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Showing content with the highest reputation since 02/25/2017 in Posts

  1. 4 points
    Please. A lady is a lady and a gentleman should always have good words and compliments to ladies in a very respectul way. It doesnt have to do with any "dating" situation. It is only being and behaving like a gentleman under the presence of a lady and should not be seen as a personal approach. of any means
  2. 4 points
    To clarify - yes we were both single when we got married. We had a choice of getting married in the US, in Colombia or in Panama. Colombia was the easiest, least expensive and least complicated as far as paperwork. When it comes to a resident visa in Panama, the marriage is only important in the fact that it is needed to prove that my Panama company (Friendly Nations Visa via my Panama S.A.) is what is providing the income. Neither of us are pensionados and she does not qualify for any other type of visa. My point was that in order to get the paperwork to prove our marriage in Colombia, we would need to go to Colombia to get it and upon returning they will not let her enter the country. So the lawyer suggested that if we could not return with the paperwork, then we should essentially lie to Panama and get married here again as if we were single. This goes to my point that yet another so called reputable lawyer's answer is for us it to lie and create false paperwork to get around what should be a simple trip to get proof of marriage. This is the system here. Lie, cheat, get around the rules and play the game. I did it before for 5 years because I was naive. I am smart enough now to know that Panama is going to keep changing the rules with new decrees. What the Panama and the lawyer tell me today will not be what the facts tomorrow. Admittedly we are in an unusual situation. Looking at her passport it appears she has been border hopping for the last year. In fact we were merely dating and travelling between the two countries until we finally got married a few months ago. The lawyer had no answer when I asked what the difference was between visiting often and border hopping. Everything we did for the last year was legal and within the laws, rules and decrees at that time. Our visits were always in one country or the other for at least a month length - not a 3 day hop. Is there a way for us to go thru the system and get her a visa? Yes. The cost is estimated at $5,000+ due to various circumstances. There is no simple way for Panama to look at my residency for the last 8 years and then give her a spousal visa for some additional fee. On the other hand, Colombia looks at me as her new husband and says I can have spousal visa for about $200 (effective immediately) and then permanent residency and dual citizenship after 3 years. The process is a few hours long and my passport is updated within a week or two. As one lawyer told me - Panama sees the border hoppers as a great deal of money if it can just force them into a visa process. And I do not disagree that people should be here legally. I have proudly showed my papers at every checkpoint and admired the country for making sure people were legal. My complaint is that they are punishing the very people who want to go thru the process, such as my wife. Don't get me wrong, I love my life here and I have fought hard to be here legally. As I said in my original post, I am raising the white flag. I have lived here and been a supporting member of the community. I have employed dozens of Panamanians and given to the country in many ways. I have changed as Panama evolved and sought to always be honest and forthright. Panama is asking too much. The lawyer sharks are circling ready to lie and cheat with promises of a simple visa that is just a mirage. I think I will swim somewhere else, thanks...
  3. 4 points
    In my role as one of two U.S. Wardens in Boquete, I have observed first hand the consequences of gringos having no health insurance. Only today I dealt with a case of a man being taken to Hospital Mae Lewis with a heart attack only to be transferred to Hospital Regional when it was discovered he had no insurance. He also had not registered to make his veteran's benefits potentially responsible for some of the costs. I encourage each and every one of you who has opted not to have health insurance to pay a visit to Hospital Regional to observe what your care would be like were you to suffer an accident or illness requiring hospitalization.
  4. 3 points
    Well said Bud. Both Roger and as well Two Sailors are wonderful friends of mine (as is Bonnie). These are some super great people ! I'd hate for there to be any kind of misunderstanding as you explained. You are an excellent moderator and we all appreciate you jumping in.
  5. 3 points
    Moderator preface: The following posts were split out of a different topic that was related to an Executive Decree of December 2016 that dramatically shortened the time that a tourist visa was valid in Panama. That topic then began to focus on Steven Walker and his family, and their issues of being barred from returning to Panama after a "border hopping" cycle at Paso Canoas. For more details on that topic, see the referenced citation that has been added to this posting. One side effect of that Executive Decree is that another expatriate with legal residency (@Twin Wolf Technology Group), who recently married a Colombian citizen in Medellin is having to make a decision how to handle their situation. That portion of the conversation started focusing on how to get Panama to recognize their Colombian marriage documentation so that the new bride could apply for residency in Panama as the legal wife of a non-Panamanian but legal resident of Panama. While directly related to the border hopping topic, the primary focus really is marriage outside of Panama, the Registro Civil, and the implications of a non-Panamanian wedding on residency in Panama. Thus, the Moderator has made a decision to split out those postings and start a new topic. What follows is the split out topic related to marriage documentation. No one did anything wrong, as this is just a natural progression of a train of thought that morphed into a different but related topic. The original topic is here: And the new topic starts here: The decision for me and my new bride comes down to how much of a battle we wish to fight vs the ultimate benefits. One of the many lawyers we visited stated we should just get married again in Panama before we leave in April. I quickly pointed out that this would mean forging documents to say we are both single when in fact we are not... the lawyer saw no problem with it. I am a person with both persistence and patience. I am also forthright and honest. I will not try to game the system and if that is what is required, We will move on despite my desires and the life built here in Panama over the last 8 years.
