I received a call today from an individual whose son was coming to visit, for three days, for the individual’s 80th birthday.
The son had Landed in Tocumen and was not being allowed to enter because his passport didn’t have enough time left on it. The individual was wondering if any thing could be done. I contacted the Embassy and here is the information they sent me.
The regulation states that individuals entering Panama must have at least 3 months validity on their passports. We have this information posted on our travel.state.gov website at the following link: http://www.travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country/panama.html. Other than U.S. citizens themselves ensuring they have the appropriate validity, the airlines are supposed to check passports to ensure they meet the entry requirements of the destination country before they board passengers. We have seen this issue with several airlines (COPA, Delta, Spirit Air) and we have held meetings in the past between airlines, FAA, TSA to remind the airlines of this regulation.
We have not seen any exceptions made to this regulation at Tocumen. Individuals are not permitted to enter Panama and are returned on the next flight to the same airport they arrived from. Anything you can do to encourage citizens to ensure they have adequate validity on their passports would be appreciated.
If you have family coming to visit, you now know one more question to ask them.