Marriage to a Panamanian Citizen

Every country has its own laws that apply to its citizens marrying a person from a different country. Getting married to a Panamanian citizen with the goal of eventually bringing them to Canada to live is a process with many steps.

If you want to bring your Panamanian spouse or partner to live in Canada, you must then file a sponsorship application for them to become a permanent resident. If they would like to visit you in Canada while their application is in process, they must also apply for a visitor visa. For more information, please see our family sponsorship page and our visitor visa page.

See a sample Sponsorship Application


Processing Time

If you file a Canadian sponsorship application for your Panamanian spouse or partner, this application takes an average of 10-12 months.

A visitor visa application for your spouse or partner to visit you in Canada while the sponsorship applications are processing takes an average of 3 –14 days.

Please see our pages on family sponsorship and Canadian visitor visa for more information on the processing times of these applications.


Panamanian Marriage Basic Requirements

Fill out the application for a marriage license before the competent court for the jurisdiction where at least one of the parties lives.

  1. Health Certificate for both parties, which includes: a) General Medical Exam; b) lab tests: VDRL (Venereal Disease Research Laboratory), Biometría hemática (Complete Blood Count), Electroforesis de hemoglobin (Hemoglobin Electrophoresis), Urinalysis, HIV/AIDS test. The health certificate must be issued within the 15 days prior to the ceremony by a registered physician.
  2. Birth Certificate, issued in your country of origin. 
  3. Birth Certificates of existing children of either party.
  4. If the parties have not been previously married, a certificate of single status (Certificado de Solteria) to that effect must be presented.  This certificate should be issued in the country where you have been residing the last 2 years. Generally, this requirement can be satisfied by signing a sworn statement attesting to your single status in front of a Panamanian notary.  Two witnesses, not related to you, must also make a sworn statement that you are single.
    For Panamanian citizens: The aforementioned certificates can be obtained at the Civil Registry Office on Avenida Peru, telephone number:  507-8000. 
  5. Two witnesses of legal age not related to any of the parties (i.e. within the fourth grade of consanguinity or second degree of kinship or by adoption). This means the following people cannot serve as witnesses: brother/sister, cousin, uncle/aunt, nephew/niece, son/daughter-in-law, father/mother-in-law or brother/sister-in-law-of the couple to be married.
  6. Panamanian ID card (cedula) or passport with corresponding visa.


Family Members

If your Panamanian spouse has dependent children, this does not affect the Panamanian Marriage document application.

If you have dependent children, they have no effect on the application to marry a Panamanian citizen.



List of Panamanian Consulates in Canada

Embassy in Ottawa

Consulate General in Vancouver


Calling Panama from Canada

Dial 011 - 507 - local number

There are no area codes in Panama.


Calling Canada from Panama

Dial 00 - 1 - area code - local number

List of Canadian Area Codes

Province Code Province  Code

403 / 587 (southern Alberta)

587 / 780 (central and northern Alberta)

Nunavut 867

236 / 250 / 778 (majority of BC)

236 / 604 / 778 (Metro Vancouver)


226 / 519 (southwestern Ontario)

249 / 705 (northeastern Ontario)

289 / 365 / 905 (Greater Toronto Area)

343 / 613 (eastern Ontario)

416 / 647 (Toronto)

807 (northwestern Ontario)

Manitoba 204 / 431 PEI 782 / 902
New  Brunswick 506 Quebec

418 / 581 (eastern Quebec)

438 / 514 (Montreal)

450 / 579 (Greater Montreal)

819 / 873 (remainder of Quebec)

Newfoundland and Labrador 709 Saskatchewan 306 / 639
Northwest Territories 867 Yukon 867
Nova Scotia 782 / 902    


Time Difference

Panama is on Eastern Standard Time; they do not observe Daylight Saving Time.

