentation and attend personal interviews with immigration officials as part of the application process
There are some exemptions for certain categories of foreign workers, including those working for international organizations or diplomatic missions, or those with special professional or technical qualifications who have been invited to work in Panama.
Types of Work Permits for Expats in Panama
There are several types of work permits available for expats in Panama, including:
Temporary Work Permit: This is the most common type of work permit and is suitable for expats who will be working in Panama for a limited period of time.
Permanent Work Permit: This type of permit is suitable for expats who will be working in Panama on a long-term basis, and typically requires a higher level of qualifications and experience than a temporary work permit.
Self-Employed Work Permit: This type of permit is for expats who will be setting up and running their own business in Panama.
Work Permit Application Process in Panama
The procedure for applying for a work permit in Panama can be complex, and typically involves several stages, including:
The expat’s employer must submit a job offer to the Panama Labor Ministry.
The expat must attend a personal interview with immigration officials and provide relevant documents, including a valid passport, police clearance certificate, and medical certificate.
The expat’s employer must submit the completed application and supporting documentation to the immigration authorities for processing.
The processing time for a work permit in Panama can vary, but it typically takes between 4-8 weeks.
Work Permit Documents in Panama
The following documents are typically required to apply for a work permit in Panama:
Police clearance certificate
Proof of financial means (e.g. bank statements)
Proof of qualifications and experience (e.g. CV, diplomas, and certificates)
Work Permit Costs in Panama
The cost of applying for a work permit in Panama varies, but typically includes the following fees:
Processing fee: This fee is paid to the immigration authorities for processing the work permit application.
Legal fees: These fees are paid to an immigration lawyer to assist with the application process and ensure that all necessary documents are submitted correctly.
Reliable Information on Working Legally in Panama
Expats can find reliable information on working legally in Panama from the following sources:
Panama Labor Ministry: The Labor Ministry is the government agency responsible for overseeing the work permit application process in Panama, and has information on the requirements and procedures involved.
Panama Immigration Authorities: The immigration authorities in Panama are responsible for processing work permit applications, and can provide further information on the requirements and procedures involved.
Panama Chamber of Commerce: The Chamber of Commerce is a business organization in Panama that provides information and support to expats on a range of issues, including working legally in Panama.
Panama Embassies and Consulates: The embassies and consulates of Panama in other countries can provide information and assistance to expats on working legally in Panama.