What Are The Requirements To Become A Panamanian Citizen?

Panamanian citizenship can only be acquired after five years of legal permanent residence and full immigrant status. Citizenship may be applied for by all foreigners who have conferred immigrant status (i.e. not pensionado or retiree residence status), after a period of five years following the date of approval of the Immigrant Visa (“Provisional Resident Permit”). For immigrants married to Panamanians or with Panamanian children, this period is reduced to three years.

The Panamanian nationality law requires (as does US naturalization law) an oath of renunciation of former citizen-ships as a condition of naturalization. However, currently the US court system interprets the renunciation as "non-meaningful" and therefore it will not result in the loss of US citizenship, unless the US citizen renounces their citizenship directly to the US State Department, which will then result in loss of US nationality.

With that said, it is not necessary to renounce US citizenship to the US State Department to obtain naturalization in Panama. There are many cases in which US citizens acquire dual citizenship. The easiest ways to obtain dual citizenship is if you were born in the foreign country where you are trying to gain citizenship, or if one of your parents were born in said country. Both these circumstances will not affect your US citizenship. Furthermore, dual citizenship between Panama and the US can also occur when the person is naturalized in Panama without intending to relinquish their US nationality.  As said above, to become naturalized one will need to legally live in Panama for a minimum of five years before being applicable. 

Required Documents to Obtain Panamanian Citizenship:

Five testimonials, rendered before a Civil Court of Panama, by five witnesses, who cannot be relatives, acknowledging that the applicant is known to them and has lived in Panama for more than three years or five years, according to the case, on an uninterrupted basis, from the date the Immigrant Visa was granted.

Negative HIV Test; X Rays of the lungs, and a general medical certificate attesting that the applicant does not suffer from any physical, mental or infectious diseases.

Notarized copy of the entire passport (i.e. every page of the passport).

Two passport photographs.

Various fees and stamp duties, totalling about US$600.

Written statement renouncing your previous nationality. However, such renunciation may have no effect , whatsoever in the country of the applicants current citizenship.

Stamps in the total amount of US$ 300, which must be adhered to the Letter of Naturalization. (Stamps may be bought when the Letter of Naturalization is issued).

Letter from the employer, or banking reference letter, or any other document certifying the monetary solvency of the applicant; and the Social Security Fund Record if the applicant works in Panama.

Power of Attorney to request a Certificate from the Personal Identification Division attesting to the date of issuance of the “Cédula” (Identiy card).

Upon filing of the application for a Letter of Naturalization, the applicant will be required to appear before the Electoral Tribunal to the effect of rendering examinations on Spanish language and geography, history and civil rights of the Republic of Panama

New Citizens will be able to obtain a passport and Personal ID card, which give them the right to vote for their desire candidate during elections, in the same way they acquire other constitutional rights and duties of Panama.

After the approval and issue of the Letter of Naturalization, the following steps must be taken by the new citizen:

1. Appear before the Immigration Department to personally receive the Letter of Naturalization and to hand over stamps for US$300 to be adhered to the Letter of Naturalization.

2. Appear before the Governor of the Province of Panama so as to solemnly swear that the Panama Constitution and laws shall be respected. US$ 200 will have to be paid to the Governor’s Office, in terms of official fees.

3. Register as a Panamanian Citizen before the Electoral Tribunal and obtain a new “Cedula” for which it will be necessary to pay the amount of US$ 60.