Towards the end of 2022, Panamanian nationals travelling to the Schengen Area will be required to register with the upcoming European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS).
The ETIAS for Panamanian citizens is a new travel authorisation system that is intended to strengthen the borders of the Schengen Area of Europe, guarding against terrorism and making life safer for visitors as well as residents.
The ETIAS visa waiver will authorise entry to nationals of over 60 countries, including Panamanians. It will allow the holder to travel unrestricted between the 26 member states of the Schengen Area.
Since the ETIAS application process is entirely electronic, Panamanian passport holders may submit their ETIAS Application from the comfort of their own homes. This must be done prior to departing for the Schengen area.
The ETIAS visa waiver for citizens of Panama, once granted, permits the holder to stay within the Schengen Area for no longer than 90 days within a 180-day period. Within these 90 days, travellers may exit and re-enter the Schengen Area multiple times. ETIAS holders are advised that the 90-day limit is not reset by leaving and re-entering the Schengen territory.
Will Panamanian citizens need a visa for Europe?
Panama is one of a number of countries whose nationals enjoy visa exemption for the Schengen Area.
This means that holders of passports issued by Panama do not require a visa for entry to the 26 European countries that make up the Schengen zone. This will continue to be the case for the foreseeable future.
At present, a Panamanian passport grants access to all of these countries in Europe without any other paperwork.
Starting in 2022, citizens of Panama will be required to register online with the upcoming ETIAS platform before travelling in order to enter the Schengen region visa-free.
The ETIAS is not a visa; it is a visa waiver that allows European border authorities to screen visa-exempt visitors, such as Panamanians. This improves security, making travelling to Europe safer for residents and travellers alike.
Documents required to obtain ETIAS for Panamanian citizens
In order to register online for the visa waiver for entry to Europe, it is necessary to fulfil the ETIAS requirements for Panamanian citizens.
Applicants from Panama must provide the following documentation:
- A valid Panamanian biometric passport
- A working debit or credit card, which can be used to pay the ETIAS application processing fee
- A current email address
The email address is important as the ETIAS approval and all correspondence relating to the application will be sent to the Panamanian applicant by email.
ETIAS application for Panamanian citizens
In order to complete the ETIAS application , Panamanian travellers going to the Schengen area must fill in and submit an online application form for review by European authorities. The information they provide on this form will then be cross-checked against several European security databases.
The ETIAS application for Panamanian citizens should only take around ten minutes to complete.
While the form is simple, applicants should carefully confirm that every piece of information they provide is correct and complete, as any minor mistake on their form could lead to a processing delay or even the outright rejection of their application.
What are the ETIAS application questions for Panamanians?
In order to submit an ETIAS application, citizens of Panama should be prepared to provide the following information about themselves on their application form:
- Personal details, including full name, gender, place and date of birth, etc.
- Contact information, such as a current address, email address, and phone number
- Passport details from the passport which will be used for travel, including passport number, dates of issue and expiry, etc.
- Provisional itinerary indicating the applicant’s planned travel destinations and activities within the Schengen Area (it is particularly important that applicants also indicate their intended port of entry into the Schengen Area along with this information)
In addition, Panamanian nationals applying for the ETIAS visa waiver will need to answer some questions about their health record and criminal history.
How will travelers from Panama receive the ETIAS visa waiver for Europe?
Once their travel authorisation has been approved, applicants will be informed via a confirmation email.
They should then print a hard copy of this email for presentation to travel authorities when departing from Panama and to border officials when arriving in the Schengen Area to gain entry to Europe.
What can Panamanian nationals do if the ETIAS application is rejected?
Once it is launched, it is expected that the acceptance rate for ETIAS applications will be roughly 95%. However, a traveler whose application has been rejected may submit an appeal to the Schengen member state in which their planned port of entry is located. That state will then handle the appeal according to its national laws.
How long does it take to get ETIAS from Panama?
The large majority of Panamanian passport holders applying to visit the Schengen Area will receive their approved ETIAS visa waiver just minutes after they submit their application, provided the information on their application form is complete and accurate.
It is thought that almost all applications will be processed within a few working days. However, it is possible for processing delays to occur.
As a result, it is a good idea for travellers from Panama to obtain their ETIAS with enough time to spare before they leave for Europe.