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COVID-19 Panama Information

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67 MINUTE READ
January 19, 2022

Last updated: 12/28/2021

***  Effective December 6, 2021, all airline passengers to the United States ages two years and older, regardless of vaccination status or citizenship, must provide a negative COVID-19 viral test taken within one calendar day of travel.  Alternatively, travelers to the United States may provide documentation from a licensed health care provider of having recovered from COVID-19 in the 90 days preceding travel.  Check the CDC website for additional information and Frequently Asked Questions.   

Effective November 8, all non-U.S. citizens, nonimmigrant (not a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, lawful permanent resident, or traveling to the United States on an immigrant visa) airline passengers traveling to the United States, must demonstrate proof of vaccination as defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Order prior to boarding a U.S.-bound aircraft. More details regarding what constitutes full vaccination are available on this page of the CDC website.

 

Country-Specific Information

  • On January 18, 2022, the Panamanian Ministry of Health confirmed 591,843 total cases of COVID-19 in Panama.
  • On June 2, 2020, MINSA published a resolution stating that anyone leaving their residence must wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth. Additionally, effective May 17, 2021, facial screens are also mandatory on public transportation throughout Panama. Individuals not wearing a mask are subject to possible detention and fines.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Panama due to COVID-19.  The State Department has also issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory for Panama. Read the Health Notice and Travel Advisory.
  • The Government of Panama’s Ministry of Health (MINSA) reminds citizens and residents of Panama that staying at home, not touching your face, and washing your hands frequently are the best means of prevention against COVID-19.  It also requires the use of masks, even homemade ones, when in public.
  • All restaurants, stores and other commercial establishments are currently available. Some establishments may require proof of vaccination for entry.

COVID-19 Testing

  • Are either PCR or antigen tests available for U.S. citizens in Panama? Yes
  • If so, are test results reliably available within one calendar day? Yes
  • For information on limited humanitarian exemptions to CDC’s requirement that all U.S. bound travelers present a negative COVID test, please click here

Humanitarian exemptions to this order will be granted on an extremely limited basis and will only be considered when the country of departure lacks adequate COVID-19 testing capacity.   To submit information in support of an exemption, email panama-acs@state.gov

Testing is available at the following locations:

  • Tocumen International Airport (for international arrivals and departures), antigen rapid test cost: $50 / molecular test cost: $85.
  • Hospital Nacional, Contact 306-3300, WhatsApp 6949-6124.
  • Hospital Punta Pacifica,  If you want car-side testing, visit the Punta Pacifica drive-through testing center. Appointments at the following link: https://www.pacificasalud.com/expresscovid. 
  • Lab Center is offering home services. Appointments are made through WhatsApp at 6285-7181
  • Panama Clinic, Contact 310-1111

 

COVID-19 Vaccine Information:

  • Has the Government of Panama approved a COVID-19 vaccine for use?  Yes
  • Are vaccines available in Panama for U.S. citizens to receive? Yes   
  • Which vaccines are available in Panama? Pfizer and AstraZeneca    
  • On January 13, 2021 the Government of Panama initiated its COVID-19 vaccination rollout plan. The country receives new shipments of vaccines frequently. The public is encouraged to register for vaccination by the GoPhere. Registration is available for foreigners with or without residency registration numbers (numeros de filiacion). 
  • Visit the FDA’s website to learn more about FDA-approved vaccines in the United States. 
  • The United States government does not plan to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to private U.S. citizens overseas. Please see the Department of State COVID-19 Vaccine Information for U.S. Citizens Abroad. Please follow host country developments and guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Please see Information from the CDC regarding COVID-19 vaccination.

Entry and Exit Requirements

  • Are U.S. citizens permitted to enter? Yes. Fully vaccinated and boosted travelers must bring proof of vaccination and electronic sworn affidavit. Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated travelers must present a negative Covid test. 
  • Is a negative COVID-19 test (PCR and/or serology) required for entry? Yes, a negative PCR or antigen test is required unless the passenger can provide proof that they have been fully vaccinated and boosted at least 14 days prior to arriving in Panama.
  • Are health screening procedures in place at airports and other ports of entry? Yes
  • Visa extensions for residents and/or tourists should be solicited directly to the Panama Immigration Service.

