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Thursday, April 17 2014 @ 08:38 PM EDT

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More Requirements For The Nicaraguans

Immigration IssuesThe National Immigration Service (SNM) established the new requirements for Nicaraguan citizens to enter Panama through the border posts of Paso Canoas, Río Sereno and Guabito.

The new measures were established in Resolution No. 5237 of April 2nd, which was published yesterday in the Official Gazette No. 27,259.

Nicaraguans that enter Panama through the border posts should submit the original and copy of their passport which will be valid for at least three months, have a visa to enter Costa Rica and provide proof of sufficient funds in an amount not less than $ 500.

This credit can be demonstrated by cash or a credit card account with the statement account reflecting available balance.

Nicaraguan travelers must present land passage to return to their country of origin or residence, while residents in Panama must present their current ID and valid passport with at least three months of validation. (Siglo)

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Panama to Require Spanish Test for All Non Tourist Visas

Immigration Issues By Rodrigo Campos, AFP Writer- Ciudad de Panamá - Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli signed into law Wednesday a controversial measure requiring all visa applicants to pass a Spanish test before receiving residency documents. The new law, which will go into effect when it is published in the government´s Gaceta Oficial early next week, will likely affect thousands of visa applicants who come from non Spanish speaking countries. The new rules require everyone requesting a new or renovated visa, including those already approved for permanent residency status, to pass a state issued test and demonstrate the grammar and speaking abilities equivalent to that of a 5 year old. The test, which is similar to the aptitude test given to preschool children before admittance into elementary school, will be created and administered by the Ministry of Education in cooperation with the Immigration office. The test will be half written and half oral, and will cost $30. Under the new law all applicants for non tourist visas, regardless of country of origin, will be required to pass a Spanish test before being issued their residency permits. The law covers nearly all residency statuses, both permanent and temporary, with the lone exemption being given to foreigners living in Panama under refugee status. Those either failing the test or refusing to take it will have their visa status downgraded to the same regulations given to those carrying a tourist visa.

The new rules come at a time where the Central American country is seeing an influx of foreigners who are moving there for retirement and investment. Proponents of the law say that the new requirement will assure that people who decide to move to the country can assimilate with more ease. Opponents say the law can cripple the real estate and investment market, still recovering from the world recession, by discouraging retirees and investors from moving there. For a complete transcript of the entire law translated into English, please visit http://tinyurl.com/2ht3po.

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Changes To Immigration Rules For Foreign Professionals

Immigration IssuesPanama is one of the countries in the region with the greatest difficulties in hiring, attributed to the growth of the economy and low unemployment.

This has forced the authorities to make certain amendments to the rules on foreign labor.

The most recent changes reduce the amount of time required for professionals to obtain permanent residency from seven to two years.

Yesterday a decree from the Ministry of Security was published in the Official Gazette number 27,250 -A- which gives permanence to foreigners who have been working in Panama for a period of two years. Before, seven years were required.

According to Decree No. 229, repealing sections 4 and 5 of Chapter 1 of Title III of Decree 320 of August 8, 2008 and created the subcategory of permanent resident foreigners for work.

According to the Director of Immigration, Javier Carrillo, the thing is to reduce the amount of time required, and to make the process easier.

This applies to foreign personnel who have been hired by private companies within 10% of the regular staff, and those contracted in technical expertise or within 15% of personnel allowed by law. Carrillo said that the cost of the process is maintained at $ 250 and $ 800.

The law is not only for new hires, but it also applies to those who are now living in Panama and who have been here for more than two years.

The president, Ricardo Martinelli, during the meeting of businessmen from Mesoamerica prior to the meeting of Governors of the Inter-American Development Bank (BID), said - Panama, because of the situation of full employment, is promoting the migration of all latitudes, so that all foreigners who have a profession will be given a visa and a work permit. "Simply put, we need skilled labor," said the president.

He previously had issued a decree in order to relax the rules to attract more professionals. This Decree 343 of May 16, 2012, which allows foreigners from 22 countries, especially in Europe, to obtain permanent residence in the country, only had to demonstrate financial solvency with a minimum account size of $ 5,000 or demonstrate that they have property in Panama.

