Driving licence in Panama

Driving licence in Panama
Updated 2017-07-14 11:24

You must be in possession of a national driver's license if you are a resident of Panama and wish to drive. You can also exchange your foreign license for a Panamanian one.

You are legally allowed to drive with your original driver's license in Panama if you are staying for a maximum of 90 days. If you plan to stay longer or if you are a resident, you will have to obtain a Panamanian driver's license. You can check the conditions with the SERTRACEN.

The minimum age to drive in Panama is 18.

Exchanging your license

Documents required to exchange your foreign driver's license for a Panamanian license are:

  • your resident card and its photocopy;
  • your foreign driver's license and with a copy which is authenticated by your consulate in Panama and certified by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Panama;
  • results of a blood test issued by a physician who is certified by the Panamanian Department of Transport laboratory; and
  • results of a medical examination if you are more than 70 years old.

Note that all documents must be translated into Spanish and the request must be addressed to SERTRACEN. Exchange procedures should only take a few hours. Additional charges may apply.

Good to know:

The validity of your license will depend on the duration of your stay in the country. If you have permanent resident status, the license will have to be renewed every four years.


Be sure to double check before going to the office with your documents.

Obtaining a Panamanian license

If you are not eligible for an exchange, you will have to apply for a local driver's license at the Panamanian Transport Department. First of all, you are required to take driving lessons (36 hours of theory and 20 hours of practice) with a licensed driving school. This will allow you to obtain a certificate which you will have to present to the Transport Department. You will also have to undergo medical examinations (vision and hearing tests), as well as a blood test.

Documents to be produced at the Transport Department are:

  • your health examinations results;
  • your blood test certificatel
  • your passportl and
  • your resident card.

Useful links:

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Panama
Transport Department of Panama

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