Anyone not bearing identification at all times, including tourists from the United States, may be held and will be penalized by the Panamanian authorities.
U.S. tourists need to provide an original, valid passport at entry in Panama. While in Panama, U.S tourists should carry either their original passport or an original, valid photo I.D. such as driver’s license with a photocopy of the bio-data page in their U.S. passport and a photocopy of the page in their passport that contains the entry stamp to Panama.
The U.S. Embassy in Panama regularly receives calls from persons who have been contacted regarding fraudulent requests for bail funds. These calls are from international money-wiring fraud rings targeting older U.S. citizens in the United States.
The typical scenario is that a family member – parent, aunt, or grandparent – receives a call regarding an emergency involving a son, nephew, or grandchild allegedly in Panama. The call is sometimes from a third party (such as an attorney), sometimes from someone claiming to be the actual family member in trouble. Sometimes the "emergency" is because of a traffic accident, an arrest, an immigration violation, or other ruse.
In all instances, the victim needs approximately $3,000 to solve their problem with the local authorities, be it an attorney, the police, a hospital, or immigration. Once the money is sent, more is requested. The family member is sometimes falsely told that the U.S. Embassy is involved on behalf of the victim and is given a phone number to contact “Embassy personnel” for information on wiring funds. In other cases they are told not to contact the U.S. Embassy because it will make their situation worse.
In all cases, the victim is told that sharing the information with law enforcement could have negative implications for their loved ones. These calls are fraudulent and no Embassy personnel are involved. Anyone who receives such a call is advised to first contact their loved one at their usual number in the United States. In most instances, the alleged victim has been reachable by normal means. Please notify the Embassy as well as local authorities or the FBI about such schemes.
The U.S. Embassy in Panama has received numerous property dispute complaints. The complaints include lost property, broken contracts, demands for additional payments, accusations of fraud and corruption, and occasionally threats of violence. There are two root causes for a large proportion of the complaints – title issues and a weak judiciary.
The majority of land in Panama and almost all land outside of Panama City is not titled. The lack of clear title leads to competing claims to property and frequently to lawsuits. The judicial system’s capacity to resolve contractual and property disputes is weak and open to corruption. U.S. Citizens should exercise more due diligence in purchasing real estate than they would normally do in the United States.
Engaging a reputable attorney and licensed real estate broker is strongly recommended. U.S. Citizens considering purchasing property in Panama may wish to contact the American Chamber of Commerce in Panama City at www.panamcham.com for further guidance.
In case of a death abroad, contact the US Embassy and request a death certificate. The Embassy can also aid in helping the next of kin retrieve the belongings of the deceased and help in assisting you organize the funeral arrangements or transport the remains back to the United States.
You are responsible for ensuring that you meet and comply with foreign entry requirements, health requirements and that you possess the appropriate travel documents. Information provided is subject to change without notice. One should confirm content prior to traveling from other reliable sources. Information published on this website may contain errors. You travel at your own risk and no warranties or guarantees are provided by us.