Driver’s license Process For Those 70 and Older

I received the following email which talks about getting a driver’s license at the age of 70.

Hi Don Ray,

You had asked me to keep in touch and let you know the process for obtaining/renewing a drivers license after 70.

Well, we went to Sertracen today to renew my husband’s license as he will be 70 at the end of this month. I thought I had read, a couple of years ago, that at 70 you HAVE to renew your license, but obviously from today’s information that is wrong, Sertracen will not renew the license until it is due to expire. My husband’s license does not expire until June of next year, so we have to return at that time.

However, I do have some information which you might find useful, though this information is valid as of this date, 14 June, 2010 and may change – we all know how often things are amended/updated/modified here in Panama.

As a background I would tell you that we both renewed our passports last year and subsequently went to Immigration to renew our Pensionado Visas. At that time I had read that Transito required your current Passport Number to be on your Pensionado Visa and Driver’s License in order to obtain the Vehicle Ownership Card. (Not true, Sertracen said to come back when our licenses were about to expire and the reissued licenses would have our new passport numbers.) Immigration informed us that they did not require Passport Number and Pensionado Number to be the same, but we figured that somewhere along the line this was going to change and rather than encounter problems in the future we went ahead and completed the paperwork for new Pensionado Visas, which was then sent to Panama and we had the new Visas within one month.

A medical certificate is required to obtain/renew a license at age 70 or older, a “Certificado de Buena Salud”, which my husband got from our hospital Mae Lewis, last week. This was issued by the young doctor in the Emergency Room, much easier than having to make an appointment with a Geriatric (Gereatria) doctor or Psychologist (Psicologia) as I initially read. The procedure is very simple, my husband said they asked him a few questions such as “Do you have problems breathing” and “Are you allergic to anything?” etc., then took his blood pressure, which is probably better than many people half his age. The certificate was duly signed and handed over.

To prepare for Sertracen I made two copies of his new passport, his old passport, his new Pensionado Visa, his old Pensionado visa and a copy of the Certificado de Buena Salud, along with the original new and old passports.

The young lady at Sertracen of course pointed out that he didn’t need to renew his license until it was due to expire next year, but I took the opportunity to ask if we needed to bring anything else when that time came. She looked at all the copies and said no, bring the copies we had and the original old and new passports, plus my husband would need a recent (May/June 2011) Certificado de Buena Salud.

Seems easy, but there may be complications if anyone has an expired drivers license, or if they no longer have their original old passport. We’re hoping that there won’t be any drastic changes to the requirements between now and next June, if not, it seems a pretty simple procedure.

Hope the information is helpful,

Regards,Marion Potrerillos

Thanks to Marion for taking the time to write this up.

2 thoughts on “Driver’s license Process For Those 70 and Older

  1. My husband is 79 and renewed his license recently. He was required to see an internist specifically, not any other kind of doctor. We went to the same one at Mae Lewis that we went to the last time he renewed. The brief exam by the internist cost $40, then the license was another $40. So it cost $80 to renew a license that is only good for 2 years. If you are under 70, they issue it for 4 years. If you got the exam from an emergency room doctor, maybe it isn’t necessary to see an internist. Perhaps we’ll go to the clinic in Boquete next time and save a bit of money.

  2. Hi Judy,

    We specifically asked Sr. Javier Adames, the General Manager at Mae Lewis, who we needed to see — he told us “Just go to the Emergency Room, they will perform the examination and ask you the relevant questions”. When I asked him about the necessity to see a specialist he said that the rotating doctors in the emergency room sign off on Certificados de Buena Salud all the time. At Sertracen when I asked the young lady if my husband needed additional paperwork when he returned next year, she said no and pointing to the Certificado, said that he only needed an updated copy of that. So I figured that the Certificado we had from the Emergency Room was fine — we’ll see next year. If your husband is due to renew his license prior to our return to Sertracen next June, you might want to try the Emergency Room at Mae Lewis (go early before the emergencies start to come in) or, as you said the clinic in Boquete. If we encounter a problem next year, I’ll write an update for Don Ray.

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