In such cases the countries were Slovakia, France, Finland, Netherlands, Ireland, Japan, Norway, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Singapore, Uruguay, Chile, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, Spain, United States and Sweden.

Business associations have been shown in favor of this law. (Estrella)

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A Network Of "Mules" Bringing Nicaraguans In Through Paso Canoas

Immigration IssuesThe chief of the immigration station in Paso Canoa, Edgar Aparicio, denounced the existence of a network of people dedicated to introducing Nicaraguan citizens into the national territory, under the cover of tourist or sightseeing trips.

Aparicio said at least five of the companies that provide this service are being investigated for bringing these people to Panama under the pretext that they are going to get a job in our country.

"They deceive their countrymen with false promises, they charge a hefty sum of money for the ride and give them 500 dollars to demonstrate financial solvency when they appear before the windows of immigration, and they also give them a return ticket to Nicaragua, as required by the laws of Panama," he said.

The official explained that the members of this network then cancel the plane tickets once the people are in Panama, and they take back the $500 they were given to be able to cross the border to demonstrate financial solvency. (TVN)

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Blackout At The Border Causes Chaos

Immigration IssuesOne hundred tourists were stranded in the community Guabito at the border crossing between Panama and Costa Rica, for more than six hours.

Under the hot sun, hundreds of foreigners waited for electrical power to be restored, so that government officials could perform the necessary procedures respective to their immigration status.

The tourists expressed their discomfort over the inconvenience of having to do the immigration and customs procedures, because these two institutions provide service in the border area, and they do not have an appropriate facility to provide an efficient service to both nationals and foreigners.

"One problem is the delay, and the other is that we are in the open for lack of a roof," said a group of foreigners from Argentina.

We found the chaos created by the two institutions was due to a blackout at the border.

Furthermore, it was observed that, the institutions have an auxiliary electric generator, but they were not using it because they don't have the funds to buy gasoline.

We tried to obtain a statement from the institutions named, but officials did not issue an opinion. (Siglo)

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Immigration Has Approved More Than 9,600 Visas Thus Far This Year

Immigration IssuesThousands of applications for visas have been denied thus far in 2012, according to a news release from the National Immigration Service. From January to October this year there have been a total of 16,388 applications for visas. Of those, 9,608 were approved and 6,780 were rejected. Of the foreigners who requested visas - 5,391 were Colombians, 2,216 were Venezuelans, 1,022 were Dominicans, 931 were Americans (US), 700 were Spanish, and 596 were Italians. The statement reveals that the most frequently requested visas are temporary resident. In 2011, from January to October, the number of visas processed was 2,477 less than during this year. The visas fall into the categories of immigrant, temporary residence, provisional, and permanent. (Siglo)

Editor's Comment: Javier Carrillo has been doing a good job as the Director of Immigration, since he took over after the prior director was fired in a corruption scandal. All of the BS stopped the minute he walked in the door. He has earned some applause.

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New Immigration Category - Foreigners Who Are Parents of Panamanian Children

Immigration IssuesBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - On 9 August 2012 President Ricardo Martinelli signed Executive Order Number 583, creating a new category for permanent residence in Panama for foreigners who are parents of Panamanian children. This is another "expat friendly" program implemented by the Martinelli administration, similar to the "melting pot" initiative, to allow foreigners who are living in Panama obtain a legal immigration status to live and work here, as permanent residents. So, if you are a parent of a Panamanian child or children, either as the mother or father, you can now apply under this new category for permanent residency, and obtain a cedula and work permit. (more)

Editor's Comment: You've just hit a "pay wall." Panama-Guide subscribers (members) who have logged in to their accounts can see the full text of this article. However non-members can only see this short introduction. In this particular case, you will learn the details about this new immigration category, the requirements, and how to apply.

If you would like to subscribe, please click on the button below to pay the $20 (cheap) annual subscription fee via PayPal;


This Is Another Test Article: Anonymous users can only see this article - which contains just the headline and the first sentence of the article. Members who have paid the subscription fee and logged in to their user account on this website will see the full text of the article, and my comments. I will be putting up one of these per day between now and 1 December 2012 and the full implementation of the "pay wall."