  6. 3 points
    Isn't the problem, though, that Panama does not recognize the legality of the marriage? It's similar to the time when most states in the USA did not recognize the legality of a gay marriage that was lawfully performed in one that did. It seems to me that under Panamanian law, you ARE single, and it's not dishonest of you to say that you are. All you are conceding is AS TO PANAMA ONLY, you are single! I don't think Panama recognizes my marriage, either. My wife and I applied jointly to acquire our visas, but I'm pretty sure obtaining them didn't register our marriage. That could be a problem if any of my estate is subject to Panamanian probate. Don't tell my wife that I think I am single here in Panama, please.
  7. 3 points
    I flew out of Tocumen last Wednesday, and security absolutely scrutinized my passport. The lady had a problem with it and started grilling me in Spanish. I'm not even close to fluent, so fished my e-cedula out of my wallet. That fixed everything instantly. In hindsight, she clearly was troubled that my last entry into Panama was far more than 180 days ago.
  8. 2 points
    This was funny the first time I saw it years ago. It's even more hilarious now -- especially if you've had a recent experience dealing with the bureaucracy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXWZ3uAEKsw
  9. 2 points
    I wonder how long it is going to take for this to shake out. I was hoping we could get more clarification from SMM. As one of two U.S. Wardens in Boquete, I am getting a lot of questions and feel badly that I have no answers. For folks who are not already here but are interested in relocating to Boquete, my advice is to make several vacation trips to test the waters. The conventional wisdom of renting for six months to a year before deciding whether to apply for residency is no longer feasible. Once the decision is made to come, begin work on your visa before leaving the U.S. (or whatever country you're from). I am assuming until told otherwise that a temporary visa will not be issued until all the paperwork is done and submitted to the government, which can take months depending on your circumstances. It also is easier to get U.S. documentation that will be needed while you are in the U.S.
  10. 2 points
    I don't want to sound like a pessimist here, but it may not be possible to get coherent or definitive answers to our questions. I thought the rules for a Friendly Nations visa were pretty clear when I applied, but it turned out that the interpretation was not consistent at Immigracion, and it varied between the clerks. I spent weeks complying with new requirements that were imposed, only to have a different clerk impose something entirely different. The 4th time was the charm. It's not just a Panamanian thing. Lawmakers in the USA routinely pass legislation without even reading it. Afterwards, other people must attempt to figure out what Congress intended. It can take years for a court to decide. Here, as everywhere, the people who enforce the law or policy had nothing to do with the creation of the new directive. They make their best guesses or do whatever their immediate boss tells them to do. I think we may have to wait months or even longer to see how or if Panama consistently addresses individual cases. The track record will be far more useful than logic or predictions. At least it will for me...
  11. 2 points
    That is correct. We wanted to get rid of them but they are like cockroaches.... They appear suddenly from every crack available. Remember that the laws are made to protect criminals not decent people.
  12. 2 points
    I was boarding a flight in Houston, going to Panama. There was an agent stationed right at the airline door asking everybody if they had more than $10,000 on them. The guy behind me muttered under his breath, "If I had $10,000 I'd be flying first class."
  13. 2 points
    If this is correct and true....it is a serious problem and authorities should be placed in knowledge of this thing. Unfortunatelly he hasnt done anything yet and authorities couldnt do anything based on assumptions but.... keep a close look at that.
  14. 2 points
    2500, maybe 3,000. The best source of data would probably be Pricesmart's membership list, lol.
  15. 2 points
    This is a cultural/language problem with the USA, Roger. I can have any number of amigas in Panama but only one novia. The USA does not have a good word for amiga. Our only word is girlfriend and it isn't the right word. jim
  16. 2 points
    Do you know any Russians who can help you hack into the site?
  17. 2 points
    Interesting. I'm trying to do the right thing and sign up for STEP. No matter what i attempt to do I get bounced. Username choice?: taken. Ok new user/pass. Half way through the site jams and shuts down. I then went to page #1 and attempted to put my newer choices of user/pass. I was told they were taken. I put my email in there and was also told it was incorrect. ( I do better buying stuff on Amazon.com !) I'm taking a breather. Will try again later. This may be why so few have signed up...just a guess.
