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How to get a Panama driver's license?

A Comprehensive Guide to Obtaining a Driver's License in Panama as an Expat

Moving to a new country is an exciting adventure, and for expats settling in Panama, getting a local driver’s license is an essential step toward independence and mobility. Navigating the process of obtaining a driver’s license in a foreign country can be daunting, but fear not! This article will guide you through the necessary steps and requirements to obtain a driver’s license in Panama.

As an expat in Panama, you are eligible to apply for a driver’s license if you meet the following criteria:

  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • Hold a valid residency visa or work permit in Panama.

Requirements to obtain a driver’s license for foreigners in Panama

Before applying for a driver’s license, ensure you have the following documents ready:

  • Passport and a photocopy of the photo page.
  • Valid panamanian residency visa.
  • Two passport-sized photos.
  • Proof of blood type (commonly available through a blood test in Panama).
  • A completed medical certificate (can be obtained from an authorized medical facility in Panama).
  • Certificate of approval of the driving course issued by a driving school in Panama.

In addition to the documents you must attend a theoretical and practical course given by a Panamanian driving school (to get the certificate of approval of the driving course), once you are prepared you must present yourself at the ATTT (Land transportation and transit authority) and take two exams: a theoretical and a practical one.

Attend a First Aid and Defensive Driving Course:

As part of the application process, expats are required to attend a First Aid and Defensive Driving course. These courses are often offered in Spanish, so it’s advisable to prepare by brushing up on your language skills or seeking out courses taught in your native language.

If you already know how to drive you will have to take the driver validation course which allows you to get your driver’s license at the ATTT.

Schedule and Pass the Theoretical Exam:

Next, you’ll need to pass a theoretical driving exam, which is conducted in Spanish.

The exam covers the rules of the road, traffic signs, and other essential driving knowledge.

Study materials and practice tests are usually available at local driving schools to help you prepare adequately.

Practice Driving Lessons:

After passing the theoretical exam, you will be required to complete a specific number of driving lessons with a licensed driving instructor.

These practical lessons will help you familiarize yourself with local driving laws, road conditions, and typical driving scenarios in Panama.

Pass the Practical Driving Test:

Once you have completed the required driving lessons, it’s time to take the practical driving test.

During this test, you’ll demonstrate your driving skills and ability to handle real-life traffic situations.

Be sure to practice diligently to boost your confidence and chances of success.

Submit Your Application:

After successfully passing both the theoretical and practical exams, you can now submit your application for a driver’s license at your nearest Autoridad del Tránsito y Transporte Terrestre (ATTT) office.

Don’t forget to bring all the required documents mentioned earlier, along with the exam certificates.

Pay the License Fee:

There is a fee associated with obtaining a driver’s license in Panama, which can be paid at the ATTT office during the application process.

Fees may vary depending on the type of license you are applying for (private or commercial)

retire in panama

As an expat retiree, Panama offers an idyllic haven where dreams of a fulfilling and tranquil lifestyle can become a reality, most retirees can obtain a residence permit through the pensionado program.

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