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About Bonnie

  • Rank
    Expert Member

Personal Information

  • Real Name:
    Bonnie Williams
  • Reason for registering:
    Live and/or work in Chiriqui
  • Location of primary residence:
    In Chiriqui
  • Birth (home) country:
    United States

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  1. Very funny. It would be even funnier if it weren't true.
  2. Not necessarily, Marie. There are some indications that if you have other 180-day stamps on your passport, you cannot return as a tourist even after the 30 days out. This, above all else, needs to be clarified.
  3. Actually, you are agreeing with me. The key was that all your paperwork was done ahead of time. It was submitted through your lawyer and you got your temporary visa shortly after your arrival in Panama. Had you not done the paperwork before leaving the States, how much time might it have taken? It easily could have stretched beyond 90 days and left you without a driver's license. For others who have experienced particular problems like unreadable fingerprints, it has taken more than 180 days.
  4. 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.
  5. It's been iffy for two days here on the north side of Boquete, too. Two outages yesterday, two last night, and at least one today. I was in David most of today, though, and only experienced one about 9:00 or 9:30 this morning. I've started unplugging my computer and my washing machine when not in use.
  6. Here is the response I got from the Embassy: HI Bonnie- Unfortunately, we don’t have answers to your three specific questions below. The answers in the Q&A information we provided were provided to us by Panamanian Immigration but for further, more specific questions people will need to reach out directly to Panamanian immigration or local lawyers . Should you get further questions, you can refer people directly to Panamanian Immigration (507-1800 or their website at: and/or recommend that they seek legal Panamanian counsel. Here is the link to a list of lawyers that other U.S. Citizens have used in the past from the Embassy website: The three questions I posed are as follows: (1) According to the Embassy memo, "If a person stays in Panama for more than two years then the FBI requirement does not apply. The waiver of the FBI requirement applies to those people that stay in Panama two years, without exiting. In these cases, a fine is paid by the person for overstaying their tourist visa and the person is only required to present a PNM police record rather than the FBI check" How can a person stay for two years without violating the requirement that persons on a tourist visa have to leave every 180 days? If the fine is paid every 180 days, it defeats the purpose of requiring tourists to leave the country after 180 days. It appears that Venezuelans, Colombians, Nicaraguans, as well as U.S. citizens, could choose to simply pay the fine for two years rather than leave every 180 days. That would defeat the purpose of the law, it seems. Too, wouldn't a person be at risk for deportation after 180 days? Surely he cannot just say when his credentials are checked, "I'm staying in Panama for two years so as not to have to comply with FBI requirements, so I don't have to leave." Example: John Smith, a U.S. citizen, is in Panama on a tourist visa. He reads the above-referenced memo and, having encountered difficulty getting an FBI report for one reason or another, decides to stay for two years so as to eligible instead for a Panamanian law enforcement check. He is fine on his tourist visa for 180 days (and on his U.S. driver's license for 90). On day 181 or thereafter, he is stopped at a checkpoint, his credentials checked, and deemed to be in violation of the 180 day requirement. Does he then go pay a fine, thereby becoming eligible for an additional 180 days? Absent being discovered as beyond the 180 day allowed stay, can he (or any other nationality) go to Immigration on day 181, pay the fine, and stay for another 180 days in apparent contradiction of the purpose of the law? (2) The following is from a newspaper article: "The president explained that 'we cannot afford for the six-month tourist permit to be used to cross the border and then return, and stay here as if you were a permanent resident.' " On Friday, Javier Carrillo, the director of the National Migration Service, said that foreigners living in Panama as tourists must at the end of five months leave the country for at least a month if they want to re-enter Panamanian territory. Carrillo said that the new measure “is for those who have more than five months in the country as tourists and leave for nothing more than to re-enter. Now they have to be out of the country for at least 30 days." The President and Director Carrilo seem to be contradicting each other. Can someone on a tourist visa stay in the country for five months or six months? (3) While one can get a temporary visa upon applying for residency, it is unclear at what point in the process a temporary visa is issued. Is it upon first visiting a lawyer and starting the visa process, or is it at the time all the required paperwork is submitted to the government? The concern here, of course, is that 180 days may not be sufficient to fulfill some of the requirements, particularly the FBI report.
  7. A friend lost her computer yesterday in one of the many surges. And, yes, she has a UPS and, I believe, a whole-house surge protector. How does one prove that equipment was damaged by surges so as to recover costs of the equipment?
  8. I had exactly the same experience this morning, Bud, but in reverse. I was taking Finny to The Dog Spot and got caught up in closed streets downtown. So coming back home I decided to avoid the cross streets downtown and take the Alto Lino loop only to be stopped just beyond Cafe Ruiz for downed lines. Electricity has been sporadic since then.
  9. I agree, Ray, that it's unclear. I have sought clarification via the Embassy but haven't heard back. I will share whatever answer they provide.
  10. From the Embassy's message: Tourists are only allowed to drive in Panama for 90 days. Is there an exception for this given that tourists are allowed to stay in Panama for 180 days? Answer: According to the Transit authority ( Artículo 110) foreigners that enter Panama as tourists are not permitted to obtain Panamanian drivers’ licenses and are only allowed to drive with a foreign license for 90 days. There are no exceptions to this rule.
  11. I don't understand either. How can you exit by the 5th month while at the same time staying for six months? Paragraphs two and three appear contradictory.
  12. 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.
  13. At my age, Roger, I accept any and all compliments. Yours was particularly nice.
  14. I have written the Embassy asking them to seek clarification from Panama Immigration.