More immigration changes may come in a near future

As you are all aware, 3 nationalities had their tourist visa stays limited to 90 days down from 180 days. These were the Colombians, Dominicans and Venezuelans. This law contradicted reciprocity agreements and it has bee challenged in the CSJ (Supreme Court) by an independent attorney.

Rumor has it that his lawsuit has no merit as the Department of Immigration, the Department of National Security and the President can impose laws that will overwrite any constitutional rules or reciprocity agreements, however, in the end, those 3 nationalities have no effect on our community, except

A new Bill was introduced in the legislature that aims to limit all tourist visas to a maximum of 30 days with an option to extend for another two 30 day terms, meaning, if approved everyone will be allowed 30 days entry as a tourist, and may have the option to go the Department of Immigration and apply for an extension. The guidelines for this extension are not yet disclosed.

So, if you do not have your residency papers in process, now is the best time. There are no longer any other options but the regular visa applications and all regularization fairs have been terminated.

There are scheduled protests throughout this month and into next month pressing for the government to tighten the immigration process and tourist visa stays. Pressure is on and the government is in a tight spot, something will come up, what? is anyone's guess but it is best to be prepared. Speak to a lawyer if you are considering or already live in Panama as a tourist

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Olga do you have a link to an article about this? 

multiple news are involved, but look in the local papers and sources, La Prensa, La Estrella, El Siglo, La Critica, MI Diairo etc.

I thought it was Colombians, Venezuelans, and Nicaraguans.

You have an "except" left hanging in the midst of an important point.

it is one of the nationalities that will be restricted as well

If Panama does this, they are shooting themselves in both feet. Many "snowbirds" from Canada and northern US come to Panama to spend more than 3 months (usually 5) to escape their winter. This will eliminate many of them and the money they spend. Is Panama trying to sabatoge it's economy and tourist industry? I understand limiting the 3 nationalities mentioned and THEY could have some limits and restrictions for good reasons, but the rest of the world shouldn't be included in this.

Again, this is just a bill, and I am sure it will be fought and changed if at all approved.

What I do know is that future changes are coming as the country is in revolt and they need to satisfy some of the complaints of the people to calm them and deviate their attention from the real issues.

Minor changes will get people off the streets, just like Law 130 which screws every property owner, and is now on HOLD, which means it can be activated anytime.

A few months ago you were talking about the Decree 157 and 145 and that it costs $571.  I have not heard of anyone getting this. The details were not clear either.  What's going on with this?

The grace period to apply was terminated already. If you did not fill in your online request, you can no longer do this and this process of regularization will not come back.

Gail did you have any problems returning from your border run?

Looks to me like Panama is bound and determined to scare away as many tourists and expats as possible.......They dont really comprehend or grasp the concept of tourism here, and for that reason there are not many. I just got back from Nicaragua where I spent my obligatory month out of the country, and it was full of tourists.....All over the place.....ON the southern beaches, Granada, Masaya and all the way up north close to the Honduran border.......Despite its reputation as the second poorest country in the Western hemisphere (I dont believe that one either) it has made great strides and is moving on up........still has high unemployment, and wages are low......a business owner can have 3 or more employees there for the price of one here........and they move.....they actually work.........having said all this, in response to the question above not directed at me.......I got back to the Pana border at nite (always the best time) and there was no line, and was greeted by a great big warm welcome home smile by the guapa joven working in the migra office there, no questions asked, nothing required, just stamped back in and good for another 6 months...........

Great to hear that Allan..... and yes Nicaragua is up and coming and something to keep an eye out for if you want to be an expat without committing to getting permanent residency in a country.

The sentiment of the locals is simple, because of the abuse by Venezuelans, Nicaraguans, Colombians, Dominicans etc. working without work permits, crime increase, prostitution, and cost of living increase, especially in the City, the nationals want the definition of tourist to be just that. In principle a tourist is someone who is traveling for leisure, and they feel that asking $500 and allowing a 3 or 6 months stay does not define tourism. In their minds a tourist is someone who travels to one specific country for a period no longer than 30 days, they want to establish this, with an option to extend for another 60 days, a maximum of 90 days. A tourist will also need more than $500 to stay even one month in a country. This will then reduce the amount of "tourists" who come for 6 months showing $500, meaning they are here to work or make money otherwise avoiding taxes and taking the jobs from the nationals.

Panama offers a wide variety of visas, for medical treatments, for investments, for retirees, friendly nations, etc., those interested in living in Panama, either permanently or semi-permanently will then have to apply to one of those visas, which makes sense.

The regularization processes, the crisol de razas, and those programs resulted in many people with questionable backgrounds to come into the country and stay for ever in that temporary status without necessarily contributing to the economy. The often work for less money than the nationals would, therefore driving down the salaries in many capacities.

So, it may need a few more tries before they get it right, but definitely their immigration system and their definition of tourist should be reviewed, for some nations more than others, agreed, but by default a law affects all involved.

Any idea Olga when the new law will go into effect, so I can start planning my escape? And will it be effective immediately or only apply to the people entering the country from that point onward? As it stands now, Im good for 6 months which gives me plenty of time to sell cars and furniture and reduce my pile of essentials.........and finalized the sale of the property....Remember, this wont be the first time the Panamañista party has reamed and steamed extranjeros. Theyve got a history of doing so.....But in any case theyve got less than 2 years left in power and I dont expect they will be extending...........

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