New Immigration Requirements for Venezuelan Nationals

The Panamanian Government recently included the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in the list of countries whose nationals require a stamped visa by a Consul in order to enter the national territory. This new legislation entered into force on October 1st of this year, as set forth by Executive Decree No.  473 of August 23rd of 2017, published on Official Gazette No. 28,349-B of the same date.

Before considering the analysis of the changes that this entails, we deem it suitable to distinguish the three classifications that the National Immigration Service makes regarding the authorizations that a foreigner must request in order to enter the Republic of Panama. The classification is mainly due to the nationalities of those who intend to enter the country and the socio-political and immigration situation existing in those countries. Thus, some foreigners shall require: a) an Authorized Visa, or b) a Stamped Visa by the Panamanian Consul, while others shall be benefited with a Visa exemption to enter our territory.

Those who have a Visa Exemption, can enter the territory without the need of processing a prior authorization, while the Authorized Visa can be applied from Panama and the Stamped Visas can only be applied through the corresponding Panamanian Consulate.

In this particular case, the requirements to apply for the last type of Visa are subject to whether the interested party is within or outside Venezuela.

If he/she is in Venezuela:

The requirements shall be those listed on the National Immigration Service website, on the online Immigration Section/Appointment for Stamped Visa in the Consulate.

In case he/she is outside Venezuela:

The interested party must appear before the Panamanian Consulate in said country, filing the requirements for a Tourist Visa; however, in this last case, the foreigner must be temporary or permanent resident of the country where he/she is applying.

The Government established on Decree 473 that these Stamped Visas can be granted for multiple entries and exits and up to the period of three (3) years. However, its granting and validity shall depend on the verification criterion of the designated officers.

In the other hand, we must clarify that those nationals of countries with requirements of stamped visas by the Consul to enter the country, shall be exempted of applying for visa before the corresponding Consulate when they hold Visa to enter or residence granted by the following countries:

1. United States

2. Australia

3. Canada

4. United Kingdom

It is important to note that for this purpose, such Visas must be multiple-entry visas, having been previously used in the territory of the Granting State and its validity cannot be for less than one (1) year at the time of entering the Panamanian territory.

By: Ayleen Quintero, Associate attorney.

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