What does the Permanent Resident permit as a worker of SEM (Multinational Company Headquarters) consist of?

Panama offers workers from companies that have obtained the category of Multinational Company Headquarters a series of benefits, not only fiscal but also migratory. This type of visa is available to all workers of companies that have been declared Multinational Headquarters. If you are not sure if your company has this license, check with your employer, the insurance will confirm it. It is important to know it in advance because it is essential that the company collaborates with you when applying for this type of visa or permit. For your information, there are three types of visas for employees of Multinational Companies.

  • Visa or Permit for Permanent Staff of SEM. This type of visa or permit is granted to those foreigners who hold administrative or executive positions within the company. They are usually granted for a period of five (5) years, extendable for another five years. Whoever has this type of visa does not need a work permit to work.
  • Visa or Temporary Staff Permit of SEM. This type of visa or permit is requested for foreign personnel who will carry out an activity within the company for a short period of time. They are generally granted for a period of three (3) months, which can be extended for a further period of three months. A work permit is also not required.
  • Visa for Special Events (SEM) This type of visa must be requested by workers who come to a specific event in the country, provided that due to their nationality they need a visa to enter Panama.

What if there are descendants?

In the case that there are dependents, documents must be provided that certify the relationship between the applicant and these descendants, that is to say:

1. Proof of relationship (Birth certificate of the children where the filiation with the applicant is stated, this document must be apostilled by the authorities of the country that issues it).
2. Letter of responsibility (we help the applicant with the content). This letter should include:

  • General information about the SEM Employee
  • Dependants full name.
  • Type of relationship between SEM employee and the dependants.
  • Dependant´s insurance
    3. Proof of address. This means a certificate of registration or equivalent where it is stated that the descendants live together.
    4. If they are of legal age, proof of studies and certificate of single status or equivalent is required.

Requirements when applying for the SEM Permanent or Temporary Personnel Visa

The requirements for applying for this permit are as follows:

1. Power of Attorney and Application granted by the legal representative of the Multinational company’s headquarters, and by the foreign personnel to be hired
2. Three (3) passport size photographs of the applicant (originals not photocopies).
3. Copy of the applicant’s passport (checked before a Panamanian notary or responsible authority, a copy of the complete passport is needed).
4. Certificate of Criminal Record from the applicant’s country of origin. It must not be more than 3 months old at the time the documents are presented. In case the same does not exist in the country of origin of the applicant, a certification of a Diplomatic Agent must be presented or consulted from his country of origin accredited in the Republic of Panama that gives evidence of the inexistence of such document. In the case that the applicant will provide the Certificate of Criminal Record from his country of residence, he must attach documentary evidence that proves the residence in that country. All these documents must be apostilled. In the event that the applicant has resided in Panama for more than two years and has not left the country for more than 30 consecutive days, he may present a Certificate of Criminal Record issued by the Judicial Investigation Directorate (DIJ) of the Republic of Panama.
5. Certificate of Medical Health suitable in Panama (we can help obtaining it).
6. Affidavit on Personal History of the applicant which will be provided by the National Immigration Service.
7. Letter of work and responsibility of the SEM company authenticated by a notary, signed by the legal representative or person authorized for that purpose. Aspects to be mentioned in the letter in question:
7.1 Name of the employee and his generals.
7.2 Position or function to be carried out in the Company (in Spanish).
7.3 Duration of the contract.
7.4 Assigned functions
7.5 Salary to be earned.
7.6 Source of salary, whether local or foreign
7.7 Indicate the insurance to which the personnel and dependents will belong, in which the company is responsible for repatriation if necessary.
8. Certification of health insurance policy, collective or individual.
9. Certification issued by the Technical Secretariat of the Multinational Companies Headquarters Licensing Commission, in which it is accredited:
9.1 That the applicant is covered by individual or group medical insurance;
9.2 That the company is authorized under the special regime established in Law 41 of 2007.
10. As a fee for the application of a migratory category, B/.250.00 must be paid to the National Treasure (this may be changed).


Fixed costs to be paid by the applicant

Management fees USD$ 503.00 (This amount does not include: Certified Check for USD$250.00 in favor of the National Treasury and Certified Check for USD$800.00

Professional fees for lawyers USD$1,500

Management fees
$ 503,00 Fees
Notary Fees - $50.00 Processing and Residency Card - $300.00 Tax Stamps - $8.00 Health Certificate - $20.00 Public Registry Certificate - $75.00 Transportation and mobilization - $50.00

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