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  #1  
Old 1 Nov 2008
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Panama tourist visa processing takes 60 days?!

Hi,
I just heard that for those of us not fortunate to be citizens of the first world, (i am an indian citizen) tourist visas need to be obtained beforehand.
I just did the rounds of the central and south american consulates and they are all able to process my visa in 2-3 days. However, i hear that Panama takes up to 60 days to process a tourist visa.
Is that true?
Would applying for a tourist visa in costa rica allow me to enter panama directly without this waiting business?
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  #2  
Old 1 Nov 2008
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Best advice is of course to first contact the nearest Panama consulate or visa office and find out directly from them as to what is required for you and the India passport and how long it will take.
In the past I too was told that to enter Panama one needed a visa ahead of time.First trip there I went to the Panama consulate in Guatemala city and was issued the visa stamped in my EU passport the same hour. Then at the border I learned it was sort of wasted effort because they do the processing of visas right there too. So on later trips I never bothered, no problems. Hopefully they will treat you the same way.
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Old 2 Nov 2008
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Thanks sjoerd, that is good news indeed. I will follow up with the consulate in san diego and see what they say. I too feel that they cant be serious about a 60 day processing time -thats the best way to kill their tourism - if they care.
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Old 2 Nov 2008
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Panama visa

I waited in San Jose, Costa Rica for over a month to get a visa,then gave up and flew to Colombia. Cost over $ 2000 for the bike, $ 400 for me. Panama is such an advanced nation that even the ambassador in CR could give no indication of how long their visitor friendly staff would take to make up their minds.
Fortunately that is the only problem in Central and South America. All the other countries are extremely helpful and efficient and keen to welcome you.
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Old 3 Nov 2008
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wow!!

Vagamoto,
thank you for sharing your experience! I had better scramble i guess!
Just my luck that it is the only country that has such a painful process and has no consulate in SanFrnacisco!! I had better get started right now i guess!

please check your email/pm.




Quote:
Originally Posted by vagamoto View Post
I waited in San Jose, Costa Rica for over a month to get a visa,then gave up and flew to Colombia. Cost over $ 2000 for the bike, $ 400 for me. Panama is such an advanced nation that even the ambassador in CR could give no indication of how long their visitor friendly staff would take to make up their minds.
Fortunately that is the only problem in Central and South America. All the other countries are extremely helpful and efficient and keen to welcome you.
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Old 3 Nov 2008
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Vagamoto,
(please ignore my PM and reply on here. This is useful info for others as well)


thank you very much for sharing your experience of trying to get a Panamian visa. It must have hurt pretty bad to fly the bike from Costa rica to Colombia. Ouch!
I have about 40-60 days to go before launching on my ride. Panama is the one country that worries me if it is indeed going to take 60 days to process the visa.

What country are you from?
did you try obtaining a Panamaian visa in your home country?
did you try showing up at the Panama border for a tourist visa? Sjoeerd seems to not have had a problem - but then his was a first-world passport.
Did you look into any cargo ships going from costa rica to colombia?

Thanks,
shridhar










Quote:
Originally Posted by vagamoto View Post
I waited in San Jose, Costa Rica for over a month to get a visa,then gave up and flew to Colombia. Cost over $ 2000 for the bike, $ 400 for me. Panama is such an advanced nation that even the ambassador in CR could give no indication of how long their visitor friendly staff would take to make up their minds.
Fortunately that is the only problem in Central and South America. All the other countries are extremely helpful and efficient and keen to welcome you.
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  #7  
Old 4 Nov 2008
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Processing time my vary by country of origin

Check with the Panamanian consulate. The timing differs greatly depending on what country you are coming from. Vagamoto is South African, and South Africa is still on a ¨restricted¨ list according to Panama. That delayed things significantly. This might not be fair, but that´s the way it is.

Coming from India might be significantly different... so check.
__________________
Steve Barnett
Panama City, Panama

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  #8  
Old 4 Nov 2008
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called around today

I called the NYC office and they answered the call even though they are on holiday. I called the Philadelphia office as well.
There are definitely different takes depending on who you talk to.

NYC was quite sure that they could get me a visa in 24 hrs (provided all documentation is available) and that i need not be a Permanent Resident in the US. Unfortunately for me, i live outside their jurisdiction.

Philadelphia office said that if i do not have US permanent residency, and only had a valid US work visa (which i do), it would take up to 60 days to process the tourist visa! 24hr processing is only if i had a permanent residency in the US.

I'll call San Diego office day after tomorrow and see what they have to say.

Ah, the charms of paperwork. I'd rather be working on my bike.

Shridhar
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Old 4 Nov 2008
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Adv

I sent you an answer at ADV.Do what Bananaman says when you get to the border.In most cases things are "negotiable" around these parts.
Al theturtleshead
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