Site Meter
Send Us An Email
Panama Guide

Welcome to Panama Guide
Monday, July 28 2014 @ 08:20 AM EDT

View Printable Version

Dominican Serial Killer Had No Police Record, and Immigration Fair Coming Up

Immigration Issues#Panama - The director of the National Immigration Service (SNM), Javier Carrillo said he has not been able to determine if the Dominican Alcibiades Mendez, 43, who confessed to the kidnappings and murders of the five young college students of Chinese descent in the district of La Chorrera, had police record either at home or in Panama. Carrillo said Mendez had no criminal record in either country, and there were only cases pending in the local Justice of the Peace. Carrillo told the Telemetro news broadcast that the Dominican entered Panama in 2003, that he stayed in the country illegally for several years, and subsequently he married a Panamanian woman with whom he had a son. Carrillo said they are taking all appropriate security measures at the Tocumen International Airport. "All persons entering the country are verified in the Interpol database to prevent the entry of individuals who have problems with justice," he said. Mendez was questioned yesterday, Thursday, and during that interview he not only confessed to the kidnappings and murders, but he also provided other details.

Legalization of foreigners - Carrillo said from 3 to 7 October 2011 they will hold another "Panama Crucible of Races" event, which seek to quickly legalize foreigners who have been living in Panama for more than one year. The people who want to take advantage of this program to legalize their immigration status in Panama will be fingerprinted, which will be entered into a database and the information will be shared with other entities such as the Institute of Legal Medicine, among others. In addition, they will be given an ID card that is valid for two years.

Requirements - People who are interested in this program must have been living in Panama for at least one year. Anyone who has already applied through the National Immigration Service for any other type of residency program are ineligible to participate in this program. Anyone who wants to apply must attend in person. And finally, applicants should bring with them two passport sized photos, as well as their current valid passport. Carrillo said they will not legalize anyone's status who does not comply with the prescribed requirements, or who has had trouble with the law. The event will take place at the Roberto "Mano de Piedra" Duran arena from 3 to 7 October 2011, from 10:00 am until 10:00 pm. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: Members of the community of English speaking expatriates living in Panama can take advantage of this legalization program. If you entered Panama on a tourist visa and stayed in the country illegally, and if you've been here for more than a year, then you qualify. You don't qualify if you're here in a legal status, like if you've been hopping over the border regularly to reactivate your tourist status. Additionally, you can't apply under this program if you have already applied for a pensionado, married to a Panamanian, forestry visa, or anything else. The government of Panama will give you a card that's valid for two years, and with that you can get a work permit and enter the legal workforce here in Panama. They started this program in order to get the "illegals" on the books, and to expand the work force, in order to start filling some of the jobs that are being created.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

How to Evaluate Panamanian Reforestation Residency Visa Programs (A "Teak Visa")

Immigration IssuesTeak investments in Panama fall into two general categories: a. permanent residency visa programs; and b. standard, profit-oriented timber investment opportunities. Reforestation visa programs can make money if selected carefully, but their primary purpose is to obtain a residency visa for the investor, not to provide the maximum return on investment. (For the highest returns, a traditional timber investment in Panama is a better option than a reforestation visa program; for more information, see http://www.panamateakforestry.com/english/investments_teak/articles/evaluatingteakandtimber.php.)

Keep in mind that simply making an investment in Panamanian timber does not qualify you for a reforestation visa. Only reforestation residency visa programs can meet the needs of individuals seeking Panamanian residency through an investment in tropical timber. (more)

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Air Force Brat - Born In Canal Zone 44 Years Ago - Wants To Claim Panamanian Citizenship

Immigration Issues By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Received this morning via email: "Don, Little over 44 years ago I was born in Gorgas hospital as my dad was in the air force and stationed there in the canal zone for three years. Both my parents are white Anglo Americans from the good old southern state of Alabama...Roll Tide. I came along during that slot of time and have asked my mom several times why she did not register me as a citizen of Panama. Her answer to me has always been, "I didn't want to take the opportunity for you some day to become president of the USA." Wow mom really. What a visionary my mom has always been, still to this day.

Well now years down the road and I wish she would have. I have spent the last 20 years of my life living, working, communicating, building relationships, memories, and family all over Latin America, 10 of those years living in Mexico. I love the culture...I love the peopl, hell they have become my people.

In 1998 I lived in Costa Rica and thought about it and had an opportunity to pursue my citizenship but didn't take advantage of it. Now I wish I had. Which brings me in a round about way to you. I have a friend in Panama who has citizenship and told me to go on Panama Guide to find out how I might do it. So after reading article of yours on those Americans living there after years and becoming panamanians I'm writing to you as one born there with the birth papers to prove it as well as a USA passport that on the place of birth says Panama, which by the way has caused me problems like you would not believe over the years of traveling all over LA.

