Panama Exempts From Transit Visas Cubans Who Return to the Island

Hundreds of Cubans stood outside the embassy soon as they learned of the new requirement demanded by Panama to transit through its territory. (14ymedio)

14ymedio biggerEFE/14ymedio, Havana 17 March 2022 —  The Government of Panama has established a new norm for Cuban citizens that exempts them from the obligation to carry a visa to travel through the territory of that Central American country upon their return to the Island.

Under the signature of the Panamanian President Laurentino Cortizo, and the Minister of Public Security, Juan Manuel Pino, the new text published on Wednesday in the Official Gazette, modifies the previous provision, which since March 8 required a transit visa for all Cuban passengers and crew.

This Executive Decree also includes in the exception of the requirement to obtain visas to citizens who have Valid Residence or Multiple Visa, previously used in the State that granted it, valid for no less than six months at the time of transit, by other countries.

In this group are the current residents or those with multiple visas issued by the United States, Canada, Australia, South Korea, Japan, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Singapore and the member countries of the European Union.

The measure will not serve to satisfy the population that, since last week, has been experiencing the imposition of transit visas for Cubans who pass through Panama, since most of them are looking to leave Cuba.

Hundreds of people who had purchased a ticket to emigrate to Nicaragua, which maintains the visa exemption for Cubans, were surprised by the new requirement. One of the few ways to get to Managua is through Copa Airlines, which stops in Panama, especially since Costa Rica, in February, also began to require the transit document.

For at least four days, many Cubans crowded as close as the Police allowed them to get to the diplomatic headquarters of Panama, where they demanded solutions and answers.

The director of Consular Affairs and Cuban Residents Abroad of the Cuban Foreign Ministry, Ernesto Soberón, insisted that he would mediate to relax the demands that initially came into force immediately, although new dates had been established later to try to calm travelers.

Cubans who planned to travel between March 16 and 31 must reschedule their flights with the Copa airline, which offers connections at times for two or more months, and process their visas, which cost $50.


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.