Panama Expat Feed
Sign In or Sign Up to post a new topic
Oldcameraman posted Duplicate posts on the Panama forum on May 22, 2015:
I finally figured out why some of us (including myself just now) do duplicate posts. When I clicked on the "Post reply" button, there is sometimes a delay and it looks as if the post hasn't gone. The "Post" button remains live. So clicking on that button again, then sends the post a second time. I wonder if there's anyone managing this forum who can have the programmer correct this bug?
Sign In or Sign Up to reply
Inpanama replied to the thread Panama Driver's License on the Panama forum on May 22, 2015:
Inpanama initially posted:
Many posts on this subject on the forum, but we just returned from Panama City, and a new rule appears to be in effect: once you submit your paperwork at the ministry office at Plaza Sun Tower, you must wait 2 business days before you can pick up the completed paperwork. If you made an appointment at the American Embassy to have your driver's license notarized, you can go directly to the ministry office to deliver the paperwork, but then will have to hang around for 2 more business days OR give he payment receipt to someone you trust who will return and pick up the paperwork for you.
Inpanama replied 2 hours ago with:
Well, we tried that through our Spanish speaking driver and it didn't work! He explained that we live in Boquete and had to return yesterday, but the clerk just shrugged and said "no exceptions". If someone else is planning to go through this process, I think they at least need to be aware that there may be a delay.
Oldcameraman replied 3 hours ago with:
....or do like we did : Told them we lived in San Carlos and couldn't drive back in 2 days. So the clerk went and asked someone else and they said "Okay. Come back in 1 hour" So we did and got that part over with.
Sign In or Sign Up to reply
stgibson replied to the thread Tropical fruit and veggy gardening. on the Panama forum:
pollokeeper initially posted:
I never see anyone asking questions or wanting to have a discussion on tropical fruit and veggy gardening in Panama. I am interested in making contact with folks that are currently gardening or interested in gardening in Panama. I am currently in the process of trying to learn how to cultivate fruits and veggy's. I will share what Little I now with anyone who is interested. Any experts out there? Panama, contrary to popular belief, is gardening hell for most Xpats. Its a whole different world.
stgibson replied 5 hours ago with:
We live in La Acequia, Potrerillos Abajo in Chiriqui. We are at about 1300" elevation on the south side of Volcan Baru. I planted Okra in April and it is coming up now and looking good so I am keeping my fingers crossed. Daylight hours are important and some plants go into flowering and producing when the daylight hours reach about 12 hours. You can trick the plants by adding a couple of floodlights and a simple timer to provide another hour or two of light. I am not an expert and I am experimenting so I will be happy to pass on any relevant information I encounter.
panamachick replied on May 20, 2015 with:
i have not tried yet, but all commerical growing businesses have these black nets , like a tent with no walls. That is the only way because of the extreme heat and extreme rains. that way the plants get sun and rain in moderation. You find it at certain melo stores. they call it maya here.
Sign In or Sign Up to reply
Inpanama replied to the thread Panapass on the Panama forum on May 22, 2015:
Oldcameraman initially posted:
Does anyone know if the old tarjetas are still valid for the tolls on Corridor Sur and Norte? The info I could find seemed to say that as of May 1, only the Panapass would work. If that were true, then there would have been massive traffic jams of cars without the panapass. Sounds like there are only 2 places that "install" the panapass in the car. What is the panapass anyway? Is it a transponder like we have in Canada for the ETRs (Electronic Toll Roads) ?
Inpanama replied 6 hours ago with:
We just got the Panapass - the prepaid cards will work until July, and you have 2 choices when getting a Panapass: you can connect it directly to a credit card so the toll will be deducted from your cc account, or you can opt to pre-pay either from their website or by going to a dollar store, Super 99 or Delta gas station.
Travelocity replied on May 16, 2015 with:
yes good until july 7th I think is the date. the card is a sticker that is attached by the rearview mirror and you can charge electronically. they keep $15 cash for prepaid/pre pago or you pay $20 via credit card by putting credit car on file aka post pago. I guess is their guarantee until you sell your car
Sign In or Sign Up to reply
property in PanamaTurnkey custom home with exceptional wood and stone work set in landscaped property and located in a safe, secure and quiet area. $599,000
panamarelocationtours replied to the thread Need help on move to Panama! on the Panama forum on May 21, 2015:
Djwilliams initially posted:
My husband and I are planning to make the big move to Panama at the end of this year. I'm hoping to connect with an expat that would be willing to "mentor" us on making this move. I've contacted a realtor to help us to decide on an area to rent for a few months and then buy but after reading posts about how realtors are crooks I'm skeptical. We are looking at starting our own business there, so some expertise in that area would be super helpful. We will be bringing some pets as well. Thanks in advance!
panamarelocationtours replied on May 21, 2015 with:
Richard Detrich (author of The NEW Escape to Paradise book) also stands by our Panama Relocation Tours. He helps us with our tours sometimes and he also writes about us in his book.
snyderman replied on May 21, 2015 with:
CONTACT I have used him twice,he is the best honest and reasonable
Sign In or Sign Up to reply
JonCates replied to the thread where to live so i can surf both oceans on the Panama forum on May 21, 2015:
dirtbikerdr initially posted:
Is there a place in the hills whete i could rent...that would allow me to surf pacific and caribean. Also ride my dirtbike in the hills close to where i live....? would be great if commute time was split as well to the surf
JonCates replied on May 21, 2015 with:
No different than a mt bike Enjoy ur rocker MFO
douglitas47 replied on May 21, 2015 with:
surfing is get with nature. dirtbiking leaves undelible impacts on the land so you better own the land you ride on. If I see/hear you ride near me I'll give you ONE warning. the next time you lose your bike.
Sign In or Sign Up to reply
Elayne replied to the thread Pensionado Visa on the Panama forum:
sastrunk initially posted:
It's been awhile since I've seen a post about obtaining a visa, so I thought I would share our recent experience. A few caveats: we are American so the process might be different if you are from a different country; this was our experience and yours may be different. We are planning our move from the U.S. to Boquete within the next 2 months - I started the visa process from the U.S. after contacting an attorney in Boquete who was recommended by a member of this site. Our attorney has offices both in Boquete and in Panama City, which we have found was very convenient! PM me for attorney's contact info. We applied for a Pensionado visa. The following process takes some time, but it will speed up the process if you do everything ahead of time: 1. You must have proof of your pension, and it must be certified (apostilled) by the Secretary of State in the state where you live, or by the nearest Panamanian Consulate. Our pension is through Social Security and they will not provide a notarized copy - you will have to download a pension letter from their website, then also get a certification letter you must sign and have notarized (this simply says the letter from social security is a true and valid copy of your pension amount). Once you have both the pension letter and the notarized certification, you can log on to the Secretary of State's website and search "apostille" for instructions for your specific state. Follow the instructions and pay the fee. Our apostille cost $3.00 and took about a week. 2. You will also need an original copy of your marriage license (if a couple) and that must be apostilled (certified) by the Secretary of State where it was issued. We were married in Minnesota but currently live in Arizona, so we had to send it off to Minnesota for the apostille. Again, a small fee and about a week to get it back. Everything that needs to be apostilled can be sent to the nearest Panamanian Consulate, but I believe their fees are higher. 3. You must each have a report from the FBI - it is a national report now called an Identity History Summary Check, and local police reports are no longer accepted. Prior to submitting your request, you must have your fingerprints taken. Our local police department doesn't do this any more, but we found a local postal store that could give us fingerprint cards for a nominal fee (as I remember, it was about $7 per person). Thank God for Google! It can be invaluable as you go through this process. Once you have your fingerprint cards, go to this website to complete the paperwork: Complete the form and submit it (with the requested fees and fingerprint card). It can take a month or more to get the report back, although we got ours back within 2 weeks. Once you receive it back, you must log on to the U.S. State Department's website and follow directions to submit your FBI report to them for an apostille. here is the website address: Once you have all documents in hand, you will probably need to scan