We returned from our Costa Rica trip today, which means making the border crossing back into Panama. Things have changed and become more complicated lately – see this previous post with more information on the current requirements.
We started on the Costa Rica side getting stamped out of that country – no problem, no questions, nothing. Then we headed to the Panama side to get stamped back into this country.
“Where is your ticket back to the US?” I produced our printout, pointed out it was for both my husband and I.
“You need $500.” I said I have papers from my bank and pulled out the statements I had printed on my computer, asking if they would qualify. He pointed to the balance amount and asked if that amount was available (yes). Then he said we were fine, stamped both our passports and we were done! Joel started to pull out papers from his bank account but the man said that wasn’t necessary. The ones I showed him were sufficient.
I had brought statements for three months from two different banks, first my Schwab statement with an IRA, a regular investment account, and a checking account. I wasn’t sure if they would want a regular bank so I also had three months of statements from Wells Fargo. He only looked at the first page from Schwab, checked that amount, and was satisfied. That was the September statement so I don’t think he checked the date. The requirements say you need three months of statements though so I think I would always come prepared with these.
The man did tell me that the bank statements like that would always be acceptable, and he agreed this was a safer thing than traveling with all that cash. I think next time I would take bank papers and tickets, and not so much cash. It just makes me uneasy to have that much cash on me. In an emergency there was that ATM we used in the store, and I noticed another as we walked between the two checkpoints.
So, that’s how it worked for us today, fast and easy as could be. As always, do your own research and don’t take what I say as the rules. Things change, and different people may be more strict about how closely they look at everything.