Panama Drivers License Updated March 2012

Panama Drivers License Updated March 2012
Posted by: “dulcemama5555” dulcemama5555
Sat Mar 3, 2012 8:25 am (PST)

I just completed the Scavenger hunt aka: Driver’s license process.
So here are the latest changes:
I am adding and editing a previous response I kept from a gentleman that had done this process quite a few times…
I have done this process a couple dozen times in the past few months for people (and dependents) working on the canal expansion. I do not believe you can get a Panama driver’s license unless you have status for living/working in Panama. That is, if you have only a tourist card, I don’t think you can get a license. I have only used the Albrook SERTRACEN location.

Here goes:

You have 90 days to get a Panama driver’s license from the date of entry into Panama.

Steps for getting initial Panamanian Drivers License if you have an existing US state drivers license (under 70 years of age**)

Step 1. Authentication/ Certification of State DL by US Consulate in Clayton:

A. Make an appointment online at: . Then click on citizen services, then the last item is consular notarial services and set up an appointment.
Take your US state DL to the American Consulate in Clayton. Bring your passport and pensionado card (if applicable) during the entire process. You will need to park outside the embassy compound because the inside parking is for employees. For those without a car, hire a taxi for 1 hr an have them wait outside.

B .Go to the cashier at the consulate and ask for a DL certification form.

C. Fill the application but DON’T SIGN it at this time.

D. Take the application to the cashier and pay $50.00 (cash or credit card). DON’T SIGN it at this time.

E. Take a seat until your name is called.

F. When they call your name, go to the assigned window and sign the form in front of the consul/notary.

G. You will be given a photocopy sheet of your driver’s license with all the required stamps and signatures. You will need to take this form with you to the Panama Foreign Ministry office (Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores) as well as to the SERTRACEN (the contractor who runs the driver’s licensing operation) Driver’s License office. (Map to Sertracen follows in Step 4)

Step 2. Authentication of State DL by Panama Foreign Misistry Office (Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores).

A. Go to Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores office which is on the 1st floor of Plaza Sun Tower on Avenida Ricardo J. Alfaro (tumba Muerto), by the National Bank Of Panama, (hours 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. M-F; Saturdays half day). Telephone #’s 511-4045 or 511-4046.

This Plaza is next to the El Dorado Mall and near Price Smart.

B. Take a number for “dropping documents off ticketing system”

C. When it is your turn, hand your US Embassy documents to the clerk, he knows what to do – he fills out some paperwork, hands you a filled-out bank deposit slip and tells you the following:

– Go to Banco Nacional at the base of the “V” of the same strip mall (Plaza Sun Tower) to pay $2.00 using the deposit slip the clerk gave you.

– The clerk will also tell you when to return to the same Foreign Ministry office to pick up the completed paperwork. If you had dropped off your paperwork before mid-morning, you’ll probably be told to return after 2 p.m. Later than mid-morning and likely you’ll be told to return the next work day. Remember that government offices and banks are not supposed to serve you if you are wearing shorts. Dress appropriately.

D. Return to the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores office with the completed deposit slip (from Banco Nacional). (NOTE: you no longer need timbres and the Bank no longer sells them!)

Step 3. Blood test (for blood typing only – this is required even if your blood type is shown on your US drivers license). Here is a list of ATTT certified labs: . We found one near the Mall and just walked there $6 for blood work 297-5050

A. you can get testing done while waiting for Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores office to stamp paperwork.

B. Once results are available (about an hour), add the test results to the other documentation.

Step 4. SERTRACEN – Albrook Driver License Location. HOT TIP: If you can void Panamanian pay days: 15th and 30th of the month (businest days!!) Actually is the day after they cash their paychecks, so make it the 16th and 1st . They are open Monday to Friday 8am to 4pm. Saturdays 8am to 12noon.

A. Take all of your stamped paperwork, blood test results, passport, pensionado card and US driver’s license to the SERTRACEN DL office. It is in Albrook in the former American Canal Zone, not far from the Rey supermarket. Look at the map at www.sertracen.

B. When you enter the SERTACEN building, immediately get in line that is formed as soon as you enter the building. They review all the docs and let you have a seat until your name gets called.

1. The first is data entry, and digital photo. Listen up!

2. Second step is visual test. Listen up!

3. The 3d step is the simple hearing test behind the walled area. They’ll call you by name. Listen up!

4. Now after hearing test they’ll send you to the cashier to pay $40 (cash only).

5. Final step to the last window where you get the completed license! Whew!

** For persons 70 years of age and older, you are required to get a statement from either a gerontologist or internal medicine doctor attesting to your fitness to drive. It must be from one of these two medical specialists.

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2 Responses to “Panama Drivers License Updated March 2012”

  1. Don says:

    I have an EXPIRED Panama drivers license..about 2 yrs…I wish to renew it when I visit Panama in about 2 months….I am a pensionado resident of Panama

    I obtained my license 6 yrs ago when I was there…..I was 67 yrs old …now I am 73……can I RENEW my Panama license….what is required?……cost

    Do I need a statement from a doctor? If so what doctor? address telepone # etc

    Appreciate your help….regards….don

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