Security Note – Protest Activity Scheduled for Clayton, Panama

Dear Wardens — ACS would appreciate your assistance in passing the below information to U.S. Citizens in your area.  A MASCOT message will go out shortly also.  Thank you!

United States Embassy Panama

Security Message for U.S. Citizens:  Demonstrations in Clayton, Panama

3 January 2014

FRENADESO is planning a march in Clayton for today, January 3, 2014.  This march is scheduled to begin at the traffic circle where Clayton and Albrook intersect at approximately 4:00 p.m. and proceed to the U.S. Embassy where the marchers plan to picket in a symbolic gesture.  This is part of a series of FRENADESO activities called Operation Sovereignty to mark the 50-year anniversary of the events commemorated on National Sovereignty Day (January 9th).

While we do not expect the march to be violent, we do expect it will impede traffic flow both through the area and specially in and out of the Embassy.  We recommend U.S. Citizens plan their travel accordingly and we recommend that you avoid any confrontations.  If you note violent activity or danger, please notify the U.S. Embassy immediately.

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.

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) atwww.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 don’t 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, (including the Travel Warning for Panama if appropriate), Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution.  Read the Country Specific Information for Panama.  For additional information, refer to “A Safe Trip Abroad” on the State Department’s website.

Contact the U.S. embassy 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 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).  Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and download our free Smart Traveler iPhone App to have travel information at your fingertips.

The U.S. Embassy/Consulate in Panama is located at 783 Avenida Denetrio B. Lakas, Clayton, Panama and is open Mon-Thu, 08:00 am-12:30 pm, 1:30 pm-3:00 pm and Friday 08:00 am – 10:00 am.  If you are a U.S. citizen in need of urgent assistance, the emergency number for the U.S. Embassy/Consulate is 317-5000.

Respectfully,

Chris Reyes

Vice-Consul, ACS Chief

U.S. Embassy, Panama

This email is UNCLASSIFIED.

Message for U.S. Citizens: Taking the Foreign Service Officer Test in Panama

Here is the latest US Embassy message from the ACS in Panama City.

Dear U.S. Citizens:

On 4 February, the U.S. Embassy will host the next Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT).  Anyone wishing to register for the FSOT must do so online athttp://www.careers.state.gov/officer/selection-process

If you wish to take the FSOT in Panama, you must register by 0900 (U.S. Central Time) on 21 January.  In order to apply to the Foreign Service you must be

  • A citizen of the United States
  • At least 20 years old
  • Available for worldwide assignment

There is no specific level in a foreign language required to apply to the Foreign Service.

The Department of State offers the FSOT three times a year.  For more information on the Foreign Service, who we are, what we’re about, and more, visit us athttp://www.careers.state.gov/index-page.html.

Regards,

The ACS Team

American Citizen Services | Embassy of the United States of America | Panama City, Panama

Message for U.S. Citizens: Social Security update

Here is the latest message from the US Embassy in Panama City.

Statement of Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, on New Payments to Same-Sex Married Couples

December 16, 2013

“I am pleased to announce that, effective today, Social Security is processing some widow’s and widower’s claims by surviving members of same-sex marriages and paying benefits where they are due. In addition, we are able to pay some one-time lump sum death benefit claims to surviving same-sex spouses. As I stated shortly after the Supreme Court decision on Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, our goal is to treat all Americans with dignity and respect.

We ask for continued patience from the public as we work closely with the Department of Justice to develop policies that are legally sound so we can process claims.

If you believe you may be eligible for Social Security, I encourage you to apply now to protect against the loss of any potential benefits. We will process claims as soon as additional instructions become finalized.”

To learn more, please visit http://www.socialsecurity.gov/same-sexcouples.

David, Chiriqui outreach Rescheduled for December 26

The Outreach will be from 1:00 PM until 3:30 PM.

Hello again wardens!

We were approved for the reschedule of our trip.  We will be in David on Thursday 26 Dec.  We will maintain the same schedule as originally planned and will provide the same services as advertised previously.

