How to exchange your existing driver license to a Panamanian driver`s license fast and easy.

Do you know that if you have a Panamanian residency it`s very easy to get a Panamanian driver`s license? It really is. The whole process could take just a few days and you will be able to do it yourself, no help needed. Just follow the steps in this article. Let`s start!

Hot obtain a Panamanian driver`s license.

Note: Most of the European countries (including Russia) and United States of America have an agreement with Panama Republic about exchanging driver licenses issued in those countries to a Panamanian driver license. You can make a call to the embassy of the country you are citizen or resident of just to make sure that you are allowed to get a Panamanian driver license in the easiest way possible. I am explaining my experience of getting  a driver license in Panama using an american driver license (as an example). 

Step 1: Get a Panamanian residency. The process how to do it is being described in a separated article.

Step 2: Get your American driver license certified in the US Consulate in Panama.

To be able to do it you need to schedule an online appointment. First of all go to the US Consulate in Panama website.

On the website find “US citizen services”, “Local Resources”, “Notarial cervices”. You need a service which could be called as an  “Authentication of true copies”.   The consular officer will certify a copy of a driver license.

To be able to get this service please make an online appointment here.

Requesting “notarial and other services not listed above”, specifically an affidavit. The final result may look like on the photo below.

US Consulate Appointment

On the appointment day present yourself in front of the consular officer, pay $50 fees (cash or credit cards excepted) and get your papers. It calls “Declaracion Jurada (Afidavit) which actually is an official translation of an American driver license to Spanish, made by the American consulate.

Affidavit

Step 3: Go to the Ministerio de relacion de exteriores, Departamento de autenticacion y legalizacion for certification. You need to take your U.S. driver`s license and the affidavit you got, following the Step 2 to the MFA, which is located at Plaza Sun Tower on Avenida Ricardo J. Alfaro (Tumba Muerto), by the Nation  Bank  of Panama , First Floor, Locals 49 and 50 (phones: 511-4045, 511-4046).

Certification. Panama Driver license.

The cost of the certification is about $2. But the line of people who desire to get might be pretty long so get ready to spend a few hours an this office before you`ll get your certification.

Step 4: Obtain proof of your blood type (if your driver`s license doesn’t have one).

An important note: you must go to a clinic, certified by ATTC. A list of clinics you can go to get your blood job done is listed here.  A note from a clinic should have your full name, identity card number or foreign passport number, your blood type, doctor`s  signature and his seal (stamp).

The note with the information about your blood type will be given you you in the close envelope, I would not recommend to open it by yourself.

Step 5: Go to a SERTRANCE service center to exchange your driver license.

In order to apply for a Panamanian driver license you need to come to the “Sertrance” office. There are two addresses in Panama City you can find the Setrance offices, however there is only will be able to process your documents for  Panamanian driver`s license. The address is:  Ciudad de Panamá  Ave Jose Aguntin Arango, Galerias Plaza Carolina,(Antiguo Star Contact), Parque Lefevre, Los Laureles.

Note: The SERTRANCE office you need is quiet far away from the city center where most of the hotels are. So I would recommend to go at the mornings (they open starts 8 a.m.) and be ready that only to get their might take about 30 mins (by taxi).

You need to bring with you the following documents:

  • An affidavit of a driver license (look at step 2) and an original driver license.
  • Original and copy of residency card.
  • Original and copy of passport.
  • Blood type.
  • $40 (for paying an official fee).

When you get to the SERTRANCE office, first of all go to the information area and represent all your papers. When all the papers will be checked, you will get a “green light” to go to the main waiting area. There are different groups of people waiting; you need to ask where a group for the first interview is. You will be called by your name (so pay attention to what is happening around you) and will represent a common information about yourself, like: name, address (don`t forget to memorize or right down any address in Panama (it could be an address of your friend, your hotel, your apartment…), your weight and height. A photo of you also will be taken during this interview. After you will pass this first interview you will need to pass a vision test, so you also need to ask people around where is a line of those who are waiting for this test. The next test is a hearing test. Both of the tests: vision and hearing are pretty simple and you shouldn`t worry about passing them.

When all the tests are done, you will be asked to pay $40 fees for your future license and wait. Your Panamanian driver license will be made within a few minutes after paying and you are done! How simple is this?

In total the whole process could take about 3-4 days: 1 day for visiting the embassy and getting an affidavit, 1 day for a medical exam (blood type), 1 day for getting a certification from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and another day for presenting all the papers at one of the SERTRACEN offices and getting your Panamanian driver`s license. The total cost of this procedure is about $120 plus the fees you will pay for the taxi service, may be $25-$30 more.

panamanian_driver_license

Enjoy your new driver`s license and if you have your own experience of getting a Panamanian driver`s license please share it in the comment section below.