Category Archives: ACS Messages

Message for U.S. Citizens: Consular Section Closure–Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Following is the latest ACS message.


THE CONSULAR SECTION (AMERICAN CITIZEN SERVICES, FEDERAL BENEFITS, AND VISAS UNITS) WILL BE CLOSED ON

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19, 2017 DUE TO STAFF TRAINING

 

The entire Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Panama will be closed to the public on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 for staff training.  No routine services will be available in the Visas, American Citizen Services, or Federal Benefits Units.  If you are a U.S. citizen and have an emergency, please contact the Embassy at 317-5000.
On Thursday, April 20, 2017, the Consular Section will resume full operations with our regular schedule.  Please see http://panama.usembassy.gov for additional information.

 

Message for U.S. Citizens:Information on Panamanian Immigration Regulations

Following is the latest ACS message

U.S. Embassy in Panama

Message for U.S. Citizens

March 15, 2017

 

The U.S. Embassy in Panama would like to inform all U.S. Citizens in Panama that on March 6th 2017, the Panamanian Immigration Authority (Servicio Nacional de Migracion-SNM) announced new guidance for Panamanian immigration officials on the enforcement of pre-existing regulations.  According to the SNM, immigration officials have been instructed to be stricter about the enforcement of the regulation that foreigners entering Panama with tourist status prove that they are in fact entering Panama as tourists and not residing in Panama.  Since the announcement, the Consular Section has received many questions from U.S. citizens about this new guidance.  Below are the most frequently asked questions along with the responses the Consular Section received from the SNM.  Should you have further questions, please reach out to the SNM directly via phone at 507-1800 or visit their website at: http://www.migracion.gob.pa

 

In order to re-enter Panama on tourist status, does a U.S. Citizen need to return to their country of origin (the country from which they came into Panama) or can they return from a third-country (example: Costa Rica)?

Answer:  In the new guidance SNM does not specify if the tourist needs to return his/her country of origin. What is being implemented is that, in most cases, the person needs to leave Panama for a minimum of 30 days before reentering as a tourist.

In order for a person to re-enter Panama on tourist status, what is the minimum amount of time the person needs to spend outside of Panama?

Answer: The new requirement that is being implemented by SNM in reference to time spent out of Panama is a minimum of 30 days before applying for admission, in most cases.

In order for a person to re-enter Panama on mariner visa status, what is the minimum amount of time the person needs to spend outside of Panama.

Answer: According to SNM, mariner visas are valid for 90 days and must be renewed on the 90th day, or the day before, from the date of the previous mariner visa stamp.  Mariner visas can only be renewed once before the visa- holder needs to exit Panama. The amount of time the person with the mariner visa needs to stay outside of Panama is not specified by SNM.

If entering Panama on tourist status, does the method of entry need to match the method of exit (i.e. can a U.S. Citizen enter Panama on a plane and use as proof of exit evidence that they own a boat in Panama and plan to exit via boat)?

Answer: The method of entry and exit into and out of Panama does not have to be the same so long as the entries and departures are met legally by using established Ports of Entry – land, maritime or air and admitted by a Panamanian immigration officer.

Do U.S. Citizens with legal Panamanian residency status also require a roundtrip ticket when entering Panama?

Answer: No.  A foreigner with legal residence in Panama does not need to show proof of exit from Panama.

Is a person applying for Panamanian residency required to stay in Panama for the entire duration of time required to complete the residency process? If so, what happens if the process takes more than the allotted six months for tourist status.

 

Answer: If the person has an ID that shows that his/her residency is in process, the person is fine to leave and return to Panama.  If there is no ID, then the person should exit as a tourist (i.e., before the sixth month approaches).

 

How long does the FBI Identification Record process, required for purposes of obtaining residency in Panama, take? Can this process be expedited?

 

Answer: For information on the FBI identification record process, individuals may visit https://www.fbi.gov/services/cjis/identity-history-summary-checks.  According to the FBI website, the current turnaround estimate for these records is 12 to 14 weeks plus the amount of time the results may take to arrive in the mail.  Currently there is no option to receive the response electronically. For questions on this topic, individuals may call (304) 625-5590 or write an email to identity@ic.fbi.gov

 

Tourists are only allowed to drive in Panama for 90 days.  Is there an exception for this given that tourists are allowed to stay in Panama for 180 days?

