This month's Bocas Breeze has an excellent explanation of the latest visa regulations, how it got passed and why nobody, even in Panama, knew about it before it was law!
It also explains in great detail what is required of tourists with regard to paperwork... which seems cumbersome, to say the least.
Immigration began enforcing this new law with a bang by sending out undercover patrols stopping tourists and demanding proof of legal immigration status. Most tourists do not know that Panama requires everyone over 18 years of age to possess positive identification and all foreigners must carry a passport, tourist card, immigration visa, residency carnet, or cedula (national ID card). Immigration arrested some tourists while allowing others to retrieve their papers and gave others strict warnings to always carry their ìpapersî. Other tourists denied re-entry to Panama because immigration border guards felt they had left and returned too many times...
Another excerpt says:
...It is against the law to overstay your tourist visa in every country. You can be subject to arrest and deported back to your country of origin. (Oh yeah? Not in the US. We offer them amnesty!) If you do over stay your visa and are not caught all is forgiven if you go to Immigration before leaving Panama and pay a fine of $275 for overstaying by 12 months or $300 for more than 12 months. Immigration gives you a document to show Immigration officers at the airport or border so you are legally free to go and return after 72 hours...
Read the entire article here.
Mick @ Lot 83