We are working on our visas to live in Panama. When you enter the country, you enter as a tourist and then you begin the process.

Dean visited the immigration lawyers the first time he was in Panama. Four hours of filling out paperwork — physically and digitally.

Our job today was to check the paperwork for errors and sign it. In a couple weeks we are told we will visit immigration again and receive a temporary Panamanian I.D. card. I’m wondering if it will be green. Are immigrant visas in the U.S. still green in color? Still called “green cards”?

We’ve all been to a government agency before, waiting hours in a dimly lit room that hasn’t been painted since the 1960s, rows of desks of people working away and a waiting area filled with all the people who have to get called before it is your turn.

But that’s not what we found. The immigration office we visited was a model of efficiency, an almost-empty waiting room and a helpful clerk. Our appointment was for 9 a.m. We arrived a few minutes early and we were out the door and on the road by 9:05 a.m.

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