Canadian Time Zone

# of Hours Panama is Ahead or Behind

# of Hours during DST

Pacific (BC, Yukon) 3 hours ahead 2 hours ahead
Mountain (Alberta, western Nunvaut, Lloydminster, Saskatchewan) 2 hours ahead 1 hour ahead
Saskatchewan 1 hour ahead 1 hour ahead
Central (Manitoba, Northwest Territories, central Nunavut, northwestern Ontario) 1 hour ahead Same Time
Eastern (most of Ontario, most of Quebec) Same Time 1 hour behind
Atlantic (Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI, eastern Quebec) 1 hour behind 2 hours behind
Newfoundland 90 minutes behind 2.5 hours


Emergency Information for Canadians in Panama

Embassy of Canada in Panama City

Torres de Las Americas, Tower A, 11th Floor
Punta Pacifica, Panama City

Postal Address:
P.O. Box Apartado 0832-2446, Panama City, Panama

Telephone: (507) 294-2500
Fax: (507) 294-2514

View Larger Map

Emergency Numbers

Police - 104

Ambulance - 103

Fire Department - 103


The Government of Canada's Travel Alerts for Panama


Panamanian Money

The Panama Balboa (PAB), (USD): The official unit of currency in Panama is the Panama balboa. However, the official paper currency of Panama is the US dollar. Panama stopped printing the Panama balboa in 1941 in favour of the US dollar.



In 1966, Panama followed the U.S. in changing the composition of their silver coins, with cupro-nickel-clad-copper 110 and ¼ balboa and 400 fineness ½ balboa. 1 balboa coins were issued that year for the first time since 1947. In 1973, cupro-nickel-clad-copper ½ balboa were introduced. Further issues of the 1 balboa have been made since 1982 in cupro-nickel without reducing the size.

Modern 1 and 5 centésimos and 110, ¼ and ½ balboa coins are the same weight, dimensions and composition as the U.S. cent, nickel, dime, quarter and half-dollar, respectively. In 2011 new 1 and 2 balboa bi-metal coins were issued.

In addition to the circulating issues, commemorative coins with denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 75, 100, 150, 200 and 500 balboas have been issued.

Panama does still mint coins in the denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 which are the same metal, size and shape of the equivalent American coins.


Panama Wedding Traditions

The people of Panama are very passionate and addend followers of their traditions. Panama Wedding Traditions are strictly observed during a Panama marriage ceremony. The wedding rituals  and traditions proceed with the approval and at the same time guidance from Grandparents and both of the parents of the couple.


There are two main traditions and customs that must be followed to the later during the wedding ceremony in Panama. These traditions and customs are the inclusion of the couple’s Godparents, and the giving of the coins

The Couple’s Godparent use to play a very important role in the marriage process in Panama. It was and in some areas still is a common cultural practice of some for the Godparents to act as the witnesses of the married couple. The Couple’s Godparent, and not the Best Man; Maid/Matron of Honour, sign the Marriage Certificate. They are the people traditionally bestowed with the right, authority and power to sign the marriage certificate traditionally.  Even though the practice has been overtaken by events, it is still practised in some areas in Panama.


Apart from the Ring Bearer, there is also a Coin Bearer who carries some US$.25c quarters in a container during the marriage ceremony as required by the marriage traditions in Panama.

In Panama it is customary for the groom to give his new bride 13 gold coins during the ceremony and for the priest to bless the coins. The coins are a symbol of the groom's commitment to support his new bride. During the wedding ceremony, the Priest blesses a plate of coins and gives them to the groom, who gives them to his bride as a wedding present after the ceremony. The coins represent good luck and prosperity.

The coins are given to the groom who then gives the coins to the bride. This act is symbolic of his position as ‘head of the house’ who makes provisions for his wife and family. He gives his bride the coins as a sign of his confidence in her abilities to administrate the funds of the household

This practice of giving of the wedding coins is a Roman Catholic Wedding tradition which originated in Spain and is still practised in Mexico and to a lesser extent in Panama. Traditionally, in Spain and later in Mexico, thirteen gold wedding coins were given to the bride by the groom. This practice has been interpreted differently by different people.

According to one interpretation, the coins were given to the bride by the groom and represent her dowry (bride price) and the groom’s ability to support her. Another interpretation says the thirteen coins represent the 12 apostles and Jesus. The next interpretation says, the thirteen coins represent the 12 lunar (moon) cycles in a year, and the 13th coin the couple’s honeymoon.

