Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 July 2014, 09:43 GMT

Panama: Procedure that a Panamanian citizen's spouse with foreign citizenship must follow in order to regain permanent resident status in the country

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Publication Date 28 April 2010
Citation / Document Symbol PAN103465.FE
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Panama: Procedure that a Panamanian citizen's spouse with foreign citizenship must follow in order to regain permanent resident status in the country, 28 April 2010, PAN103465.FE, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e4386602.html [accessed 30 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Under article 221 of Executive Decree No. 320 of 8 August 2008 (Decreto Ejecutivo No. 320), which came into effect on 26 August 2008, [translation] "the marriage of a Panamanian citizen to a foreign national does not automatically grant the foreign national the right of [permanent] residence," and the National Immigration Service (Servicio Nacional de Migración, SNM) can deny such a person entry to or residence in the country for health, morality, public safety or economic reasons (Panama 8 Aug. 2008). Article 220 stipulates that [translation] "a foreign national who is married to a Panamanian citizen and who lives with him or her in an exclusive, stable and perpetual relationship" can apply for a permanent residence permit based on marriage to a Panamanian citizen (permiso de residente permanente por casado con panameño) (ibid.). Article 223 of the same decree stipulates that after two years of being in possession of a temporary permit, the foreign national can apply for permanent residence if he or she meets the conditions set out in article 222 (ibid.; Panama 22 Feb. 2008, Art. 21). Article 223 also stipulates that should an applicant's spouse die or the couple divorce during the period of validity of the temporary permit, and should the union produce children, the applicant can apply for permanent residence (ibid.). In the first case, the applicant must submit the spouse's death certificate and, in the second, the certificate of divorce, along with the birth certificates of the children born of the union (ibid.). Still according to the same article, there is no guarantee that the SNM will grant permanent residence to the applicant (ibid.).

According to article 222, the following documents must be submitted with an application for permanent residence:

[translation]

-The marriage certificate issued by the civil registrar's office; if the marriage was celebrated in another country, it must be duly registered with the civil registrar's office.

-The birth certificate of the Panamanian spouse, issued by the civil registrar's office.

-The birth certificates of the Panamanian children, if applicable.

-A photocopy of Panamanian spouse's valid identity card, certified by the civil registrar's office.

-The applicant's work permit and a photocopy of his or her identity card.

-If the applicant is retired or a pensioner, they must submit proof of their retired status . . .

-Proof of the applicant's income . . .

-A responsibility letter from the Panamanian spouse.

-The marriage interview conducted by the interdisciplinary unit . . .

-Proof of residence . . . (Panama 8 Aug. 2008).

In addition to those documents, article 222 stipulates that the documents listed under article 28 of Executive Order No. 3 of 22 February 2008 (Decreto Ley No. 3) , which came into effect six months after it was enacted, must also be submitted with an application for temporary or permanent residence. According to article 28 of the executive order, those documents are as follows:

[translation]

-A copy of the passport, certified by a Panamanian notary public . . .

-A police clearance form issued by the country of origin or residence . . .

-A health certificate issued by a professional no earlier than three months before the application for residence was filed . . .

-Proof of payment of 250 balboas [1 balboa = $1.00124 Canadian dollars (XE.com 22 Apr. 2010)] to the National Treasury for an immigration application, and 800 balboas to the National Immigration Service as a deposit for repatriation.

-A sworn declaration of the applicant's personal history . . . (Panama 22 Feb. 2008).

Also under article 28, documents issued by foreign authorities must be certified and the application must be submitted to the SNM (ibid.). Article 29 notes that people married to Panamanian citizens do not have to pay the deposit for repatriation (ibid.).

Article 31 of the same source lists situations that can result in one or other of those permits being revoked (ibid.). Among them, and regarding the permanent residence permit in particular, is [translation] "an absence of more than two years from the national territory, with the exception of absences that are justified or authorized by the SNM" (ibid.).

In the case of a person who loses his or her permanent residence after living abroad for more than two years, a representative of the Embassy of Panama in Ottawa stated during a 15 April 2010 telephone interview with the Research Directorate that it is possible to regain one's permanent residence status (15 Apr. 2010a). A representative of the Consulate of Panama in Montréal stated during a 15 April 2010 telephone interview with the Research Directorate that the procedures must be completed with the SNM in Panama and that certain documents must have been previously certified (Panama 15 Apr. 2010b).

In correspondence sent to the Research Directorate, the Representative of the Embassy of Panama in Ottawa stated that the process is much quicker for a person who had already obtained permanent residence because that person should possess some of the required documents (16 Apr. 2010b). The Representative also stated that the process is accelerated if the person submits a copy of their expired residence permit (Panama 16 Apr. 2010b). In other correspondence, the Representative stated that, in order to regain permanent resident status, the person must update the documents required and resubmit an application for permanent residence with the help of a lawyer (ibid. 16 Apr. 2010a).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Panama. 16 April 2010a. Embassy of Panama in Ottawa. Correspondence sent to the Research Directorate by a representative.

_____. 16 April 2010b. Embassy of Panama in Ottawa. Correspondence sent by a representative.

_____. 15 April 2010a. Embassy of Panama in Ottawa. Telephone interview with a representative.

_____. 15 April 2010b. Consulate of Panama in Montréal. Telephone interview with a representative.

_____. 8 August 2008. Decreto Ejecutivo No. 320. [Accessed 19 Apr. 2010]

_____. 22 February 2008. Decreto Ley No. 3 . [Accessed 19 Apr. 2010]

XE.com. 22 April 2010. "Résultats du convertisseur universel de devises." <&lt;http://www.xe.com/ucc/convert.cgi?Amount=1&From=PAB&To=CAD&image.x=44&image.y=10> [Accessed 22 Apr. 2010]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: A representative of the Embassy of Panama in Washington, DC could not provide information within the time constraints for this Response.

Internet sites, including: Panama - Ministerio de Gobierno y Justicia.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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