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Panama: Identity card (cédula de identidad); the procedure that a person with foreign citizenship must follow to obtain an identity card

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Publication Date 30 April 2010
Citation / Document Symbol PAN103478.FE
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Panama: Identity card (cédula de identidad); the procedure that a person with foreign citizenship must follow to obtain an identity card, 30 April 2010, PAN103478.FE, available at: [accessed 29 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

According to the website of Presidency of the Republic (Presidencia de la República), the following people must possess an identity card (cédula de identidad):


-Panamanian citizens aged 18 years and older

-Emancipated minors . . .

-Persons aged 18 years and older who were born outside the country and who were adopted by people with Panamanian citizenship at the time of the adoption

-Foreign nationals aged 18 years and older who are residing legally in Panama (Panama n.d.a).

Moreover, the website of the Electoral Tribunal (Tribunal Electoral, TE) indicates that foreign nationals who received an order (resolución) granting them permanent residence from the Immigration and Naturalization Directorate (Dirección de Migración y Naturalización) of the Department of Justice and Internal Affairs (Ministerio de Gobierno y Justicia) must obtain an identity card (Panama n.d.b). To do so, they must submit two photocopies of the permanent residence permit issued to them by the Immigration Directorate and pay a fee of 65 balboas [1 balboa = $1.00029 Canadian dollars ( 26 Apr. 2010)] (Panama n.d.b). In 2008, the Immigration Directorate became the National Immigration Service (Servicio Nacional de Migración, SNM) (Panama n.d.d).

Still according to the same site, a new identity card valid for 10 years has been in circulation since 2003 (Panama n.d.c). On the front of the card is the national flag, printed in colour; the logo of the centennial anniversary of the Republic of Panama; the holder's first and last names, identity number, date and place of birth, and gender; the card's issue and expiry dates; and the bearer's signature (ibid.). On the back of the card is a bar code, the holder's identity number, and the signature of the director general responsible for issuing the cards (ibid.). Posted on the site is a sample of the identity card, which also bears a photograph of the holder (ibid.).

During a 26 April 2010 telephone interview with the Research Directorate, a representative of the TE's Legal Services (Departamento Jurídico) stated that the identity number consists of a series of numbers preceded by the letter "N" in the case of Panamanian citizens (nacionales), or the letter "E" in the case of foreign nationals (extranjeros) (Panama 26 Apr. 2010).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Panama. 26 April 2010. Telephone interview with a representative from the Departamento Jurídico del Tribunal Electoral.

_____. N.d.a. Presidencia de la República. "Cédula de Identidad Personal." [Accessed 26 Apr. 2010]

_____. N.d.b. Tribunal Electoral (TE). "Servicios de la Institución." [Accessed 26 Apr. 2010]

_____. N.d.c. Tribunal Electoral (TE). "Evolución de la Cédula Panameña." [Accessed 26 Apr. 2010]

_____. N.d.d. Servicio Nacional de Migración (SNM). "Antecedentes." [Accessed 29 Apr. 2010] 26 April 2010. "Résultats du convertisseur universel de devises." [Accessed 26 Apr. 2010]

Additional Sources Consulted

Internet sites, including: Consejo Latinoamericano y del Caribe de Registro Civil, Identidad y Estadísticas Vitales (CLARCIEV); Panama - Ministerio de Gobierno y Justicia.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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