Obtaining your Panamanian driver's license

Written by T. Rob Brown (aka Roberto Chocolate) Saturday, 22 August 2009 17:28
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 Obtaining a Panamanian driver’s license is required after being in Panama for 90 days.

 

First, go to the SERTRACEN office nearest you (or go online at www.sertracen.com.pa) or call 315 - 0000 to find out what the current requirements are. 

NOTE: If you do not have a valid license or yours has expired, go to the office or go online and look for the requirement for an Extranjero Temporal Sin Licencia A, B, C section. Article 110.

 

Like in Canada and the USA you will need to take an eye exam and pass both a written and a practical driving exam (a driving test in the car).  All of this will be done IN Spanish. You will also need a blood test and medical exam showing you are in good health.

 

It is much easier to renew your licence in your home country and get a new one issued here. Here is how to apply for your Extranjero Temporal Con Licencia A, B, C Article 110:

 

As of August 2009 you needed to:

 

- get an authenticated copy of your (current and valid) driver’s license from your Embassy. The Canadian Embassy, located in the World Trade Center on Calle 53 Este (a one way going north) just south of Calle 50 They charged $43 (US$), and suggested it would take one working day to stamp it. However  they were very kind. I got mine in a half-hour when I explained how far away I lived.

 

 

- Take this document to The Ministerio de Relaciones Exterior is in the Edison Plaza (Look for a tapered, round, white bank building) located at the junction of Tumba Muerto and El Paical (Via Brasil). You need to get the Canadian Embassy’s signature authenticated here. NOTE: In this Panamanian government office, no-one spoke English. I brought a Panamanian friend along to help translate.

 

- Buy two (2) one dollar ($1.00) stamps from the person standing outside the office to attach to your document. Passports and other documents cost more. Just buy two one dollar stamps.

 

-  line up inside the office in the Reception de Documento line-up (white sign, not the green sign) Obtain a slip of paper/invoice which you take to the Banco National (That round, tapered white building with Edison Plaza on the top).  Pay the $2.00 and get it stamped by the teller, and bring this back to the office.

 

- this time, stand in the Retiro de Documento (green sign) line-up. Again they told me to come back tomorrow until I pleaded that I had driven all the way form Santa Clara. I waited about an hour for my now authenticated, stamped, document.

 

- Now you need to get a blood test - the doctor knows the forms - One is a general health certificate, the other the result of a blood test showing sugar levels, blood type, etc. This is called “tipo de sangre si licencia no la tiene” (show this to your doctor if they don’t speak English  - Make SURE your blood type is on the certificate). 

 

NOTE: If your blood sugars are too high, as mine were, you will need to re-test or get a note from your doctor that this condition is being treated, otherwise your application for a Panamanian driver’s license will be rejected. Drink lots and lots of water the day before your test, make sure you fast the full 24 hours or more - and don’t drink alcohol the day before your test.

 

- Bring your originals and the certified copies back to Sertracen offices to apply for your license - Good luck!!! Roberto Chocolate

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 May 2010 18:49