So, can you help? What do I do? Who do I talk to? Thanks for your time and whatever help you can provide. Leave a legacy, CL"

This Is An Easy One: Panama considers any person who was born in the former "Canal Zone" to be a Panamanian citizen by birth. Especially now since the Panama Canal and all of the lands of the former Canal Zone have been turned back over to the Panamanian's control with the full implementation of the Torrijos-Carter treaty at the end of 1999, these kinds of issues have become a question of national pride. For the government of Panama, anyone born on Panamanian soil - "Canal Zone" or no - is a Panamanian citizen by birth. Period. If you have the documentation proving you were in fact born at the Gorgas Army Hospital some 44 years ago, then all you will have to do is come here and present those documents to the offices of the Electoral Tribunal, where Cedulas (national identification cards) are issued. It's not hard to find because quite literally every Panamanian in town has to go there to get their cedula. Every cab driver knows exactly where it is.

What You Can Get: You are entitled to a Panamanian passport, cedula, and the same rights and privileges as any other Panamanian citizen. Of course there will be some degree of paperwork shuffle, but I assume by your email your Spanish language skills are above average due to the time you've spent living in Latin America. So, simply get all of your documentation in a large folder, come down here, and start applying for stuff. The Panamanians will simply say "welcome home." You should not need to go to Immigration for anything, because you're not immigrating into the country, you're returning to the land of your birth. You don't have to apply for "naturalization" or anything like that because by birth you are already a Panamanian - and you're simply lacking the documents issued by the Panamanian government. Citizenship by birth right is solid, as long as you can prove it. The more documents you have in your folder when you start this process, the better. Your birth certificate from Gorgas should be enough, but bring whatever else you might have, just in case. You should not need a lawyer to do any of these things. Let me know how it works out. Best of luck. And if you see that other famous Panamanian John McCain, tell him I said "hi."

Copyright 2011 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Misinformation About Filing I-130 Petitions In Panama Going Around

Immigration IssuesBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Americans who marry foreigners in Panama have the option of filing the US Customs and Immigration (USCIS) form I-130 - Petition for Alien Relative, at the US Embassy in Panama City. The purpose of this form: "For citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States to establish the relationship to certain alien relatives who wish to immigrate to the United States." So, if you're an American and you marry a Panamanian, Colombian, or foreigner from another country while you're down here, at some point in time you will have to file an I-130 if you ever plan on residing in the United States. There was some misinformation going around as the result of a recent rule change implemented by the USCIS. Someone was saying that as of 15 August 2011 Americans in Panama will no longer be able to file their petitions here, but would rather have to send them via mail to Chicago. That, as it turns out, is false and incorrect.

You Can Still File Here In Panama: The new rule specifically states "USCIS will amend the form instructions for relative petitions concurrently with this rulemaking to provide the option of either mailing the petition to the USCIS Chicago Lockbox, or filing at the USCIS international office if the petitioner resides in a country where USCIS has an office." And in fact there is a USCIS office in Panama, so you can file there. Those individuals who live in other countries where there is no USCIS office will, in fact, have to send their forms via mail to Chicago. Lucky for us, we won't have to. Here's a link to the rule so you can read it yourself: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-05-17/pdf/2011-11997.pdf.

Copyright 2011 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Carrillo Cleaning Up Immigration

Immigration IssuesThese days more order is being instilled at the National Immigration Service. It appears military discipline was needed, for decades a source of non-transparent actions. This sounds contradictory because, according to experts, things began to go wrong with Immigration when it was controlled by the military until 1989. Javier Carrillo, a soldier trained in Peru and Argentina, has recently called for support from his former boss, Gustavo Perez, the Director of the National Police, to give the National Immigration Service staff with expertise in investigation, as he stated yesterday on TVN. Carrillo confirmed they have detected cracks in the system, among members of his own staff, with links to organized crime. He said he has applied control measures and strengthened the internal affairs office, staffed by investigators from the Department of Judicial Investigation (DIJ), of which he was the director. Last June Commissioner Rolando Lopez was made the Sub Director of Immigration. (La Estrella)
Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Six Cubans Arrested In Colombia Trying To Get To Panama

