Moving to Panama: Things you should know before you immigrate to Panama

Moving to Panama: Things you should know before you immigrate to Panama

When you are thinking of relocating to a place that offers a pleasant climate, proximity to the ocean and affordable housing, Panama is the way to go. This country, which is squeezed between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribean Sea, offers breathtaking beaches, modern facilities and a great place for kids to grow up in. So, when you have fallen for this country, join us when we dive into all stages of relocating to Panama.



International removals to Panama with Eurosender

Over the last few decades, an increasing number of people has been moving to Panama from the USA. Among these expats, one can find digital nomads, retirees, and adventurers who want to set up their own business in Panama. Whatever the reason for your move to this tropical paradise, you will not be disappointed. Very few think about going back to their home country but the ones that do, usually have incorrect expectations when coming to Panama. Of course, life will not be the same as living in New York or Miami. But when you move to Panama, you know for sure that you are making a step in the right direction.

It might have been a while since you last looked at the Wiki page of Panama. So to get your facts straight, we have ordered the most important facts in the table below.

CapitalPanama City which, with 880.000 inhabitants, is also the largest city in Panama.
TimezoneIn Panama, there is one time zone: UTC-5
CurrencyBalboa (PAB) and the United States dollar (USD)
PopulationPanama has a population of roughly 4 million inhabitants.
How do you call someone from Panama?Panamanian
Official languageThe official language in Spanish.
International dialing code+507
Emergency number911 (ambulance) 103(fire department) 104 (police)
DrivingRight side
TippingTipping is only done as a sign of good service. Wages are included in the bill.
Unusual factPanama was the first Latin American country to introduce the U.S. dollar as its own currency.

When relocating from the USA to Panama you don’t want to stress about the shipping of your personal belongings. With Eurosender you don’t have to worry about anything. We arrange the entire shipment for you, city-to-city and door-to-door. Whether you only want to send your wardrobe to your new digs in several suitcases or you want to ship your entire kitchen inventory on pallets, with Eurosender you will always find the fastest option and the lowest price. Don’t wait and contact our logistics experts today to get a personal offer that matches your needs. International removals to Panama have never been so easy!

Living in Panama

When you move to Panama, you better come prepared. Take a look at some of the advice of fellow expats that have already moved to Panama long before you.

  • The weather in Panama is wet and humid all the time. Make sure that you can endure this type of weather, as this has been the reason that some expats had to leave the country again.
  • Customer Service sucks in Panama, especially when you are used to the level of service in for example the USA.
  • Roughly half of the population lives in the capital Panama City. As a result, the city is overcrowded and suffers from traffic digestion and air pollution.

Visa Regulations for Panama

  • Citizens from many countries (for example the USA, Canada, countries in the EU) can stay up to 6 months on a tourist visa. Remember that you are not allowed to work with this kind of visa and you can drive only for 3 months with your domestic driving license.
  • The Pensionada Visa is one of the things that made Panama a famous expat destination. When you have a pension that provides you with a minimum of $1.000 a month for the rest of your life, you can apply for this visa and easily become a permanent resident of Panama.
  • The self-explanatory Temporary residence card with a work permit is a good option for those who want to work temporarily in Panama.
  • When marrying a Panamanian citizen, you are automatically entitled to Permanent Residence.
  • The Friendly Nations Visa applies to 47 countries that have warm relations with Panama. As there are several important requirements that are sometimes subject to change, it is best to contact your local Panamanian embassy and find out about the documents that are required.

Healthcare in Panama

Public healthcare is in a decent state in the bigger cities and towns. However, when you are traveling more towards the rural areas, you will find that there is often a shortage of good medical care. In most cases, you can only find a first-aid post. Most people expect that private healthcare will solve this issue but that is not the case. On the other hand, private facilities in big cities, such as Panama City and Changuinola, often have state of the art facilities that compare well to Western countries. Keep in mind that private healthcare in Panama is rather expensive, so be sure to get proper healthcare insurance before you embark on your new adventure.

Important: Before visiting or relocating to Panama, always contact your doctor to check if you need any special vaccination before traveling to Panama.

School and education

Compared to surrounding countries, the education system in Panama is of fairly good quality. For the years that education is mandatory, it is free of charge. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that everyone attends school or has access to the same quality of facilities. The differences between schools in the countryside and the city can be shocking.

Type Age Mandatory
Pre-school4-5Yes
Primary/Elementary school6-12Yes
Secondary school12-15Yes
High school15-18No

After finishing high school, you can go on to study at a University.
Most expats opt for private education. The reason for this is that children can study in English and have facilities that compare well to the ones in their home country.

The job market in Panama

The biggest employer in Panama is not the state nor a company: it is the Panama Canal. Most expats in Panama owe their job in one way or another to this artificial waterway. Having said that, Panama’s economy is one of the most stable in Latin America and has been steadily growing. Perspective sectors for expats looking for employment are the whole service industry (including tourism and banking), agriculture and the energy sector.

Property information

You can find accommodation in any price class in Panama, ranging from a little shag on the beach to an enormous villa in the hills. However, living in a gated community with fellow expats is the most common choice for foreigners. These places usually offer good security, shared pools and gyms, shops and even schools and nurseries. Of course, these things come at a price, so when your budget is not so big you can always start out sharing an apartment with someone else.

Cost of moving to Panama

One of the most common questions we get these days is: How much is shipping from the USA to Panama? The answer depends on several things.

These three things make up the cost of moving house to Panama. So, when you are looking for the cheapest way to move furniture to Panama, just contact our team of logistics experts and they provide you with an individual offer that exactly matches your needs. This way you will be sure that you have the lowest average moving costs to Panama and you can spend your money on exploring this exotic gem in the center of the Americas.

Cost of living in Panama

On the whole, life in Panama is very affordable and with about a $1.000 budget a month, you will be able to pay all your bills. Of course, just as in most countries, the lifestyle you live determines the budget you need. Things as eating out, driving a car, cell phone plans and accommodation are all cheaper than in, for example, the USA. The only things that might be a shocker are the utility bills.

Driving in Panama

You need your own driving license and an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in Panama when you are staying in the country less than 90 days. When staying for more than 90 days, you will have to obtain a Panamanian driving license.
Some other things that you should know about driving in Panama are:

  • In general driving in Panama is quite calm and safe. However, there is one exception: Panama City. In the capital it is recommended to take a few rides per taxi, to get an idea of the traffic.
  • You need a prepaid “PanaPass” to enter the tollways in Panama.
  • When leaving the cities, you might find that the conditions of the roads can be quite poor. So, whenever you rent a car it is recommended to hire a 4×4.
  • When someone coming from the opposite direction flashes their lights, it usually means that there is traffic police on the road checking for speeding.

The most popular destination from where you can move to Russia

Canada

Many people living in Canada are tired of the severe winters and the freezing cold for months on end. However, when you think of Panama, the opposite comes to mind. So, moving to Panama from Canada might be the right opportunity for you. Whether you are a digital nomad or a pensioner looking for more sun, Panama will definitely surprise you in a pleasant way. Add to that the close proximity to Canada and you understand that you can easily fly home to be with your loved ones for special occasions. Nowadays plane tickets don’t cost much but bringing a lot of luggage may dramatically increase your expenses. So ship your luggage and everything else with Eurosender and you can spend your money on other things.

Australia

Your Australian pension or other income is worth much more in Panama as the cost of living is much lower there. So when you want to enjoy everything that this tropical paradise has to offer, pack your bags and start looking for employment. With its relaxed visa policy, Panama is very welcoming towards immigrants. So when you are thinking about moving to Panama from Australia, you can easily bring your surfboard, sailboat or horseriding equipment. With Eurosender you know that your items are in good hands.

Other destinations?

Disclaimer: The materials provided in this article were collected from other credible resources to be used for general information purposes only. Given that the legislative basis of the country and its economic development have a changing nature, the information provided in the article could be subject to change. Whilst we endeavour to keep the information up-to-date and correct, Eurosender will not be liable for any inappropriate, incomplete, or inaccurate information. Certain links will lead to websites which are not under control of Eurosender. Thus, Eurosender accepts no liability in respect of materials, products or services being not under control of Eurosender.