PANAMA: Update – Work Permit Applicants Must Attend Ministry of Labour in Person

On 26th December 2017, the Ministry of Labour issued a decree requiring all work permit applicants to visit the Ministry in person for biometric registration before submitting any initial or renewal work permit application.

The new registration system, which is expected to be implemented in January 2018, will include a scan of the applicant’s fingerprints and passport, and a photograph.

The registration will not apply to applicants for the SEM residence visa for permanent staff of multinational companies, who do not require a separate work permit application.


The Ministry of Labour Resolution No. DM-064-2018 of 8 February 2018, published on 20th February 2018, reveals more details of this new registration requirement:

  • The registration will begin to apply on 6th March 2018.
  • For new initial or renewal work permit applications from that date, applicants must personally attend the Labour Immigration Department prior to submitting the application.
  • For work permit applications which are pending on that date, registration should be completed once the work permit is approved and the applicant attends the Ministry of Labour to collect the work permit ID.
  • For registration, the applicant must bring their original passport, a copy of their immigration status certificate, their original immigration ID card, a receipt for the submission of their work permit application and a power of attorney.

Our Advice

Employers in Panama should ensure their foreign national employees attend the Ministry of Labour for biometric registration as soon as possible, once the new requirement takes effect, to avoid possible delays.

For advice and information on immigration to Panama in general, please email us at


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