The first step to successfully open a Panama bank account for foreigners or foreign companies is to identify the specific banks in Panama that will accept foreign applicants.
While this might sound obvious, it’s a step that many foreigners looking to bank in Panama completely overlook. Instead, most foreigners apply for a Panamanian account with one of the largest, most popular, or most reputable banks in the country. As we’ll explain below, this is a flawed approach.
The right approach to open a bank account in Panama as a foreigner is to select banks that cater to your profile. Next, it’s to understand, prepare, and approach the account opening requirements in a way that will increase your chances of success.
If you would like to increase your chances of opening in Panama, access our comprehensive series on Banking in Panama using the link above (it’s free).
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 how to open a Panama bank account remotely.
Table of Contents
- How to Open a Panama Bank Account for Foreigners?
- Non-Resident Account Opening Requirements
- Frequently Asked Panama Banking Questions
- Do You Want to Open Panama Bank Accounts?
How to Open a Panama Bank Account for Foreigners
Foreigners can open a Panama bank account as a local resident or as a foreign non-resident. The process to open a Panama bank account as a foreigner can be completed in person, remotely, online, or through a local representative.
The requirements to open a Panama bank account as a foreigner include government-issued identification, proof of income, proof of address, a bank reference letter, and a qualifying deposit.
That said, the specific documents that most people need to provide will vary depending on their profile, the bank they apply to, and the type of account they are trying to open.
Not surprisingly, there are differences in the documents that Panama residents and non-residents of Panama will need to provide when opening accounts. Additionally, certain verifications and proofs may be required when applying to open Panama bank accounts remotely instead of in person. We will dig into the specific requirements that we commonly see banks asking non-residents for below in greater detail.
In the following section, we’ll take a look at one of the most important factors influencing where foreigners bank, which is the initial deposit. More specifically, how much money do you need to open a bank account in Panama as a foreigner?
How Much Money Do I Need to Open a Bank Account in Panama as a Foreigner?
The amount of money you need to open a bank account in Panama as a foreigner ranges between USD 10,000 and USD 250,000. This amount covers the range of Panama bank accounts for foreigners, including personal, business, private, and offshore bank accounts.
Please note: While Panama is a popular offshore banking jurisdiction it is not possible to open an anonymous bank account in Panama anymore. That said, Panama does offer access to enhanced privacy and security for many clients, though numbered accounts are not available.
Not surprisingly, if you (or your entity) are considered high-risk by the bank you are applying to in Panama, you will be asked to make a larger deposit. This larger deposit allows the bank to help offset the risk of your account and justifies increased compliance costs.
Of course, if you are a foreign resident of Panama, then you will be able to open bank accounts with significantly lower deposit amounts.
For clarity, a foreign resident refers to a citizen of another country who has completed the legal process to receive permission to reside in Panama permanently.
Most foreign residents of Panama can open bank accounts with deposits ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on the bank they choose to open with.
Non-Resident Account Opening Requirements in Panama
The non-resident account opening requirements in Panama include the standard requirements outlined above plus a few unique “non-resident” requirements, which we share below.
Of course, the specific requirements that each applicant will need to provide depend on their country of citizenship, country of residency, reason for banking in Panama, and more. With this in mind, it’s critical that foreigners looking to bank in Panama ask each bank for their non-resident account opening requirements.
But, to help you start, here is a list of the most common non-resident account opening requirements our team encounters in Panama.
Account Opening Requirements
- Non-resident deposit: USD 10,000 and USD 250,000
- Tax residency number in country of residence
- Proof of address in the country of residence
- Clear rationale for banking in Panama
- Bank reference letter from Panama or abroad
- In-person or video interview (bank dependent)
If you are interested in exploring your banking options (and requirements) in Panama further, don’t forget to visit our comprehensive guide in the link above.
Alternatively, if you’d like to explore all of your offshore banking options, get your free guide to compare the options below.
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 Foreigners Open a Bank Account in Panama?
Yes, foreigners can open a bank account in Panama by visiting a branch or applying remotely. In order to open a bank account in Panama as a foreigner, the applicant will need a clear rationale for banking in Panama. Additionally, foreign applicants will need to meet each bank’s account opening requirements.
What Is the Best Bank in Panama for Foreigners?
The best bank in Panama for foreigners who do not reside in the country is one of the international banks that specifically caters to foreign non-residents. The best bank in Panama for foreign residents is a large commercial bank like Banco General.
How Hard Is It to Open a Bank Account in Panama?
It is very hard to open a bank account in Panama if you don’t know the banks to contact. In most cases, foreign applicants face challenges finding banks (and bankers) in Panama who understand their profile. Additionally, after finding banks, foreigners may find it difficult to find bankers who will respond in a timely manner. Lastly, foreigners who do not have the specific account opening requirements available will struggle to open accounts.
What Is Needed to Open a Bank Account in Panama?
To open a bank account in Panama, foreigners need to provide a completed application, a copy of government-issued identification, proof of address, proof of income, a rationale for banking in Panama, a qualifying deposit, a bank reference letter, and other documents that are requested by each bank individually.
Do You Want to Open a Panama Bank Account?
If so, you can access GlobalBanks IQ and start the process of applying in Panama in a few clicks.
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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!