National Administration Offices in Panama

Information about the various offices related to administrative procedures - visas, driving licenses and boat registration - in Panama…

The Republic of Panama is divided into nine provinces (provincias): Bocas del Toro, Chiriqui, Cocle, Colón, Darien, Embera-Wounaan, Herrera, Kuna Yala, Los Santos, Ngobe-Bugle, Panamá and Veraguas. Three of these provinces, Embera-Wounaan, Kuna Yala and Ngobe-Bugle, also exist as indigenous territories (comarcas). The provinces are further divided into municipal districts (distrito). Districts are themselves divided into smaller corregimientos.

Some of the main authorities that new residents in Panama need to deal with include:

The Panama Immigration Agency (Panama Migración) - responsible for granting visas and issuing residency cards to immigrants to Panama.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores) (in Spanish) - foreign driving licenses must be certified here before they can be exchanged for a Panamanian one.

  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores)
    At: Calle 3, Palacio Bolívar, Edificio 26, San Felipe
    Tel: 511 4100 / 511 4200
    Fax: 511 4022

Once all documents have been certified, it is necessary to go to a SERTRACEN office in order to exchange the license.

  • To find a local SERTRACEN office and information on opening hours: Click here

The Maritime Authority of Panama (La Autoridad Marítima de Panamá) - to register boats when boating into Panama's waters or bringing in a boat from overseas. Pre-registration documents should be submitted online or via email at least 48 hours prior to arrival.

  • The Maritime Authority of Panama (La Autoridad Marítima de Panamá)
    At: Edificio PanCanal Plaza, Albrook
    Postal Address: 0843-0533 Balboa, Ancón, República de Panamá
    Tel: 501 510 / 501 5227
    Fax: 501 5405
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