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Panama – Buying or Importing a Car

If you are planning to buy or import a vehicle in Panama, there are specific procedures and paperwork that you need to follow. In this article, we will discuss the steps involved in buying or importing a car in Panama and the paperwork required for selling a car in the country.

Buying a New or Used Car in Panama

The process of buying a car in Panama is relatively simple, and both new and used cars are readily available in the market. However, if you are a foreign national, you need to keep certain things in mind.

Find a Dealer

The first step is to find a reliable dealer who sells new or used cars. You can use online platforms like Encuentra24, OLX Panama, and MercadoLibre to search for dealers and private sellers.

Inspection

Once you have identified the car you want to buy, it’s essential to inspect the car thoroughly. You can hire a mechanic or a car inspection service to inspect the vehicle and provide you with a report on its condition.


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Payment and Insurance

If you are happy with the car’s condition, you can proceed with the payment. In Panama, it’s common to pay for the car using a bank transfer or a cheque. It’s essential to have insurance before driving the car, and you can purchase it from any insurance company in Panama.

Registration

Once you have paid for the car, you need to register it with the Transit and Land Transportation Authority (ATTT). You can do this at an ATTT office or through an ATTT-certified dealer. You will need to provide the following documents:

  • Proof of ownership
  • Valid identification
  • Proof of insurance
  • Vehicle registration certificate from the previous owner
  • Technical inspection certificate

The registration process usually takes one or two days, and once your car is registered, you will receive a registration certificate.

Taxes and Duties

If you are importing a car from another country, you may need to pay import duties and taxes. You can find more information on import taxes and duties on the Panama Customs website.

Importing a Vehicle in Panama

If you are planning to import a car into Panama, you need to follow specific procedures and obtain the necessary paperwork. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to import a car into Panama.

Check if Your Car is Eligible for Import

Before importing a car into Panama, you need to check if the car is eligible for import. You can do this by checking the Panama Customs website. If your car is not eligible for import, you will need to obtain a permit from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Obtain the Necessary Paperwork

You will need to obtain the following paperwork before importing a car into Panama:

  • Proof of ownership
  • Bill of Lading or Delivery Order
  • Customs declaration
  • Technical inspection certificate
  • Import permit if applicable
  • Valid identification
  • Proof of insurance

Transport Your Car to Panama

You can transport your car to Panama by sea or air. It’s essential to ensure that the transport company is reliable and has experience in transporting cars.

Pay Import Taxes and Duties

If you are importing a car into Panama, you may need to pay import duties and taxes. You can find more information on import taxes and duties on the Panama Customs website.

Register Your Car with the ATTT

Once your car has arrived in Panama, you need to register it with the ATTT. You can do this at an ATTT office or through an ATTT-certified dealer. You will need to provide the following documents:

  • Proof of ownership
  • Bill of Lading or Delivery Order
  • Customs declaration
  • Technical inspection certificate
  • Import permit if applicable
  • Valid identification
  • Proof of insurance

    The registration process usually takes one or two days, and once your car is registered, you will receive a registration certificate.

    Get Your Car Inspected

    Before you can drive your car in Panama, you need to get it inspected by the ATTT-approved inspection company. The inspection includes checking the car’s brakes, steering, suspension, lights, emissions, and safety features. If your car passes the inspection, you will receive a vehicle inspection certificate.

    Relevant Government Departments and Contact Details

    Here are the contact details of the relevant government departments in Panama that you may need to contact when importing a car:

    • Panama Customs: You can find information on import taxes and duties on the Panama Customs website. You can also contact them through their website or by phone at +507 294-4300.
    • Transit and Land Transportation Authority: The ATTT is responsible for vehicle registration and inspection in Panama. You can find more information on their website or contact them by phone at +507 511-4700.

    Selling a Car in Panama

    If you want to sell a car in Panama, you need to follow certain procedures and obtain the necessary paperwork. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to sell a car in Panama.

    Cancel Your Car Insurance

    Before selling your car, you need to cancel your car insurance. You can do this by contacting your insurance company and providing them with the necessary information.

    Obtain a Vehicle Deregistration Certificate

    You need to obtain a vehicle deregistration certificate from the ATTT. You can do this online or by visiting an ATTT office. To obtain the certificate, you need to provide the following documents:

    • Proof of ownership
    • Valid identification
    • Proof of car insurance cancellation

    Transfer Ownership

    To transfer ownership, you need to provide the following documents to the buyer:

    • Vehicle deregistration certificate
    • Vehicle registration certificate
    • Technical inspection certificate
    • Valid identification
    • Proof of ownership

    Once the buyer has the necessary documents, they can register the car in their name.

    Buying or importing a vehicle in Panama may seem overwhelming, especially if you are a foreign national. However, by following the procedures and obtaining the necessary paperwork, you can easily buy or import a car and sell it when the time comes. If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact the relevant government departments for assistance.


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