Another Travel Advisory

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.

19 thoughts on “Another Travel Advisory

  1. My niece was coming to Panama and had less than 3 months left on her passport. The airlines correctly did not let her fly. She went to the Houston passport office, showed them her plane ticket, and they processed a new passport the same day. The airlines let her fly then, with no charge for the change in travel plans.
    That’s before she got on the plane, but just in case……..

  2. Don Ray, you are our voice to the State Dept.

    I know from experience that crossing into Panama through Paso Canoas was once a very straightforward, and pleasant experience. That has all changed over the past several years. You must now present a valid airline ticket, and at times wave 500 dollars cash at the border guard. (Something dangerous and unnecessary) Often the official will go to the computer to insure the ticket is valid. Maybe it’s me. Possibly I appear as an undesirable to them, and as a former US Naval Officer, and service academy grad maybe they’re right. It certainly galls me though in dealing with a couple of these, ahem, gentlemen

    As to your statement, “Something can be done if the airlines do their job.” How about, “This could all be brought to an immediate halt if the US State Department would once again do their job as they have over the past century!!

    Please tell them to stop squatting, act like men, as this is exactly what weakness begets.

  3. Although it’s always annoying when we have to obey the rules of other countries, maybe we should get over it.
    Panamanians (and others) going to the U.S., for example, will certainly not be allowed to enter unless they have all the documentation requested.

  4. Maybe John, it’s best if you study your history, because as regards to Panama the US is by no means just another country.

    What’s the date on your DD214, if I may ask?

  5. I have studied history, including that of Panama and the U.S.
    Panama is actually a separate country, not a colony or state of the U.S., no matter how much we want to think so or make it so, or how often our army might invade it.

  6. I agree with john 100%. Do what it is required and period. Have you guys ever heard thst old saying “if you are in rome do as romans do. I remember when the us bases were in panama and i watched chsnnel 8 (the base tv station), they were always remindind us soldiers etc to do as required and most important to be nice and resoectful when out of the base
    And always referred to this: when in rome do as romans do..

  7. “I have studied history…Panama is actually a separate country”
    Well John, it goes well beyond your knowledge of history. I’ve traveled to over 40 countries and never been subject to this. As mentioned, this procedure is something that has only come about over the past several years. I believe the US State Dept. has something to explain.

    Norris, you should learn how to spell.
    John, you forgot your DD214 date? You see that thought process, “Maybe we should just get over it” is nothing new. On the other side were those who believed “Maybe not.” And we gained our independence thanks to those people. And your DD214 acts as proof of skin in the game.

    In addition I see that the entire post has now been omitted. Land of the free.

  8. As stated by the Embassy, they have “held meetings in the past between airlines, FAA, TSA to remind the airlines of this regulation”.

    Therefore, I believe the appropriate authorities have been notified. It is my understanding that the airlines are fined anytime one of these violations occurs, but as seen, that has not eliminated the violations. Maybe the fines need to be increased after each offense.

    The rest of the discussion of mine is bigger than yours probably needs to move to another site.

  9. Ok, will do.
    So the embassy has held meetings with the airlines and all the alphabet soup. Bottom line, it’s our fault. I’ve heard that before from them starting with Benghazi.

  10. No. It is the individual’s responsibility to understand the requirements for entering a country. The Embassy’s website provides the requirements for coming to Panama.

    The airlines are required to check the passports before allowing boarding to insure compliance. They are obviously failing their responsibility.

    The Tocumen Airport is following the rules.

  11. Anyone can walk across any U.S. Border without any documentation, it happens everyday. I am pleased with how PANAMA administers their immigration in comparison.

  12. “I’ve traveled to over 40 countries and never been subject to this.”
    If you have traveled to over 40 countries and never been subjected to this, it’s probably because your passport was not near it’s expiration. Many, many countries have this rule with a majority requiring 6 months left on your passport.

  13. I got stopped by the airline once with slightly less than 3 months on my passport. I showed the agent my Pensionado Visa, he made a phone call, and everything was fine both with the airline and at Tocumen. So, there are some exceptions to the rule and everyone was very nice about it.

  14. In my opinion…..IF your passport is NOT EXPIRED, use it…IT IS NOT EXPIRED. .DUH. $$$$ and $$$$ are being taken from travelers.

  15. Your opinion has no bearing on the rules. I can assure you, that if you follow your opinion, you are not going to be pleased. Further, following the rules prevents needless expenses.

  16. I will soon be moving to Panama. If I choose the “border hop” option, will I have to purchase a plane ticket every 180 days just to cross the border into Costa Rica and return to Panama?
    I hope that this option is not becoming more complicated. Please advise. Thanks.
    Cheri

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