Guide to Acquiring a Panama Driver’s License

Driver’s License Panamá

Guide to Acquiring a Panama Driver's License

Overview:

If you're a foreigner in Panama, you can use your home country's driver's license for up to 90 days. After this period or upon becoming a temporary resident (whichever comes first), you'll need to obtain a Panamanian driver's license. SERTRACEN, a private company, manages the examination and issuance of these licenses on behalf of the government.

Steps for U.S. Citizens:

  1. Visit the American Citizen Services (ACS) office at the U.S. Embassy during regular hours.
  2. Request the standard affidavit form for a Panama driver's license.
  3. Pay a $50 fee at the Consular cashier. This covers the affidavit and the notarization of your signature.

For Non-U.S. Citizens:

  1. Reach out to your country's nearest embassy or consulate in Panama.
  2. Obtain the necessary forms and an affidavit similar to the U.S. version.

At the Panama Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

  1. Go to their new location on Ave. Ricardo Alfaro, a few blocks towards the international airport.
  2. Get the embassy’s affidavit and a copy of your original driver's license authenticated.

If Your License Doesn't State Your Blood Type:

  1. Visit a medical laboratory certified by Panama’s Transit Authority (ATTT).
  2. SERTRACEN's website provides a list of all certified labs: www.sertracen.com.pa. There are 65 such labs in Panama City.

Visiting SERTRACEN:

  1. Bring:
    • Proof of blood type medical report
    • Passport
    • Original driver's license
    • Residency documents (if needed)
    • Notarized affidavit and MFA documents
  1. Locate a service center using their website. Call them at 315 – 6500 if needed.
  2. The application fee is $40 USD.
  3. Undergo an eye exam. If you don't pass, get the necessary eyewear and reappear.
  4. Take a hearing test to ensure you perceive necessary sounds while driving.
  5. Upon clearing the exams, provide your home address and get your photo taken.
  6. The Panama driver’s license, featuring your photo, will be available within an hour.
  7. This license remains valid for four years.

Summary of the Process:

  1. Certify your license at the respective embassy/consulate.
  2. Get the embassy certification authenticated at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  3. Submit original & copies of passport, immigration card, foreign license.
  4. Provide blood type test results if necessary.
  5. Undergo visual and auditory exams at the application branch.
  6. Ensure you have no outstanding issues with A.T.T.T.
  7. Pay $40 USD in cash (covers exams).
  8. Make payment at the ATTT counters located in SERTRACEN branches.

Note on Embassy/Consulate Certification:
It should include:

  • Phrasing like “certifies or declares”.
  • Consul's or validator's name.
  • Applicant’s name and passport number.
  • License number, expiration date.
  • License issuance place or country.
  • Vehicle license categories. If these are on the license, simply provide a copy of both sides.

 

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