It has been long coming. Appxoximately 300 venezuelas are being denied entry to Panama given their practice to do border runa for three days and get their 180 day stamps.

Immigration made an announcement that border hoppers will not be allowed re entry. So far this has affected venezuelans but they are enforcing it and you do not want to be caught in the middle. If you are coming up in your 180 days, take a plane and go somewhere or speak to a lawyer first to be on the safe aide

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Here we go again I just tried to get across and was told by officials I would not be able to re enter if I left, I have one previous crossing into costa rica, I was returning to Canada in may and booked my flight accordingly so it leaves me in a spot. I had reservations to do a crossing in jan but cancelled due to length of stay confusion which turned out not to apply I should have just crossed then. I have sent an email to my embassy to find out for sure if it applies to everyone or just certain countries like the previous change. I can work with system either way but they need to decide one way or the other so we know what to do

P.S. I was told they just started this yesterday


If that is the case and your embassy can't provide a resolution, your best bet would be to stay in Panama until your departure flight in May and pay the $50 per month fine for overstaying your visa. 

Ged I think the risk you might take with this is that is if they check your passport at any time and you are over staying your visa you can be deported with no chance to pay the fine.

I really didn't want to be in this situation, I even talked to my embassy last month and they said I could still do the 72 hours out and get stamped for another 6 months my other flight is now cancelled. Is there any repercussions for over stay other than the fee? anther flight would be quite expensive on short notice I only have a week left on my stamp

LOL yous posted just before I did

Varela did not change the law. One thing is being able to stay up to 180 days as a tourist, and a completely different thing is abusing the tourist status and staying in Panama for years as a tourist avoiding their immigration laws and not being legalized as a resident.

There are many people who avoid becoming legal residents and stay as tourists. This has been strictly enforced as of this past weekend and more so on Monday where both Varela and Carrillo stated they are ending the border hopping practices. They have denied Venezuelans, but have not made any exceptions to nationalities.

Again, avoid border hopping and if you do so, speak to your lawyer before so you know your options

Well, like I said I can work with the system either way but the problem is I made plans according to the law and as far as I am concerned did my due diligence but because they enacted it with no notice it will put me in the situation to over stay, I qualify for pensionado but have spent 8 months to see if Panama is a good fit as is recommended generally and have done my best to stay within the law but am discouraged by they way the laws are being handled, not with the content of change but they way I am being put in a situation to overstay when it was never my intention to do anything but follow the law.


Yes, it's absurd that they enacted this law retroactively without notice.


Just to sum up my experience with border crossing, I crossed in sept. where I was met by one of the "helpers" at the border convinced me that the laws for costa rica had just changed and I needed an exit ticket back to my country of origin not just back to panama but he could get me through with no questions $20 for the person at the booth and $20 for him well, that turned out to be a scam but being my first crossing I fell for it. Then comes January I  booked to cross again then comes the confusion surrounding length of stay so cancelled as my current stamp was good until march and if the new stamp is only good for 3 month no point spending $$$ when it wouldn't extend my stamp, well that turned out to be a lot of confusion and didn't really apply to me despite what everyone was saying. I was supposed to cross last week but was ill so I go today and was told of this new change and if I left I would not be allowed back in, I love Panama but not sure about how the immigration laws are so unstable who is to say the pensionado isn't the next target

The U.S. Embassy issued the following guidelines today:

We here at the Embassy have reached out to immigration to obtain details about the news pasted below regarding the implementation of immigration regulations.  According to the Duty Chief at Migracion-Paso Canoas, the PNM Immigration Director is enforcing these migratory requirements across Panama.  This means that if an Immigration Official determines that a foreigner is using tourism status to reside in Panama, the entry will not be allowed.  The Duty Chief gave examples of this situation, indicating that persons who exit Panama before the 6th month approaches and re-enter after three days, which is a clear sign that the individual is residing in Panama under a tourist status, will not be allowed re-entry.


In summary, these regulations were already in the books but now it seems the immigration authorities throughout Panama are going to be stricter about enforcement.  That said, we have yet to receive a complaint from  a U.S. citizen actually denied entry at the border for the reason outlined above.  


If you receive questions on this issue, you may refer people to

As stated I have been here to see what living long term here was like before spending $2000 on a pensionado visa (it is my first time in latin America) I have had a couple issues with rentals and the process has taken longer than expected, I could have booked an earlier flight but after being re assured by my embassy I could still cross the border for 3 days and get renewed I booked in may, I need to return to Canada to get paperwork needed if I want a pensionado visa if I had the paperwork here I would start the process but I cannot. But I have to question if the pensionado will be any more stable long term than the tourist visa has been as it has  downsides for the local population as well.


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