How to Import Car and Household Goods Duty Free to Panama

How To Import Your Car & Household Goods Duty Free as a Pensionado

Pensionado Visa Holders

Here is a list of the documents required to import household goods and vehicles into Panama by a holder of a Panama Pensionado Visa:

• Passport (original & Panama notarized copy)

• Pensionado visa ID card (original & Panama notarized copy)

Panama bank reference letter (pensionado’s bank account) written for the “Direccion Nacional de Aduanas de Panama”.

• Two original Air Way Bill or Bill of Ladings or Express Release B/L

• Original Inventory List or copy e-mailed in English or Spanish


Vehicles require these additional documents:

• Original Certificate of Title and Registration

• Original Purchase Invoice or Commercial Invoice

• Original Pollution Certificate and Environmental Control Certificate

Note: If the person does not have the Panama Pensionado visa ID yet, then a letter from a Panama attorney addressed to “Direccion Nacional de Aduanas de Panama” that the Panama Pensionado Visa application is pending will be required.


Once the Goods Arrive in Panama

• The person must be present to pick up the vehicle and personal goods at the time of clearance.

• The household goods, personal effects, and the car are duty free, but are subject to an ITBM tax (VAT) of 7%.

• All shipments will be personally inspected at the entry port.

• For an additional fee to the Panama government, the inspection can be done at the person’s residence at the time of delivery.

• Shipments must arrive within six months from when the person arrives.

• Customs Broker’s fees are paid by the person at the time of clearance.

• If there are storage fees they will be also paid at the time of pick up.


Additional Requirements for Holders of Panama Pensionado Visa:

• As of January 2008 Panama customs has prohibited the issuance of Vehicles Temporary Circulation Permits.

• All vehicles owned by Pensionado Visa holders will be held on a Fiscal or Customs Bond until exonerated.

• The exoneration process could take several days or longer.

• During this period the person will be responsible for paying for Use of Bond and Retention fees.

• When the Pensionado Visa ID is verified there will be an ITBM (VAT) tax of 7% imposed on the customs valuation of the car.

• When the entire process is completed and all fees are paid the person can pick up the car.


Additional Requirements for Imported Cars

In order to ensure that the car is not stolen, the local police will have to inspect the car and issue a Certificate “that the car has not been stolen”.   Then the Police will send the papers to “a Municipio”, and once the papers are received at the Municipio, the car can be registered in the owner’s name.

In Panama City, at the Municipio of Panama is where the “Registro Unico de Propiedad Vehicular” will be issued.  The Placa has to be paid and then the car can be collected.


When Selling the Vehicle

When the vehicle is later sold, unless it is sold to another individual who is eligible for duty free importation of a vehicle, they must pay the exempted duty before transferring title of the vehicle.

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