At the wedding reception a bride doll, that is dressed like the bride is placed at the main table. The "bride doll" is covered with little charms, which are given to the guests.

The Panama wedding also comprise of a very big wedding cake. There are several layers in the wedding cake which are attached to ribbons. As the wedding couple cuts the cake, the unmarried girls pull the strings. According to Panama traditions, it is the customary belief that the woman who pulls the string with the ring is to be married next.


The wedding couple cuts the cake jointly and they feed the guests present. Like many western marriage ceremony, the wedding couple dresses up themselves in traditional wedding costumes. The bride dress up herself in the normal wedding gown just as most western countries do. The gown is usually of white colour. The bride at the same time carries a white colour veil.


At the wedding ceremony the couple exchanges vows. Soon after the wedding ceremony, they are blessed by the elderly members of their respective families.  According to Panama customs and traditions, the mentioned grandparents in the wedding ceremony also must play a role of advising the married couple about their roles, duties and responsibilities as husband and wife in their married life.

The wedding ceremony is followed by somewhat a bid reception. The reception consists of food, music and dance. Traditional Panama songs are sung accompanied with dance movements from the married couple and the rest of the guests. The Panama wedding ceremony is usually an occasion of fun and merriment.


The wedding reception is attended by guests of both the families of the bride and the groom. The wedding couples receive a lot of gifts and are blessed by all the people who attended the wedding for a happy married life. The food served at the reception to the guests consists of delicacies from traditional Panama cuisine.


Wedding Dresses


Wedding Food



Chicken dish


Pork nuggets


Religion in Panama

The Constitution of Panama prescribes that there shall be no prejudice with respect to religious freedom, and the practice of all forms of worship is authorized. However, the Constitution recognizes that the Roman Catholic faith is the country's predominant religion and contains a provision that it be taught in the public schools. Such instruction or other religious activity is not, however, compulsory. However the Constitution gives the citizens complete liberty to practice and profess any faith or religion of their choice and the state does not have any sort of prejudice against any Panama religion.

Though the government of Panama does not collect statistics on the religious affiliation of citizens, various sources estimate that 75 to 85 percent of the population identifies itself as Roman Catholic and 15 to 25 percent as evangelical Christian. The Bahá'í Faith community of Panama is estimated at 2.00% of the national population, or about 60,000 including about 10% of the Guaymí population; the Bahá'ís maintain one of the world's seven Baha'i Houses of Worship in Panama. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) claim more than 40,000 members. Smaller religious groups that are also present in Panama include Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Episcopalians with between 7,000 and 10,000 members, Jewish and Muslim communities with approximately 10,000 members each, Hindus, Buddhists, and other Christians. Indigenous religions include Ibeorgun (among Kuna) and Mamatata (among Ngobe). There is also a small number of Rastafarians in the country.

Catholics are found throughout the country and at all levels of society. Evangelical Christians also are dispersed geographically and are becoming more prominent in the society. The mainstream Protestant denominations, which include Southern Baptist Convention and other Baptist congregations, United Methodist, Methodist Church of the Caribbean and the Americas, and Lutheran, derive their membership from the Antillean black and the expatriate communities, both of which are concentrated in Panamá and Colón Provinces. The Jewish community is centred largely in Panama City. Muslims live primarily in Panama City and Colon, with smaller concentrations in David and other provincial cities. The vast majority of Muslims are of Lebanese, Palestinian, or Indian descent.

The African races of Bocas del Toro province, the immigrants of west Indies and other Indian tribes have maintained a lengthy tradition of practising Protestantism. Judaism as mentioned above is another Panama religion and there are 3 synagogues in the country, serving as the places of worship for the Jews. Other Panamanians believe in the syncretic religion Santeria, which fuses certain characteristics of Roman Catholicism and other conventional customs and beliefs of West Africa.

The Constitution does not specifically provide for the separation of church and state, but it implies the independent functioning of each. Members of the clergy may not hold civil or military public office, except such posts as may be concerned with social welfare or public instruction. The Constitution stipulates that senior officials of the church hierarchy in Panama must be native-born citizens.