and e-mail them to your Panama attorney for review and translation into Spanish. Once that step is completed, plan your visit to Panama - you must appear in person at the ministry office to get your temporary visa. We traveled to Boquete and met our attorney, who needed a copy of every page of our passports (you can make color copies in advance including the front and back covers, but the pages with new stamps from your recent entry into Panama must be copied after you get to Panama). We also had to get 6 passport sized photos each (I assume you could do this in advance - we didn't, so went to the one guy in Boquete with a good digital camera and the ability to print out the photos). These photos are NOT used on your temporary visa - they just go into your file! We met the paralegal from our attorney's office at the ministry office in David - you can also go to the primary ministry office in PC. This is where hiring a knowledgeable attorney is invaluable! Keep in mind that this is NOT the U.S. - it may take hours to go through the process. Each individual at the ministry has a specific job, and no one else can do that job - so if one guy is out to lunch, you wait. Your attorney or paralegal (if they do this often) has developed relationships with people at the ministry and can help ease the process - not necessarily speed it up, but at least make sure you are taken care of. You will want to make sure you have your original passport with you, and that your attorney also gets a multi-entry visa stamp in your passport so you can come and go as many times as you like before your move. One of the steps in the visa process is that a new photo will be taken - the one that will actually be used on your temporary visa. I don't know what happened to the passport-sized photos we had - but I looked good in those, and the photo on my visa is terrible! Once you get your temporary visa, there will be a wait while your paperwork is processed. We were just notified that we have been approved (after 3 months) and now will need to meet our attorney in Panama City, hand over our passports and some additional funds, get a new photo taken for the permanent visa (yeah!) and personally appear at the main ministry office to pick up the permanent visa. We plan to do this when we make our final move in a month or two. In total, the cost for everything (attorney's fees, ministry fees, apostilles, postage, etc.) ran about $3,000 - not including the trip to Panama, and once again, this was our experience and yours may be different!
Elayne replied on May 21, 2015 with:
Thank you for the reply. I will contact him right away.I need to get all this done and get moving.Thanks again,Elayne
stgibson replied on May 21, 2015 with:
Marco Contreras 507-775-1337 We are on our 4th attorney here and Marco is finally getting it done. He came highly recommended and actually gets things done which is unusal in Panama. His brother has one of the largest law firms in Panama City and they work iogether. He speaks perfect English and lived in New Orleans during high school and college. His office is in David and you can apply there without multiple trips to PC. If you are flying into PC it would be better to spend a day or two there before you fly to David. Once you apply you have 90 days to get a Panamainian drivers license. You will have to go to the US embassy in PC to have your US license apostiled so you can save a trip by doing it on your way in. DO NOT let the Panamainian consulate do it in the US. We did this and it cost us another$1200 and 9 months. Good luck and if you need to contact me you can write to directly.
Sign In or Sign Up to reply
Normando replied to the thread driving to Cosa Rica on the Panama forum on May 21, 2015:
jscissell initially posted:
I am driving to Costa Rica from David. I have my paper work from Panama ready. What do I need to do at the border?
Normando replied on May 21, 2015 with:
kimbattlincoln replied on May 21, 2015 with:
Check the Expat Exchange archives on this. It has been discussed many times and is a tricky business. Kim
Sign In or Sign Up to reply
SawMan replied to the thread Renouncing Your US Citizenship on the Panama forum:
panamajames initially posted:
A Record Number of Americans Are Renouncing Their Citizenship. The trend likely is accelerating because of a 2010 law that gives the Internal Revenue Service unprecedented access to U.S. citizens’ foreign bank accounts, said Stephen Flott, an attorney at Flott & Co. P.C. in Arlington, Virginia, whose clients include expatriates. The U.S. is the only country within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that taxes citizens wherever they reside. “If they have no real desire to work or live here, then the question for them is: What’s the point?” Flott said. “For those who feel no real affinity to the U.S., it’s a no-brainer.” People giving up their nationality at U.S. embassies rose to 1,062 in the fourth quarter from 776 in the year-earlier period, according to Federal Register data. That’s the highest quarterly total since the second quarter of 2013, according to Bloomberg News calculations based on records starting in 1998. The annual total reached 3,415 in 2014, from 3,000 in the year-earlier period, according to Federal Register data. The five highest totals have been recorded since the U.S. Congress