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And Now I Know - Covid-19 Vaccination Documentation Requirements For Reentry into Panama From The US


Marcelyn

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Last week Bud and I had a scare at a Florida airport for our return flights to Panama. We trust the information posted on Chiriqui.Life and had even called the airline prior to going to the airport to verify the Covid-19 documentation requirements was still current. However when we arrived at the airport check-in counter two customer service personnel refused to issue our boarding passes. The issue was that they believed all international passengers had to show a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of leaving the US. They said we didn’t meet required criteria, walked away and got busy helping other customers. Bud requested to talk to a supervisor. This gentleman reviewed two screen sources on his computer and announced the information did not agree with what the prior two agents had said. We told him what we understood, which also agreed with what we had confirmed by telephone the day prior; what we reported was the most recent version for travel to Panama.

We had not yet entered information for this return flight into a Panama website to get our QR codes, which is now a requirement. By using our iPad, and with help from the Supervisor we were able to document our vaccination status and each of us got our QR codes via email. The supervisor issued our boarding passes. When we arrived in Panama our iPad screen information allowed us to pass through passport control without delay.

Message learned: Always have electronic equipment (cell phone or iPad, etc.) to collect/document information and request a supervisor for support when encountering a barrier.

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If you are flying with Copa, we have found that if you check-in online the day before (we always get an email from Copa telling us when check-in is permitted) their check-in process informs you of all the latest requirements for your destination and directs you to the relevant forms that need to be completed (currently https://www.panamadigital.gob.pa/RegistroPacoViajero for Panama).

Checking in online speeds up the airport check-in process, assuming you have luggage to check.

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Joyful,

Thanks for your comments. We understand and agree with what you write.

A bit of explanation here. Note that we did not identify which airline was involved.  We have had firm guidance not to speak ill of any company on our website because of slander and libel laws in Panama. Our trip was to northern Florida for medical consults for me. We were incredibly busy during those ten days, and the WiFi at the hotel that we were staying at was, at best, horrible. Note that we don't do cell phone internet (in fact, no cell phone in the US at all), and so it was our iPad and the hotel WiFi fighting each other. That is why we did not fill out the Minsa form for the QR code prior to arriving at the origin airport for our return flights. Yes, we do get an email request to pre-check-in about 24 hours prior to our scheduled boarding time. However, we have generally been barred from pre-check-in because of two reasons, (a) special services are needed, and (b) we do not have tickets for a return to the US and since we are traveling on US passports they need to see our cedulas to prove our Panama residency status.

Going a little further, the hotel, also unnamed, was not up to par. We have stayed there previously on several occasions, but this time they hit the bottom of the tank. Unlikely we will ever make a reservation for that hotel in the future. Actually, we are considering boycotting that entire chain of hotels and returning to our more favorites, such as the Hilton, Marriott, and IHG/Intercontinental (Holiday Inn, etc.) chains. Even independents work for us.

We do appreciate your feedback.

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