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Moving to Panama City

What to know if you're moving to Panama City

For some expats, moving to Panama City is a drastic change of lifestyle, but all the efforts will ultimately pay off: the bustling and lively atmosphere, the tropical climate, and the welcoming people are bound to make up for the pains of relocation.

Need to move abroad? Organizing an international relocation is not something you should do on your own. As expats, we understand what you need, and offer the the essential services to help you move and live abroad easily. Contact us today to jump start your move, and begin the preparations with our free relocation checklist.

Relocating to Panama City

About the City

As the capital and largest city in Panama, Panama City is home to over 1.6 million people in 2014. Situated at the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal, it has historically been an important city for trade, shipping and export, but now has a thriving business and services economy.

The inhabitants of the city, known locally as capitalinos, are mainly Panamanian, Afro-Panamanian, or Mestizo, but due to its strong economy there is also a growing number of expatriates living in Panama City, as well as some Asian communities.

The official language of Panama is Spanish, but many people in Panama City also speak English as a second language, due to the large number of international businesses in the city.

The Climate in Panama City

Living in Panama City means adjusting to a seasonal tropical climate. There are only two seasons in each year: a wet season and a dry season.

The wet season, which runs from May to December, peaks in October, where average monthly rainfall of 330 mm is not uncommon. The dry season runs from January to April, and can be very humid.

Temperatures are consistent all year round, with an average of around 27 °C. However, as Panama City is in the Intertropical Convergence Zone, it is very prone to cloud cover, and so has less sunshine than other cities in Panama and Central America.

Visas for Panama

Expatriates moving to Panama City need to apply for a visa. Obtaining a visa for Panama can be difficult, but there are a number of different avenues you can take.

One of the most popular is to apply for a visa on the Reforestation Program, which requires an investment of at least 40,000 USD. In doing so you and your family will be granted a five year residency permit to live in Panama City, after which you can apply for citizenship.

Expatriates wishing to start their own business can apply for an Investor visa or a Small Business Investor visa, which are granted for one year but can be renewed. You can also apply for a Person of Means visa, for which you need to demonstrate that you can financially support yourself until you find work.

You can also apply for a visa alongside your work permit application if moving to Panama City for a particular job. Applications are made through your embassy or consulate and can take up to six months to complete.

Whether you are moving abroad for the first time or relocated multiple times before, the process raises many questions. Our complete guide to relocation will ease your doubts along the way, from the initial preparations to how to negotiate a relocation package, we help you GO! prepared with the key answers.

Updated on: August 03, 2015

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