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Thursday, September 20 2018 @ 09:21 AM UTC

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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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Second Day Of Immigration Fair At The Roberto Duran Arena

Immigration IssuesOn the second day of the Tenth Regularization for Foreigners by the National Immigration Service, being held at the Roberto Duran Arena, people arrived very early and others have been there since yesterday. Although they are only going to serve 1,200 foreigners today, people were lining up in the Arena and even laying down on the floor with pillows, to wait. According to the authorities they began the process earlier, even though it was scheduled for 9:00 am. It was also reported that within the Arena Roberto Duran, the foreigners could also apply for a work permit through a simple process, and a cost of $500. The Director of Immigration, Javier Carrillo, said the doors would be closed at 7:00 pm, but his staff would be inside processing the applicants. He also said about 750 people were legalized yesterday. (TVN)

Editor's Comment: Foreigners can apply to legalize their status in the country through this process. Anyone who has been in Panama for more than a year as a tourist can apply. When you're done, you will have a card from immigration that's valid for two years which means you no longer have to do the hop across the border every six months to reset your tourist visa. You can also apply for a work permit, which means you can get hired by a Panamanian company and work legally on the books. The government of Panama is doing this because they want to bring all of those people who are working in the black and grey market economies into the sunlight. It's a win-win for the government, because they are making you pay a lot of money to go through the process (about $1,500 total) and when you're done, you now have the right to work and pay taxes. Welcome aboard. And at the same time, Panama needs more warm bodies to fill the tens of thousands of positions that are available. The economy continues to expand, but the demographics can't keep up.

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Immigration expected legalize some 6000 people in the "melting pot"

Immigration IssuesThe National Immigration Service expects legalize some 6,000 people, of the 9,000 who signed up for appointments to participate in the seventh round of Migratory Regularization dubbed "Panama, melting pot". Javier Carrillo, the Director of Immigration, said today, the first day of the conference, the expect to serve about 1,800 people, and so far the new legalization process is working. Unlike previous events, where some people were in need of sleep in the area outside of the Roberto Durán arena, this time foreign citizens were served using a new appointment system. Carrillo said they would continue to attend the public until 7:00 pm today, and those who arrive late will lose the opportunity. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: They started doing these things about two years ago, and they hand out cards and working permits that are valid for two years. So, anyone who is still here will have to go through this process again, to renew their documents. It's a huge money maker for the Panamanian government, as each applicant has to pay about $1,500 total between Immigration and the Ministry of Labor in fees. And, in the end the people who were formerly illegal aliens can now work legally, with jobs on payroll, paying taxes and getting health insurance, etc.

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Another Immigration "Melting Pot" Event Coming In October

Immigration IssuesWith the slogan "Panama, melting pot", the National Immigration Service will hold another Immigration Regularization event from Tuesday 2 October through Saturday 6 October 2012, at the Roberto Duran arena, in the village of Juan Diaz. They will be attending the public every day from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm. Foreigners interested in making their immigration procedure of legalization must meet the following requirements:
  • Be 18 years of age or older;
  • Have at least one year in the country;
  • The entry stamps in the passport must not have more than six months between them, from one to the next;
  • The applicant cannot have already started legalization proceedings in the National Immigration Service under some other program;
  • The applicant must apply personally.

Foreigners who wish to apply for work permits for humanitarian reasons must meet the following requirements:

  • Two passport photos;
  • The Request (which may be submitted by the applicant or legal representative by proxy);
  • The resolution issued by the National Immigration Service giving them permission for temporary residence;
  • A copy certified before a Notary Public of the card issued by the National Immigration Service.

Editor's Comment: Anyone who has been coming to Panama as a tourist and doing the "six month border hop" to remain legal might want to consider this option. When finished, you end up with an identification card from Immigration granting you temporary residence for two years. And once you are granted the immigration status, you can apply for a work permit, which allows you to legally work in the country for any company, on the books. This is one of the tools being used by the government of Panama to bring those foreigners who are living and working here anyway, off the books and illegally, into the regularized system.