 

Answer: According to the Transit authority (http://www.transito.gob.pa/sites/default/files/reglamento_decreto_640..pdf Artículo 110) foreigners that enter Panama as tourists are not permitted to obtain Panamanian drivers’ licenses and are only allowed to drive with a foreign license for 90 days.  There are no exceptions to this rule.

 

Can SNM waive the FBI Identification Record process if a person does not exit Panama for two years? If so, would there be an exception to the 180 day stay limit for tourists for a person trying to obtain this waiver?

 

Answer: If a person stays in Panama for more than two years then the FBI requirement does not apply.  The waiver of the FBI requirement applies to those people that stay in Panama two years, without exiting.  In these cases, a fine is paid by the person for overstaying their tourist visa and the person is only required to present a PNM police record rather than the FBI check.

 

For further information about Panama:

  • See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Panama Country Specific Information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler-Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Panama, located at Building 783, Demetrio Basilio Lakas Avenue Clayton, Panama, at +507-317-5030, 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Friday.  After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +507-317-5000.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Message for U.S. Citizens: Town Hall with Ambassador Feeley on March 14 in Boquete, Chiriqui

Following is the latest ACS message. I edited this message as it was sent as an email to be replied to.

The American Citizen Services (ACS) Unit would like to invite you to meet Ambassador John D. Feeley on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 at 9a.m. in the Third Floor Meeting Room of Boquete Public Library (in front of La Carreta Restaurant, Calle 8va Sur).  Ambassador Feeley will travel there to meet U.S. Citizens in the area and discuss any issues of your concern.

 

To confirm your attendance, please email this e-mail address. Panama-ACS@state.gov (Use subject “Message for U.S. Citizens: Town Hall Meeting with Ambassador Feeley on March 14 in Boquete, Chiriqui“.

We look forward to seeing you there.

 

Sincerely,

 

American Citizen Services Unit

U.S. Embassy Panama

Message for U.S. Citizens: Outreach in Bocas del Toro on March 11

Following is the latest ACS message.

U.S. Embassy Panama

Consular Section

American Citizen Services Unit

 

The American Citizens Services (ACS) Unit at the U.S. Embassy in Panama would like to inform U.S. citizens that we will be visiting Bocas del Toro on Saturday, March 11, 2017 to provide limited consular report of birth abroad (CRBA), passport, notarial, and federal benefits services to U.S. Citizens.

 

WHERE ,WHEN, AND RSVP:

 

Bocas del Toro: Saturday, March 11, 2017 from 10a.m. to 2p.m. at the Autoridad de Turismo de Panama (ATP) Building on Calle 1a in Isla Colon.  If you require the consular services listed above, please rsvp to Panama-ACS@state.gov with the subject line “Bocas Outreach Services” and note in the body of the e-mail the type(s) of services required.

 

HOW TO PAY FOR PASSPORT AND NOTARIAL SERVICES (PLEASE READ CAREFULLY):

 

The Embassy will only accept payment by local banker’s cashier check (known in Spanish as “Cheque Certificado”) made payable to “U.S. Embassy Panama”, issued within the past five months.  The Embassy will NOT accept cash or credit card payments.  The notarial fee is $50 per each signature of the Consular Officer.  A list of passport fees can be found here.  Other than passport and notarial services, all other services are no-fee.

 

WHAT TO BRING FOR PASSPORT, NOTARIAL, AND LPR ABANDONMENT SERVICES:

 

CRBA: Please bring the original documents listed below, which can be downloaded at the links provided.  Documents in English and Spanish will be accepted, but original documents in other languages must be translated into English. Completed Application for Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America (Form DS-2029)

