Panama is one of the most attractive jurisdictions in Latin America to conduct business activities and invest in real estate. As an added bonus, it offers a number of different types of visas that allow foreign nationals to reside in the country for long periods of time.
The Panamanian Panama immigration government is investing in new technology to help it fight illegal immigration and combat human trafficking. As part of this effort, officials recently launched an app that allows citizens to report suspicious activity or criminal acts to the authorities. The app allows users to take a picture of a suspect and provide information about the incident, such as its location and description. It also has a button that allows people to contact the police directly.
This is a significant improvement over the previous system that required people to call a hotline. The app is expected to be available nationwide within weeks. Officials say the system will help them identify and prosecute traffickers, as well as prevent migrant families from being separated.
In 2021 Panama saw a rise in migrants in transit, many of whom were Haitians, Venezuelans, and Cubans heading to the United States. The country had previously been a destination for West Indians, who arrived in the 19th century to work on the railroad and interoceanic canal. Panama has also historically welcomed migrants from other countries, including North Americans, Spaniards, and Italians.
Those who pass through Panama are screened by SENAFRONT, the country’s national immigration service. The agency documents the arrival of people from outside the Americas and records their destinations. The agency also keeps a database of people who travel to the United States but do not cross the border. This year, the agency documented 23,968 irregular migratory movements.
Migrants face a difficult journey through the Darien Gap, the jungle that straddles the Panama-Colombia border. The migrants often wait in makeshift communities for weeks or months, while they await passage to the U.S. During this period, there have been numerous reports of sexual assault and violence against women.
Some migrants try to evade detection by hiding their identity and traveling under fake names. Others rely on false passports. As a result, the process of screening and processing them can be lengthy and complicated.
To qualify for a Panamanian residence visa, an individual must have a certificate of deposit with a bank that covers their expenses for one year. The person must also meet other requirements, such as having a minimum income and a valid passport. Documents from overseas must be authenticated by a notary or with an Apostille, which is the formal recognition of a foreign document under the Hague Convention. It can be obtained through the Secretary of State in your home country or at the Panamanian consulate. A certified translation is also required for most of the documentation. The Embassy of Panama in Washington, DC, can help you verify the authenticity of your documents. They can also provide you with a list of accredited attorneys in the country who specialize in Panamanian immigration law.