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Fire At The Immigration Holding Cells (Prison)

Immigration IssuesA fire broke out in the Immigration holding cells (prison) located in Curundu Heights, Ancon. Presumably the fire was caused by the prisoners themselves. Neighbors said there was a brawl before the fire occurred. About four fire trucks responded to the fire. So far there have been no reports of injuries, and all of the inmates were taken to another place. (Mi Diario)
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Pensionados In Panama Can Now Get A Cedula

Immigration IssuesThe National Immigration Service (SNM) reported, through a press release, that foreigners who apply within the immigration status of retirees (pensionados) will be eligible for the permanent resident card (cedula). This measure will apply to those who are covered by the Law # 9 of 1987, which grants exemptions for retirees and pensioners who are retired from active life and to retired annuitants. This measure will be applied to those who comply with Executive Order #320 of 8 August 2008, which states that those who receive a retirement or pension from any foreign government, shall maintain a monthly income or pension that shall not be less a thousand dollars (per month) and must be granted for life.

According to Javier Carrillo, before permanent residency was being given to retirees, but they could not complete the process to be given a personal identification card (cedula). 'Now they can be permanent here, and they can be issued a cedula," he said. He added that, as the law provides for these benefits, the applicant should have a pension of not less than one thousand dollars (per month).

Strict regime - Given these statements, the lawyer Ernesto Cedeño argues that Panama has created a number of benefits that many foreigners come to invest, however, they face a strict regime to remain permanently. According to Cedeño, for a person to obtain a visa as a pensioner, they must have a monthly income of one thousand dollars or more, while the foreigner who has no resources, who enters country for several years and remains hidden, the SNM grants work permits for up to ten years.

"The current administration is benefiting more the foreigners who do not have the resources or to survive, over those who come here to invest," said Cedeño. According to the lawyer Cedeño, in Panama there is no defined immigration policy regarding this issue.

In 2011, the SNM processed 648 immigrant visas for pensioners or retirees, of which 538 were approved and 110 denied. Through July this year, of the 388 visas Immigration has processed, 295 were approved and 93 were denied. (Siglo)

Editor's Comment: Cool. Now everyone out there who already has a pensionado visa can also obtain your permanent identification card (cedula). This is a big advantage, because in the Panamanian business community as soon as you flash a cedula, then they relax because you've been completely identified, even though you're a foreigner. I zip through the airport using the "Panamanian" line in immigration, just by showing my cedula. Now, before you ask - this is all I know about this issue thus far. I'm sure the lawyers who deal with these things were also caught flat-footed by this surprise announcement on a Saturday. Next week there will be a lot of discussion. Anyway, prepare to apply for your cedula. This is good news.

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Cuban Immigrants Headed to US By Way of Panama, Colombia

Immigration IssuesMETETI, Panama – Led by smugglers armed with knives and machetes, Mayra Reyes and 14 other Cubans sloshed through swamps and rivers and suffered hordes of mosquitoes as they struggled across the notorious Darien Gap between Panama and Colombia, the only north-south stretch of the Americas to defy road-builders.

After walking for three days, the group reached the foot of a steep, scrubby mountain. There, the smugglers peeled away and told the Cubans they would have to press ahead alone. "I thought I was going to have a heart attack," the 32-year-old hairdresser from Havana told The Associated Press. "What the guides did was get us to the mountain, where we had to wait for nightfall while these green and black poisonous frogs got on top of us."

Hundreds of Cubans like Reyes are taking that arduous new route toward the United States, trekking across the 85 miles (135 kilometers) of steamy tropical jungle that divides Colombia and Panama, through mountains, ravines, and muddy ground teeming with poisonous reptiles, jaguars, wild boars, guerrillas and drug traffickers. And after that, they still face a journey across 1,700 miles (2,700 kilometers) and six countries to reach the United States.

Panamanian immigration authorities detained 800 Cubans near the border with Colombia from January through the first week in July, compared to 400 in all of 2011. "We have detained up to 90 people in one week," said Frank Abrego, director of Panama's National Borders Service.

The route across the Darien Gap arose partly because many Cubans are now using the South American nation of Ecuador as the start of their path to the United States. President Rafael Correa eliminated visa requirements for Cuba in 2008, as other countries in Latin America, including Mexico, made it harder for Cubans to reach their shores. Thousands of islanders over the decades have used rudimentary rafts to travel the 90 miles (150 kilometers) that separate Cuba from the United States, but that journey can be deadly, and the U.S. Coast Guard has been patrolling the Florida Straits more aggressively, halting many before they can reach Florida. Most Cubans who reach U.S. soil can stay, but those intercepted at sea are usually returned to their homeland, and U.S. figures indicate that more than 1,000 have been stopped at sea so far this year.