  18. 2 points
    I think all of us knew it was a joke. Bud just wanted to make sure everybody realized it was.
  19. 2 points
    I was in the meeting with the ambassador last week. Actually what he was said about 4,500 US expatriates in the Chiriqui province, not Boquete. Not a big deal here, but he was trying to make a point that only 297 of them have registered for the Step program. Nothing wrong with using the same number for Marie Elaine's purpose. But on the other hand, JohnF makes a good point. I go further to sugtgest that if someone is a border hopper then they likely are on a smaller budget and they would be onthe low end of spending money here. To my way of thinking, this issue is not so much about the financial impoact on Panama, but rather the country has a right to determine its policies. As a guest in their country (you are a guest if you are not a citizen, be you a resident or a tourist), then we should respect their right to determine their policies.
  20. 2 points
    At my age, Roger, I accept any and all compliments. Yours was particularly nice.
  21. 2 points
    It's time for me to start looking for a small, quiet town in the mountains where the food is fresh, the people are friendly and no one's in a rush.
  22. 2 points
    Interesting article in yesterday's NYT about the situation: https://www.nytimes.com/es/2017/03/11/panama-crecio-con-los-inmigrantes-pero-ahora-son-el-chivo-expiatorio-de-la-crisis/
  23. 2 points
    I believe it was well known to Panamanian authorities that the tourist loophole was being used. Suddenly eliminating it has caught some people unaware, and for the Walkers it is catastrophic. Yes, yes, coulda woulda shoulda, but with some advance they wouldn't have been stranded with no way to get back to their property and the monkeys under their care. I feel so badly for them. I'm on a trip to the US at present, so I didn't find out about this until last night. Panama has every right to enforce its immigration laws, but the sudden new enforcement rules (which are still unclear) have put some very good people in one hell of a bind.
  24. 2 points
    I have to take exception to the thought that if people would just do it right from the beginning they would not have this problem. I have attempted to do it right from the beginning. I have fought the battle for more than 5 years to get a resident visa because I wanted to do it right. Everyone has a different experience with lawyers and the immigration system, let me share a bit of mine. I came to Panama 8 years ago with a company that invested more than $300,000 into Panama. The law firm we chose came recommended by others in the same type of business. The lawyers at the time told us that several of us would then automatically qualify for permanent visas due to our investment. Despite 2 years of promises and constant badgering, the resident visas never materialized. When the business finally closed and returned to the US, I was left to battle getting a resident visa on my own. The corruption among lawyers in Panama is rampant and there is no legal way to hold them accountable for their actions. My second attempt to get a resident visa ended shortly after it began and while it resulted in a loss of money, it was certainly less of a loss than the previous experience. It seems that the man representing himself as a lawyer was in fact not a lawyer but his girlfriend was a lawyer and he was forging the documents in her name. Again, no way to hold him accountable without throwing money into a system that cranks out lawyers like raindrops in October and never punishes them. The third attempt was here in Boquete. I signed on with lawyer that came recommended by many on Ning and other places. It is always best to get recommendations but in each case those recommendations meant nothing. Once again I ended up with a dishonest lawyer. His office in San Francisco plaza closed shortly after I paid him and he refused most phone calls. I continued to badger him for 2 years, tracking him down as he changed locations and refused my calls. I heard every excuse in the book including "his car was broken into and they stole my final paperwork". Multiple trips to Immigration were needed because his paperwork was rejected several times. Ultimately I triumphed but at a cost far exceeding anything reasonable and with 5+ years of border hopping to continue the battle.. Since I own a car, I was forced to hop every 90 days instead of the 180, just to keep my driver’s license valid. I can understand that Panama is trying to prevent abuses but how is an honest person supposed to navigate the sewer of lawyers and endless hurdles? Even if you get lucky and find the one honest lawyer in all of Panama, how is someone supposed to do it in the 90 days without multiple trips out of the country given the process take a year minimum? Despite my long and finally successful battle, I am now faced with this issue again. I married a wonderful Colombian woman in January and of course she is a tourist since we have only been married a couple of months. We were married in Colombia and Panama could care less. For them, she is a tourist who has crossed the border multiple times in the last year (of course she did, we were dating!) We talked about where to live and she agreed to move to Panama. We have already purchased a flight back to Colombia at the start of April. The purpose of the trip is for me to get a spousal visa for Colombia (I want to be legal) and for her to apply for a tourist visa so she can visit my family in the US for Christmas. We were also going to get our marriage certificate and her paperwork apostilled so she could start her Panama visa process. It now appears she will not be permitted to come back to Panama due to this short-sighted and ill-considered decree. We have 21 days to get her a visa or some sort of paperwork that permits her to return to live with her new husband. Anyone living here knows, Panama doesn’t do anything quick - other than change the rules and enforcement. It is looking like our best option is to raise the white flag of surrender. Colombia is welcoming us with open arms. My resident visa in Colombia is a simple one day process – not a five year battle with unaccountable lawyers. Maybe Panama's next government can work on cleaning up its lawyers and legal system so the rules don't change at the gust of every breeze in March. My point is that while it is easy for some to say “do it the right way from the beginning… It will save you from problems in the future”, the reality in Panama is quite different. While those who have their visas may rest easy now, as I was doing, Panama is just as likely to change the rules with a decree and take away your peace of mind. My experience.
