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Panama: Backward step for Immigration

By Sue Richards last modified Oct 05, 2017 08:35 PM
Contributors: Karsten Staffeldt, Shelter Bay Marina & San Blas Cruisers Facebook Page.
Feedback from a number of land-based and cruiser sources in Panama, indicates that a backward step in Immigration Regulations was initiated by the Colon Branch of Immigration in September.

Published: 2017-10-05 00:00:00
Countries: Panama

Panama: Backward step for Immigration

The San Blas Islands - courtesy of SY Juliane

This is bad news for cruisers.

Back in November 2016 we reported that the Panama Immigration Authorities had given verbal notification that crew and passengers of private non-commercial vessels which arrive in Panama by boat, would now be issued with a regular tourist visa at no charge on arrival. And for a while, in most ports of entry, this did indeed happen. However - it appears that the original policy change made about one year ago fell short of changing the Law.

Consequently there are reports from Porvenir of yacht crew having to once again buy the expensive "Yatista" visa on clearing into the country. This costs US$105 - a lot of outlay if you are only planning a short visit.

Affected parties are trying to change this (again) through the Chamber of Commerce, however presently the situation is very unclear. Cruisers planning on visiting Panama need to be aware that rules and regulations can change overnight, or simply at the whim of the authorities in that particular port, so do as much research before arrival on the best port to clear-in.

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