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Get a Panama Document Authentication and Apostille

Document authentication and Apostille are two methods of verifying the authenticity of public documents for use in other countries. 

This text will explore the similarities and differences between these methods, it will also provide a detailed guide on how to obtain document legalization and apostille in Panama.

Authentication Process at the Consulate

If you need to authenticate your documents for Panama, you must provide original documents or certified copies with updated seals and signatures. Private documents, such as contracts or wills, also require endorsement by a Notary Public and an affidavit.

For educational documents, such as diplomas and credits, you must get them notarized before sending them to the Consulate of Panama. However, if you are a Panamanian citizen, you can skip this step if your documents are less than 6 months old.

The authentication fee is $30.00 per document, and you must pay it by money order to the Consulate of Panama. To ensure secure and prompt processing, we recommend using Express Mail or similar services. The process usually takes 8 to 10 business days.

Consular Notarial Services in the US

Consular officers can perform notarial services that are similar to those of a public notary in the US. These services include certifying true copies of documents, acknowledging signatures, and more.

The fee for notarial services is $50.00 per consular seal, and you can pay it by cash or credit card. You may also need to pay photocopy charges if you need to make copies of your documents for notarization.

If you are a tourist, you can drive in Panama for 90 days with a valid U.S. driver’s license. After that, you will need to obtain a Panamanian driver’s license by following the steps outlined by the Consulate. The Consulate also offers various notarial services for other purposes, such as retirement benefits certification, passport consent, and ITIN certification.

Panama’s Accession to the Hague Convention

To use documents from Panama in other countries that are part of the Hague Convention, you need to get an apostille. An apostille is a special stamp that verifies the document’s authenticity. Panama has been issuing apostilles since 1990, when it joined the Hague Convention. 

Depending on the type of document, you may need to contact different authorities to get an apostille. Some of the documents that can be apostilled are birth certificates, diplomas, court rulings, and more. The average time to get an apostille is about two weeks.

Authentication Through the Panamanian Consulate

If you need to legalize a document for use in Panama, you have two options: consular legalization or apostille. Consular legalization involves sending your document to a Panamanian consulate in your country, along with a fee of $30.00 per document. The consulate will verify and stamp your document, and then send it to the Panama Ministry of Foreign Affairs for further authentication. This process can take several weeks or months, depending on the availability and efficiency of the consulate.

Apostille is a faster and simpler way to legalize your document. Apostille is a special seal that certifies the authenticity of a document issued by a country that is a party to the Hague Convention of 1961. 

If your country is a member of this convention, you can obtain an apostille from a designated authority in your country, such as a notary public, a court, or a government office. The apostille will be recognized by Panama without the need for any further verification.

If you are in the United States, you can find the contact details of the Panamanian consulates in different states on the website of the Embassy of Panama in Washington, D.C. You can also check the website of the U.S. Department of State for information on how to obtain an apostille in your state.

How do I get a document apostilled in Panama?

An apostille is a certificate that verifies the authenticity of a public or notarized document for use in another country. In Panama, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the only entity that can issue apostilles for documents that originate or are certified in Panama.

If you need to use a document from another country in Panama, you must first get an apostille from the competent authority in that country. You may also need to translate the document into Spanish, depending on the requirements of the Panamanian institution that will receive it. 

Apostilles can have different validity periods depending on the type of document. For example, apostilles for birth certificates are valid indefinitely, while apostilles for criminal records are valid for six months.

You can also check the status of your request on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For more information, you can consult the user guide or contact us.

How long is an apostille valid for?

An apostille does not have an expiration date, but some countries may have specific requirements on how recent the document and the apostille should be. For example

Some countries may request that an apostille and a background check be issued within the past 90 days. Therefore, it is important to check with the country that is requesting your document to find out their current regulations.


In conclusion, understanding the authentication and apostille processes in Panama is vital for individuals dealing with international legal matters. Whether utilizing consular services, adhering to the Hague Convention, or authenticating documents through Panama’s consulates, the presented guide aims to streamline these intricate processes. 


Is Panama an apostille country?

Yes, Panama is an apostille country. This means that any official document issued in Panama or destined for Panama requires an apostille from the Secretary of State. The apostille is a certification that validates the origin and authenticity of a public document and is recognized by other countries that are part of the Hague Apostille Convention of 1961. 

Is an authentication certificate the same as an apostille?

No, an authentication certificate is not the same as an apostille. They are both ways of certifying that U.S. documents are genuine and can be legally recognized in another country, but they are used for different purposes.

What is authentication by means of an apostille?

Authentication by means of an apostille is a way of certifying that a public document issued in one country is genuine and can be legally recognized in another country that is a member of the 1961 Hague Convention Treaty. 

An apostille verifies the signatures, stamps, or seals on the document, and removes the need for further certification by the destination country

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