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Drivers License

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longreach
8/12/2019 18:02 EST

After getting permanent residency, and Panamanian drivers license, how long until it must be renewed. Thanks a bunch.
Longreach

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jonoyakker
8/13/2019 04:19 EST

For a Friendly Nations visa, your carnet needs to be renewed in 10 years. Your DL, in 4 years.

Not sure about a Pensionado visa carnet. Anyone?

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PJBarrett1944
8/13/2019 12:53 EST

The pensionado visa carnet is forever. It is not valid for identification. If you get a cedula you have to renew it every 10 years. Your drivers license is normally good for 4 years but once you hit 70 you have to get certified by a gerontologist or internal medicine doctor and the license is only good for 2 years. After you hit 80 you have to take a driving test and (I believe) the license is only good for 1 year.

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volcan357
8/13/2019 14:39 EST

That is something I'll have to check out. I'll be 80 in a year and a half. If it comes down to me not being able to get a driver's licence I'll leave Panama. I've had a driver's licence ever since I was 16. I couldn't live without one. I'll have to ask about it at the driver's licence place to see how it works. The every two year thing is a pain. I didn't know it changed when you reach 80.

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pmd2000
8/13/2019 16:29 EST

Wish we had those rules in the USA.

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PanamaJackie
8/13/2019 19:11 EST

If you're asking about renewing your Panama driver's license, it needs to be renewed every 4 years. Except once you turn 70, it needs to be renewed every 2 years.

Your Pensionado or Friendly Nations Visa is an indefinite Visa so it does not need to be renewed.

Your eCedula (national ID card) must be renewed every 10 years.

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longreach
8/13/2019 21:24 EST

Thanks all for the input. I’m just here for a few days to pick up the permanent residence card and wondered if it was worth getting the drivers license now or waiting till next trip. Definitely worth getting it this trip if it is good for 4 years.

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longreach
8/20/2019 01:08 EST

So, we had a very successful trip. We were able to receive our permanent residencies AND get our drivers licenses. For those of you interested, the process was;
1. Being Canadian, we had to first go to the Canadian embassy to have our passports and Canadian drivers licenses verified. This usually takes 3 days and we were told that they would call us when it was ready. They actually called us a bit sooner than that but be prepared for 3 days. $50 a piece.
2. While we were waiting for the embassy., we were able to go across the road to get our required blood work done. We had to return the next morning for officially signed documents. $15 a piece.
3. With embassy papers in hand, we went to the Ministry of Authentication and were told to return the next day for the approved copies. This we did. $3 apiece.
4. Because this was a first time licence (primera vez), we had to go to a specific location of Sertracen designated for that. That is located at Galeria Plaze Carolina in Panama City. As we were already there for our permanent residencies, it was easy. BTW, Uber is awesome in PC. Saved a pile of money.
Anyway, we presented our authenticated embassy copies along with our blood work and residency cards and we told to sit and wait for our names to be called. When called they requested emergency contact info and Panamanian address. Told us to sit and wait to be called for our vision and hearing tests. After that, we paid our $40 a piece and we walked out with 2 shiny Panamanian drivers License good for 4 years. Everyone was quite patient and helpful to us and we had a very good experience. Pretty stoked really after all the bad stories we heard about Panamanian bureaucracy. Perhaps being prepared to expect the worst, resulted in us being delighted when it was no where near so bad.
Hope this helps someone else,
Longreach

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StanleySankey
8/20/2019 19:31 EST

Longreach

The reason Sertracen is so efficient is that they are a private company that the government contracted to handle all things to do with DLs from road tests, written exams to issuing licences. When your license is getting close to expiring, they will phone you and tell you to come in and renew. It is one thing here that works very well.

When I did mine in 2013, I had it all done in two days.

I did all the verification in Canada before I left, which Global Affairs does for free if you can get to the office in Ottawa. I was working for the federales and banished to Ottawa for 10 years, so that was one benefit, also by sheer dumb luck the Panamanian Embassy was on the same block as my office. So getting all the paperwork done was greatly simplified.

My lawyer took those to the Ministry to get Authenticated with all the immigration papers, so everything was ready when I arrived. Just had to get the blood test, pick up the results next day then go to Sertracen.

I also managed to do the Sertracen vision test in English.

I just rattled off the items then looked at the woman giving the test who had a strange look on her face. That is when I realized I did it all in English. I asked her if she wanted me to repeat it in Spanish this time, she just laughed and said "You sounded like you knew what you were talking about" then signed it off.

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