An executive decree signed by Panamanian President Laurentino Cortizo eliminated the tourism card for Cubans and Dominicans to enter the territory.
From this moment on, all Cubans who want to travel to the Central American country must apply for the Tourism Visa at the Panamanian consulate located in the country of residence or origin, in accordance with Executive Decree No. 88, published in the Gaceta Oficial.
The Panamanian government established in October 2018 the so-called tourist card for self-employed Cuban citizens or artisans who did not have a stamped visa, which had a cost of 20 dollars and allowed them to enter and stay in the Central American country for up to 30 days for shopping tourism.
In March 2019, the Panamanian authorities ruled that Cubans who had said card should have their visa stamped, and in July of the same year the suspension of the issuance of the document was announced.
The businesspeople of the Colon Free Zone, the largest in the continent, resented the measure and asked their government to find alternatives for Cuban buyers, who represented 40% of the 57,121 tourists who arrived at the emporium between January and July 2018.
The suspension was temporary and was due to “irregularities” detected by the Panamanian government in the allocation and use of this mechanism, as confirmed by the president of the Colón Free Zone Users Association, Daniel Rojas.
At a cost of 20 dollars, the tourist card could be requested in principle by Cuban citizens with a self-employment card, certificate of creators (artisans) or who had previously traveled to Panama or a third country and who did not have a stamped visa, for a stay of up to 30 days in the Central American country.