What's Up with the Tourist Visa in Panama?

Shiela Scott sent me the following information, which was sent out by http://www.expatexplorers.com/ some time ago in an email to their subscribers. Lately there have been a lot of confused questions about tourist visas, fines and residency status. I thought this would be a good time to share this information again. By the way, if you haven't already attended an Expat Explorer event, they are a lot of fun. You meet some great people and it's a wonderful way to explore this great country many of us are claiming as home.


To answer your question regarding PENSIONADO and TOURIST VISAS:

• The new implementation of 30 days is for tourist who arrived to Panama from May 22nd and after. This 30-day period can be extended ANOTHER 30 days, making a total of 60 days.Those who were already here (before May 22nd), have their 3 month tourist visa with no changes, but can only be extended for 30 more days.

•Those who have a "Pensionado" tourist visa already approved, are allowed to remain in Panama indefinitely, since it gives them the status of "Residency".

•BUT, if you have already applied for Pensionado Visa, and have more than 30 or 60 days (extended) in Panama, and need to leave Panama before your Pensionado Visa is approved, then you must pay a fine for exceeding your tourist visa time (regardless of the fact that you have applied for a Pensionado Visa). Remember, you only get the status of Pensionado Resident once the visa has been approved, and not before.

•The fines go from
                   1 month:$25
                    2months: $40
                    3months: $45
                    4months: $50
                    5months: $80
                    6months: $95
                    7months: $100
                    8months: $180
                    9months: $190
                    10months: $200
                    11months: $250
                    12months: $275
                    More than 12 months: $300

•There are certain requirements for not loosing your residency in Panama (ONCE YOUR PENSIONADO VISA HAS BEEN APPROVED - and this is very important to have clear):