The Constitution further provides for freedom of religion, with some qualifications, and the Government generally respected this right in practice. According to it’s annual report, the US government reported that there were no reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious belief or practice in 2007 in Panama


The Iglesia San Pedro

Iglesia San Pedro, Taboga Island, Panama, The Iglesia San Pedro is the second-oldest colonial church in the Western Hemisphere


Oldest church in Panama


A Mosque in Panama


Mosque in Panama City


Romantic, Scenic and Historic Places in Panama


The Bristol Hotel - Panama City

Set in the heart of the bustling Financial center, minutes from shopping, cultural attractions and nightlife, The Bristol is a rare jewel where luxurious accommodations and sumptuous dining are blended to create uncompromising quality. It Offers A Residential-Style Atmosphere Reminiscent Of A Private Mansion In Panama's Exclusive Bella Vista neighbourhood. Guests Can Choose From 56 Well-appointed Rooms And Suites. All Are Thoughtfully Furnished With Every Convenience For Both Work And Relaxation. Hotel Facilities Include A 24-hour Modern Fitness Centre, Fine Gourmet Dining, Meeting And Banquet Rooms, 24-hour Business Centre, An Executive Floor And Specially-equipped Women's Guestrooms.


InterContinental Miramar Panama City

Adjacent to Panama Bay and the ocean, the InterContinental Hotel Miramar Panama has many hidden extras and is perfectly suited for both business and pleasure. Leisure facilities include swimming pool, health club, gymnasium, massage, sauna, jacuzzi and Turkish bath. There is a private marina for yacht hire. Thoughtfully conceived business rooms have desks and the latest communications equipment alongside the usual beautifully appointed living and sleeping space.


InterContinental Playa Bonita Resort and Spa - Panama City

The InterContinental Playa Bonita Resort Spa has been conceived as the ultimate prize for those who enjoy the good life. From incentive groups to your own personal incentive vacation, the resort provides an array of activities and attractions to entertain the most curious and well-travelled visitors. Just minutes from the Resort, excursions can include visits to Panama Canal Mira Flores Locks visitors centre, the historical colonial district of Panama city, the Amador Causeway, or an exploration of the tastes of Panama with the many dine around options in the city. From Playa Bonita boat trips are offered to the Pearl Islands for salt water fishing, whale watching or simple relaxation and sun worshipping. For serious golfers, the 18-Hole par 72, Tucan Club championship golf course is just minutes away from the Resort.


El Panama Hotel A Summit Hotel - Panama City

Located in the heart of the financial, shopping, and dining districts, this exceptional Panama City luxury hotel provides an ideal setting. Business travellers benefit from our exquisite exhibition center, while leisure guests can enjoy the fitness room, spa, and the flora and fauna of the nearby rainforest. Explore the area. Or simply stay on the grounds of the restful Panama luxury hotel, featuring amazing private boutiques, a casino, and nightclub.


Radisson Decapolis Hotel - Panama City

Located in the heart of Panama City, just steps away from Multicentro, home of the Majestic Casino and several shopping and entertainment venues, the Radisson Decapolis Hotel Panama City, Panama offers guests world-class accommodations and exceptional service. The Radisson combines chic, modern design with Panamanian art, creating an atmosphere that is unique among Panama City hotels. Guests enjoy such quality amenities as a heated swimming pool, a spa, a Business Centre and airport transportation.

The guest rooms and suites at the Radisson Decapolis feature spectacular views of the ocean or downtown Panama City. Hotel guests enjoy such in-room amenities as high-speed Internet access, Phone Away cellular service and in-room movies. The Executive Suites also include access to the Executive Lounge.


Royal Sonesta Hotel and Casino - Panama City

The Royal Sonesta Hotel and Casino Panama is located in the downtown of the city of Panama and in the middle of the financial areas and nearby at Multiplaza and Multicentro malls. This 304 luxury guest room property is just a few miles from the Tocumen International Airport. It is a full service property with 24 hour guest service and in-room dining, 2 restaurants, bar and sushi bar, fitness centre, sauna, Turkish bath, spa, beauty centre and business centre.


Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower  - Panama City

Rising 70 stories above Panama Bay along Punta Pacifica's pristine peninsula, this luxury hotel in Panama City, Panama unites exclusive amenities, innovative accommodations and the signature services. The Hotel is destined to become Central America's next architectural icon. This Panama beach hotel is the tallest and largest building in Latin America, with a landmark address that's redefining luxury in Panama. Visitors steps from Punta Pacifica's sophisticated shops and nightlife, five minutes from the financial district and minutes from Panama City, this top hotel in Panama gives the visitors the perfect setting to unite business with pleasure.


Villa Paraiso Beach Resort - Bocas del Toro

Stay in a beachfront villa on its own private sandy beach. Sleep to sounds of lapping waves; awake to sounds of parrots and monkeys in the garden and surrounding jungle. Short 5 minute taxi ride to the village.


Bristol Buenaventura - Cocle

Set on the Pacific coast of Panama, Bristol Buenaventura is a luxury oceanfront destination resort and a member of Leading Hotels of the World. The resort sits on 1,000 acres of natural splendour, nestled between rivers, lakes, lush vegetation, and pristine beaches.

Blending old world glamour and tropical elegance, the resort is reminiscent of a Spanish finca.

The Hotel present visitors with 114 classic elegant guestrooms and suites, 18 extravagant villas, 5 culinary environments, and the Corotu Spa. The Hotel’s amenities include leisure facilities throughout the resort: the Fitness Centre, 4 swimming pools, game rooms, and activities to keep anyone occupied for weeks.

What makes The Bristol Buenaventura unique is the refined elegance, impeccable service, and rooms designed with the visitor’s comfort in mind.



Red Frog Beach - Isla Bastimentos

Located on Isla Bastimentos in Panama's Bocas del Toro archipelago, Red Frog Beach is one of the most popular Panama beaches with the backpacker crowd. The island's unique rainforest-in-miniature setting results in some of Panama's richest island biodiversity -- including the Panama beach's namesake, the red tree frog. The area is (rightfully) protected; entry is $1, and the beach is a short walk from the drop-off point.


Boca Brava, Gulf of Chiriqui

Boca Brava is yet another Panama island that sees far less tourism than you'd expect, judging by its picturesque golden beaches. The island sits at the western tip of Panama's Pacific coast, in the Gulf of Chiriqui near the Costa Rican border. To get there, take a quick boat ride from the fishing village of Boca Chica, about an hour from David.


Coiba Island, Gulf of Chiriqui

Coiba Island is the largest island in Central America. Located off Panama's Pacific Coast, Coiba is an emerging destination, especially for divers and travellers intrigued by Coiba's abundant biodiversity. A number of endemic subspecies live on the massive island, like the Coiba Island Howler monkey and the Coiba Agouti. As you can imagine, Coiba's beaches are beautiful. However, the only overnight accommodations on the super-protected island are at the ranger station, which offers two air-conditioned rooms.


Playa de las Estrellas, Isla Colon

Playa de las Estrellas means Beach of the Stars in Spanish. And starfish are indeed abundant in the glassy waters of this Panama beach (also called Starfish Point). Located at the far northern tip of Isla Colon (the Bocas del Toro archipelago's largest island), Playa de las Estrellas is accessible via public bus or "collectivo" shuttle from Bocas Town.


Contadora Island, the Pearl Islands

Located 50 miles from Panama City in the Pacific Ocean, Contadora Island is the largest of Panama's Pearl Islands. The island offers thirteen separate beaches to explore, and travellers can easily book tours to uninhabited islands nearby.


San Blas Islands - Kuna Yala Archipelago

Not many travellers make it all the way to the San Blas Islands in Panama's northeastern Kuna Yala district, which is a shame. Many of the most pristine island beaches in the Americas are located in the San Blas archipelago -- in fact, almost every island is ringed by a sugary strip of white sandy beach.


Taboga Island, Panama Bay

Taboga Island offers several spectacular beaches. Located in the Panama Bay, the island is just a quick ferry ride from Panama City -- perfect for those who don't have the time to travel all the way to Bocas del Toro. The island is rich with local history (pirates! conquistadors!)


Sponsoring Your Panamanian Spouse to Come to Canada

The spousal sponsorship process can be complicated and it takes a long time. To learn more about it, click the button below:

Learn More