Straw or hay packing in lift-vans, narcotics, drugs, food, beverage, live plants, ammunition, weapons, or firearms.



Returning Panamanian Citizens can import free of tax all their USED household goods and personal effects after having lived abroad for a least two Years.

New household goods are subject to import duties. The tax rate is approximate 20% of the CIF (Cost of the Goods, Insurance and Freight to Panama) value.


Every foreigner coming to live in Panama has the same prerogative as Panamanian citizens. Nevertheless the law states that the head of the family has to have a residential visa before the arrival of his household effects.
No foreigner with a migratory or tourist visa can enjoy these benefits.

New articles are subject to import tax, and it is the Executive Power who determines the amount and kind of articles that in each case can be imported free of duty.


All Diplomats and Public Officials entering the country with a diplomatic or official passport or those who come with a contract from the Panamanian Government have franchise privilege, and will not be subject to the usual inspection or examination of the household goods.

SPECIAL PROVISIONAL VISA: (Visa de Visitante Temporal Especial)

Businessmen with a source of income other than the Republic of Panama, and who earn $1000/month or more in US funds.

These people can apply for this visa, and they, along with their family are entitled to following:

1. Exemption from tax on one shipment of household goods and personal effects up to the sum of US $3,000

2. Exoneration in the payment of taxes or migratory rights once visa has been granted.

The personal effects of business coming to reside in Panama should arrive in Panama no later than six month after the date of the arrival, and cannot exceed two shipments.

Panamanian laws state that all shipments must be inspected at the port of entry, but due to cargo congestion and to avoid mishandling, this inspection is done at the shipper’s residence at the time of delivery.

This is a special service and is payable by shipper directly to the government (it is compulsory).

Contact CANAL MOVERS & LOGISTICS CORP. For a quotation for this service



Panamanian customs laws state that all automobiles coming to Panama are subject to import tax except for those belonging to accredited diplomats, members of international organizations, or U.S. contractor.

Nevertheless, diplomats, members of international organizations or U.S. contractor can import free of duties ONLY ONE automobile. The other auto will have to pay import duties.

The documents that are needed to clear the auto are the following:

1. Original OBL (not legalized). The OBL must specify the ocean freight charge for the auto.

2. Original certificate of ownership.

3. Original commercial invoice or purchase invoice.

4. Pollution certificate.


Please note that the Panamanian Authorities are enforcing a new fumigation control procedure on all household goods shipments.

This fumigation is a pest control treatment.

This means that all steam ship containers, land shipment and air freights coming into Panama are fumigated in the port of entry or terminal bond.

This new fumigation procedure is incurring in additional charges and may delay the delivery of your shipments by one or two days.

Therefore, the steam ship line or carrier seal is removed by the local authorities for fumigation.


All household goods shipment having wood furniture or any wooden article is subject to a Quarantine Import Permit that must be requested before the shipment arrives to Panama.

In order to comply with this regulation, a copy of the Bill of Lading and Packing List is requested a week before the shipment date of arrival.


Please note that Panama will begin enforcing restriction on the import of wood packing materials (WPM), such as barrels, crates, lift vans, pallets and skids EFFECTIVE SEPTEMBER 16, 2005.

This regulation requires that wood packing materials coming into Panama be treated and marked according to ISPM Nº 15.

The approved treatments are either heat treatment to a minimum wood core temperature of 56 degrees Celsius for a minimum of 30 minutes, or fumigation with methyl bromide (MB).

Any WPM not treated and appropriately marked may be subject to immediate export or local fumigation incurring in additional charges.

IMPORTANT: This information is intended for general guidance. Forward Van Lines International cannot take responsibility for any errors or oversights or for any loss or damage that may occur from its use. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Panama at for more information prior to your shipping.

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