Entry Requirements for fully vaccinated and boosted travelers:

Effective August 31, 2021, travelers arriving in Panama who present a digital or physical full COVID Vaccination Certificate plus a booster vaccine, showing that they received all required doses of a COVID vaccine approved by the WHO, FDA or EMA at least 14 days prior to their entry, are exempt from all testing and quarantine requirements to enter Panama.

Effective January 28, 2022, the Panamanian government will consider a vaccination scheme complete when the traveler has received 3 (three) doses, with the exception of Janssen from Johnson & Johnson, for which the application of 2 (two) doses is considered complete.

Each individual entering Panama must complete and sign an electronic sworn affidavit  prior to check-in.  See the Ministry of Tourism webpage  for more information about current entry requirements. 

Entry Requirements for unvaccinated and partially vaccinated travelers: 

All unvaccinated and partially vaccinated travelers are required to present a negative COVID-19 test (PCR or Antigen) within 72 hours prior to traveling to Panama or be tested at the airport at their expense.

Effective September 16, 2021, unvaccinated and partially vaccinated travelers arriving in Panama from a high-risk country with a negative COVID-19 test are required to quarantine for 72 hours and be tested again with negative results to end the quarantine. If they test positive, they will be required to quarantine for 10 days. If they are nationals or legal residents of Panama, they may be allowed to quarantine at their homes, while arrivals who are not residents or citizens of Panama will be required to quarantine at government approved hotels at their own expense. 

Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated travelers from low-risk countries who present a negative COVID-19 test will be exempt from quarantine requirements. If they test positive, they will be required to quarantine for 10 days.

Each individual entering Panama must complete and sign an electronic sworn affidavit  prior to check-in.  See the Ministry of Tourism webpage  for more information about current entry requirements. 

Effective November 25, 2021, the following countries are considered high-risk for travel to Panama: Cayman Islands, Barbados, Anguilla, Bonaire, Greece, Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Serbia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Hungary, Faroe Islands, Ireland, Montenegro, Croatia, Netherlands, Slovakia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Armenia, Ukraine, Jersey, Georgia, Guernsey, and the United Kingdom 

Please note that the Embassy cannot grant exceptions to Panamanian Government regulations or insist that passengers be retested or discharged from quarantine prior to the end of the required quarantine period.

Children under the age of 12 are exempt from all testing and quarantine requirements to enter Panama, as long as their parents or legal guardians comply with the above requirements.

Effective December 2, 2021, and regardless of vaccination status, Panama suspended the entry of non-Panamanian nationals and residents coming from or who have been in the following African countries in the 14 days preceding their travel: South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Malawi.

Both vaccinated and unvaccinated Panamanian nationals and/or legal residents travelling to Panama from these African countries must present a negative COVID-19 test taken in the last 72 hours to enter the country. Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated travelers will need to remain in quarantine for 72 hours after entry and be re-tested with negative results to end their quarantine. Vaccinated travelers will be exempt from quarantine requirements but will also need to be re-tested after 72 hours of entry.

Exit Requirements:

  • A COVID-19 test is not required to exit Panama; however, some countries require the test to enter their territory.
  • If you are a U.S. citizen overseas and your passport expired on or after January 1, 2020, you may be able to use your expired passport to return directly to the United States until March 31, 2022. Please see the Department of State website for additional information.

Movement Restrictions

  • Is a curfew in place? No
  • Are there restrictions on intercity or interstate travel? No

Movement and business restrictions may vary by region. See the MINSA Twitter page for details.

For all the details about changes made by the Government of Panama in response to the pandemic, please see the daily announcements on the Ministry of Health’s website, Twitter or Instagram account.

