a. Entry Formalities and Clearance
Customs formalities and dues will usually be arranged and settled through our office. In some cases, however, customs inspectors do board vessels whilst alongside, and may request to inspect the bonded store facilities. Clearances will no longer be issued for vessels calling for transit only. Vessels that berth will, however, be issued a Port Clearance (Zarpe) at which ever terminal they call.
Immigration formalities will be accomplished on the vessel's arrival with the boarding officers. In addition, all intransit landing crew and passengers are required to complete and have in their possession before proceeding ashore, a two part Landing Card similar to a Tourist Card, which is used as a means of identification for entry and exit to and from the pier area. These will be provided by our representative.
All passengers landing for entry into the Republic of Panama must have necessary Visas, Passport, Tourist Card, or other documentation required by law. Advance arrangements should be made with the Panamanian consul prior to embarkation at the port of origin.
Panamanian law prohibits the employment of foreign nationals in Panamanian ports on a casual basis. Non-Panamanian crewmembers joining vessels in the Republic are required to enter the country under a special Intransit Mariner's Visa. This arrangement is best made locally, and it is therefore essential that advance notice of the crewmember's flight details, name and rating, date and place of birth be telexed or faxed (to us) in time for us to obtain the necessary permits and meet the crewmember at the airport. A similar arrangement is available for crewmembers discharged from the vessel, and applies equally to those landing routinely or signing off for medical reasons. These arrangements can be accomplished quickly and efficiently, providing advance information is received.
Under Panamanian law, any crewmembers, passengers or other persons disembarking from a vessel, remain the full immigration responsibility of the landing carrier. This ruling extends to stowaways and crewmembers who fail to rejoin on the vessel's departure. Ship Masters are therefore cautioned not to accept workaways or similar persons for disembarkation in Panama, unless they are financially capable of meeting the cost of the onward passage from Panama to their country of residence.