After months of running around trying to get everything organized, last week we made the trip to immigration with our lawyer to officially file for residency here in Panama. I had forgotten (or not being told about) multiple things – a notarized copy of my son’s passport as well, a second cheque for him, copies of everything pertaining to our corporation. A big one was that even though my RCMP background check had been legalized in Canada, apparently it also had to be sent to Panama. That ended up delaying our immigration appointment until after the weekend.
I didn’t know immigration was in City Mall – we had to brave the traffic first thing in the morning to get to our appointment. For the most part, there was nobody there. I sat in a row of chairs and followed while Alejandro ran around like a crazy person and tried to climb the stairs. Meanwhile, our lawyer went from one desk to the next to the next, periodically asking me to come over and sign something. I hadn’t realized how hands off the whole process would be. From start to finish we were there for maybe two hours, but I interacted with people for maybe only 5 or 10 minutes myself the entire time. Our lawyer handled everything.
Eventually we went to take our photos for our temporary residency cards – and that’s not that easy a task with a one and a half year old! We tried two or three times – attempts interspersed with many of the staff saying ‘aww’ at how the last had photo turned out. Eventually they decided a photo of him with his mouth wide open was ‘good enough’ and we moved on.
We were given our cards, and paid the $50 each for multipass visas – which we were told would take a few days, and we’d need to leave our passports there in the interim.
3 days later I went back to pick up our passports, and thankfully I had brought a sweater with me. I was wearing a sundress, and the man at reception promptly told me that I could not be attended unless I had my shoulders covered. After that, it was simply a matter of walking over to the multipass visa desk in the otherwise empty room, and picking up our passports.
Now we wait!