Apostille is a word I had never heard of until I was ready to apply for a visa in Panama.
To get any visa in Panama it is necessary to provide several documents including a national criminal record report. All documents will need to be notarized and most will also need to be apostilled. During the Panama Relocation Tours, our attorney goes over what documents are needed for each visa and what needs to be apostiled.
An “apostille” is a form of authentication issued to documents for use in countries that participate in the Hague Convention of 1961. It is basically an authentication that the person who notarized the documents was authorized to notarize. The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement for Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents, the Apostille convention, or the Apostille treaty is an international treaty drafted by the Hague Conference on Private International Law. It specifies the modalities through which a document issued in one of the signatory countries can be certified for legal purposes in all the other signatory states. Such a certification is called an apostille. It is an international certification comparable to a notarization in domestic law, and normally supplements a local notarisation of the document.
An apostile can be done at the the Consulate de Panama in your country. For United States citizens, some documents can be apostiled at your state Secretary of State. Federal documents, like an FBI report must be apostiled at the federal Secretary of State or a Panamanian Consulate.
The apostille certificate confirms the signature, seal or stamp on a document to be genuine so that it will be accepted when presented in another country.
The actual certificate is a piece of paper approximately 15cms square. It is permanently glued to another document and then an embossing mechanism, often called the apostille seal or apostille stamp, is used to emboss the document with a government crest.
The apostille certificate contains ten points–
1. Country of issue
2. Who has signed the document
3. The capacity in which the person signed the document
4. Details of any seal on the document
5. Place of issue
6. Date of issue
7. Issuing authority
8. Apostille Certificate number
9. Stamp of issuing authority
10. Signature of representative of issuing authority
Panama allows people from most countries to visit Panama for six months without getting a visa. You will only need your passport to gain access to Panama. You also qualify for free medical for the first 30 days for any non-preexisting condition.
Unfortunately, without a visa you can only drive in Panama with your existing driver’s license for 90 days. You must apply for a visa to get a Panamanian driver’s license.
You need a Visa to establish residency. The two most popular Visa programs are the Pensionado or the Friendly Nations Visa. I will have another post about the two most popular Visa programs and what is required to qualify for them.