passed the 2010 law. There are an estimated 6 million U.S. citizens living abroad. More than 10,000 Americans living overseas have given up their passports over the past five years. The U.S. has increased efforts to catch tax cheats after UBS AG paid a $780 million penalty in 2009 and handed over data on about 4,700 accounts. That has led some banks to forgo doing business with people who have ties to the U.S. One of the primary U.S. moves took effect last year as asset-disclosure rules under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act kicked in. The measure, known as Fatca, requires U.S. financial institutions to impose a 30 percent withholding tax on payments made to foreign banks that don’t agree to identify and provide information on U.S. account holders. It allows the U.S. to scoop up data from more than 77,000 institutions and 80 governments about its citizens’ overseas financial activities. In establishing the 2010 Fatca law, Congress and President Barack Obama in effect threatened to cut off banks and other companies from easy access to the U.S. market if they didn’t pass along such information. It was projected to generate $8.7 billion over 10 years, according to the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation. The reporting requirements under Fatca and foreign banks’ actions to avoid penalties made many people aware of U.S. tax obligations they didn’t know they had, Flott said. “They wake up one morning and learn about citizenship taxation and birthright citizenship and the two together create for some people a real problem,” he said. Obama this month proposed making it easier for those who the U.S. considers “accidental” citizens to stay out of the U.S. tax system. What the administration refers to as accidental citizens include people born in the U.S. while their parents were visiting the country from abroad or individuals whose only connection is a parent who was a U.S. citizen. Under the proposal, such people would have to give up their citizenship in 2016 or 2017 and make sure they had complied for the past five years with federal tax laws that would have applied if they were U.S. nonresidents. The special rules exempt those people from U.S. taxes and from the mark-to-market tax imposed when people expatriate, which taxes people as if they sold their assets before turning in their passports. The Obama administration proposals would be available only to dual citizens who haven’t lived in the U.S. since age 18 1/2 and haven’t had a U.S. passport -- except for one they used to leave the U.S. The proposal was part of Obama’s 2016 budget plan and any changes would likely have to be passed by Congress.
SawMan replied on May 21, 2015 with:
I think you're "more right" than I was pj: Once you have renounced your US citizenship, you are considered a non-resident alien (NRA) and the US Social Security rules for NRAs apply. It is your responsibility to notify authorities of your changed status, but this question is part of the questionnaire that you, as a beneficiary, have to submit annually. As an NRA, depending on your country of residence, you can generally continue to collect US Social Security in the long run. However, depending on a combination of US bilateral agreements (or lack thereof), your current citizenship, and your country of residence, differences can range from only a minor tax adjustment to having SS payments discontinued after more than six months outside the US. In the latter, worst-case scenario, you would have to return for one full month (midnight-to-midnight, not approximate) US presence within every six months' period in order to continue to receive payments. Spending one full (midnight to midnight) day per month in the US also keeps the six-months rule from functioning. There are a couple of countries to which Social Security cannot make payments (Cuba and North Korea). Only US citizens can accumulate unpaid payments while in these countries and receive them after departing the country; NRAs lose those payments. Note that dependents and survivors benefits may also be affected by change of status of the individuals or the worker concerned from citizen to NRA. In any case, what you have in your Social Security account always remains there, and your Social Security number is yours forever. It's just a question as to whether Social Security will pay out under specific conditions. Full details can be gleaned from the publication on "Your Payments While You Are Outside the United States." Best advice is to check with the Federal Benefits Unit serving the country where you live (can be accessed via the American embassy website), which can be found at: Last Updated November 18, 2012
laplayalinda replied on May 20, 2015 with:
If you renounce your US citizenship you do not lose your social security benefits as I have been told. SS is a contract not cancelled by the act of renunciation.
Sign In or Sign Up to reply

Join Expat Exchange (FREE)

Become a member of Expat Exchange today to meet other expats in your area or get advice before moving overseas. Membership is FREE and takes 1 minute!

Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter

Subscribe to The Foreign Exchange, our weekly newsletter, read by over 70,000 expats worldwide:

Real Estate in Panama
property in Panama
Panama, Panama
Property for Rent