Home / Panama  / What the heck is a “multiple visa” and a “passport registration”?

What the heck is a “multiple visa” and a “passport registration”?

Starting a new life in a new country is undoubtedly a process that is full of stress and anxiety. Panama, for example, has two elements within its residency process that can be a bit confusing:

Multiple visa and passport registration

Starting a new life in a new country is undoubtedly a process that is full of stress and anxiety. Panama, for example, has two elements within its residency process that can be a bit confusing: multiple visa and passport registration. Let’s learn more about them, to understand what they entail and why they are so important for your application.

Multiple Visa

The “Decreto de Ley Número 3 del 22 de febrero de 2008” explains that the multiple visa is an authorization for entry and exit of the national territory (Panama). It is issued by the National Immigration Service, or a diplomatic or a consular personnel authorized to perform immigration functions, to non-residents who request it.

Therefore, this type of visa is issued in favor of a non-resident foreigner, that is trying to stay in the country while their residency is in process. This means, in order not to jeopardize the application, the holder is allowed to leave and enter the national territory an unlimited number of times, as long as the visa remains valid.

How long is this visa valid for?

A multiple visa is valid for up to five years and this should be stated in the corresponding passport. This authorization does not grant the right to remain in the country for period longer than 5 years. However, this does not state that all visas will be valid for 5 years, it only means that 5 years is the maximum period that the Immigration Department will grant. The amount of time allowed will depend on the Immigration’s Department evaluation of the application and on the applicant’s compliance with the requirements.

In addition, the application for this visa can be requested for less than a year and up to 5 years. Therefore, the law establishes that the government fees are $50 USD for less than one year and $100 USD for one year or more.

The possible penalties for overstaying a multiple visa include cancellation, deportation and expulsion. Furthermore, you would also have to pay a fine between $1000 USD and $2000 USD.

How can I apply for this visa?

All the applicants for temporary or permanent residency, regardless of the permit granted, have the possibility of entering and leaving Panama without the need for prior authorization from the Immigration Department, with some exceptions that may apply such as Covid’s requirements when they were necessary, for example. You will obtain this authorization on the day your application for residency is filed.

Multiple visa and passport registration

Passport registration

One of the fundamental steps in the immigration process is to register your passport before submitting the application, as this allows the Immigration Department to store information regarding its current applicants. The law mentions that every foreigner who applies for any migratory category of temporary or permanent residence   must register in the Foreigners Registry of the National Immigration Service.

Every applicant will be identified with a numerical code. The Immigration Department will take the appropriate measures so that this numerical code coincides or can be validated with the tax number of the General Directorate of Revenue of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Social Security Fund and the Electoral Tribunal, which will serve for all legal purposes, both in their public and private relations.

What happens if I change my passport after this registration?

There is a chance that for reasons of loss or damage, you may need to change your passport. However, as you could read above, for the Immigration Department and the Panama government, it is important to have this information updated.

Therefore, please consider that every foreigner is required to communicate any change in the information they have provided in the process of passport registration, within 30 calendar days, counted from the day on which the cause for the change begins.

If you do not notify to the the Immigration Department of any changes, you will be fined $100 USD and could face penalties including cancellation

If you have any questions, contact us and we will be more than happy to help you fulfill your dreams in Panama.



She serves as an Senior Immigration Client Services Coordinator at Outlier Legal and has a degree in Political Science and is currently a Law student. María José Chavarría worked in the Visa Unit and the Immigration Management at DGME, as a consultant at the International Organization for Migration and as an observer for the TSE in the municipal elections. Dedicated and helpful are some adjectives that fit her perfectly.

Review overview