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Panama – Driving Licenses

Panama is a beautiful country with a diverse range of landscapes, making it an ideal place to explore. If you’re planning to visit or live in Panama, it’s important to understand the rules regarding driving licenses. This article provides information about driving licenses for foreign nationals in Panama.

General rules regarding driving licences for foreign nationals in Panama

Foreign nationals visiting or planning to live in Panama can use their driving license from their home country for up to 90 days. After this period, they must obtain a Panamanian driving license. The 90-day period starts from the date of their arrival in Panama, not the date they obtained their driving license.

Agreements in place for exchanging driving license

There are no reciprocal agreements in place between Panama and any other countries that allow foreign nationals to exchange their driving license for a Panamanian one without having to take a driving test. This means that all foreign nationals must take a driving test to obtain a Panamanian driving license.

Procedure for exchanging, obtaining, renewing a driving license in Panama

Obtaining a driving license

To obtain a Panamanian driving license, you’ll need to apply at the Transit and Land Transportation Authority (Autoridad del Tránsito y Transporte Terrestre or ATTT). You’ll need to fill out an application form, provide proof of identity, proof of residency, and pass a theory and practical driving test. The process can take several weeks to complete.

Renewing a driving license


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A Panamanian driving license is valid for 10 years. If your driving license is expiring soon, you’ll need to renew it. You can renew your driving license at the Transit and Land Transportation Authority. You’ll need to bring your current driving license, proof of identity, and proof of residency.

Contact details of relevant government departments or agencies

International Driving Permit (IDP)

An International Driving Permit (IDP) is recognized in Panama. However, it’s important to note that an IDP is not a standalone document. It must be accompanied by your original driving license from your home country.

An IDP is valid for one year from the date of issue. If you’re planning to stay in Panama for longer than a year, you’ll need to obtain a Panamanian driving license.

Penalty system for motoring offences in relation to driving licences

If you’re caught committing a motoring offence while driving in Panama, you may be issued with a fine, penalty points, or even have your driving license suspended or revoked. The severity of the penalty depends on the type of offence committed.

Minor offences, such as speeding or driving without a seatbelt, may result in a fine or penalty points. More serious offences, such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, may result in a driving ban, a fine, or even imprisonment.

It’s important to note that if you commit a motoring offence while driving in Panama using your foreign driving license, you may still be subject to penalties, even after you’ve left the country. Panama has strict laws and regulations regarding road safety, and it’s important to adhere to them to avoid any legal issues.

Having a driving license can make it easier to travel and explore Panama. Foreign nationals can use their driving license from their home country for up to 90 days. However, all foreign nationals must take a driving test to obtain a Panamanian driving license.

Renewing your driving license is a simple process that can be done at the Transit and Land Transportation Authority. If you’re caught committing a motoring offence in Panama, you may be subject to penalties, which can range from fines to imprisonment, depending on the severity of the offence.

By understanding the rules and procedures regarding driving licenses in Panama, you can ensure that you’re driving legally and safely during your time in the country. It’s important to adhere to road safety laws and regulations to avoid any legal issues while driving in Panama.


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