American Citizen Services Unit
*RECENT ANNOUNCEMENTS AND MESSAGES FOR U.S. CITIZENS*
The first line of the metro will start in Albrook and end in San Miguelito. Once all the stations are completed, there will be 12 stops throughout the city. Riders should be aware that not all of the stations are currently operational and that trains will not stop at a station until construction is complete. Riders should determine if their desired stop is operational before riding. The metro, while equipped with state of the art security features, will traverse through and stop in some of the highest crime areas of the city. Confined spaces, such as on the metro trains, provide excellent environments/opportunities for pick-pockets and other criminal activities. PNP have established a Metro Police Unit responsible for the security of the trains and platforms.
Over the past year, as the Diablo Rojos have been phased out and replaced by the Metro busses, PNP reports that there has been a decrease in crime reports in the bus system. While we do still receive reports of thefts and pick-pocketing, the new busses are better lit and have bigger windows, which the PNP state has deterred violent crime. The transition has also alleviated the safety concerns that were present with the Diablo Rojos. As such, previous prohibitions against American personnel utilizing the bus system are lifted.
Public Transportation riders should always be aware of their surroundings, their possessions, and others traveling on the train with them regardless of the area where the train or bus is operating.
ALERT ON FRAUDULENT REQUESTS FOR BAIL FUNDS
The American Citizen Services unit of the U.S. Embassy, Panama, has received a number of calls in recent weeks regarding fraudulent requests for bail funds. The typical scenario is that a family member – parent, aunt, or grandparent – receives a call regarding an emergency of a son, nephew, or grandson allegedly in Panama. The call is sometimes from a third party, sometimes from someone claiming to be the actual family member in trouble. Sometimes the "emergency" is because of a traffic accident; sometimes it is an immigration violation. In all instances, the victim needs between $2,000 and $4,000. The family member is told that the U.S. Embassy in involved on behalf of the victim and is given a phone number to contact Embassy personnel for information on wiring funds. These calls are fraudulent and no Embassy personnel are involved.
Please be advised that the contact information for American Citizen Services at the U.S. Embassy in Panama City Panama-ACS@state.gov or 011-507-317-5000, in Panama 317-500. Should you receive a call such as those described above, please contact us directly or have the alleged victim come to the Consular Section during business hours for assistance.
The Department of State is pleased to announce the introduction of a redesigned Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA, or Form FS-240). The redesigned CRBA, which is an official record confirming that a child born abroad to a U.S. citizen parent or parents acquired U.S. citizenship at birth and serves as proof of citizenship, has been updated with a variety of state-of-the-art security features to help prevent fraud and identity theft.
Beginning January 18, 2011, overseas posts will still document the citizenship of children born overseas to U.S.-citizen parents, but the CRBAs will be printed at our passport agencies in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and New Orleans, Louisiana, using the information provided by overseas posts. By centralizing production and eliminating the distribution of controlled blank stock throughout the world, we will help ensure uniform quality and lessen the possibility of fraud.
Additionally, the Department will no longer issue the DS-1350 Certification of Report of Birth Abroad. Instead, the Department will simply provide new FS-240s in response to requests for additional, replacement, or amended CRBAs.
In order to upgrade our systems for this change, the Embassy is suspending CRBA adjudication from January 1 through January 18, 2011. CRBA applications submitted during that time will be adjudicated after January 18.
For email inquiries, answered within 3 working days: Panama-ACS@state.gov
For automated information: 011-507-317-5030 (In Panama 317-5030)
To speak to an ACS representative please call 011-507-317-5000 (317-5000 in Panama) on the following schedule
Monday-Thursday: 10:30am- 12 noon and 3:00 pm- 4:30 pm
Friday: 10:30am – 12:00 noon
For general information and forms: http://panama.usembassy.gov
Fax: 011-507-317-5303 (317-5303 in Panama)
In case of Emergency: In the event of an after-hours emergency involving an American citizen, you can reach a Duty Officer (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) by calling 011-507-317-5000 (317-5000 in Panama).
Please access the SCHEDULE of the days on which the Embassy will be closed. Unscheduled closures sometimes occur, and this information is typically broadcast through the warden system. Please access INFORMATION about registering with the Department of State to receive warden messages.
The U.S. Embassy is located in Building 783 in Clayton, next to the Las Esclavas school. Please access the map of the Embassy.
Due to security concerns, we are no longer able to offer parking inside the Embassy compound. Consular visitors will need to find parking in the lot located immediately outside of the Embassy compound. These spaces are available on a first come, first serve basis. If you are disabled or elderly, please click here for special instructions.
Note about bringing pets to the Embassy
Please take note that pets are not allowed on Embassy grounds. Exceptions are made for service animals such as seeing-eye dogs. If visitors come to the Embassy with pets, they will be asked by the guards to either leave them in their vehicles to be parked outside the front gate, or left in the care of someone they know.
Firearms, knives, explosives, impact weapons, caustic chemicals, chemical sprays, and fire starting devices are prohibited. Please do not bring mobile phones or any electronic devices, such as Blackberries, iPods or PDAs into the ACS section as they are not allowed within the Embassy, those items maybe secured at the security check point as you enter the Consular access control center. We also strongly advise that you do not bring large bags or packages with you as we do not have sufficient storage facilities for large items.
The U.S. Embassy is pleased to announce a new on-line appointment system to manage passport and notary services provided by the Consular Section. This new system will reduce wait times for service and assist applicants by clarifying all needed documentation before appointments are scheduled.