  25. 2 points
    Many year ago, in the old BN, when Lee Zeltzer managed it there were several threads and discussions about border hoping and people who where taking this risk to this. Lee and other people at BN gave good advices of how to do things right. There were heated debates about this issue and the advice was always. Do what it is right. I do remember that the first two waves of immigrants that arrived Boquete and Chiriqui areas did everything as was stated and required. They processed their visas, got their ID, others got their residency and were given an E-Cedula. Something happened that the other waves of people coming to Boquete and Chiriqui started to skip some process and looking for shortcuts that the loophole in the law was giving them. A lot of people complained about the cost of the visas and some inmoral and bad lawyers that scam the money of some people and didnt do their job in getting all the stuff done in time, at a normal cost and less traumatic. Other people gave testimonials of the lawyers they used that they recommended because they did a good job and did all the paperwork correctly, in very short time and at a reasonable cost. This lead to the creation of a list of attorneys or lawyers that were recommended by those expats that got their immigration status done. I do remember that everytime a person asked for an immigration lawyer references at least 4 to 5 names were repeatedly given. So that means that a person thinking seriously in living in Panama could have this done with the help of those lawyers that were recommended by a large number of expat that used their services and were totally satisfied. Border hoping is not "illegal" but it is not legal also. It is a black hole in the law for tourist that some immigrants are taking advantage. Thanks to the extensive and exagerated use of this shortcut by expats from Venezuela and Colombia this loophole in the law came into the direct attention of the immigration authorities and for sure they will legislated on that. I know a lot of expats of the first two generations that have the legal immigration status on rule that are now in peace and happy seeing this situation without fear. They did it right. I got a slogan I told my family, friends and colleagues. If you are going to do something... do it the right way from the beggining and dont take any shortcut or skip things. It will save you from problems in the future. Nothing is more important than peace of mind.
  26. 2 points
    I just read an old post on Ning written by Steve Walker. Steve said he had been doing the border crossing every 90 days for 10 years to reset his tourist visa and drivers license. It seems to me that this is the perfect example of what Panama is trying to prevent.
  27. 2 points
    Alison Having your E cedula means that you are legally a resident in Panama. So I guess that the only thing you have to do is going to the Tribunal Electoral with your old cedula and apply for a new one. Just as any other panamanian do. I investigate and found in the Panama Tramita Web page: http://www.panamatramita.gob.pa/tramite/renovación-de-cédulas-de-extranjeros, that your have to go to the Tribunal Electoral with the old Cedula and pay a fee of about $4.00. They will take the picture and you have to return back in 3 days to pick up the new cedula.
  28. 2 points
    Lost in all the carping about border hopping, is the fact that problems at Migracion in Paso Canoas always have to do with very human economic refugees less fortunate than ourselves.
  29. 2 points
    You gotta be kidding. This is a joke, right? $35.00 per person for a brunch. These people should apologize for this outrageous line of thinking. And to add insult to injury, the jubilados discount doesn't apply. How do they get around the law?
  30. 2 points
    It didn't start "within the next few hours" on the Boquete/David road. I returned from a doctor's appointment in David about 6:00, in the semi-dark and off and-on-rain, and plenty of cars passed me doing at least 100 kph. I observed no police presence whatsoever. But I suppose it'll take them a day or two--IF they're serious. It occurred to me the other day that, given the state of many vehicles here, the government would be wise to combine vehicle inspection with the annual registrado process. I feel sure that bald tires, poor brakes, etc. contribute to the traffic fatalities.
