Bank Account in Panama

How to Open a Bank Account in Panama As a Foreigner

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Opening a bank account in Panama as a foreigner may seem daunting at first, but there are certain requirements you should be mindful of before trying to open one.

Your documents of identification typically include: passport and secondary form of ID, reference letters from banks you have worked with before and proof of address; in addition, some banks require personal interviews.


Establishing a bank account in Panama can be an intricate process and requires a clear understanding of all requirements. The first step involves collecting documents like your passport, secondary ID card, professional and personal references letters as well as proof of residence; next comes researching banks to understand their policies regarding minimum deposits and interest rates before finally submitting your completed application form with all required documents to the bank.

Panama is an important signatory to FATCA and the Common Reporting Standard (CRS), meaning that it shares financial data with the U.S. Department of Treasury and banks must report assets held by American residents held outside the US annually to them.

Foreigners can often find opening a bank account in Panama to be complex and time consuming, since many banks require physical presence within the country as well as minimum deposits requirements. A lawyer would likely be useful to guide you through this process as some banks charge transaction and minimum balance fees that could add up over time; it’s therefore crucial that they research fees and costs before selecting their bank of choice.


Panama’s banking environment is attractive for both non-residents and residents. Non-residents can open savings and CD accounts that offer competitive interest rates, while residents can open savings and CD accounts that offer excellent interest rates. Opening an account in Panama, however, can be more complex as banks in Panama require significantly more due diligence documentation such as bank reference letters, identification documents, utility bills, tax declarations, articles of incorporation papers as well as tax declarations from clients wishing to open accounts here.

Banking in Panama makes obtaining credit cards simpler for non-residents; however, beware that credit cards may incur fees; for example, many banks in Panama require that you maintain at least $1500 as your minimum balance in order to avoid charges and fees.

Panama banks take compliance very seriously, meaning they must report customer details annually to the US government as well as file a form if holding assets of US citizens. While these requirements may dissuade some investors, most don’t find them deal-breaking; furthermore, Panama banks understand Latin American financial regulations which make them ideal choices for channeling funds to countries like Colombia or Nicaragua, not to mention low barriers to entry and remote account opening facilities – both essential features for businesses looking to expand overseas.

Time to process application

Dependent upon the bank and account type you want to open, processing your application can take anywhere between two weeks to two months. Panama takes Know Your Customer (KYC) very seriously and requires many documents that verify both identity and sources of income. Furthermore, banks also conduct personal interviews either in-person or remotely depending on their policies.

To open a bank account in Panama, typically in person visits will be necessary. When opening an account you will need a number of documents including ID cards, proof of income statements, references from previous banks as well as copies of your residency visa or cedula as well as letters from friends or relatives living there if needed as well as return flight tickets should they not know exactly how long you plan to be staying.

Panama provides non-resident foreigners with several advantages, including higher interest rates on USD deposits and credit cards, familiar banks in Latin America that can facilitate digital nomad fund-channelling strategies through Panama, as well as being willing to accept Americans which isn’t commonly found due to FATCA requirements.


Opening a bank account in Panama can be straightforward for citizens, while foreigners face greater difficulty. While the process varies from bank to bank, opening one typically requires lots of documentation and visits to their branch offices – always check the requirements for each bank to make sure you possess all required documents before opening one.

As a foreigner wishing to open a bank account in Panama as a nonresident, you will require a passport or ID card as proof of address, along with proof from your employer or Panamanian lawyer that you are present legally in Panama. In some banks they also require due diligence documents like copies of tax returns from past years as well as beneficiary forms and wills in case something should happen to you.

Panama provides a range of banking services, from savings accounts and CDs with competitive interest rates to credit cards for non-residents. Banks in Panama are familiar with Latin American financial regulations, making it easy for you to move funds from other countries into Panama; some even provide business credit cards which is rarely seen elsewhere.

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