38 posts in this topic

My understanding is you have to stay out of the country for 6 months to get another 6 months as a tourist.  Wrong?

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52 minutes ago, Bonnie said:

Yes, but it's still not clear when one has to leave, at what point he has overstayed.

The tourist visa is still good for 180 days. The difference now is that if the border official sees a previous visa stamp for 180 days the odds are he will deny entry to Panama for 30 days.  What is interesting is that I see no mention of the 90 day hoppers for driving privileges. 

jim

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41 minutes ago, MarieElaine said:

My understanding is you have to stay out of the country for 6 months to get another 6 months as a tourist.  Wrong?

AS I have been posted recently on comments done by the Director of Servicios Naciones de Migracion you should stay out of Panama at least 30 days and return back.  

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58 minutes ago, JimAndNena said:

The tourist visa is still good for 180 days. The difference now is that if the border official sees a previous visa stamp for 180 days the odds are he will deny entry to Panama for 30 days.  What is interesting is that I see no mention of the 90 day hoppers for driving privileges. 

jim

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 (http://www.transito.gob.pa/sites/default/files/reglamento_decreto_640..pdf 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.
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The drivers license matter must be viewed separately from  the visa issue, because that's the way Panama views it.  You may legally drive in Panama for 90 days after your last entry stamp on your passport.  They don't care that it doesn't align with the 180 day tourist visa.

So, as it stands, you can still renew your driving privileges by "border hopping" every 90 days.  The problem, of course, is this action previously reset the tourist visa which is under great scrutiny at this moment.  The current guidance is that exiting with less than 30 days remaining on the 180 day tourist visa will require an absence of at least 30 days before entering Panama again.  There is no guidance (that I know of) that indicates what will happen if you do a "border hop" with far more than 30 days remaining on the tourist visa.

I don't think it's safe to assume that everything will be fine. You might be able to reset driving privileges one time for an additional 90 days, but Immigration is looking to see if there is evidence that you may not really be a tourist.  So, while they are separate issues, they certainly do intersect at the port of entry into Panama. 

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8 hours ago, Bonnie said:

Yes, but it's still not clear when one has to leave, at what point he has overstayed.

6 months should be 180 days. I'm always amazed why this can't be more specific. Problems occur when the issue isn't meticulously addressed in the first place. It's not 'at the end of 5 months', it's when you're on your 180st day. Or the law should indicate that on your 150st day in the country you have to leave for 30 days, so that during a span of 180 days you won't be considered a 'permanent tourist'. Clarity please :-)

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57 minutes ago, Ray M said:

6 months should be 180 days. I'm always amazed why this can't be more specific. Problems occur when the issue isn't meticulously addressed in the first place. It's not 'at the end of 5 months', it's when you're on your 180st day. Or the law should indicate that on your 150st day in the country you have to leave for 30 days, so that during a span of 180 days you won't be considered a 'permanent tourist'. Clarity please :-)

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.

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In trying to get a more global and less emotional view of the migrant and visa situation in Panama, I did a bit of research. Here are two documents produced by the United Nations regarding Panama's status regarding immigration. See the last section in these tables, which are labeled "International migration", and reflect statistics as of 2011 and again as of 2013. The source URL links are also provided below each.

Nothing jumps out to me as particularly troublesome, undesirable, or unacceptable. I do note "major concern" about irregular migration.

Panama_Policy 2011.png

http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/publications/pdf/policy/WPP2011/Country_Profiles/Panama_Policy.pdf

 

Panama_Policy 2013.png

http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/publications/pdf/policy/WPP2013/Country_Profiles/Panama_Policy.pdf

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Yes I too would love some clarification. 

Is it if you exit on or before your "5 month" here the 30 days out of Panama rule doesn't apply and essentially you could return in a few days or a week even? But if you stay the complete 180 days "6 months", that is when you must be out for 30 days before returning? 

Or is it: if you make it to your "5th month" you must be out for 30 days, and if you make it to your "6 month" (180 days) you cannot return at all? 

I wish they could make things clear the first time. 

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just for everyone's information .I was at day 85 of a 180 day visa.I was denied entry .michelle was in her 5 month of the 6 month visa .denied entry.she was denied because she was with me.they did not look at her visa or passport .only because she was my wife ,was she denied.so is that a new visa rule as well.

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5 minutes ago, Rooikop said:

just for everyone's information .I was at day 85 of a 180 day visa.I was denied entry .michelle was in her 5 month of the 6 month visa .denied entry.she was denied because she was with me.they did not look at her visa or passport .only because she was my wife ,was she denied.so is that a new visa rule as well.

It looks as if the officials made an initial determination that you were a "perpetual tourist", and then applied that to everyone traveling with you, including your daughter who is undeniably a tourist visiting you for just a short time in Panama. Eventually the authorities relented as to her and her friend, but they are certainly casting a very wide net at the border.

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