Panama: Entry procedures at airports could cause delay

What is the change? Panama’s National Immigration Service has instituted new rules for entering the country through the nation’s airports.

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What does the change mean? Travelers will be routed through one of three lines, one for Panamanian nationals, one for tourists and one for non-Panamanian temporary or permanent residents. Tourists and residents will have to undergo fingerprinting and may encounter long lines. Delays should be expected.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Who is affected: Non-Panamanian nationals traveling to Panama, including tourists and temporary and permanent residents.
  • Business impact: The new procedures may cause delays for business travelers, who will be required to enter through the tourist line unless they are Panamanian nationals or residents.

Background: The changes, which were recently implemented, require non-Panamanian nationals entering Panama for the first time to submit fingerprints from both hands. For subsequent entrances, they will be required to undergo fingerprinting of four fingers. Non-Panamanian residents should be sure they have proper identification in order to enter through the line for residents.

BAL Analysis: Delays should be expected, particularly in the first few weeks of the new procedures. Travelers should be sure to travel with proper identification and should build more time into their schedules when traveling to Panama.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Panama. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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