So Cubans have turned to land routes. Nearly 90 percent of all undocumented Cubans who make it to America now come overland, usually through Mexico, rather than reaching U.S. shores by boat, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The route across the Darien Gap arose partly because many Cubans are now using the South American nation of Ecuador as the start of their path to the United States. President Rafael Correa eliminated visa requirements for Cuba in 2008, as other countries in Latin America, including Mexico, made it harder for Cubans to reach their shores.

All a Cuban needs is an exit permit from the Cuban government and a letter of invitation from a citizen of Ecuador, where some people sell such letters for $300 to $500. If Cubans have a letter of invitation and prove they can finance their travel abroad, it's relatively easy to get an exit permit if they are not doctors, scientists, military or members of other professions deemed high value by the government. The result has been a flood of islanders traveling to the South American nation, which borders Colombia along the Pacific Ocean.

"Going to Ecuador is the easiest way right now to get out of Cuba," said Andy Gomez, a senior political fellow at the University of Miami's Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies. "For the majority, Ecuador is a stopping point but they have to come up with the money to get to their final destination, the United States," he said.

According to Ecuadorean official figures, between 2007 and February 2012, 106,371 Cubans entered the country legally and 97,923 left legally. It is unclear what happened to the other 8,448. In Ecuador, many Cubans work to save money to pay smugglers to take them to Mexico's border with the United States, a route shared with many Central American migrants who have to cross territory controlled by drug traffickers and who often face extortion and kidnapping.

Few, though, cross the Darien, one of the world's most rain-drenched regions. While several thousand indigenous people live along its trails and rivers, the jungle is so dense, the ground so swampy or mountainous, that the few attempts to cross it by car or motorcycle have taken weeks or months. That terrain, and fears of environmental damage to its wild ecosystem, have continued to frustrate planners trying to link South and North America with the Pan-American Highway.

Panamanian authorities began noticing five years ago that the Darien Gap was being used by migrant smugglers, usually to move people from Asia and Africa who had traveled to the area by boat from Brazil, said Jose Mulino, Panama's public safety minister. That has tapered off. Panamanian immigration officials have detained just 97 non-Cuban migrants in the area since the start of the year.

"That traffic of Africans and Asians has considerably decreased, and the big problem we have now is the flow of Cubans who are coming through the jungle," Mulino said. The Cuban migrants are sharing dangerous paths used by drug traffickers and rebels of the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, Mulino said, That has sometimes caused problems for local law enforcement.

Police recently had to call off a drug raid after spotting a group of Cubans near the border, Abrego said. "We had to get them out of there and take them to Panama City," he said. "We lost the raid's effectiveness." Authorities have yet to determine if their guides work for either group, Mulino said. "It's not clear if the rebels, or the drug traffickers, or both, are the ones guiding the migrants," Mulino said. "Someone is helping them and those people are the ones who walk that area."

Mildred Morales, a 34-year-old Cuban nurse who was part of Reyes' group, said she paid $300 just to cross the border into Panama. She had spent about $1,000 since leaving Ecuador three days earlier. "From the moment you leave Ecuador you have to pay people off, police and immigration officials in Ecuador and in Colombia," the Havana woman said. "This is not cheap." After climbing the mountain, the group walked another six hours to a river. From there, Panamanian authorities detained them and took them eight hours by canoe to the town of Yaviza, where the Pan-American Highway ends in Panama. From there, they went by car to a detention shelter in the town of Meteti.

The Cubans remained in Meteti for several days until immigration authorities gave them, like most Cuban migrants, a temporary permit allowing them to be in the Central American country as long as they report to authorities every two weeks. Authorities in Meteti say it's rare to see the Cubans again.

Like everyone in the group, Morales was nursing dozens of mosquito bites and thinking about the rest of the journey north. "We don't know what kind of problems we'll face in the rest of the countries," Morales said. "We have heard from other Cubans that it is possible to reach Mexico's borders with the United States." (Fox News)

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