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And Now I Know - Renewing Panamanian Drivers License Ain’t Easy For Seniors


Marcelyn

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Every resident applying for a renewal Panamanian driver license (good for 4 years) must pass an eye and hearing exam. For people 70-85 years old, a certificate of good physical and mental health from a Panamanian doctor who specializes in internal medicine or geriatrics is required. All this plus an actual test in parallel parking and back-up maneuvers is required for residents over 85 years old. For us seniors the renewed license is valid for only two years.

Since I meet the requirements for the actual test, I used my very small car (named Tiny Tim) and practiced for a week prior to my test date. Everyday Bud had me out doing the backing up and parallel parking drill. The word is that if your car even touches a cone on the driving test range then you fail. The cones are sometimes small and generally not visible to the driver taking the test.

During my first attempt at test parallel parking on the actual license renewal day the inspector saw me turning my head to look out the rear window. Maneuver was successful, but he made me repeat the procedure and this time I used the vehicle mirrors only....instead of turning my head and looking backwards. Managed the back-up maneuvers, so inspector gave me a thumbs up and approved my drivers license renewal request.

I understand that no one 90 years old or older is approved for driving in Panama. Individuals can try to renew a license at 89, but probably won't be successful. Everyone at the David Sertracen office was courteous. The only downside is the very rapid Spanish used by employees when giving instructions for taking the eye and hearing exams.

Many people 85 years of age can't pass the health requirements... certainly can't perform the actual test maneuvers, so I'm celebrating my success. 🙏🙏👍👍👏👏

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I can't address the renewal (or lack thereof) at 89, but when I was 69 I was issued a 4-year license.  So maybe renewal at 89 is possible!

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There was a long line at Sertracen at the time of Marcelyn's appointment for her license renewal. We estimate about 17 waiting in the queue outside the office, not including us. Since Marcelyn had made a reservation (an online procedure, relatively easy) she was shuttled to the front of the line and immediately granted entrance into the Sertracen office. That queue jumping was under the direction of the security guard, but it still upset many of those in line waiting for their turn, but who had not made a reservation.

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Below is Marcelyn exiting the Sertracen office after successfully completing the requirements for renewal. In years past it took 15 to 20 minutes to renew her license, but this year with the Covid-19 issues it took 1.5 hours. Still a long line waiting their turn as she exited. There were about 30 applicants inside the office that don't show in these pictures.

Marcelyn commented that several of the applicants inside the office were police and bomberos who were renewing their licenses. I found that a bit curious. Why so many at one time? And of the ~30 in the office when she was admitted, only four (including her) were female.

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Well done, Marcelyn.

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Does anyone know where I can I find a doctor who specializes in internal medicine or geriatrics & can issue a certificate of good physical & mental health?

Two years ago, when I first turned 70, I had this done in Boquete, but now I'm told they don't have a doctor who can do this.

Is there any other option, other that going to a hospital in David?

 

 

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3 hours ago, Jon L said:

Does anyone know where I can I find a doctor who specializes in internal medicine or geriatrics & can issue a certificate of good physical & mental health?

Two years ago, when I first turned 70, I had this done in Boquete, but now I'm told they don't have a doctor who can do this.

Is there any other option, other that going to a hospital in David?

Dra Digna Diaz (in Alto Boquete) is the only doctor that I am aware of in the Boquete area who can sign off on the documentation for driver license renewal for seniors. Her appointment number is 720-2434.

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On 5/24/2021 at 9:42 AM, Jon L said:

Does anyone know where I can I find a doctor who specializes in internal medicine or geriatrics & can issue a certificate of good physical & mental health?

Two years ago, when I first turned 70, I had this done in Boquete, but now I'm told they don't have a doctor who can do this.

Is there any other option, other that going to a hospital in David?

Dra. Diaz would be our first choice of course.  But when we renewed our licenses she was not available when we needed the letter.  So we went to Mae Lewis.  The receptionist told us to come back at one; and where to go then.  They called the doctor; who promptly came.  A few minutes and $80 later, we left with our letters of approval.  Not a bad deal at all.

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