Panama’s Professional work permit

When contemplating a professional career in Panama, securing a Professional Work Permit is a critical step. This permit grants foreign professionals the opportunity to work legally in Panama. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore careers allowed under the Professional Work Permit, its associated benefits, and the application requirements for obtaining the permit card.

Careers Under the Professional Work Permit

Panama has a list of professions that are exclusively reserved for Panamanian nationals by birth or naturalization. If your profession falls outside this restricted list, you can apply for a Professional Work Permit. This permit opens doors to a wide range of career opportunities in Panama, spanning industries like finance, technology, tourism, and more.

Professional Career regulating laws
MedicineRegulated by Law 21 of 1994.
Civil EngineeringRegulated by Executive Decree 257 of 1965.
AccountingRegulated by Law 57 of 1978.
DentistryRegulated by Decree 32 of 1975.
PsychologyRegulated by Law 56 of 1975.
NursingRegulated by Law 1 of 1954.
ArchitectureRegulated by Law 17 of 1981.
PhysiotherapyRegulated by Law 47 of 1984.
JournalismRegulated by Law 11 of February 10, 1978.

Benefits and Criteria for the Professional Work Permit

The Professional Work Permit is initially granted for a two-year period, with an option for renewal, extending it for an additional three years. To be eligible for renewal, you must meet specific criteria:

  • Maintain regular contributions to Social Security, with a requirement of nine (9) installments.
  • Provide a tax declaration, accompanied by a tax clearance certificate from the General Directorate of Revenues.

Obtaining Your Professional Work Permit Card

To initiate your Professional Work Permit application, you must meet the following requirements:

  1. Power of Attorney: Prepare and submit a power of attorney on plain paper, providing both the original and a photocopy.
  2. Certificate from the National Immigration Service: Acquire a certificate from the National Immigration Service, confirming your current immigration status. This document necessitates eight (8.00) postage stamps.
  3. Notarized Copy of Your Identification: Include a notarized copy, certified by a Notary Public, of either your approved or in-process identification card issued by the National Immigration Service or a copy of your Permanent Resident card, authenticated by the National Directorate of ID Cards.
  4. Notarized and Legalized Educational Qualifications: Submit a notarized copy of your university degree (bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate), appropriately apostilled or legalized.
  5. Passport-sized Photos: Provide four passport-sized photos, each with your name inscribed on the back.

Cost Considerations for the Professional Work Permit

The cost associated with securing and renewing the Professional Work Permit in Panama can vary. We recommend consulting the relevant authorities for the most up-to-date fee information, ensuring you’re well-prepared for this process.

In addition to the Professional Work Permit, you may also need to address visa requirements. Panama offers different visa categories, such as Professional Permanent Residency.

In summary, Panama is a land of opportunity for foreign professionals, offering a wide array of careers and a vibrant culture to immerse yourself in. By understanding the careers available through the Professional Work Permit, grasping its benefits and requirements, and efficiently managing the application process for the permit card, you can embark on a successful professional journey in Panama with confidence.


What is the difference between a work visa and a work permit?

A work visa is typically a type of permission to enter a country for employment, while a work permit is the authorization to work once you’re already in that country.

Can I work in Panama without a work permit?

No, in Panama, you generally need a work permit to legally work.

What are the restricted professions in Panama?
  • Medicine Civil
  • Engineering
  • Accounting
  • Dentistry
  • Psychology
  • Nursing
  • Architecture
  • Physiotherapy
  • Journalism
Can I move to Panama and work?

Yes, you can move to Panama and work with Panama’s Professional Work Permit.

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NDM Law Firm & Associates have helped us through the process of Migration. They have taken the lead and made the entire journey quick and stress-free. Nisim, Judith & Christopher worked with us the entire time and explained every step of the process. Words can never express our gratitude for the attention that we have received during this process. We highly recommend NDM Law Firm & Associates to everyone in need of legal assistance and especially to all Expats that are beginning the Migration process. Thank you again to the entire staff for your hard work to help us achieve our dream of residing in Panama.
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