As a tourist, you can legally drive in Panama for up to 90 days with a valid foreign license. However, once you have submitted your residency application, you will no longer be considered a tourist and must obtain a Panamanian drivers license to legally drive in Panama.

Requirements

  • Original and authenticated and certified copy of drivers license- see steps below
  • Original and copy of passport
  • Original and copy of resident ID (can be either the temporary ID or permanent ID)
  • Blood report: If you do not have your blood type on your current license, you must have your blood take at a laboratory authorized by the Transit and Land Transporatation Authority such as Laboratorios Clínico located on Calle 50. This step can be skipped if your bloody test is on your current drivers license.

Step 1: Authenticate a copy of your current license at the Embassy of the country where the license was issued. Contact your embassy for additional information as you be need an appointment to authenticate your drivers license. 

Step 2: Certify the authenticated copy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs located at Sun Tower (typically takes 2 hours).

USA Embassy

You must make an appointment online with the USA Embassy to authenticate your drivers license. Please visit the USA Embassy’s site for more information and to schedule your appointment. 

SA Consulate

The South African Honorary Consulate is located at PH Camino Real in Panama City. Please contact the consultate via Whatsapp on +507 6747 5195 for additional information on authenticating your South African drivers license. 

Canadian Embassy

The Embassy of Canada is located at Torres de las Americas, Tower A in Punta Pacifica. You can contact them via email for additional information at panam@international.gc.ca

Application

Once you have gathered the required documents, you can then head over to a Sertracen office such as the one located on Ave Jose Augustin Arango and apply for your license.

Here, you will undergo a visual and a hearing test and pay USD 40 fee for the license.

If you are applying for your drivers license with your temporary resident ID, the drivers license will have the same validity as the temporary ID. When you finalize your residency and obtain the permanent ID, you can update your drivers license.