  • Child’s Panamanian Birth Certificate – The COPIA INTEGRA of the child’s birth certificate is required to apply for a CRBA.  (The copia integra birth certificate is a “complete” document, printed on legal size paper, with revenue stamps.  The copia integra can be obtained at the Panamanian Civil Registry on Avenida Peru.  The yellow common birth certificate, printed on half a page, is not acceptable as proof of birth.)
  • Original evidence of U.S. Citizenship of one or both parents – Proof of U.S. citizenship may be a U.S. birth certificate, U.S. passport, CRBA, Certificate of Citizenship or a Naturalization Certificate.  (Military identification is NOT proof of U.S. citizenship.)
  • Parents’ Marriage Certificate – Original or certified copy of parents’ marriage certificate if they are married.
  • Evidence of Dissolution of Previous Marriages – If either parent has been previously married, submit original divorce decrees or death certificates of prior spouse(s).
  • Proof of U.S. Physical Presence in the U.S. prior to child’s birth – U.S. citizen parents must document their physical presence in the U.S.   Evidence of physical presence in the U.S. may consist of passport stamps, official school or university transcripts, employment and/or military service records, proof of U.S. Government service abroad, or evidence of time spent abroad as an unmarried dependent son or daughter living in the same household of a U.S. Government employee serving abroad.
  • Completed U.S. Passport Application (Form DS-11)(click “Print a blank form DS-11”
  • One Photo of the child (size 2”x2” with a white background)
  • For information on how to apply for the Social Security Card, please visit:  http://panama.usembassy.gov/ssacard.html.  You will use this form: Application for a Social Security Number(Form SS-5) (PDF – 237kb), to apply for a Social Security Card directly to the Federal Benefits Unit once your receive the Consular Report of Birth Abroad and U.S. passport.

 

Passports: For adult passport renewals (remember that you can complete passport renewals by mail!), in addition to the completed DS-82 application, provide one recent color photo with a white background that measures 5×5 cm (2X2 inches),  your passport, and a photocopy of the photo page of your passport.  The fee for an adult passport renewal is currently $110.  If your previous passport was lost or stolen you will also need to bring a copy of the police report and the fee for the new passport is $135.  For minor passport renewals, in addition to the completed DS-11 application, bring a copy of the photo page of the minor’s passport, a copy of both parents’ passports /cedulas, one recent color photo with a white background that measures 5×5 cm (2X2 inches) and a copy of the minor’s birth certificate, in addition to the original birth certificate and passport/ cedulas.  The fee is currently $105.00 for a minor (under 16) passport renewal.    The minor and both parents or guardians must appear in person.  If only one parent is present in Panama, the “Statement of Consent from Absent Parent” Form DS-3053, notarized in the U.S., is required.  Please note that the DS-3053 will not be accepted if notarized in Panama.

 

Notarizations: Here is the link with details. If you are requesting the notarization of your driver’s license, bring a photocopy of the front and back page of your license, as well as your license.  If you are requesting notarization of benefits documents, bring the original and a copy of the document(s) showing the amount of benefits you receive monthly or annually.  The notarial fee is $50..00 for each signature of the Consular Officer.

 

LPR Abandonment: Bring completed form I-407 and a photocopy of your Permanent Resident Card, as well as your Permanent Resident Card.

 

WHAT TO BRING FOR FEDERAL BENEFITS SERVICES (please bring legible copies of all documents to be submitted):

 

SSA Proof of Life: If you are required to comply with this requirement this year (i.e. your SSN ends in 00 thru 49; you receive benefits for someone else; you are age 90 or over), please bring your cedula or passport.

 

Medicare Enrollment/Cancellation: To enroll in Medicare, you should complete and sign this form and to cancel your enrollment please complete and sign this form.

 

Social Security Replacement Card: Bring a copy of your valid U.S. passport and completed form SS-5FS.

 

Social Security Card for child under 12: Bring a copy of the U.S. passport for one of the parents, the child’s “copia integra” birth certificate, and the child’s U.S. passport (as well as copies) as well as completed form SS-5FS.

 

Change of Address for Social Security: Bring your current passport or cedula.

 

International Direct Deposit Enrollment:  If you wish to enroll, please send an e-mail to Panama-FBU@state.gov to request the form.

 

Services will be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis.

 

 

We look forward to seeing you there!

 

Sincerely,

 

American Citizen Services Unit

U.S. Embassy Panama

Message for U.S. Citizens: 2017 Overseas Voting

Following is the latest ACS message.

