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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Keith Woolford said:

Personally, I'm hard pressed to think of any more than a dozen folks at most, here in Boquete who are affected by this change in P.T. policy.

Not saying there aren't far more, of course, but I have met a lot of current residents.

I'm not sure what to make of that. I don't think anyone will dispute that you know a huge number of ex-pats in the area, and probably know a lot about others you haven't actually met. We do know there is an immigration policy change regarding the "border hopping" practice.  Panama has said so.

Many people have been asking specific questions about the mechanics of it for years on local forums in recent years.  Many other people have been offering specific answers.  I don't know any of those people (assuming they used real names), but I can't think of any reason for them to have been fabricating the experience.

We have seen a couple of reports of several vehicles being impounded in recent day at the Caldera police checkpoint. If true, it's hard to imagine it was the result of expired license plates.  I see far too many 2014 plates on cars around here.

People can get caught up in a hysteria about perceived events. Perhaps many people are worried and writing about something less than it might actually be.   After 9/11 in the USA, there was scary "poison powder" everywhere, and last year scary circus clowns were terrorizing towns across that nation, although no clown was ever found, much less arrested.

Your observation is very relevant.  My completely uninformed guess is/was that this possibly affected several hundred people in the Boquete area. 

Edited by Uncle Doug
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Just heard that a law was passed yesterday that will allow Americans, Australians, Canadians and Brits to obtain residency status for $500 dollars without using a lawyer.  Does anyone know anything about this?

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Posted (edited)

Marie, the Regularization program has been in effect since June 2016, some amendments were incorporated on Thursday, numbers 1 to 4.

58d704c5ae306_Procedimiento_Regularizacin.thumb.png.7884dc09381e805bd2add0749d7d8fb2.png

 

Edited by Keith Woolford

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Posted (edited)

Thanks Keith!  Do you think that "applying in person" means going to Panama City?

Edited by MarieElaine

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No ban on immigrants passing through – Varela

Varela-Panama-Jornada-Mundial-Juventud_LPRIMA20170329_0086_21.jpg

 CENTRAL AMERICAN  countries cannot forbid migrants from passing through to their destination, said Panama President Juan Carlos Varela, on Wednesday, March 29, at the Tuxtla Summit in San Jose, Costa Rica.

“Whenever they do it with order and respect to the law, we as authorities must ensure that this transit is safe and peaceful.”

He called on his peers at the Summit to be in solidarity on the issue and to reduce instances of human trafficking.

Varela added that during its leadership of the Central American Integration System (SICA), which it will assume in June, Panama will seek to strengthen the fight against organized crime and the control of migrants.

“Panama is committed to regional security and to protecting our service and logistics platform from the threat of organized crime,” said Varela, noting that with support from countries like Mexico and Colombia, mechanisms can be put in place to deal with new threats insecurity and violence.

 

http://www.newsroompanama.com/news/latin-america/no-ban-immigrants-passing-varela

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I don't understand what guaranteeing safe passage through a country has to do with fighting human trafficking.

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If migrants are guaranteed safe passage there won't be any need to smuggle them ?

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Isn't the current policy 90 days for a tourist visa? I'm confused (as usual).

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New Immigration Measures will not Affect Tourism: Him

The administrator of the Panama Tourism Authority (ATP), Gustavo Him, said that the new measures on immigration policy, announced by the President of the Republic Juan Carlos Varela, will not affect tourism in the country.

The administrator of the ATP hailed the announcement as a healthy decision and said "our tourists who come to make tourism to Panama The average stay is 15 days so that it is not going to affect anything in the national tourism".

He added that tourists who arrive in the country are not those who remain as residents and stated that they are promoting consumption in lodging, restaurant and nightlife.

The Government of Panama will reduce the permanence of citizens of Nicaragua, Colombia and Venezuela in the quality of tourists from 180 days to 90 days. In addition, the special process of regularization of immigrants through appointments implemented by the current administration was suspended.

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Posted (edited)

Today marks the end of pre-registration for the regularization of immigration status, Executive Decree 167 of 2016. The program was basically a more organized version of the Crisol de Razas fairs.

 

Edited by Keith Woolford

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New rules for tourist stays

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NEW RULES  governing the length of time tourists can stay in the country went into effect on Wednesday, May 31. It is aimed primarily   at residents from Colombia, Nicaragua and Venezuela.

The new rule establishes a maximum time of stay of 90 days as a tourist in the country of 90 days. Previously it was 180 days.

It also clarified that citizens of the three  nationalities who entered the country before the validity of this decree will be able to maintain their status of 180 days as tourists.

The decree was signed by President Juan Carlos Varela and Minister of Public Security Alexis Bethancourt Yau.

The changes went into effect after being published in the Official Gazette.

One of the reasons for establishing this new regulation is that a large number of foreigners from those countries engaged in work without requesting the change of immigration status.

The new provision was announced by Varela on Friday. The president also said that there will be an increase in the surveillance of foreigners entering Panama.

 

http://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/new-rules-tourist-stays

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Although I believe the 90 day limit applies only to those visitors from Colombia, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, the article isn't entirely clear. The following two sentences give me pause: "The new rule establishes a maximum time of stay of 90 days as a tourist in the country". . . . Previously it was 180 days." Otherwise, it seems to speak only to the three Latin American nations mentioned.

I have sought confirmation of my interpretation from the U.S. Embassy

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Posted (edited)

Residential tourists here who haven't formalized their Immigration status better start packing.

National Police and Immigration authorities are continuing to raid residential buildings believed to be housing foreigners, particularly Venezuelans and Colombians.

 

Edited by Keith Woolford

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10 hours ago, Bonnie said:

Although I believe the 90 day limit applies only to those visitors from Colombia, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, the article isn't entirely clear. The following two sentences give me pause: "The new rule establishes a maximum time of stay of 90 days as a tourist in the country". . . . Previously it was 180 days." Otherwise, it seems to speak only to the three Latin American nations mentioned.

I have sought confirmation of my interpretation from the U.S. Embassy

I just received the following response from the U.S. Embassy:

Bonnie,

It is our understanding that there has been no change in the length of time that U.S. tourists can stay in Panama (still 180 days).

We are currently working to have a Panamanian immigration official answer general immigration questions for U.S. citizens on Radio Chiriqui soon.

Best,
Thao Anh

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I thought Cubans were also one of the restricted nationalities but I might be wrong. Sounds similar to what is being argued in the US Supreme Court starting today.:D

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Posted (edited)

To the best of my knowledge, the Panamanian government is not banning or attempting to ban anyone (without a criminal record) from traveling here, just limiting the length of stay for three nationalities.

Edited by Keith Woolford

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9 hours ago, Keith Woolford said:

To the best of my knowledge, the Panamanian government is not banning or attempting to ban anyone (without a criminal record) from traveling here, just limiting the length of stay for three nationalities.

Keith

That is correct.

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Executive Decree 269 will be challenged in the courts as being unconstitutional because it discriminates against Venezuelans, Colombians and Nicaraguans.

Lawyers initiating the suit say the length of stay for tourists should be rolled back to 90 days for all nationalities.

http://www.tvn-2.com/nacionales/judicial/Demandan-venezolanos-colombianos-nicaraguenses-Panama_0_4774772542.html

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This story reports a 50% increase in the number of applications received for Refugee status since Decree 269 limiting the stays of three nationalities to 90 days went into effect.

Of the 2,600 applications received in 2016, only 23 were granted the status.

http://www.tvn-2.com/nacionales/Incrementa-solicitudes-Panama-promulgacion-migrantes_0_4775522518.html

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