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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alan, how long have you border hopped and why didn't you get residency already?

A long time Hil......to be candid.....and I didnt get residency for various reasons.....#1 I dont qualify as a jubilado....I lack 1 yrs worth of credits to collect S.S. and Ive been outside of the U.S. for a long time....And the relatively new Friendly Nations Visa never particularly appealed to me....The idea of paying an irrefundable $800 bond in case they have to deport you is purely another govt revenue generating scam......No place else has that policy......Plus as I understand it with that FNV approach you have to have a Corp or S.A. as well......There is no longer much, if any benefit to having an S. A. here......So the costs just keep on mounting...........and I dont like paperwork........and I also somehow knew in the back of my mind that I was not here for the long term....just had a number of loose ends to tie up.........

I have a problem with the whole money grab also.  I also didn't come here with the intention to stay all my life, so why should I line their pockets. There are a lot of people like my self who put countless hours into community service as volunteers doing the work that the Panama Government should be paying for, and they do have the money. There are many foreigners here that work in the community, FOR FREE, that are leaving because of this.

If I had $2 and hour for every hour that Panama owes me in free service, then I would have way more than enough to pay for my residency visa.

Feelings and Opinions are not immigration policy for any country. If you still think it's a global conspiracy you are going to encounter that every where you dodge being legal. Get some kind of residency or you know the deal.

They have other visas, such as RE investment, etc. The fees, yes, are quite high for a residency

$800 to cover the cost of a possible deportation sounds very fair to me, how many gripe about their hard earned tax dollars going towards expenses they shouldn’t have to be responsible for in their homeland, i.e. Deportation? Looking at it from a financial point of view I’m sure boarder hopping expenses far surpass $800 very quickly, so unless Panama puts us in a position of double taxation (which would prompt a mass exodus) I don’t see how you can go wrong with pursuing residency if you are intending a prolonged stay.

So many times I have read comments from expats that for some reason feel this country owes them. No one got down on their hands a knees pleading with you to come here, it was no doubt a choice based on what you wanted and would suit your lifestyle. Charity is charity where ever you are in the world, Panama is no different from anywhere else, you give and in return you might occasionally receive a smile or a word of gratitude.  

For those of you who are looking to move on go ahead, the grass is always greener right! Panama just like any other country is looking to protect its citizens and maybe prod the undecided into making a decision on commitment. Most tourists get two and maybe a max of four weeks’ vacation from work or care to spend away from home if retired so these changes don’t affect tourism income.

If you’ve really bought into this country a want something to be concerned about then think about the proposal for taxation of property per square meter which affects everyone Panamanians and expats alike who own real estate and land. I’ll leave it to Olga or someone else who can explain better than I can what this means. 

Alan, I sent you a friend request so I can ask you questions about Nicaragua. I'm looking at this place as my next destination.

Hola Alan,

Have you been to Panama City in the last 7 years?  Martinelli remade it to be especially welcoming to tourists, including a separate branch of the police assigned to tourist areas there.

True, very little has been done outside the city since the money handlers don't have much invested in the countryside.  Seeing new things in Panama City for 2 weeks makes it a great place for tourists.

jim

Yes, I have but only briefly entering or exiting the country for Colombia or Ecuador or the States.......I have had some xperience with the tourist police in Pty and I believe it was before the Martinelli era.....I think the T.P. were founded during the Torrijos Administration but I could be wrong.....With the amount of Flor de cana that I consume my memory is not xactly impeccable, if it ever was..........But to get to the point of the issue, Ive never been a big fan of Pan City......The skyline is impressive, Miami style.......mostly built by laundered cocaine money of course........it is a citadel to mercenary capitalism.......Virtually no culture at all outside of the culture of commerce and dollars......Not my cup of tea......I much prefer Cartagena or Medellin or Quito or Cuenca.........And Panama City has gotten soooo expensive one may as well be in Honolulu......which is a lot cleaner and nicer and safer............The city is completely disproportionately xpensive compared to the rest of the country.....

Alan, Have you been to Cartagena?  I'm looking at that also as a next destination.

No, the usual stuff like a plane ticket, but didn't ask for a bank statement.  Costa Rica didn't ask for anything.  I met a woman there and she tried in Bocas to cross after 3 days and was turned away and she tried in Paso Canoas at day 29 and was turned away.  She was told by agents, she speaks Spanish, that if she flew into Tocuman then she would be able to return after a week or less. 

he said she said............

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