I just wanted to let you know that ACS will be in David next Wednesday Thursday, 26 Dec 2013.  We will do a 2.5 hour outreach at Hotel Nacional in David.  Please see attachments for information and please disseminate to your area residents.  We will send a message to US Citizens on Monday.  Please note we will only provide the following services:

1.         U.S. passport renewal applications

2.         Additional Visa Pages

3.         Notarial Services

Respectfully,

Chris Reyes

Vice-Consul, ACS Chief

U.S. Embassy, Panama

IMPORTANT NOTICE

  1. Please bring photocopies of all documents to be submitted.
  2. Please bring the exact cash amount to pay for the service.
  3. Please bring the completed form.  Please access the following link for information on fees, and forms you need to download, complete and bring:  http://panama.usembassy.gov/service.html

 

Here is information you will need for Passport related items. Continue reading

Message for U.S. Citizens: Implications Overseas of Affordable Health Care Act

Following is the latest ACS message.

Dear American Citizens:

Many of you have questions about the implications of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) for U.S. citizens residing abroad.  In order to help answer them, the Department of State has posted on its travel.state.gov website information provided by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) with links to further information resources.  You can read it athttp://travel.state.gov/travel/living/living_1234.html#affordable

For general information about the ACA, visit the HHS website at http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/index.html

For tax issues related to ACA, see the ACA page within the IRS website at http://www.irs.gov/uac/Affordable-Care-Act-Tax-Provisions-Home

Sincerely,

 

The American Citizen Services Team

American Citizen Services | Embassy of the United States of America | Panama City, Panama

US Embassy Outreach in David December 18, 2013

UPDATE: I JUST RECEIVED A CALL FROM THE EMBASSY THAT BECAUSE THE AIRLINE HAD CANCELLED THEIR FLIGHTS, THE OUTREACH WILL HAVE TO BE RESCHEDULED.

Following is the ACS message related to the December Outreach. The Outreach will be in David at the Hotel Nacional.

Dear Chiriqui Wardens:

The American Citizen Services (ACS) Unit of the Consular Section is planning a visit to David, Chiriqui and needs your assistance to make it a successful visit.  An ACS Foreign Service National employee and Vice Consul Christopher Reyes, plan to be in David on Wednesday, December 18th, 2013, to provide consular services to American citizens in the area.

We will be at the Hotel Nacional in David from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, December 18, 2013.  We will be able to assist with the following services:

  • U.S. passport renewal applications
  • Additional Visa Pages
  • Notarial Services

No visa services will be provided.  Services will be provided on first come – first serve basis.

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE

  1. Please bring photocopies of all documents to be submitted.
  2. Please bring the exact cash amount to pay for the service.
  3. Please bring the completed form.  Please access the following link for information on fees, and forms you need to download, complete and bring:  http://panama.usembassy.gov/service.html

Thank you for your assistance.  We look forward to seeing you.

Sincerely,

Christopher Reyes

Vice Consul

American Citizens Services

Here is information you will need for Passport related items. Continue reading

Message for U.S. Citizens: Victims of Crime

Following is the latest message from ACS.

The U.S. Embassy informs U.S. citizens living, working or traveling in Panama, that we are aware of concerns over crime against foreigners in various areas of the country. In addition to urging the U.S. community to take all necessary precautions to avoid becoming a victim of crime, the embassy encourages U.S. residents and visitors to Panama to immediately report crimes to the police.

Below is a brief outline on how to report a crime in Panama:

  1. Police – Initial Response
    1. The police response in Panama is different than in the United States.  The police will respond to provide immediate assistance and protection to victims, will arrest suspects if they are still on the scene or nearby (assuming they have probable cause that the suspect indeed committed a crime) and, if necessary, call for DIJ investigators (see more about DIJ below).  The Police will NOT take a report or conduct follow-up investigation.  They may take some data for statistical purposes, but they are not empowered to file reports or conduct investigations.  If your call to the police is not timely (i.e. when the crime is discovered) there is little the police can do.  If you delay in reporting the crime, or if it is minor, you should go straight to DIJ.
  2. Fiscalia (Attorney General’s Office)
    1. Matters are taken up with the Fiscalía once the DIJ investigation has begun.
    2. During this step of the crime reporting process, you will need a lawyer or a public defendant to represent your case
    3. On average, it takes 2 to 4 months to investigate a case, and prosecution can take years.
  1. DIJ (Dirección de  Investigación Judicial/Department of  Judicial Investigation)
    1. DIJ is the bridge between the initial police response and the investigation for prosecution of a crime.  They are actually an arm of the Fiscalia (Attorney General’s Office).
    2. If DIJ responds to the scene of a crime, they will conduct an initial investigation, however, they cannot conduct a full investigation or a follow-up investigation unless you go to the local Denuncia Center and file an official report.  Filing a Denuncia is the ONLY way to open a case and get a case tracking number.  Once you have filed a Denuncia and obtained a Denuncia number, you can use that number to follow up on the status of your case.

 

In addition to reporting crime to Panamanian authorities, U.S. citizens are encouraged to provide information on criminal incidents to the U.S. Embassy. This information will assist the embassy in tracking crimes against U.S. citizens in Panama, and to follow up with authorities.

When reporting a crime to American Citizen Services unit of the Consular Section, please provide the following information by email to panama-acs@state.gov or by visiting our website and clicking on the crime report link which will be on the website shortly:

  • U.S. Passport Number of victim
  • DIJ Report Number and Date Filed
  • Type of Crime Committed
  • In-depth narrative of the crime you were victim of including the following information:
  1. Location of crime (province, city/area, neighborhood, etc.)
  2. Number of US Citizens affected
  3. Date and approximate time of day the crime took place
  4. Monetary amount of valuables/objects taken/destroyed (if applicable)
  5. Action taken after crime was committed (police report, etc.)

 

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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.  The Embassy web site is http://panama.usembassy.gov/ 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: Consular Closings

Here is the latest ACS Message.

American Citizen Services Unit

Consular Section

U.S. Embassy, Panama

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

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2013.

The Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Panama will be closed to the public on Friday, November 29, 2013. The Sectionwill also be closed on Monday, December 2, 2013 and Monday, December 9, 2013 for Panamanian Holidays.  No routine service will be available those days in the Visas, American Citizen Services, or Federal Benefits Units.  If you are an American Citizen and have an emergency, please contact the Embassy at 317-5000 and they will put you in contact with the appropriate officer.

On Tuesdays, December 3 & 10, 2013, the Consular Section will resume full operations with its regular schedule (please seehttp://panama.usembassy.gov).

Message for U.S. Citizens: Social Security Benefits

Here is the latest ACS message related to Proof of Life.

U.S. Embassy, Panama

Consular Section

Federal Benefits Unit

 

The Social Security Administration recently informed us that there are still over 500 Social Security recipients residing in Panama who  have not returned their proof of life form.   In May/June each year these forms are sent to the mailing address recipients have on record with the SSA. A second request is mailed in October.   If you have not yet returned your proof of life form, please do so immediately. The Social Security Administration will start suspending benefits effective with the payment dated February 3, 2014.

If you are receiving benefits from the Social Security Administration and wish to know if you are required to complete the proof of life form this year, or if you wish to obtain a blank form, please visithttp://panama.usembassy.gov/ssai.html.

THE U.S. CONSULAR SECTION (AMERICAN CITIZEN SERVICES, FEDERAL BENEFITS, AND VISAS UNITS) WILL BE CLOSED ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2013.

Received from the ACS.

American Citizen Services Unit

Consular Section

U.S. Embassy, Panama

 

 

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

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2013.

 

 

The entire Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Panama will be closed to the public on Tuesday, November 19, 2013.  No routine service will be available those days in the Visas, American Citizen Services, or Federal Benefits Units.  If you are an American Citizen and have an emergency, please contact the Embassy at 317-5000 and they will put you in contact with the appropriate officer.
On Wednesday, November 20, 2013, the Consular Section will resume full operations with its regular schedule (please see http://panama.usembassy.gov).