Do you think the new immigration changes are influencing habitual border hoppers to look into relocating elsewhere?

This question may be polemic for some, or taken out of context by others but I am intrigued.

Since Panama is enforcing more strict immigration rules in an effort to eliminate the perennial tourist and habitual border hopper and encourage expats to become permanent residents of Panama, I have learned of several expats from Canada, US and Russia who are opting out of Panama and moving to other countries.

I know that Panama's ongoing immigration changes can be discouraging to some, but it really shouldn't as Panama has a wide variety of Visas that give you residency, not limited to Friendly Nations, Pensionado or Investment.  There are even medical visas that allow you to stay one or two years for medical care, so the options are there and my question is:

Why would someone who has been established in Panama for a number of years not become a resident?

Why start over somewhere new, knowing that one cannot be a tourist in a nation forever and that eventually that new country will require residency as well?


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If I read it correctly he didnt say he was denied a visa. He said he was ripped off by the lawyers every time.......Has happened to friends of mine too.....Both here and in Costa Rica......numerous times.....another reason to not do it, haha.......The reasons to not do it outnumber the reasons to do it........

Very true, Alan.

I would think that after a year or two I would have quit trying and moved.  Or at least tried to find someone who had found a good lawyer.  Ning has published dozens of lawyer stories and recommended successes.

Here is a discussion with some ideas:

It is not just lawyers. I know somebody who totally qualified on a corporate pension pensionado and after 2.5 yrs of trying, threw in the towel. Why? Multiple reasons, some of which were 3 different immigration directors in that period, and on and on.

The recommended successes are a crapshoot, to my dismay (other recommendations too). Some of these people got lucky for a time. I know 3 highly recommended people that when I used them failed miserably. Competence, diligence and consistency are not strong here.

Right now CL has an excellent podcast by Dan Porter that relates to the vagaries he experienced over 5 yrs. trying to get residence. It's like the border crossing, to quote Forrest Gump "It's like a box of chocolates"

I would suggest investigation all the nearby countries, none of which require attorneys, as an alternative. At least that would remove a major crimp in the process.

As recent immigrants,(1.5 years) I don't see any saving in the cost of basic goods, cleaning supplies and food, especially if one uses ANY processed products..  If a person is not able to afford a gardener and housekeeper, on their social security retirement income, then the only advantage is the weather.  That is not a good enough trade off to be apart from one's family and close friends on a permanent basis. Starting a business, even under the Friendly Nations Visa, is difficult and expensive (so we found out), so that does not encourage new business start ups.  In every country, competition is a good thing and will encourage a higher quality of service from the suppliers, be it native or foreigner.  Case in point, once the high season was past, people began clearing out of Boquete and moving to other countries, plus the pressure of the opening of the new Super Baru, there was a noticeable improvement in the service at Romeros. .  No criticism of Romeros, actually that is a thumbs up to show some business acumen, realizing the competition is going to get  more stiff for the remaining customer base.  There are so many new businesses that could be started in the Boquete area but there is no encouragement to do so.  The attorneys are another whole topic that would require a lengthy response but like most countries the laws are made by and benefit the lawyers.  Enuf said on that.  But they are killing the goose that lays the proverbial golden egg by not taking a more creative approach to resolving the "permanent tourist" problem. They could get 5 intelligent American business men, or Canadians or Germans together in a room for two hours and come up with a better solution.  In the US, we call it American ingenuity, not sure how they refer to it in Canada or Germany.  Oh well.  Welcome to Panama!

Excellent response. The only thing I would quibble with on the financial front is to note that the cost of labor is minuscule compared to that of developed countries. As we get older and our money stretches less far, and as we simultaneously become less able to maintain things ourselves,  inexpensive labor is a godsend. My guess is that labor here is a quarter of what it is in the U.S., maybe less.

In theory labor is a lot cheaper yes.....but what good does it do you if you cant find anybody to work.......? All the more motivated people are caught up in the big construction projects and there is a certain % who just arent interested in working.....I pass able bodied guys in the middle of the day goin up or down the hill here in Boqueron and I just wonder why they dont answer my ad or come knocking on my door like the old daze........Theyre too bizy playin with their phones and just foolin around......No doubt its easier in Boquete cuz theres more population but here in my area labor is scare.....and whoever is willing to work is holding the cards and can pretty much name their price.......Meanwhile the cost of labor in Nicaragua is a third to a quarter of what it is here, and unemployment is still high.........

Whoa ......  did people NOT do their homework .... their research???  Did they not make a couple of trips here first ... before they moved here??

"... then the only advantage is the weather.  That is not a good enough trade off to be apart from one's family and close friends on a permanent basis."

Then why did you come here??

We interviewed three attorneys during our initial visit here .... and selected one that works out of David and Panama City ......  no B.S. with him - he EARNED our business .... he went with us to our appointments ..... got our Visa within four months .... our Cedula, a year later.  (I will gladly provide you his contact info upon request).

I've said it before, and was accused of being rude (like I care), but if one doesn't like it here in Panama .... then go back to wence you came!!  

@Wayne and Nancy. I am a EU citizen. If a want to retire in the USA, no way of a residents permit as a non working pensionado with US$ 60,000 income per year. In Europe an American can get a residence permit as pensionado. So do not complain about Panama. Anyway I get my pensions in Euros and since December I get almost 10% more due to the depreciations of Dollar.  Killing the Goose is better than the USA bombing and killing millions of innocent people around the world!!!!

Yes Olga I am checking out next month after many years here even though a resident. If you add up all the money wasted on poor service and incorrect information it runs into the thousands for me and I believe I am well ahead of the curve. I think that is how this country is thriving. Plus this is a small country and beginning to feel like GroundHog day. Anyway too tired here and ready for new horizons.

People who are unhappy living here for any reason should really explore other options, the first being to return home where they're more comfortable with a known environment. To be unhappy is to be unhealthy.


For the residents and visitors of Boquete Panama.RT

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