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Obtaining a Panamanian driver's license


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The wardens have received several requests lately about when the embassy may have an outreach in Chiriqui so as to be able to have their U.S. driver's licenses notarized and save them a trip to Panama City. There are two answers here, and I think they merit repeating and distributing via this forum.

1) The embassy generally announces community outreaches no more than a couple of weeks ahead, sometimes a week ahead. So the wardens know only that far ahead. Just as soon as I receive a notice from the embassy about an upcoming visit, I publish it on News Boquete, CL, Boquete News on Facebook, and Boquete Community Group on Facebook. Be sure you look at one or more of these sides regularly, even daily.

2) Obtaining a Panamanian driver's license cannot be accomplished without a trip to Panama City. The U.S. license can be notarized at an outreach, but the process also requires a trip to the Panamanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs office in Panama City for certification. The full instructions, available on the embassy website but difficult to find except via the Search function, are as follows:

"To obtain your Panama driver’s license:

  1. Make an appointment online, bring your valid U.S. driver’s license and a copy of both sides to the American Citizen Services (ACS) section. Licenses that are expired will not be accepted by the Panamanian Authorities. The fee for this notarial service is $50.  Consular regulations require us to charge $1.00 each for photocopies we have to make in connection with affidavits.
  2. Take your valid U.S. license and notarized documents to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for certification.  The MFA is located at: Plaza Sun Tower on Avenida Ricardo J. Alfaro (Tumba Muerto) by the National Bank of Panama.  Telephone number:  511-4045 or 511-4046.
  3. Obtain proof of your blood type, if your driver’s license does not include that information.  You must visit a lab certified by ATTT .
  4. Bring your residency documents, passport, valid license, notarized documents and proof of blood type to a SERTRACEN service center."

Questions to the Boquete wardens about this or other matters should be addressed either to landis.boquete.warden@comcast.net or to me at ridgelandres@yahoo.com.

Edited by Bonnie
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  • 3 months later...

In the interest of full disclosure, there is a rudimentary "test" regarding rules of the road and signage, etc. It is done via a machine (not a paper test or oral exam).

Further, be advised that there is a book of the rules of the road that every driver is supposed to have in his vehicle. Last I heard was that it is available at Super Centro Ivan in Alto Boquete (but I presume at many other stores as well).

Good luck.

P.S., my experience with Sertracen located at Chiriqui Mall in David (where you get your license) has always been very friendly and supportive staff. So far, all discussion has been in Spanish, but Spanglish works.

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The computerized test on the rules of the road is in Spanish. 

Its only necessary to take that exam if you don’t have a certified Drivers License from another country.



  • Certificar la Licencia extranjera vigente. Ver detalle adjunto.

Nota:  No aplican licencias de conducir con categorías para conducir transporte público, artículo 113 acápite b.1. requiere “Ser panameño”.

No aplican licencias deterioradas.


  • Debe anexar documento de fiel copia de licencia debidamente sellada y firmada por la entidad que emite la certificación. 
  • Certificar el documento en el Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores.
  • Original y copia de carnet de migración,  el mismo debe estar vigente.
  • Original y copia de Pasaporte,  el mismo debe estar vigente.
  • Original y copia de licencia extranjera vigente.
  • Presentar Tipaje de sangre emitido por laboratorios  autorizados por la Autoridad de Tránsito y Transporte Terrestre. Debe indicar el nombre completo del usuario, número de cédula de identidad para nacionales o número de pasaporte para extranjeros, sello y firma fresca del médico. Excepción: Si la licencia tiene el Tipaje, no se requiere resultado de tipaje de sangre.
  • Realizar Validaciones  visual y auditiva en la sucursal donde solicite el trámite.
  • Debe estar paz y salvo con la A.T.T.T
  • B/.40.00 (incluye Validación visual, auditivo, teórico y práctico) 
  • El pago debe ser realizado en las cajas de la A.T.T.T. ubicadas en las sucursales de Sertracen donde realice el trámite.


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