Immigration IssuesSix Cuban immigrants were arrested in the department of Choco in northwestern Colombia, as they sailed in a boat to reach the land border with Panama, the Colombian navy said today. Frigate Captain Carlos Serrano, commander of Coast Guard of the Caribbean area, told Efe that in a joint operation with the Colombian Army they stopped six Cubans aboard a "poorly made craft" about two meters long that was manned by two Colombians. "It seemed curious, we approached and they tried to elude us, but ended up going where the Army personnel were" in the Sector of the Choco Department near Acandí, where the boat stopped. Serrano said there were four men and two women aboard the vessel, all adults and Cuban nationals, who have been turned over to the Department of Administrative Security (DAS), and they were accompanied by the skipper and and one helper on the boat, both Colombians. "We could not identify how they came to Colombia, but they said their intention was to go to Panama and from there on the Central America," he said. He added the objective of the detained immigrants was to reach the tourist areas of Acandí and Capurganá, in order to mingle with the visitors in order to pass through the border controls on land between Panama and Colombia. (La Prensa)

Editor's Comment: Cubans want to get to the United States. It's probably easy for them to get from Cuba to Venezuela. From there they move through Colombia, and then try to get into Panama and up through Central America to cross over the border with Mexico into the United States. Venezuela again.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Carrillo Will Bring Trusted People With Him To Immigration

Immigration IssuesThe new director of the National Immigration Service, Javier Carrillo, will bring some known and reliable staff members with him, who he will make part of his new team, he said Friday when asked by the local media. Carrillo, who was chosen by President Ricardo Martinelli just three days ago to take over the position as the Director of Immigration, said he would would not fire any officer unless they are involved in acts of corruption, because the people need a transparent institution. He added he would implement some new control measures so the public can see they are doing a good job. Moreover, the director said it would be a priority that all foreigners who have to complete some kind of requirement at Immigration should be treated equally. Carrillo's spoke with the media as he arrived at Immigration this morning, where he met with the former director Maria Cristina Gonzalez to begin an orderly transition. (La Estrella)
Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Carrillo's Goal - No Bribes At Immigration

Immigration Issues The new director of the National Immigration Service (SNM), Javier Carrillo, said he hopes that the people who have to complete a procedure in this institution will not have to pay a bribe or the use of influence peddling. "We hope that everyone who has to address issues regarding their immigration status in Panama can do so on an equal basis," said Carrillo, upon the conclusion of a transition meeting with the former Head of Migration, Maria Cristina Gonzalez. There he learned, at the hands of Gonzalez, the functions and procedures in the National Immigration Service, he said. Carrillo also announced that "gradually" he is going to implement measures of monitor and control in Immigration. He added these rules seek to avoid situations "that the community could feel are incorrect." Carrillo took office yesterday in a ceremony attended by the Public Security Minister, Jose Raul Mulino. (La Prensa)

Editor's Comment: Ahhhh - big sigh of relief. Now, let's see it Carrillo follows through on his mandate of running a relatively clean and corruption free Immigration service in Panama. If he does, it will be a first. This looks and feels like a good news story for all of the members of our community of English speaking expatriates living in the Republic of Panama. Sooner or later we all have to deal with Immigration, be it when seeking a "pensionado" visa or something as simple as checking in through the airport.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

New Immigration Director Denies Having Lied To The DEA

Immigration IssuesThe former head of the Directorate of Judicial Investigation, Javier Carrillo, today denied having lied to the DEA to infiltrate an agent into the eavesdropping program known as the Matador. Carrillo said he was not involved in the Matador program. Carrillo made ​​the remarks after taking office as the new director of the Directorate of Immigration, together with Security Minister Jose Raul Mulino. Carrillo replaced in office Maria Cristina Gonzalez amid a corruption scandal. Gonzalez denied the United States had revoked her visa. After taking office, Carrillo called for calm among immigration officials and promised he would not fire anyone, and announced that this Friday he would meet with Gonzalez to make an orderly transition. (TVN Noticias)

Editor's Comment: The TVN Reporter asked Javier Carrillo about the publication of a new WikiLeaks cable, in which he supposedly lied to the DEA in order to get a person into the Matador program. I have not seen that cable or report yet (let me go find it...). But that's got to be a new record - the boy gets appointed and sworn in and BAM - he's hit with a Wiki pie in the face. Welcome aboard.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

New Director of Immigration Sworn In

Immigration Issues Javier Carrillo, recently appointed by President Ricardo Martinelli for the post of director in the National Immigration Service, was sworn in on Thursday morning. Maria Cristina Gonzalez, who held that post until she recently resigned, will meet with Carrillo for an orderly transition. The new Director of Immigration said to the officials currently working at the institution that with his arrival he would not dismiss anyone, so they should have no fear. (La Estrella)
Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks