ACS Message on Security

United States Embassy Panama City, Panama

Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Crime

September 9, 2014

This Security Message is to alert U.S. citizens in Panama to recent incidents of thieves targeting customers at gas stations. In these incidents, thieves approach parked cars refueling at gas pumps and steal the owner’s visible belongings through unlocked passenger doors or open windows while the victim is preoccupied (pumping gas or paying the station attendant). In an effort to deter this criminal activity, police have increased their patrols around gas stations.

Another crime trend recently reported in local media is armed robberies of several local restaurants during business hours. Individuals have been entering occupied restaurants and using firearms to subdue customers and employees while their accomplices rob both the restaurant patrons and the employees. Local police claim to have disrupted at least one group of criminals conducting these robberies.

Keep personal belongings out of sight in your car, and leave the windows up and the doors locked when you step out of the vehicle, even if only to pump gas. Do not attempt to chase or detain thieves, as they may be armed. Only you can determine the best course of action when confronted with a critical incident such as a robbery. You must choose a course of action based upon your assessment of the situation in that moment. However, in most cases robberies have been resolved peacefully when the victim did not resist or argue. Cooperation with the robbers and the handing over of valuables has usually led to peaceful resolutions. Your possessions are not more valuable than your life. Immediately report any crimes to the police, as well as to the U.S. Embassy.

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Panama enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at www.Travel.State.Gov. STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you do not have internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Regularly monitor the State Department’s website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution. Read the Country Specific Information for Panama City. For additional information, refer to “Traveler’s Checklist” on the State Department’s website. Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate for up-to-date information on travel restrictions. You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to have travel information at your fingertips.

For updated information on the security situation in Panama, please contact the American Citizen Services Unit of the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy at (011)-507-317-5030. The Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy is located in Clayton, Building 783, in the Clayton section of Panama. Please visit the Embassy’s website for more information and e-mails should be addressed to Panama-ACS@state.gov. The after-hours and emergency phone number is (011)-507-317-5000.

Message for U.S. Citizens: Town Hall Meeting- Panama Province

Ambassador Jonathan Farrar invites interested U.S. Citizens in Panama Province to a Town Hall Meeting

When: Wednesday, September 17th

Where: Ambassador’s Residence

Time: 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Please register: http://panamatownhall01.eventbrite.com

NLT than September 12th. Space is limited to 150 guests.

IMPORTANT: After registering, you will receive a message confirming your participation. You must present this confirmation along with proof of citizenship to enter the Residence grounds. Thank you for your cooperation.

Parking Information:

• Parking at the Residence is on a first come, first serve basis and is very limited.

• We recommend that you carpool or take alternate methods of transportation, e.g., taxi, if possible.

Shuttle Service:

There is a shuttle available, but limited to 30 spaces, for those living in the Clayton area. You will need to park in the parking lot outside of the Embassy entrance. The shuttle departs at 2:30 p.m.

No Video Cameras or Video Recording Permitted

Message for U.S. Citizens: Foreign Service Officer Test

Here is the latest ACS message.

U.S. Department of State

Invites you to take action…

Your career starts by visiting our website at www.careers.state.gov where you can explore who we are, what we’re about, and more. It’s also where you can register for the next Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT).

All registrations for the Foreign Service Officer Test must be completed online. The link to online registration will be available at our website and the registration package must be submitted at least 48 hours prior to the opening of the window. The test will be offered twice a year and registration for the FSOT will be open on a continuous basis.

· 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.
· Next test at US Embassy Panama will be on Thursday October 9, 2014

Message for U.S. Citizens: Termination of Panama’s Free Tourist Insurance Program

Here is the Latest ACS message.:

The American Citizen Services Unit at the U.S. Embassy in Panama would like to inform U.S. citizen visitors that the free tourist insurance program that was introduced by the Government of Panama in 2011 has been cancelled. This program provided free medical insurance to tourists in Panama who were eligible for the program, under certain conditions, for up to 30 days. In a press release on August 1, 2014, the Panama Tourism Authority notified potential visitors that the free tourist insurance was cancelled as of June 30, 2014. All visitors to Panama should ensure that they have appropriate private health insurance that will provide coverage for any medical emergencies that may occur while they are in Panama.

The Panama Tourism Authority press release can be found at the following link: http://www.atp.gob.pa/tag/vencimiento-del-contrato-de-seguro-al-turista.

Unofficial Translation:
Press Release
Friday, August 1, 2014
The Panama Authority of Tourism, communicates to all visitors in Panama and those who are considering Panama as a tourist destination, that the tourist insurance contract expired on June 30, 2014 and the program was terminated on the same day. All visitors should make use of their private health insurance in case of medical emergencies.

