This is not an unknown state for me, especially living in another country and culture, and especially as disorganized as I can be at times.
Recently I posted about the decree decreasing tourist visas from 180 to 90 days. This is being discussed a lot in the usual forums and Facebook groups, and there are a lot of unanswered questions. One of my readers said a response from the US embassy indicated that we still get 180 days. Our embassy warden also asked for clarification and will post information on his blog at chiriquichatter.net I went to immigration on Saturday, but they are only open Mon-Fri so I wasn’t able to talk with anyone.
The decree sounds quite clear. Tourists get a 90 day visa. But, does this apply to all of us? Are tourists still able to do “border runs”, come back into Panama with a fresh stamp in their passport and get another 90 days? People who came in before the decree, are they still allowed 180 days or are they also limited to 90 days from their passport stamp? I try to only post official written information, not rumors, and it may take a while to get all this sorted out but I’ll post answers if and when they become available.
Then, there is me. Sometimes I leave interesting but unimportant email for “later”. You all know how that goes. It piles up, gets pushed further down in the mailbox, and sometimes important stuff gets lost along with it. Or, I want to give something more thought or write when I have more time, and I get distracted and it gets buried. I try to be good about answering emails within a day or two so if you write me and don’t hear back, please poke me and remind me.
I also correspond with quite a few people on line, and often it’s hard to keep everyone straight. If I meet someone and have a face to go with the name, that helps a lot but usually I only have black words on a white screen. I save correspondence in a folder, but sometimes even with that I can’t remember what we talked about. And, if you change email addresses, then in my mind you are an entirely new person.
Not everyone is a good candidate for moving to another country. Often it’s hard for me to determine what is going on with a person after only one or two emails. If it sounds like you have believed those “come live in paradise” publications, have never spent time here, don’t speak any Spanish, don’t realize the differences and challenges you will face, but are packing and buying plane tickets then I will definitely rain all over your dreams and try to slap you upside the head with reality. Sometimes I do this unnecessarily and I’m thankful that people have responded positively anyway. But, I’d much rather discourage someone early than have them move and find out it isn’t want they thought or can live with.
But, sometimes I meet with people who have come to Panama to check it out, and almost always it’s a really nice experience and many have developed into lasting friendships. This is one of the things I really enjoy about the blog. We have met so many interesting people!