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I have my Jubilado and I would like to obtain my E Cedula.  Does one still have to go to Panama for all the formalities or can they be done in Chiriqui?

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It seems having the right attorney is part and parcel of moving it along.  That said you will have to go to Panama City to finalize the process.  We had an attorney here in David do the paper work.  We were not happy with how that went.  We finished the process and got another attorney firm to do all our future legal work.
 We use Panama Offshore Legal.  Check out their web page for information and FAQs.  http://www.panama-offshore-services.com/ 

 

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The paperwork can be done from here, but you have to go to Panama once to finalize it.  No getting around that that I know of, but you can ask to have the card sent to Boquete and pick it up from the Registro Publico (on the street behind Sugar&Spice) when it's ready, rather than making a return trip.

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The paperwork can be done from here, but you have to go to Panama once to finalize it.  No getting around that that I know of, but you can ask to have the card sent to Boquete and pick it up from the Registro Publico (on the street behind Sugar&Spice) when it's ready, rather than making a return trip.

Thank you, Deborah.  I guess I was hoping against hope it could be done locally.

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This is Panama.    We had to go to Panama City to get a copy of my wife and son's passport "authenticated".   The passport office in David, where we requested and received new passports from them, "wasn't authorized".     What should be very simple processes are often not so simple here.   But it's slowly getting better.

The hardest part of obtaining the E-cedula was getting the required documentation from Immigration (in PC, of course).   I never received the document acknowledging my pensionado visa, and that was a major effort requiring multiple trips to PC.   Immigration never seemed to be able to find the paperwork that I submitted several times to get the original document, so it was like deja vu each time.    Then you need another letter from Immigration before you can apply for the E-cedula.   I ended up hiring an attorney in Chiriqui, Marcos Kraemer (abogado@cwpanama.net) who had runners that took care of Immigration.   Still took a couple of months.    The process at Tribunal Electoral is pretty straightforward, and easy to do with some Spanish.   Otherwise, it was worth it to me to hire an attorney due to the Immigration paperwork issues.    We were in and out of TE in a few hours.   Would have been quicker if the computer system hadn't gone down while we were there, and if there wasn't an extra step required because I'm married to a Panamanian.

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Can anyone here explain the value of getting a cedula?

I have a permanent residency visa.  It shows my passport number and date of birth.  So far, I've used it for identification for credit card purchases and at police checkpoints without a problem.  I assume I could use it to show that I am a Jubilado.

I've read the horror stories of what happens to your drivers license and vehicle registration when your passport expires and you get a new passport number on the new passport and the cedula no longer has the correct passport number.  Fortunately, I have a few more years before my passport expires, but it begs the question.  Why go through the hassle of getting a cedula?

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Your E-cedula does not reference your passport, so when your current passport expires, it does not affect your cedula.

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1 hour ago, Dottie Atwater said:

Your E-cedula does not reference your passport, so when your current passport expires, it does not affect your cedula.

When your passport expires, all you have to do is go to Immigration and have the new passport number linked by computer with your Jubilado/Pensionado carnet, for which there is no charge. There is no requirement to get a new card.

Other benefits I hear touted are that an E cedula makes it easier to open a bank account and easier to deal with government agencies. The bank account issue may be important for newcomers who are facing increased hurdles with opening an account with a bank, but I already have a relationship established with a bank and therefore wouldn't benefit in this respect. And I don't know exactly how an E cedula would make things go more smoothly with government agencies. (My guess is that nothing will go smoothly with a government agency regardless of your type of visa.)

I haven't found these reasons sufficient to go to the expense of time and money involved in getting an E cedula. If I have suffered in any way from not having one, I'm not aware of it.

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An E cedula is a permanent residency card, like a social security card. It is not a pensionado indefinido visa. It is not related to immigration. I was at an airport coming here and I showed my Cdn passport. They said I couldn't enter Panama because it would expire too soon. I pulled out my cedula. There was a big AHA and I was in. I do not carry my passport here. I get waved through checkpoints, show it in restaurants for jubilado discuenta, no hassles. It is the same card every 18+ resident carries but with an E. It indicates a degree of legitimacy to Panamanians that I don't just have a permanent tourist visa but have gone through the process of becoming a resident. It is registered on title with our corporation. It was a hassle getting it 4 years ago but I'm sure glad I have it. 

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Ok. People looks like it is time for me to jump in.

The Cedula de Identidad personal or simply the CEDULA is the legal identification document in Panama.   It gives some rights, benefits to locals and foreigners that posses one.  It is a legal proof of your identity and residence in the Republic of Panama.   It is the main document that will be require to you for doing any legal and commercial transaction as a proof of your identity and legal status in Panama.   

As panamanians we should carry this document at all time with us as an identification proof.  It is a document needed for any kind of business we should do with government agencies and also with private organizations or business.   

The benefits for an expat of having an E Cedula is briefly well explained with one incident by Doug Tyler.  It gave him some benefit as a legal resident in Panama.  For others it will be easier and swifter to do some transactions with banks and financial institutions.   If you asked me about it I will tell you:  If you can get one, do it.   You will see the benefits when you have one and use it in your transactions.    

Below are links of some places where you will get some answers about E Cedulas

https://tombseekers.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/is-an-e-cedula-necessary/

http://www.panama-guide.com/article.php/20041019142508902

http://www.boqueteguide.com/?p=8508

http://playacommunity.com/panama-articles/community-news/5358-how-to-get-your-e-cedula-without-a-lawyer-and-why.html

 

 

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Okay, okay. You guys have convinced me I need to do this. Thanks for the explanation of benefits.

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I've lived here 11+ years without one.  Never had any of those problems dealing with banks, govt. offices, or private businesses with just my passport and pensionado card.  I'm doing a lot of legal work now and am finding no problems with that either.  Why should I go to the trouble and expense of getting something I do not seem to need?  Just more embroiling in the Panamanian bureaucracy IMO.

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It is easy to get if your lawyer is in PC and you have your Pensionado through them. They already have all the info needed for it and can do all the necessary paperwork. My lawyers husband did the running for us and the cost was minimal. You do need to make the trip to PC once for your picture and to finalize the paperwork. You have some work to do after you get it, all your car papers, licenses, etc. need to be updated, but after that everything is easy.

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If you have a Friendly Nations visa you also have a Carnet that says "Residente Permanente." Therefore, there is no need for an E Cedula.

 

Folks with a Pensionado Visa are regarded as "Permanent Tourists." Bonnie, you're probably fine with what you have. I agree, why go to the added expense and time (hassle) to get a Cedula?

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