The service of agents are available for both clearance and/or canal transits if yachts are prepared to pay for the service and don't want to do the paperwork etc. themselves.
Clearance and Immigration procedures are completed ashore at their respective offices.
On the Pacific side of the canal, Flamenco Signal Sation should be contacted on VHF Channels 12 or 16 when moving across or through the marked canal channel. Flamenco Signal may or may not respond.
All private boats are required to carry a Cruising Permit and each crew member a Mariner Visa (NOT the same as a tourist visa) for any stay longer than 72 hours. Note that if you arrive by boat and then leave and return to the country by plane, the mariner visa will be voided and you will need to apply for a new one before you can obtain an International Zarpe to depart by boat.
The Immigration offices at the Balboa Yacht Club and Flamenco Island are classed as "Branch Offices". This means they can stamp your passport with Entry to the Country stamps (valid for 72 hours), but Mariners visas must be obtainedif you are intending on staying longer than 72 hours.
(1) Present your passport at either one of these Immigration offices (Balboa Yacht Club or Flamenco Island - on the second floor of the building which houses the Duty Free Store) to obtain your 72 hour visa. You will need to also provide copies of your International Zarpe, crew list and passports.
(2) Go to the Port Captain's office on Flamenco Island (above the Duty Free Store). There you will receive a “Declaration General” and your Cruising Permit. You will need to surrender the original International Zarpe from your previous port of call and provide copies of the crew list, crew passports and vessel documentation.
Note: Obtaining the Cruising Permit may take two days (one day to request it, returning the next day to get it).
(3) Go to the Immigration office in Albrook District (NOT Albrook Mall) to obtain the Mariner's Visas. The Mariner Visa will be dated to last as long as your Cruising Permit. You will need copies of your Cruising Permit as well as passport copies.
The office is located on Calle Diego Dominguez on the 3rd floor of the Albrook Office Center building. Take the road just to the east of the Rey grocery store. Make the first right onto Calle Diego Dominquez and proceed about 1/4 mile.
Departing from Panama City on an International Zarpe:
(1) Take your original Cruising Permit, with a Crew List and crew passport copies to the Port Captain's office on Flamenco Island (see above). Cost approx. US$12.20.
(2) Have your passports stamped for exit by either of the satellite immigration offices (Balboa Yacht Club or Flamenco Island). No fee. Immigration will require a copy of all passports, the Crew List and Zarpe.
The Pacific Ocean entrance channel to the Canal is protected on the east by a breakwater called "The Causeway" (also “La Calzada de Amador” and “ Avenida Amador”) that extends south two miles from Balboa on the mainland to four interconnected islands (listed in order from Balboa to the outer extreme): Naos, Culebra, Perico, and Flamenco.