Process for getting a Driver's License in Panama
PLEASE READ BOTH PIECES ONE – PERSONAL EXPERIENCE - Updated May 2013SECOND – ARTICLE FROM STEVE RICHREQUIREMENTS ARE (LIST AS STIPULATED FROM THE DEPARTMENT) CERTIFICACION DE LICENCIA EN LA EMBAJADA O CONSULADO, DONDE FUE EMITIDA LA LICENCIA - ENGLISH: CERTIFICATION OF THE DRIVER’S LICENSE FROM THE EMBASSY / CONSULATE OF THE COUNTRY WHERE THE LICENSE WAS ISSUED
CERTIFICACION DEL DOCUMENTO EN EL MINISTERIO DE RELACIONES EXTERIORES
ENGLISH: CERTIFICATION OF THE DOCUMENT BY THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
COPIA DE CARNET DE MIGRACION
ENGLISH: COPY OF THE IMMIGRATION CARD (CARNET)
COPIA DE LICENCIA DE CONDUCIR
ENGLISH: COPY OF THE DRIVER’S LICENSE
COPIA DE PASAPORTE
ENGLISH: COPY OF THE PASSPORT
EXAMEN DE TIPAJE DE SANGRE (SI LA LICENCIA NO LA TIENE).
ENGLISH: BLOOD TEST INDICATING THE BLOOD TYPE (IF THE LICENSE DOES NOT HAVE IT).
VISUAL – AUDITIVO – CUALQUIER DIA
COSTO TOTAL: B 40.00
ENGLISH: REQUIRED VALIDATIONS LINE OF VISION - AUDITORY - TOTAL COST: B 40.00
STEPS – HOW TO
Go to the embassy to get them to copy the driver’s license and to authorise it. This involves having the Consul sign off that the license is valid in the country of origin. They give you a cover letter along with the copy of the driver’s license. This may take two trips, one to drop it off and then one to pick it up. In our case, the document would only be available the next day. (For Canada there was a cost of $50.00 per person for this service and is located at the Torres de Americas - Accross the street from the Multiplaza shopping center as well as Punta Pacifica Hospital.
Once the above document has been picked up, you need to proceed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministerio de Relaciones Exterior). This office was situated in the
Edison plaza, Tumba Muerto near Via Brazil, but has moved closer to the Pircesmart / Mc Donalds down the road in the Banco Nacional Building. They are open Monday to Friday from 8:00 to 5:00., They are not closed during lunch. You need to present the documents signed by the consulate, the purpose of this visit is that this department will authenticate the signature of the consul. They will give you a deposit slip that you need to bring to the bank National de Panama (which is in the same mall), pay the amount on the form. They will give you a receipt. You will also need to get ‘postage’ type stamps equal to the amount given to the teller. The cost was $4.00 per person.
Return to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after 24 hours (not before) to pick up the documents properly authorised and give them the stamps as proof of payment. They will give you back a letter confirming that the data from the consulate is valid. Stamps will be affixed to this document.
The next step is to bring all the documents mentioned above to the license bureau called Sertracen in Panama. Their offices are located on a street behind El Rey in the Albrooke area (not the mall) and in Penonome (besides the Pio Pio restaurant,on the highway at the beginning of town.
For your first license, your blood test report must confirm your blood type as well as your sugar level. When going for the blood test, you must inform the laboratory the purpose of the test (i.e. first time getting a driver’s license) so that they can fulfil the requirement. This blood test can not be older than 15 days old.
When presenting yourself to the license bureau with all the above documents, they will verify them ask you some relevant questions, such as if you need glasses for driving, your current address and the name of someone you want contacted upon an emergency, etc.
There will be an eye and an audio exam. Once finished, they will take your picture and give you an invoice to be paid at cash, a total of $20. for the license, $10.00 for the eye test and $10.00 for the audio test. You pay this on site and wait for your license.
When you receive your license, please verify it to make sure they have the right data. Sign and you are now the proud owner of your new Panamanian driver’s licence. (Which will expire at the same time as your passport or visa).
Suggestion: Go to Penonome, easier access and less busy or to Chorrera, the office is in front of the Italia shopping plaza - It is a couple of doors down from the Subway Rest.
See attached article from Steve Rich – Playa Community