In this article, we’re answering “Can a foreign open a bank account in Panama?”
But instead of keeping you waiting, the short answer is yes, foreigners can open a personal bank account in Panama both in person and remotely.
That said, there are many different categories of “foreigners” when it comes to banking. And, not surprisingly, there are many factors that can influence which categories of foreigners are eligible to bank in Panama or not.
We will share our experience helping foreigners open bank accounts in Panama below. And we’ll detail which foreigners are eligible to open accounts in Panama and which foreigners should consider banking elsewhere instead.
This article is part of our comprehensive series on Banking in Panama. You can access this series for free right now by using the link above.
In addition to detailed account opening guides, this free series on Panama banking also discusses the largest banks in Panama, Panama opening requirements, the costs of banking in Panama, and much more. Use the link above to start exploring all of your free Panama banking content right now.
Alternatively, use the table of contents to continue exploring whether you can open Panama anonymous bank accounts below.
Table of Contents
- Can a Foreigner Open a Bank Account in Panama?
- How Can a Foreigner Open a Bank Account in Panama?
- Frequently Asked Panama Banking Questions
- Do You Want to Open Panama Bank Accounts?
Can a Foreigner Open a Bank Account in Panama?
Yes, a foreigner can open a bank account in Panama. In fact, Panama bank account opening is available to both foreign residents of Panama and foreign non-residents of Panama.
That said, the account opening process in Panama can vary depending on the foreigner’s country of residency and citizenship. With this in mind, foreigners should always confirm the account opening requirements prior to applying for accounts.
Based on our team’s experience, here are a few of the account opening requirements that foreigners struggle to provide when opening accounts in Panama.
- Sufficient reason for wanting to bank in Panama
- Proof of address from country of tax residence
- Tax identification number from country of residence
- Bank reference letter from existing banking relationships
- Qualifying account opening deposit (USD 10,000 or more)
- Proof of income from employer or source of wealth
- Attending an in-person interview in Panama
These are the seven most common account opening requirements that we see foreigners struggle with in Panama (and elsewhere).
Fortunately, most of these challenges can be overcome by choosing the right Panama bank, having the right account opening strategy, and preparing your documents beforehand.
Here’s a closer look at how a foreigner can open a bank account in Panama along with a complete list of the account opening requirements.
How Can a Foreigner Open a Bank Account in Panama?
The steps to open a bank account in Panama as a foreigner are relatively straightforward. However, actually opening a bank account in Panama successfully as a foreigner is a different story.
Let’s look at the straightforward approach and the challenges that can make it more difficult.
Step 1: Submit Application & Documents to Panama
Yes, foreigners need to complete an account opening application, submit supporting documents, and in certain instances travel to Panama. Here is a full list of the requirements most Panama banks ask foreigners to provide.
What Are the Requirements for Opening Bank Accounts in Panama?
- Clear rationale for banking in Panama
- Valid government-issued identification
- Tax identification number from country of residence
- Proof of address in country of residence
- Proof of income from employer (or retirement)
- Bank reference letter from existing bank relationship
- Qualifying deposit of USD 10,000 to USD 250,000
- Personal resume or CV (depending on the bank)
- Completed account opening application
- Onboarding interview in Panama or online
Step 2: Account Opening Interview in Panama or Remote
An account opening interview with the Panama bank of your choice will need to be completed. Depending on the bank you choose, you may need to visit Panama in-person. On the other hand, certain banks in Panama actually allow remote opening.
Step 3: Send Deposit to Your Panama Bank Account
Finally, once your new Panama bank account is approved, you will need to make a qualifying deposit. The minimum deposit that foreigners should expect when opening personal bank accounts in Panama is USD 10,000.
As mentioned, foreigners that follow these three steps can potentially open a bank account in Panama. However, there are several challenges that most foreigners will face when opening accounts in Panama.
Unfortunately, these challenges (listed below) stop most foreigners (even those with experience opening overseas) from successfully banking in Panama.
Challenges Opening Bank Accounts in Panama as a Foreigner
We’ve shared two of the main challenges that our members have experienced when applying for bank accounts in Panama as foreigners. Fortunately, with the right account opening strategy both of these challenges can be overcome.
Challenge 1: Selecting the Right Panama Bank
There are 55 financial institutions in Panama to choose from, ranging from international banking licenses to representative offices. So, knowing which bank in Panama will accept your client profile can be challenging. In most cases, foreigners should focus on opening with one of the general banks or international banks in Panama.
That said, not all of these banks will accept foreign applicants, especially remotely. So, you will need to contact each bank that you are considering in Panama and confirm whether you are eligible to apply. Otherwise, you may end up spending time applying for accounts with banks in Panama that won’t even accept you.
Challenge 2: Demonstrating a Reason to Bank in Panama
Like banks in most countries, banks in Panama want to understand why applicants need a bank account in the country. This helps them rationalize the account opening decision and is a critical step in the compliance process.
Well, many applicants want to bank in Panama because it’s a low-barrier to entry banking jurisdiction. But, that’s not a great reason for opening an account, at least not from the bank’s perspective. As a result, when it comes time to meet with the bank, many applicants are not prepared for this question and they end up being denied by the bank.
Open a Bank Account in Panama as a Foreigner
If you are interested in exploring your banking options (and requirements) in Panama further, don’t forget to visit our comprehensive guide on Banking in Panama, available in the link above.
Alternatively, if you would like to explore all of your offshore banking options, download our free guide and compare Panama to some of the top banking jurisdictions available.
Do You Want to Explore All Your Offshore Banking Options?
Frequently Asked Panama Banking Questions
Below are a few of the most common questions we receive from people exploring banking in Panama. If you have further questions about Panama, don’t hesitate to contact us directly.
Can Americans Open a Bank Account in Panama?
Americans can open a bank account in Panama by applying for an account with one of the foreigner-friendly banks. Account opening deposits typically range between USD 10,000 and USD 250,000, depending on the bank and type of account being opened.
Is It Hard to Open a Bank Account in Panama?
It can be hard to open a bank account in Panama if you do not know which banks accept your client profile or accept foreign clients. This is especially true if you are looking to open a Panama bank account remotely.
Can I Open a Bank Account in Panama Remotely?
Yes, you can open a bank account in Panama remotely. However, only a small number of banks in Panama accept remote account opening applications. With this in mind, it is important to carefully select which banks you apply to, ensuring they offer the account opening experience that you are looking for.
Do You Want to Open a Panama Bank Account?
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And “yes!” GlobalBanks IQ helps foreigners and non-resident individuals open bank accounts.
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To learn more about opening accounts with GlobalBanks IQ, use the link in the top menu. Or, contact us directly with any questions!