How to get the E-cedula in Panama

Panama has emerged as a top choice for individuals seeking a second home due to its welcoming culture, robust economy, and advantageous territorial tax system, obtaining the Panamanian Cedula for Foreigners, the E-Cedula, is a crucial step for their stay in Panama. The “E” in the E-Cedula stands for extranjero, meaning foreigner, and serves as a national identification document, equivalent to the identity card of Panamanians.

In this comprehensive article, we will walk you through the process of obtaining this essential document, which does not require the assistance of a lawyer.

Sample of a Panamanian E-Cedula, a digital identification card

E-cedula example

Step one: Have a permanent residency card

To obtain the E-cedula you need a Panama permanent residency card. The specific program for obtaining permanent residency will vary based on individual circumstances, but some popular options include:

Each program has its own set of requirements and benefits, catering to different circumstances and objectives. By exploring the various residency options and selecting the program that aligns with your goals, you can take the first step towards obtaining the E-Cedula and enjoying the advantages of residency in Panama.

You can apply to the E-cedula once the residency process has been completed and you have a permanent resident card. Learn more about important Panama IDs.

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Step two: Gather all required documentation to apply for the E-cedula

You must provide the following documents:

  • A copy of the cedula letter issued by the National Migration Service.
  • 2 copies of the permanent resident card issued by the National Migration Service, along with the original card.
  • Two passport copies.

Gathering these documents beforehand will expedite the application process and help avoid any delays or complications. It is important to ensure that all copies are clear and legible.

Step three: Apply for the E-cedula

To apply for the E-cedula you must visit the offices of the Electoral Court in Panama City, with a previous appointment. This procedure is conducted in Spanish.

The visit is usually swift, often lasting an hour or less. You need to plan to arrive punctually to ensure a smooth procedure. Adhering to the appropriate dress code is also crucial: wear a shirt that covers your shoulders, trousers or a long skirt, and closed shoes. Wearing a white shirt is not permitted.

At the Electoral Court office, they will take your documentation and will also take you a picture for your ID.

Step four: Receiving the E-Cedula

After successfully completing the application, the Electoral Court will take approximately 7 to 15 days to issue your E-Cedula. Once ready, you will have the option to collect the card conveniently at one of the Electoral Court offices located throughout the country.

Contact us

Following these guidelines, you can ensure a hassle-free experience while obtaining your E-Cedula in Panama. Remember to prepare the necessary documentation and comply with any additional requirements specified by the Electoral Court.

While the assistance of a lawyer is not mandatory, many of our clients find the support of the Kraemer & Kraemer team to be very valuable, particularly to review the documentation and overcome language barriers. Contact us or email us at to learn more about the process and cost.

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Published September 28th, 2022, as Commentary on Immigration by Johana Sum