Obtaining a Panama Driver’s License

To better serve our American citizen community in Panama, the U.S. Embassy’s American Citizen Services Unit uses an appointment system for notary services.  All individuals requiring notary services will need to make an appointment online. Be advised that an individual appointment should be made for each individual seeking a notary service.

Tourists visiting Panama may drive with a valid driver’s license from their home country for a period of 90 days.  Residents must apply for a Panamanian driver’s license.  SERTRACEN is the entity contracted by the Government of Panama for the issuance of driver’s licenses.

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 and request an affidavit.  A standard form is available at the ACS Unit. Licenses that are expired will not be accepted by the Panamanian Authorities. The fee for this notarial service is $50 for each signature of the Consular Officer. The current service requires taking an oath on an affidavit and certifying a true copy of the driver’s license. The service is $50 per signature, which means that the total service costs $100.  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.

For up-to-date information on traffic conditions in Panama, we recommend two twitter links:

Disabled parking permits in Panama are issued by the Secretaria Nacional de Discapacidad (SENADI).

SENADI’s office is located in La Boca, near the Freeway store, and its phone number is 377-0928.  SENADI is open from 9 am to 4 pm, Monday through Friday.

When applying for a disabled parking permit at SENADI, you must present:

  • Two passport-sized photos,
  • A copy of a Panamanian ID or a U.S. passport, and
  • A doctor’s letter, signed and stamped by the physician and addressed “To Whom It May Concern,” describing:
    • Your diagnosis,
    • Your symptoms, and
    • Any medical aid devices that you must use (such as a wheelchair or walker).

You will also have to complete a form with information about your car, such as the plate number, VIN number, make and model.