Business Operations:

On January 12, 2021, the Government of Panama initiated a gradual reopening plan. All restaurants, stores and other commercial establishments are currently available. Some establishments may require proof of vaccination for entry.

The Embassy encourages everyone to prepare accordingly. Maintain adequate supplies of food and medicine and be prepared to shelter in place as directed by local authorities.

Quarantine Information

  • Are U.S. citizens required to quarantine?
    Vaccinated U.S. citizens arriving in Panama are not required to quarantine. 
    Unvaccinated U.S. citizens arriving in Panama from a high-risk country are required to quarantine for 72-hours AND present a negative Covid-test upon arrival 
  • Unvaccinated passengers on inbound, outbound, or transit flights who test positive for COVID-19 at the airport may be required to quarantine at a MINSA-designated hotel/hospital for 10 days. The Embassy cannot insist that passengers be retested or discharged from quarantine prior to the end of the required quarantine period.
  • Effective November 25, 2021, unvaccinated travelers arriving in Panama who have been in or who transited through Cayman Islands, Barbados, Anguilla, Bonaire, Greece, Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Serbia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Hungary, Faroe Islands, Ireland, Montenegro, Croatia, Netherlands, Slovakia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Armenia, Ukraine, Jersey, Georgia, Guernsey, or the United Kingdom must provide proof of a negative COVID test within the last 72 hours or be tested at the airport. If the person tests positive at Tocumen International Airport, they will be transferred directly to a hotel-hospital for a 14-day quarantine. If the person tests negative, he or she will follow a 3-day quarantine at a hotel-hospital at their expense; Panamanian citizens and residents may be allowed to complete their quarantines in their homes. All quarantined travelers will be tested again by MINSA at the end of their quarantine period.  Please note that the Embassy cannot grant exceptions to Panamanian Government regulations or insist that passengers be retested or discharged from quarantine prior to the end of the required quarantine period.  For additional information, please review VisitPanama’s COVID Test Requirements and Travel Guidelines page.

Transportation Options

  • Are commercial flights operating? Yes 
  • Is public transportation operating? Yes 

Masks are required any time you leave your home, including when using public transportation. Additionally, effective May 17, facial screens are also mandatory on public transportation throughout Panama.

Fines for Non-Compliance

  • Fines are set by the Juez de Paz in each jurisdiction and not published in any decrees. The Embassy has media reports that fines range from $100 to $1000.

Consular Operations

American Citizen Services

  • We have resumed routine American Citizen Services. Staffing remains reduced due to pandemic precautions, as a result, there are a limited number of interviews scheduled per week. Please click here to schedule your appointment.
  • If you need to request an emergency service, email your request to Panama-ACS@state.gov, and be sure to explain the nature of the emergency.

Visa Services

  • As of September 17, 2020, the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Panama is able to process certain immigrant and non-immigrant visa services.  If you have an emergency need for a visa, complete your application, pay for, and schedule your appointment at www.ustraveldocs.com/pa You may request consideration for an expedited appointment through the same system. Please be sure to submit supporting documents along with your request. If the visas service you are seeking is suspended, please email Panama-Visas@state.gov and explain your emergency and/or why you should qualify for an exemption to the current suspension of services.
  • We are currently scheduling appointments for the following types of non-immigrant visas: students, crew-members, journalists, people with extraordinary abilities, artists, athletes, investors, diplomatic, and work visas.  Business/tourism (B1/B2) visa holders can also renew their visas by mail if they meet the requirements.
  • We are also scheduling immigrant visa interviews for all categories.  Please contact Panama-IVisas@state.gov if you have questions or need assistance.

Local Resources

  • For updates from Panama’s Ministry of Health and COVID-19 resources, go to (in Spanish) https://yomeinformopma.org/
  • Inquiries about COVID-19 can be directed to: Ministry of Health hotline in Panama (169). Department of Epidemiology Dra. Lourdes Moreno (507-9100)

Other links