Through a new executive decree, Panama exempted Cuban citizens who travel back to Cuba or maintain residence in other countries from the requirement to apply for transit visas.
As reported this Wednesday by the Panamanian National Migration Service (SNM), the measure, established by executive decree number 86 issued on September 9, also includes those who maintain a valid tourist or residence visa in the Republic of Panama.
The provision also covers those who have current residence or multiple entry visa previously used in the territory of the granting State with a validity of no less than six months at the time of transit, duly granted by Canada, United States, Australia, Republic of Korea, Japan, United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, Singapore and any of the States that make up the European Union.
The same treatment applies to Cubans who have permanent residence for five years or more in third countries and return to them, and who have a valid entry visa from the country of final destination, according to official information.
The executive decree came into force as of last Monday, for a period of three months. The National Immigration Service indicates that this action is implemented to control the migratory flow through or from Panamanian territory, so that the entity can “continue to attend to the situation of Cubans who need to transit through Panama.”
Since last February 21, Costa Rica, a neighboring country of Panama, has been requesting a transit visa for Cubans arriving at Costa Rican airports, in order to “ensure that the different airlines bound for Europe and the United States can transfer these foreigners safely,” the government reported.
Costa Rica also requests a transit visa from Venezuelan and Nicaraguan citizens.
The number of Cuban migrants seeking to reach the United States through Central America has also increased for months due to the serious economic crisis the island is experiencing.