You must be physically present at the bank to open a bank account. Some banks allow a lawyer to open a bank account in your name before you arrive. However, upon arrival you will have to go to the bank to show the required documents.
The documents required to open a bank account are the following:
- A letter from your employer in Panama
- A letter from your lawyer attesting that you have applied for a visa and work permit
- A photocopy of your passport
- A photocopy of another official photo I.D.
- References from two local people who know you
- Two original financial letters of reference (from your bank in your home country).
Having the residency stamp prior to opening a bank account will simplify the whole process, as some of the above documents won't be needed.
In Panama, most banks have Internet banking.
Keep in mind that most banks require you to hold a minimum of US$300 in your account in order for it not to charge you fees.