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Legal Guide to Getting a Panama driver’s license for Expats

This guide provides crucial information for U.S. and Canadian citizens or any other expat in Panama looking to drive around the city, ensuring they stay compliant with local laws.

Driving in Panama is a convenient way to explore the country, but it’s essential to have a clear understanding of the requirements and regulations for obtaining and maintaining a Panama driver’s license.

TheI can say that US and Canadian citizens who wish to drive in Panama must meet the following requirements:

  1. Duration of validity of foreign licenses: US and Canadian citizens can legally drive in Panama with their foreign driver’s licenses for 90 days 1. After 90 days, they must obtain a Panamanian driver’s license.

The validity of a foreign Panama driver’s license depends on the type of residence the driver has. If the residency is for one year, the license will be valid for one year.If the residence is permanent, the license must be renewed every four years 1.

  1. Validation of a foreign license: Learn the steps necessary to validate a foreign Panama driver’s license, including the additional documentation required.
  2. Residence visas 2024: Stay informed about the latest Panama residency requirements to obtain a Panama driver’s license 

To obtain aPanama driver’s license US and Canadian citizens must have a residency visa. Initially, a temporary or processing pensioner visa is issued, which is only valid for 6 months.

That driver’s license depends on your residence

Therefore, your Panama driver’s license will only be valid for 6 months. Once you obtain your permanent visa, you will need to renew your Panama driver’s license. Your Panama driver’s license will be valid for four years until you turn 70, then it will only be valid for two years.

Driving license in Panama for pensioners

If you are over 70 years old, in addition to the steps mentioned above,You must obtain a medical certification to prove that you are healthy enough to drive a car.This certification must be from a gerontologist or internal medicine doctor.

If you are elderly, retired or retired, you can request your procedure in person without an appointment.

Validate your international driver’s license

If you already have a valid driver’s license from another country, the process of obtaining a Panama driver’s license is much easier. It takes approximately 2 days because there are several steps. If you want to do it yourself here I leave you my tips for validate a foreign driver’s license in Panama as a foreigner.

Exams and Driving Schools

As in any city in the world, in Panama there are thousands of options buy for your classes at a driving school both online and in person, in order to obtain a Panama driver’s license  for the first time you need to have a driving certificate that each driving school will give you after finishing their classes by passing a theoretical and practical test.

To obtain a Panama driver’s license, Expats citizens must pass a theoretical and practical exam. The theoretical exam consists of 40 questions and is based on Panama traffic laws. The questions are divided into three categories: traffic signs, traffic rules and road safety.To pass the exam, you must answer at least 75% of the questions correctly.

In addition to the theory test, there is also a practical test that tests your driving skills. The practical exam is carried out in a vehicle of the Land Transit and Transportation Authority (ATTT) and lasts approximately 20 minutes.During the exam,Your driving skills will be tested, including the ability to drive in different traffic conditions, park and perform emergency maneuvers.

License type A, B, C, D

REQUIREMENTS

To obtain a Panama driver’s license, you are required to present the following documents:

  1. Migration card (original and copy) in good condition, with stamp, legible data and photograph.
  2. Ordinary passport (original and copy) in good condition and current, according to the nationality described in the migration card.
  3. Theoretical and practical training course certificate from an authorized agent or by the A.T.T.T. that proves that the applicant is suitable to drive the type of vehicle corresponding to the application. The expiration of the initiated procedure is subject to the validity of this requirement (365 days from the date of issue).
  4. Result from a laboratory authorized by the Technical Council of Public Health of the MINSA with blood type and RH factor. You must indicate the user’s full name, passport number or permanent resident number (E card) for foreigners, with a stamp and fresh signature of the laboratory technician.
  5. Carry out at the branch visual, auditory, theoretical and practical validation in accordance with the procedure established by the A.T.T.T.
  6. Cost of the procedure

FAQs

Can I drive in Panama with a Canadian license?

Yes, you can drive in Panama with a valid Canadian driver’s license. However, familiarize yourself with the validation process and any additional requirements.

Is it easy to drive in Panama?

Driving conditions may vary, but with proper preparation, understanding local traffic rules, and obtaining a valid license, driving in Panama can be a manageable experience.

Can I use my U.S. driver’s license in Panama?

U.S. citizens can use their valid U.S. Panama driver’s license. However, it’s advisable to be aware of the expiration date and consider obtaining an international driving permit for added convenience.

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