Just voted in November? Still traveling or living overseas? You should register and request your absentee ballot to vote again in 2017 to ensure your election office knows where to send your ballot for any upcoming special elections for federal office. Some states are also holding gubernatorial or other statewide elections this year.

The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) recommends all overseas U.S. citizens send in a completed Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) early every year.  The FPCA is the registration and ballot request form accepted by all states and territories.

You can use the FPCA online assistant, complete the fillable PDF version, or pick up a hardcopy version from your nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.  Be sure your contact information is accurate in case your election office needs to reach you.

If you’d like more information on the Federal Voting Assistance Program or need help with the absentee voting process please go to FVAP.gov or call FVAP at 703-588-1584 (toll free 1-800-438-VOTE or DSN 425-1584) or email vote@fvap.gov.

Toll-free phone numbers from 67 countries are listed at FVAP.gov. Find FVAP on Facebook at facebook.com/DoDFVAP and follow @FVAP on Twitter.

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: https://twitter.com/migracionpanama?lang=en

Message for U.S. Citizens: January 18th Outreach in Boquete

Following is the latest ACS Message.

U.S. Embassy Panama

Consular Section

American Citizens Services Unit

 The American Citizens Services (ACS) Unit at the U.S. Embassy in Panama would like to inform U.S. citizens that we will be visiting Boquete, Chiriqui on Wednesday, January 18, 2017 to provide passport, notarial, and federal benefits services to U.S. Citizens.

WHERE ,WHEN, AND RSVP:

Boquete: Wednesday, January 18, 10am-2pm at the Hotel Valle del Rio, Palmira Salon (Camino Valle Escondido, Bajo Boquete.) Please register below according to the service that you require:

For Federal Benefits, register here

For Passport Services, register here

For Notarial Services, register here

HOW TO PAY FOR PASSPORT AND NOTARIAL SERVICES (PLEASE READ CAREFULLY):

The Embassy will only accept payment by local banker’s cashier check (known in Spanish as “Cheque Certificado”) made payable to “U.S. Embassy Panama”, issued within the past five months.  The Embassy will NOT accept cash or credit card payments.  The notarial fee is $50 per each signature of the Consular Officer.  A list of passport fees can be found here.  Other than passport and notarial services, all other services are no-fee.

WHAT TO BRING FOR PASSPORT, NOTARIAL, AND LPR ABANDONMENT SERVICES:

Passports: For adult passport renewals (remember that you can complete passport renewals by mail!), in addition to the completed DS-82 application, provide one recent color photo with a white background that measures 5×5 cm (2X2 inches),  your passport, and a photocopy of the photo page of your passport.  The fee for an adult passport renewal is currently $110.  If your previous passport was lost or stolen you will also need to bring a copy of the police report and the fee for the new passport is $135.  For minor passport renewals, in addition to the completed DS-11 application, bring a copy of the photo page of the minor’s passport, a copy of both parents’ passports /cedulas, one recent color photo with a white background that measures 5×5 cm (2X2 inches) and a copy of the minor’s birth certificate, in addition to the original birth certificate and passport/ cedulas.  The fee is currently $105.00 for a minor (under 16) passport renewal.    The minor and both parents or guardians must appear in person.  If only one parent is present in Panama, the “Statement of Consent from Absent Parent” Form DS-3053, notarized in the U.S., is required.  Please note that the DS-3053 will not be accepted if notarized in Panama.

Notarizations: Here is the link with details. If you are requesting the notarization of your driver’s license, bring a photocopy of the front and back page of your license, as well as your license.  If you are requesting notarization of benefits documents, bring the original and a copy of the document(s) showing the amount of benefits you receive monthly or annually.  The notarial fee is $50.00 for each signature of the Consular Officer.

LPR Abandonment: Bring completed form I-407 and a photocopy of your Permanent Resident Card, as well as your Permanent Resident Card.

WHAT TO BRING FOR FEDERAL BENEFITS SERVICES (please bring legible copies of all documents to be submitted):

SSA Proof of Life: If you are required to comply with this requirement this year (i.e. your SSN ends in 00 thru 49; you receive benefits for someone else; you are age 90 or over), please bring your cedula or passport.

