Awesome days and cool nights!
Deputy Elias Castillo is working on a legislature to modify the tourist visa time limits to a maximum of 30 days as a tourist with the option to extend it another 60 days.
This comes amidst discontent for the large number of Colombians and Venezuelans who overstay their visas, commit criminal acts while in Panama or pretty much abuse of their status and have problems with nationals.
Although the new law is aimed at everyone entering the country as a tourist, being allowed a maximum of 30 days and having proof of paid hotel stay and income, the article mentions that some nationalities will still be allowed to stay 6 months.
The proposal is for illegal workers in Panama. Working while here as a tourist or pensionado without work permit is illegal---border hopper or not. If someone is making money off of border hoppers why of course they wouldn't want this to "become" law. Panamanian government isn't stupid when it comes to inflow of money. Most foriegners from the US and Europe here border hop aren't looking for work. Then again, some are working here illegal under the "Donations" scam. There are more people here from POOR COUNTRIES working illegal than tourist from the US and Europe----Colombia and Venezuala are not here as tourist but looking for a way to feed themselves and families from their home countries---most of them. Could Panama be country specific and different rules for different countries? I guess so, and that might keep the illegal work force at bay. It's all about the money for Panama and they will lesson their profit from legal tourist and residents trying to stop illegal work in Panama. But, they can do it.
If they are over staying their visas or committing crimes a shorter visa will not help. I think Costa Rica tried this a few years ago and it failed. Not sure why other foreigners get so riled up about others who cross the border every 6 months. These people are staying within the law and can possibly be tracked better than others who have residency. De-stress folks...
Glen this is not the USA and I think you overate the technical abilities of the police. I know of a car that was stolen 2 months ago. They have a copy of the thief's drivers license and his cell phone number and have talked to him, yet after 2 months they still can't locate him or the car.
Sorry Steve I have to disagree, some elements of the National Police specialize in intelligence gathering and are well equipped to do so thanks to the former president and the importation of equipment and training from the USA and Europe including interagency cooperation across international lines. Perhaps not all cops are Intel analysts but Panama does have them.
As far as the stolen car, having an understanding of the mechanics of law enforcement I know that not all solvable crimes get solved all the time partly because senior leadership are the ones who set the agenda for the street cops and its likely they have other priorities of a more serious nature and probably focus their resources accordingly.
The police system is up to date (except for finger prints and enforcing is another story.)The DIJ doesn't have what they need to do the job; training,equipment,force. I dealt with them on a serious theft case. One day they will have a finger print data base worthy of convictions but not now. They took good prints from my condo. I then ask the chief of DIJ in David, what do you think will happen? He said, "NOTHING" because the DIJ doesn't follow up much on cases "assuming most cases are juvenile deliquents. And, when immigration checks you out electronically your passport shows up "after the first time used in Panama" and a copy of your pensionado and ecedula and panama criminal record shows up in "SECONDS". I ask immigration to let me look at her computer screen at Tocumen Airport and there it was photo copies of US documents and Panamanian documents. So, they are in much better shape on security for the country than the province or city security. And the hand held device at the Caldera Check Point is fast and modern. They aren't pulling those cars over to the bus casita for nothing. They write tickets there every day or arrest or call the wrecker. In my opinion, they let too many cars pass through without checking because there are NOT enough police in Boquete to handle the local populaton PLUS the tourist. Criminals and illegal tourist are caught there often. Since it's inception all crime in Boquete has decreased from perps outside of Caldera and Boquete. Varela did add more than 300 cops in 2015 and if you think about it you do see them more now days. So, it's a developing country I think. I don't like to compare to the USA much but here's one observation. In the USA it is LAW to have a cop/resident ratio based on population of a state, county or city. That would work great here.
How many times you been asked for your ID at that Caldera checkpoint?
Same thing as in the USA............once they know you they wave you through not a problem for non criminals.
Same thing as in the USA? I haven't encountered a check point ever in the States but in Panama I encounter them every other day which is highly annoying. I moved to Panama for a sense of freedom but instead feel less free. Now I'm back to the States permanently and it is absolutely wonderful here. I didn't realize how much I gave up. There's no place like home.
Me too, except for agricultural checkpoint just inside cal from az (medfly problem).
DUI check points and equipment check points for trucks every where all over the USA everday somewhere. I don't down play the check points. Glad you're back home enjoying.