IATA says Sri Lankan Nationals can transit through Tocumen international airport (PTY) in Panama upto 12 hours without a visa.

My connecting flight however takes 22 hours layover (overnight) in PTY. Has anyone tried to transit longer than the 12 hours at PTY? If I'm staying in the international air side only, what problems could there be??

I called the Panama embassy (in a different country) and they said it maybe possible to make an exception and to email the consulate and they will research)

  • 8
    The most obvious potential problem is that your airline will check your itinerary and documents against IATA, see that you violate the rules, and stop you from boarding your flight to Panama in the first place. Feb 24, 2021 at 20:07
  • 1
    The airline in this case would be Turkish Airlines and I called them twice (US customer support number) and both times they said no problem but to double check with the embassy.
    – zwdev2
    Feb 24, 2021 at 21:28
  • 1
    Why not get a visa?
    – jcm
    Feb 27, 2021 at 10:26

1 Answer 1


Despite what the Turkish Airlines phone operator may have told you, the simple fact is that the most likely result is that you will be denied boarding of your flight from Turkey to Panama.

Like most airlines, Turkish use the Timatic system at check-in to confirm a passenger meets the requirements to enter their destination country, as well as for any transit countries - and Timatic clearly states that a visa is required for transit of longer than 12 hours.

Visa required.

TWOV (Transit Without Visa):
Passengers with a confirmed onward ticket for a flight to a third country within 12 hours. They must stay in the international transit area of the airport and have documents required for the next destination.

If you were to obtain some form of written exception from the consulate it is possible that the Turkish Airline staff would accept this as valid, but even then there's no guarantee. If Turkish airlines allows you to travel to a country without the necessarily paperwork/arrangements (in this case, a visa or an outbound flight within 12 hours) then they can be fined by the government in the destination country, and may be forced to return you to your initial origin airport, so these regulations are generally taken very seriously - especially in the times of COVID-19.

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