How to open a bank account as an expat in Panama?

 How to open a bank account as an expat in Panama?

Thanks to its great economic and political stability, Panama is one of those countries that are attractive for expatriates looking to live or invest there; and therefore, the first step is to open a bank account.


However, many questions arise: What do I need to open a bank account as an expatriate in Panama? What facilities do banks provide? Is a lot of paperwork required?...


We will try to answer all of this in this note on our blog; so read on.


Why open a bank account in Panama?

We could say that Panama is a financial center of the world, oriented to international clients. This has made the country's banking system facilitate the process of opening bank accounts for foreigners and expatriates.


Some of the reasons why it is convenient to open a bank account in Panama, being an expatriate are:

  • Panama is a country that offers security and financial freedom.
  •  There are not so many restrictions on money management. This makes it easy to make international transfers in Panama.
  •  The account opening process is simple and inexpensive.
  •  The operations are in US dollars, which allows a higher level of protection against fluctuations and inflation.
  • There are opportunities to do business in other markets.
  • The tax system is beneficial since you will be exempt from taxes on all those transactions that come from other countries.
  • Having a bank account will provide you with facilities to process your residence visa.


What are the requirements to open a bank account in Panama as an expatriate?

Any person with expatriate status who has decided to live and work in Panama should know that there are a series of requirements to open a bank account, which may vary depending on the bank in which they wish to work.


However, what is a reality is that the process of opening a bank account in Panama is quite simple, and takes from one to 30 days.


The requirements that are generally requested in all banks are the following:


  • Copy of your valid passport. Add a copy of the pages that contain the entry and exit stamps, as well as a copy of the American Visa with its stamps (if you have one).
  • Copy of an identification document such as driver's license or ID from your country.
  • Bank reference addressed to the bank. You must include contact information to confirm the information provided, and be less than three months old at the time of making the request.
  • CV with details of your studies and work experience.
  • Income certificate, this can be a letter from work or your annual tax return; the purpose is to confirm that the source of your income is lawful.
  • Explanatory letter to the bank explaining your reasons for opening a bank account in Panama, and what additional services you will need (debit card, online banking, among others).
  • Banks require a link with Panama, it could be an investment, a company, among others. A commercial reference and an accountant who keeps accounting records of the company or foundation.


The minimum amount to open a bank account in Panama is between $3,000 and $10,000 dollars.

In addition, in some cases apostilled documents are required.

As you can see, there are many advantages to opening a bank account in Panama as an expatriate. Dare to take this first step!

And if you have more questions, remember that you can also contact us.


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