San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica, Panama study open travel policy

Officials from Costa Rica and Panama are studying a proposal that would eliminate the need for a passport when traveling between the two countries.

Costa Rican Public Security Minister Mario Zamora traveled to Panama on Monday to analyze the feasibility of the project, and Panama’s public security minister, José Raúl Mulino, said they also will propose during the meeting the creation of a “common area” between the two countries.

Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla said her administration “is fully willing to advance this issue … in the name of friendship.”

Weeks ago, Chinchilla announced the formation of a group of experts to analyze how to expedite border transit for Ticos and Panamanians. The president said the elimination of the passport requirement would be the first stage of the plan, along with the creation of an identification card for residents of border areas.

In a second stage, “the governments would promote legislation that would allow us to extend the benefit to all nationals of both countries,” Chinchilla added.

Contact L. Arias at

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