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Moving to Panama from US

Published on Jul 28, 2021 by Kfir Cohen

Are you preparing a move to Panama? SDC International Shipping is an International Moving Company to Panama and will move your household there with few headaches.

SDC International Shipping is an international moving company to Panama. Whatever your reason for moving to Panama, we can move your residential or commercial cargo there effectively and quickly.

What’s on this page?

01 | International Household Moving to Panama
02 | International Car Shipping to Panama
03 | Panamanian Customs and Regulations
04 | Moving to Panama from US Checklist
05 | International Shipping Options from US to Panama

Anytime you hear the name Panama, your brain probably automatically adds the word canal. Two thirds of the sea cargo to the United States travels through Panama. 12,000 vessels go through the canal every year, and sea vessels are even classified by their ability to traverse. It should come as no surprise that getting a container from any port in the USA to Panama is not a problem.

However, Panama is more than just a canal. Don’t think that cutting a canal through the country means that they don’t preserve nature. Nearly a third of Panama is national parks or nature reserves. It is one of the top retirement destinations for Americans retiring abroad. If you like a cosmopolitan city, quiet beach, or a small mountain town with eternal spring weather like Boquete, there are plenty of places where Americans will be comfortable retiring.

International Household Moving to Panama

SDC International Shipping will move your household to any location in Panama. Panama City is the most common location that our clients have moved to, but we can move you anywhere in the country, like the beautiful Caribbean beachfront towns.

How big will your Panamanian house be? If you are moving to a luxury condo in Panama City, expect a two-bedroom dwelling. If you are moving to a villa by sea, you can buy large houses. If you are downsizing, start working on downsizing and dispose of unnecessary furniture.

However, it is an excellent idea to ring enough for the house you are moving to. The American furniture is generally considered better than what you will be able to buy in Panama. Don’t expect much use of your winter gear, as even in the mountains, the weather is pleasant year-round. You can expect rain about half the year, but you don’t have to worry about hurricanes in Panama.

If you will be renting in Panama, there is a good chance that appliances will be included, but not always. If you are purchasing a dwelling, they usually are not. Ask your real estate agent to double check this for you. If you need appliances, you can send the ones you already own, as major American appliances work there. Make sure that your refrigerator is appropriate for tropical climates. Dishwasher, washers, and dryers should all work without a problem in Panama, so send yours. Keep in mind that in order to qualify for tax-free import, these are expected to be used items.

Electronics like computers and their monitors, TVs and kitchen appliances are a good idea to put into your shipment. If you want to keep on seeing TV and other entertainment from the USA, you should bring your favorite streaming device with you.

If you enjoy fishing, Panama will be a great choice for you. Panama has countless fishing opportunities with all of its coasts, rivers, lakes, and islands. Make sure that your fishing equipment has been cleaned thoroughly before sending. Send your boat, jet ski, or whatever water leisure you love. Panama is full of water, so enjoy.

International Car Shipping to Panama

Did you know that if you receive a Pensionado visa (for retirement), you can send a new car to Panama every two years? This is a huge advantage. Most countries will only allow you to import one car tax-free your entire life, and that vehicle needs to be used.

There are also no significant changes for most American cars that are imported to Panama, and yours should be easily licensed there. We recommend SUVs for that outside of the big cities. Check that your model is sold in Panama, as it will make reselling it two years later much easier.

In your initial move, it is a good idea to put your car into your moving container. If you decide to send only a car, we utilize specialty car shipping equipment, and the vehicles are delivered to Manzanillo.

You can also send your boat! Or jet ski. These are typically sent on their trailers. Those that can fit into containers should, others get sent to Manzanillo like automobiles.

Read more: International Vehicle Shipping from USA

Panamanian Customs and Regulations

You will need to obtain a visa to Panama. The Pensionado is quite easy to receive, all you have to do is prove that you have enough income to support yourself, around $500 per person per month. Work permits are also fairly easy to receive, but they need renewal every year. There is also something known as a Pacto Social or investor’s visa, which will allow you to stay longer, but you will have to invest a minimal amount in the country.

If you are a Panamanian citizen returning to the country and have lived abroad for at least 2 years, you will be allowed to send a shipment of used goods to the country. You will not be paying customs on most items. But a  Panamanian Cedula certificate must be obtained first.

Electronics, appliances, and computers that you send should be listed in your inventory, including the exact details of each appliance, like serial numbers.

If you have a beloved pet, don’t leave them in the USA; bring them to your new home in Panama! A health inspection and an APHIS health certificate that was issued no more than 10 days before your departure from the USA will be necessary.

Though your presence is not required at the port, you must be physically present in Panama when your shipment arrives.

Moving to Panama from US Checklist

We are thrilled that you have made the decision to move to Panama. It is time for you to get things in order before the move:

  • Contact SDC International Shipping early to get a quote for relocating your family to Panama. If you contract us early, it will be easier for us to working according to your schedule.
  • If you are not a Panamanian citizen, obtain one of the long term residence visas available.
  • You will need to purchase health insurance in Panama. It is quite affordable and the healthcare is considered reasonable. If you have a retiree visa, ask for a discount.
  • Look at the CDC vaccination recommendations for Panama. The vaccination against typhoid fever is necessary. You probably don’t have this.
  • Check out things like telephone service, banking, and insurance. Try putting a local SIM card in your phone, if it doesn’t work, you probably want to buy a new unlocked phone before you leave the USA..

Read more: The Ultimate International Relocation Checklist

International Shipping Options from US to Panama

Most of SDC International Shipping’s clients that move to Panama are relocating there permanently.

For them, it usually makes the most sense to send private full container loads, as the difference in price between a full container load and a less than full container load are not great.

We also have many clients who send only a car or a boat in addition to their container of household goods and personal effects. For these, we send them on special ships in a service called RO-RO, for roll on roll off, that delivers them to port in Manzanillo.

We have some commercial clients who regularly send air shipments to Panama for the speed, but this is an expensive method.

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