Monday morning and this is the day we had set aside to meet with the Attorneys and finalize all paperwork. It was a long day but we accomplished what we set out to do. The process went smoothly because in late September we had sent them all the necessary documents, duly authenticated by the Panamanian Consultate in Washington DC. These documents had to be translated into Spanish by an officially certified translation service. This can add a couple more days to the process so we had sent them ahead of time to avoid hanging around Panama City any longer than necessary.
3 additional documents are required to submit a Pensionado Visa Application: a Special Power of Attorney, a "Letter of Responsibility" in which the applicant (Bill) acknowledges that he is responsible for dependants (in this case, Priscilla) , and a Sworn Statement of Personal Background which is a form with 37 questions.
The other thing that needed to be done before we could go to Immigration was to have a health certificate. This turned out to be very simple and, in fact, a very pleasant experience! Our Attorney called a walk-in clinic just around the corner which was spotlessly clean. We filled out a short form, sat for about 10 minutes and then Priscilla was called in to see a Dr. who spoke good English but with a heavy accent. He asked the usual Dr. questions, checked out her foot, took her blood pressure and listened to her heart. He proclaimed her in excellent health and that was that. Next was Bill who went through the same procedure. The health certificates cost us $25 each and we were on our way!
Prior to going to the clinic we had to make a run back to the condo to pick up more money as the Attorney told us that he needed to have $1300 in certified checks for tomorrow's trip to Immigration. $800 of this is a deposit (in case we are deported prior to receiving our Visa!) and will be returned to us when we get the visas. It would have been good to know this before we arrived at the office but our Attorney had been out of the country for some time and only returned to the office today.
After we left the clinic it was time for a late lunch and there was a cafe across the street. The menu was written on a white board outside the door. Of course it was in Spanish so we really couldn't understand what the items were so landed up ordering Pollo (chicken)! For $3.50 each we had a wonderful plate of rice, chicken in a tomato sauce and a small bowl of lentils --- yummy! Add a couple of Atlas cervezas and our lunch cost us $10! As we were leaving, we saw the shuttle take off from Cape Canaveral on the big screen TV!
Back to the Attorney's office to sign the final documents. Then the challenge of finding a taxi at 4.45pm rush hour! Bill finally hailed one - a really beat-up car with a great driver who insisted Priscilla sit in front with him because of her foot and then proceeded to talk to her in Spanish the entire way back to the condo! She nodded and smiled and he continued to talk!! We should have filmed it -- too funny! Our 5 taxi rides for the day cost us $13.
By the time we got home, Priscilla was exhausted and needed a cup of tea! She stayed at the condo and started on today's blog while Bill took off for the nearest Supermarket - Rey - for some Abuelo rum, ginger ale and some snacks!
Tomorrow will be another busy day - we will be at the Attorney's office at 8:00am and from there to Immigration. We are taking books to read because it could be a long wait!