Current Driving Requirements in Panama

| June 12, 2015
  • SumoMe

I came across the following article which was posted in the recent edition of “The Visitor Panama” free newspaper and thought that many of my readers and subscribers would find it informative and useful.

ATTT CheckpointAre you driving illegally in Panama?

Do you lend your vehicle to friends or family?


By Kevin Bradley Insurance Broker

Several insurance clients have communicated to me that when the Panama “Tránsito” police have stopped them for an infraction, or at one of their frequent roadblocks, they were asked to produce various documents. In some cases, such as failure to produce a “valid” driver’s license or “Registro Único” (title document), the vehicle was impounded.

Are you driving with a “valid” driver’s license?

Article 110 is the law / article that regulates foreigners using a driver’s license, other than Panamanian one, while operating a vehicle. The article states that you may drive while using your home-country-issued, valid license for 90 days with no extensions allowed. If you are a legal resident of Panama, your foreign driver’s license is NOT valid and you MUST obtain a Panama driver’s permit / license. You may not operate your vehicle with a “copy” of your driver’s license.

Your Panama insurance policy covers only drivers who have your permission and a valid driver’s license. Do NOT lend your vehicle to anyone who does not have a VALID driver’s license.

Article 21 of the Panama Motor Vehicle Code stipulates that you must carry the original or a copy of the Registro Único de Propiedad Vehicular (Automobile Title Registration document) in your vehicle at all times. Failure to present the Registro Único de Propiedad Vehicular may result in a fine of $25.

Here is a list of additional documents you must keep in your vehicle:

  • A current copy of the automobile insurance policy.
  • “Formato Único para Accidentes de Tránsito Menor” / FUD (Minor Accident Form). You must have three copies of this form (one for each driver involved in the accident and one for the insurance company of the guilty party).
  • Reglamento de Tránsito (usually for sale in Arrocha).
  • First Aid Kit and roadside traffic triangle.

The basic insurance liability limits required by Panama law are $5,000 / $10,000 / $5,000. We recommend minimum liability limits of at least $25,000 / $50,000 / $20,000.

For more info contact Kevin at Tel. 507-6674-1063, Carmen at Tel. 507-322-1605, write or visit

Category: Driving & Insurance

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