Message for U.S. Citizens: Update on water contamination in Los Santos and Herrera

The American Citizen Services Unit would like to inform U.S. citizens that Panama’s Ministry of Health (MOH) notified residents in the provinces of Los Santos and Herrera that from this time forward, it is safe to use the water for drinking, cooking, and all housework. For the complete notification from Panama’s Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers (IDAAN), please visit: http://www.idaan.gob.pa/detalle.php?cid=5&id=544

Message for U.S. Citizens: ACS Newsletter Available

The July issue of the American Citizen Services and Federal Benefits Unit Newsletter is now available online. In this issue you will find information on Global Entry, passport renewals by mail, direct deposit of federal benefits, and much more.

The newsletter is available in the ACS webpage under Alerts & Messages. It may also be accessed directly from this message. See full URLs below:

http://panama.usembassy.gov/announcements_and_warden_messages/newsletter.html

http://photos.state.gov/libraries/panama/1057633/ACS%20Newsletter%20-%20Jul%2014/ACS%20Newsletter%20-%20JUL%2014_pub.pdf

Message for U.S. Citizens: Water Contamination in Herrera and Los Santos

Here is the latest ACS message:

The U.S. embassy directs U.S. citizens traveling to and/or living in Herrera and Los Santos to the message below from IDAAN, Panama’s Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers:

WATER PRODUCED IN CHITRE AND LA VILLA PURIFICATION PLANT NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION

Panama, June 30, 2014

The Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers (IDAAN for its acronym in Spanish) announces to its customers and users in the provinces of Herrera and Los Santos, that the water produced in our treatment plants Chitre and La Villa is UNFIT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION due to pollution in the Villa River as a result of the presence in the liquid of a chemical that affects water quality.

IDAAN, in conjunction with the Ministry of Health (MINSA for its acronym in Spanish) in both provinces, took the decision to declare water as unfit for consumption after they received reports on June 30, of the tests conducted by the Public Ministry about the presence of a herbicide dissolved in water.

The affected areas are: Chitre, Monagrillo, La Arena, La Villa de Los Santos, Santa Ana, Llano Largo, El Bongo, Los Olivos, Guararé, La Enea, El Jobo, Las Tablas, El Cocal and El Carate

The original message, can be found on IDAAN’s website at: http://www.idaan.gob.pa/detalle.php?cid=1&id=533

Message for U.S. Citizens: July 4th Voting Message

Latest ACS Message

July 4th Voting Message

Celebrate democracy this 4th of July by taking the necessary steps to vote in the 2014 U.S. elections!
In order to vote in the November 2014 elections, all overseas U.S. citizens need to have completed a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) in 2014. Whether you are a first-time voter or have already received ballots and voted absentee in past elections, you must complete an FPCA each year to participate in elections as an overseas absentee voter.

At the U.S Embassy in Panama City you can always get voting assistance or drop off there your completed voting forms and ballots during. Our hours of operation for voting assistance matters are: no appointment is required

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 8:00 am – 12:30 pm and 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm
Wednesday: 8:00 am – 12:00 noon
Friday: 8:00 am – 10:00 am

(No appointment is required. The section is closed on Panamanian and U.S. holidays.)

For more information, please visit the Embassy’s Voting Assistance page or the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s website.

Message for U.S. Citizens: Embassy Closures July 2014

Just received from the ACS.

 

The Consular Section (Visas/American Citizen Services/Federal Benefits Unit) will be closed to the public on Tuesday, July 1, 2014 for the Panamanian inauguration, Thursday, July 3, 2014 for an internal event, and Friday, July 4, 2014 for Independence Day. We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause.

For ACS Emergencies please call 317-5000 and request to speak to the duty officer.

Message for U.S. Citizens: Upcoming IRS Webinar on Reporting of Foreign Financial Accounts

Here is the latest communication from the ACS.

The IRS is hosting an Internal Revenue Service Webinar on Reporting of Foreign Financial Accounts on the Electronic FBAR, on Wednesday, June 4, 2014. Information for filers about the filing requirement is available on the IRS website: IRS Reminds Those with Foreign Assets of U.S. Tax Obligations

 

Title: Reporting of Foreign Financial Accounts on the Electronic FBAR
Date: June 4, 2014
Time: 2:00 pm (ET); 1:00 pm (CT); 12:00 pm (MT); 11:00 a.m. (PT)
Location: Your Office or Home
Contact: SB/SE Webinars; Email: sbse.webinars@irs.gov
Event Information: This FREE one-hour broadcast is for:

·All Tax Professionals

·FBAR filers

Topics include:

·FBAR legal authorities

·FBAR mandatory e-filing overview

·Using FinCEN Form 114; and Form 114a

·FBAR filing requirements

·FBAR filing exceptions

·Special filing rules

·Recordkeeping

·Administrative guidance

·Live Q&A session with Subject Matter Experts