  31. 1 point
    STEP...not as easy as one might think ! OK I dove in for my 4th attempt and I'll have to say I got farther along this time. BUT...the site jammed again and then shut down. Both jams and shut downs happened when I hit the button: "Do you wish to add an additional phone number?" If you say "yes" The site tells you " wait just one minute" with the circle circling. After several minutes the site turns itself off. Tomorrow is another day when I may have more steam for attempt #5.
  32. 1 point
    I believe Roger is married. I know he has children. In any case, I'm sure I'm much older than he is. But it's always nice to get a compliment.
  33. 1 point
    Another question that occurs to me is how to deal with the driver's license issue. Can one drive for only 90 of the 180 days? It would appear so. Or is there a way to reset the driver's license without leaving the country for a month? Also, at what point in the resident visa process does one receive the temporary visa allowing that person to stay in the country until the final visa is issued? When one first begins the process, or when all documentation has been gathered and submitted? Let me know other questions and answers that aren't clear to you so maybe I can seek clarification in just one email.
  34. 1 point
    JIm Those statistics only get information of the amount of reports of crime. Thay is why a lot of panamanians dont trust on government statistics. Some people dont report all crimes. Also a few months ago the Minister of Security and President Varela were harshly criticized because the statistics they used to tell people that Panama's was safe and have the lowest crime rate in the region was Murders.
  35. 1 point
    True in response to some folks' reasons for griping. Others of us, however, are not so much in a hurry as we are in fear for our safety at many downtown intersections.
  36. 1 point
    I hear Colombia still have those areas, Keith. Might be time to move south again. Just don't tell anyone where.
  37. 1 point
    Sorry legal status is expensive for you. The process of using a hole in the immigration system and attempting to be a permanent tourist in Panama may be a thing of the past. I've found Panamanians are mostly friendly and patiently kind, but they have a right to decide who can live in their country either as a visiting short time tourist or as a legal resident. IMO. The current situation is very real.
  38. 1 point
    A new Panamonte Bridge sounds like a good idea; right now I'm wondering when the streets will be paved. Anyone know for certain? I've heard many versions with many timelines. Just asking.
  39. 1 point
    Not to my knowledge. All the old posts above refer to driving. One of its main purposes is to relieve congestion at the Romero/Municipio intersection.
  40. 1 point
    I dont know but I think that most of that kind of paperwork could be done without the need of a lawyer. Most people in Panama doesnt have enough money and we do it as much as possible without using a lawyer for simple paperwork.
  41. 1 point
    I don't have a clue what absolute truth on this is, but I do know several couples who have remarried in Panama to have their marriage legally recognized. Good luck!
  42. 1 point
    I would think that if that is the case of that person she should explain that to the authorities and something they should do regarding that. Or take the fingerprints as they are now and show it. It is what they want...it is what they will get.
  43. 1 point
    Sure. It is the best they can do. Thing down here are not good and it will take some time to clean this stuff and get people doing the right way. So, why have this kind of problem in a Thirld World Country with corrupt government officials and lousy changing laws.
  44. 1 point
    Once you have a letter from your attorney stating that your pensionado visa is in process, you are no longer treated as a border hopping tourist. You will be able to leave and come back.
  45. 1 point
    So after several years of visits, we are contemplating a three month trial in late 2017, followed by (hopefully) an application for a pensionado visa. It seems to me that process will require one or perhaps three border hops before all is done. Given the current hysteria, if it is true, we could be taking a risk each hop of being denied re-entry and perhaps throwing all our efforts to waste (not to mention rental agreements, auto purchases, etc). While fortunately we have 9 months or more before our three month start for all of this to settle out, it is really concerning for people like us who intended to do things right to possibly be locked out in the middle of the process. We will have to closely watch how this plays out before we commit to selling our house, and trying to settle in Panama.
  46. 1 point
    Bud: The cedula is a document to prove our identity and our legal status in Panama. Everybody should carry the cedula when transiting in Panama. It could be requested by the police authorities at any specific time. There are some fines that the local authorities could place to the person who does not carry their cedula.
  47. 1 point
    Honest and correct people will do everything the right way. As it should be. So when you do things accordingly there wont be any problem. Legally you will be protected.
  48. 1 point
    Glad you enjoyed this brunch. Also glad you can afford $35.00 each for this one meal. If you are a friend of Claudia please ask her to lower her price and follow the law regarding pensionado discount requirements.
  49. 1 point
    Without plastic bags, what am I going to do with the scooped cat poop? How are dog walkers supposed to pick up the poop? How are people supposed to throw away disposable diapers, just put them loose in the trash can? And what lines the trash can - nothing, no bag to tie up the trash and put it in the canasta? That is disgusting and unsanitary. This would be an OK law if they replace all the bags with degradable ones, but will they?
  50. 1 point