I have been tied up for several days and still don’t have my head completely above water. The other day I, and other Wardens in Chiriqui, met with the New Chief of the ACS Unit for the U.S. Embassy in Panama City. He was in Chiriquí doing prison visits.
I have also been assisting a US citizen who was in Hospital Obaldia and that will probably be another post at some time for lessons learned by me.
Also, My good friend Malcolm Henderson, has had some healthcare experience, that I will share soon.
Now for some feedback that came as a result meeting the new ACS Chief and correspondence resulting from that meeting.
You may remember that I posted a scam warning had been posted on Chiriquí Watch the other day. It appears that what was reported is actually a Panama crack down on people living here on the tourist visa, which allows a visitor to stay 180 days at a time.
Cases have been reported of a people trying to exit on the 181th day, resulting in a huge fine and being advised to get a real visa. This should be considered to be a “Heads Up” for others.
Several people have been required to buy return tickets and provide proof that $500 was in their possession or credit cards to demonstrate financial viability.
All of this implies that those living in Panama using the tourist visa should be prepared for major annoyances at the Panama border.
Another item I have learned is related to converting US driver’s licenses into Panama driver’s licenses. I was advised to remind everyone that the US license must be Apostilled by the Panamanian government before the actual license can be applied for.
That means taking the document that the US Embassy certifies to the MFA on Tumba Muerto in Panama City. Therefore, if a US license is certified by the Embassy at an Outreach meeting, it would still require the person to make a trip to Panama City.
I was also told that they have recently also started to require all first time persons to go to the Sertracen location at Plaza Carolina for their driver’s licenses. Renewals can be done anywhere, but first-timers need to go there. You may want to check your local location to see what they say about that requirement.
Some might make the decision that, if that is the case, they might as well just to take the test in David and avoid the trip. My advise is spend the money and have your US license turned into a Panama license. I know of people that have spent two years taking classes and multiple exams and still don’t have their license.
More to follow, when I catch my breath.