All posts by Don Ray

About Don Ray

US retiree living in David, Chiriquí Panama. David, Chiriquí Warden for the US Embassy in Panama City.

Clarification on length of time US Citizens may be in Panama as tourists

Following is the US Embassy’s clarification on the length of time US Citizens may be in Panama.

Based on multiple inquiries from U.S. citizens in Panama regarding Decree No.590 dated December 28, 2016, the Consular Section contacted the Panamanian Servicio Nacional de Migracion (SNM or Panamanian Immigration Office) for further clarification on the length of time U.S. Citizens are able to stay in Panama as tourists.  The SNM confirmed that U.S. citizens (as well as citizens of the UK, Canada, and Australia) are still allowed to enter Panama without a Panamanian visa and they can stay for up to 180 days as tourists. 


For more information regarding this matter, please visit the SNM’s Twitter account, which is available at the following link:

Metro Optica Guest Review

I had mentioned in the past that Dra. Ines Chang had been recruiting ophthalmologists to office in Metro Optica. I just received a review from a Chiriqui Chatter reader who has recently visited one who is moving his practice to David.

Following is a guest post of the reader’s experience.

We now have an eye specialist full time in David. Dr. Andres Osigian moved to David from Panama City officially in December and set up his office with Dra. Ines Chang at Metro Optics.

I have developed glaucoma and now have cataracts. Dr. Osigian was very thorough, answers questions and is very careful in making sure you understand the medication. I now am using four kinds of drops, all must be applied at different times and spaced out over the day. He made sure I understood how to make this all work. He also showed me the most efficient way to get the drops in my eyes and not down my face, an excellent way to save on refilling prescriptions.

The doctor is still settling in and must move his equipment from Panama City and make arrangements to use hospital facilities. My next appointment is in May when we will make arrangements for surgery for the cataracts. I will report in to Don Ray after that to relate that experience.

I know Ines has worked very hard to get a specialist to David and she is very pleased to have Dr. Osigian with her. He speaks excellent English, as does the rest of the staff there. Having any kind of health problem is unsettling. Being able to go for help where you feel comfortable and confident makes it easier to deal with. Not having to travel to Panama City makes it even better.

Metro Optica is across the street from Super Star Computer in the following map.

I was that kid who always tried to open the wrong side of the milk carton in Junior high School.

My New Year’s resolution is to help all my friends gain ten pounds so I look skinnier.

Tom Needs Help

Request Has been satisfied. Thanks.

As the title says, Tome needs help. If you are coming from Pennsylvania to David, maybe you can help.

Hi Don,

I have a bag of special rivets I need to fix some legs here but the rivets  are in Pa. It weighs about 1 # or a little more.Would you ask your readers if any one coming soon and could carry them down.I would need about 3 days to mail them to them.They would be in a 1 qt ziplock so they can see what it is.

Thanks Don

Tom McCormack  

724.495.6310  US home
US Cell 412.519.5060  
Panama Cell 507 6 760 3439 (country code 011)

Dear Grandpa,

Thanks for buying my kids laser tag guns with no volume control for Christmas.

They will bring them when they stay with you.

Permanent Tourist Changes in Panama

Things have changed for those that have lived in Panama as permanent tourists. As of now, when a tourist enters Panama, their time limit is for 90 days. If the tourist applies for an extension, he/she may remain another 90 days.

I may be wrong, but if I read the document, I will attach, correctly the extension will include a $50 fee.

I also understand that the time one must stay out of the country may be reverting back to what it was in the past, which was 72 hours. This would not be a new change but an enforcement of current requirements.

These changes should be a major discouragement to those that have found it easy to come to Panama live as a permanent tourist.

Personally, I like the changes. If people want to live here on a permanent basis, I think they need to apply and receive a permanent residency card.

Now this isn’t cheap either. When I did it in 2002, I paid about $400 plus fees for blood tests and other minor costs.

The last I heard, it was running at least $1,500 plus the other minor fees. To complicate it more, Panama now requires approval from the US FBI showing good conduct. This requires having a set of fingerprints sent to the FBI.

Many have found it difficult to get an acceptable set of prints while living in Panama. There is also a limited amount of time to get the prints and get the pensionado card and if the time limit is reached and all “I”s are not dotted and all “T”s are not crossed, they the process will begin again.

To read the current law changes, click HERE.

I told Lilliam that I got lost in her eyes.
But I also told her that get lost in most department stores, so she shouldn’t read too much into it.