Copyright 2012 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Don't forget to follow Panama Guide on Twitter. Salud.

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You Don't Lose Your Pensionado Benefits If You Get A Cedula

Immigration Issues By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Last week, in response to the article about the fact that now anyone with a pensionado visa can obtain a Panamanian cedula personal identification card, someone posted a comment saying: "BTW, With the new cedula you do lose all the "Pensionado" benefits. No more bringing in your personal stuff and car for free. No more bringing in a new car every 2 years for free. Also, you may have to pay for medical depending where you go for service."

Editor's Comment: False. Wrong. Incorrect. There are all kinds of BS rumors running around, being spread by fear mongers who don't know what the hell they're taking about, with regards to this new benefit that's being offered by the Panamanian government. In fact, you will not lose any of the pensionado benefits if you decide to obtain a cedula. The cedula is nothing more than an identification card. That's it. You will still have your pensionado card that's issued by the National Immigration Service. The cedula is a personal identification card that's issued by the Electoral Tribunal. And what's more, the benefits allowed to retirees in Panama are derived by Panamanian law - not the color or flavor of the card in your back pocket. As proof, I have a cedula, I'm a permanent resident under the "married to a Panamanian" category which I obtained more than ten years ago, and I qualify for the pensionado benefits because I'm retired from the US military. So - the idea or concept that you will somehow magically lose your pensionado benefits by getting a cedula is wrong, incorrect, utter bullshit, and nothing more than a rumor.

Copyright 2012 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Retirees in Panama With "Pensionado" Visa Can Now Obtain A "Cedula" (National Identification Card)

Immigration Issues Please be advised that now the laws in Panama allow for those who have applied for and been granted "tourist pensioner" immigration status to obtain a Panamanian "cedula" (national identification card.) This is a two step process. First applications have to go through the National Immigration Service. There, they will be provided documentation that has to be taken to the Civil Registry of Panama, where the cedula is actually produced and issued. The entire process, if handled in an appropriate manner, should take approximately 45 to 60 days from start to finish.

For further information please contact us via email to info@prapananama.com.

Carlos Neuman, PRA Abogados – Attorneys at Law. Tel. (507) 263-1896. Fax (507) 263-3380. carlosneuman@prapanama.com. www.prapanama.com.

Editor's Comment: There are thousands of foreigners living in Panama as "pensionados" (retirees). This is a special immigration status granted by the government of Panama, and those people all have a card issued by the National Immigration Service indicating they can live in the country indefinitely. Until recently "pensionados" have been unable to obtain the standard Panamanian "cedula" or national identification card. While not strictly necessary, having this card makes life a whole lot easier for those living here in Panama full time. It's hard to list all of the advantages, but Panamanians sort of "relax" when a foreigner presents a cedula as their personal identification. They know you're registered and in the system, so to speak. In short, it's sort of like taking one more step towards integration with the Panamanian system, culture, and people. So you can still get by with your "pensionado" card and passport from your home country, but I strongly recommend going through the process of obtaining a cedula as well. I've had one for ten years and I use it almost on a daily basis.

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More Than 4,000 Foreigners Receive Work Permits in Panama

Immigration IssuesMore than four thousand foreigners of different nationalities have initiated procedures to obtain immigration status in Panama. The event is part of the tenth extraordinary process being performed by the National Immigration System, to solve the problem of thousands of foreigners who have arrived in the country in recent years. Javier Carrillo, the National Director of Immigration, said with this process they will be handing more than six thousand identity cards for immigration procedures, to those immigrants who meet the requirements indicated by the institution.

He said in the past six days, the most people who have completed these formalities are Colombians who have already made more than 2,300 applications, followed by over 700 Nicaraguans, 287 Venezuelans, and 228 Dominicans. On a smaller scale there have also been 81 Peruvians, and 41 Ecuadorans. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: Panama still needs warm bodies to do the work. These 4,000 people now have a "normalized" immigration status and a work permit. So, they can legally get hired, work anywhere, pay taxes, etc.

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