Medicare Enrollment/Cancellation: To enroll in Medicare, you should complete and sign this form and to cancel your enrollment please complete and sign this form.

Social Security Replacement Card: Bring a copy of your valid U.S. passport and completed form SS-5FS.

Social Security Card for child under 12: Bring a copy of the U.S. passport for one of the parents, the child’s “copia integra” birth certificate, and the child’s U.S. passport (as well as copies) as well as completed form SS-5FS.

Change of Address for Social Security: Bring your current passport or cedula.

International Direct Deposit Enrollment:  If you wish to enroll, please send an e-mail to Panama-FBU@state.gov to request the form.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Sincerely,

American Citizens Services

U.S. Embassy Panama

  • See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Panama Country Specific Information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler-Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Panama, located at Building 783, Demetrio Basilio Lakas Avenue Clayton, Panama, at +507-317-5030, 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Friday.  After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +507-317-5000.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Martyrs’ Day January 9th

Following is the latest ACS Message.

U.S. Embassy in Panama

Security Message for U.S. Citizens

January 5, 2017

Martyrs’ Day is a Panamanian holiday which commemorates the January 9, 1964 riots over sovereignty of the Panama Canal Zone.  Historically, protests and marches occur on this anniversary.

Post received reports of possible marches and demonstrations planned throughout Panama City on January 9.   One such demonstration is planned for 0900 on January 9, beginning at the 5 de Mayo Metro Station.

U.S. Citizens should plan their travel accordingly and avoid all confrontations.  Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.  You should avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations.  Review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates.  Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security.

For further information about security in Panama:

  • See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Panama Country Specific Information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler-Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Panama, located at Building 783, Demetrio Basilio Lakas Avenue Clayton, Panama, at +507-317-5030, 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Friday.  After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +507-317-5000.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Message for U.S. Citizens: Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT) at the U.S. Embassy in Panama

Following is the latest ACS message.

U.S. Embassy in Panama

Message for U.S. Citizens: Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT)

December 20, 2016

Have you ever wanted to become a diplomat for the U.S. government?  Here is your opportunity!  The U.S. Embassy in Panama will be hosting the computer-based Foreign Service Officer exam on February 2, 2017 at 9:00 a.m.  There is no fee to take the test.  The requirements are as follows:

 

  • Applicants must be citizens of the United States.
  • Applicants must be at least 20 years old.
  • Applicants must be available for worldwide assignment.
  • No specific level in a foreign language is required for applicants.

 

For detailed information on pursuing a career in the Foreign Service, to learn about what career track might be right for you, and to explore in detail the steps of the Foreign Service hiring process, please go to http://www.careers.state.gov.

 

In order to register for the FSOT in Panama, please visit http://careers.state.gov/work/foreign-service/officer/test-process.  After registering, you will receive a confirmation email on the first business day following submission of your registration from the test administrator (Pearson VUE) that you are eligible to schedule your test seat.  Please do not delay in registering and scheduling your test seat as space is limited so availability is on a first-come first-served basis.  If the test seats are all filled, you will have to take the exam next time it is offered.  The test is currently offered quarterly each year, both within the U.S. and at certain locations overseas.

 

If you have specific questions about the Foreign Service Officer Test, you may send an e-mail to FSOTQuestions@state.gov.

Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Anniversary of Operation Just Cause Demonstrations

Following is the latest ACS Message

U.S. Embassy in Panama

Security Message for U.S. Citizens

December 19, 2016

The U.S. Embassy in Panama informs U.S. citizens that it has received a report of planned demonstrations on December 20, 2016 in Panama City related to the anniversary of Operation Just Cause.  One demonstration is scheduled to begin at the U.S. Embassy in the morning.  The American Citizen Services, Federal Benefits, and Visa Units will be closed to the public on December 20.  All U.S. citizens are reminded to remain diligent in your personal security.

 

U.S. Citizens should plan their travel accordingly and avoid all confrontations.  Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.  You should avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations.  Review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates.  Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security.

 

For further information about security in Panama:

 

  • See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Panama Country Specific Information.

 

 

  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Panama, located at Building 783, Demetrio Basilio Lakas Avenue Clayton, Panama, at +507-317-5030, 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +507-317-5000.

 

  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).