Panama Driving Licence or Driver Permit

Panama Driving Licence : Obtaining a Panama driver’s license or permit allows you to legally operate a motor vehicle on Panama’s roads and highways.

Here is a comprehensive guide on how to get a new Panama driver’s license, renew an existing one, replace a lost or stolen license, change your address, take the written and road exams, pay traffic fines and follow Panama’s driving rules and regulations.

New Panama Driving Licence

Here are the steps to obtain your first Panama driver’s license:

Eligibility Requirements

  • Be at least 18 years old for a full license or 16 years for a provisional permit.
  • Pass the written traffic laws exam.
  • Pass the road driving test.
  • Provide required documentation like passport, residency visa, medical certificate, etc.

Required Documentation

To apply for a new Panama driver’s license you will need:

  • Original passport and a photocopy of the photo page.
  • Residency visa or cedula (national identity card).
  • Letter from employer or school if you are a student.
  • Medical certificate from an approved doctor in Panama.
  • Application form completed and signed.
  • Four passport sized photos.
  • Receipt for payment of license fees.

Written Traffic Laws Exam

  • Study the driving manual to prepare for the exam. Manuals are available at license offices.
  • The written test has 50 multiple choice questions.
  • You need at least 45 correct answers to pass.
  • The exam covers traffic signs, laws, fines, regulations, etc.
  • Exams are offered in Spanish and English.

Driving Test

  • Bring a licensed practice vehicle for the driving test.
  • The test will assess your driving skills on public roads.
  • You will be evaluated on use of mirrors, signals, lane changes, turns, parking, etc.
  • Any traffic violations during the test will result in failure.


  • Fees for new licenses range from $50-$100.
  • You must pay fees at the license office before taking exams.
  • Fees vary based on license class (passenger car, motorcycle, etc).

Renewing a Panama Driver’s License

Panama licenses must be renewed every 10 years until age 65, then every 5 years after age 65. Here is the renewal process:

  • Licenses can be renewed up to 6 months before expiration.
  • Bring your expired license and required documentation to the license office.
  • Pay renewal fees (around $50).
  • Get a vision test and new photo taken.
  • If your license has been expired over 6 months, you may need to retake the written and road exams.
  • Renewed licenses are generally issued on the spot.

Replacing a Lost/Stolen License

If your Panama driver’s license is lost, stolen or damaged, follow this procedure:

  • Report the lost or stolen license to the police and get a police report.
  • Bring the police report to the license office and fill out a license replacement application.
  • Show your passport, residency visa/cedula for identification.
  • Pay replacement fee of around $50.
  • Have a new photo taken and new license printed.

Changing Your Address

When you move residences in Panama, you must update your driver’s license address:

  • Go to your local license office in Panama.
  • Show proof of your new residential address (rental agreement, utility bill, etc).
  • Fill out the change of address notification form.
  • Pay a small admin fee.
  • Your driver’s license will be printed with the updated address.

Taking the Panama Driver’s Exam

If you need to take the Panama driver’s license exam, here are some tips:

  • Study the driver’s manual and road signs before the test.
  • Get plenty of practice driving with a licensed driver.
  • The written exam covers traffic laws, signs, fines and safe driving practices.
  • During the road test, obey all traffic laws and drive defensively.
  • Use turn signals properly and watch your speed and lane position.
  • Perform maneuvers like parking, 3-point turns and lane changes safely.

Panama Traffic Fines and Regulations

As a driver in Panama you must follow these rules or face fines:

  • Drive on the right side of the road.
  • Wear seat belts at all times.
  • Obey speed limits (usually 40-60 km/hr in cities).
  • Do not drive after drinking alcohol.
  • Use cell phones only with hands-free devices.
  • Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
  • No texting, eating or disruptive behavior while driving.
  • Violation fines start at $50. Serious violations can result in license suspension.

Getting Driver’s License Related Services

The national Directorate of Drivers Licenses office in Panama City provides these services:

  • Renewals, replacements and address changes.
  • Traffic fine payments.
  • License verification letters.
  • Records of violations and penalties.
  • Vision tests and new license photos.
  • Applications for motorcycle or commercial licenses.

Many services are also available at provincial and regional license office branches across Panama.

FAQs on Panama Driving Licence

1. How do I schedule an appointment for a driving test in Panama?

You can schedule driving test appointments online or by visiting your local Panama license office. Bring required documents like passport, residency visa, medical certificate and application.

2. Can I drive in Panama with just an International Driving Permit?

No, an IDP is valid only when accompanied by your original home country license. You must get a Panama license after establishing residency.

3. What vehicles can you drive with a Panama provisional license?

A provisional license allows you to drive a light motor vehicle below 3000 kg. You cannot drive a motorcycle or commercial vehicle.

4. Is my U.S driver’s license valid in Panama?

U.S. licenses are valid for tourists visiting Panama for up to 90 days. Residents must apply for a Panama license within 30 days.

5. Can I get a Panama driver’s license if my home country license is suspended?

No, you must resolve any license suspensions or revocations in your home country before getting a Panama license.


I hope this comprehensive guide on how to obtain, renew and replace a Panama driver’s license or permit has been helpful. Following Panama’s driving rules and laws will keep you and others safe on the road. Always carry your valid Panama license when operating a motor vehicle.