Panamanian citizens who want to work legally in the United States may apply for two kinds of temporary worker visas.
Panama was one of 15 Latin American countries that made this year’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services list of countries that qualify for either the H-2A visa for temporary or seasonal agriculture work or for the H-2B visa for temporary or seasonal work in hotels, construction and the service industry. Both are available to applicants without university studies or special skills.
The visas allow successful applicants to enter the United States for employment lasting a fixed period of time and are not considered permanent or indefinite. Each of these visas requires a prospective US-based employer to first file a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which must be approved to apply for a work visa in the embassy or consulate of the worker’s home country.
Other qualifying countries include Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic (H-2A only), Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay.
The US Department of Homeland Security says that it reserves the authority to add or eliminate countries from the eligible list at any time. Reasons for removal of a country include, but are not limited to, fraud, abuse, denial rates, human trafficking concerns and breaching the terms and conditions of the H-2 visa programs by nationals of that country.