Renewing your Dutch driving licence in Panama

If you live in Panama and your Dutch driving licence has expired (or has almost expired), you can either renew your Dutch licence or exchange it for a Panamanian one. This depends on how long you will be staying in Panama. 

I will be staying longer than 90 days 

If you will be staying in Panama for longer than 90 days you can exchange your Dutch driving licence for a Panamanian one at Sertracen (in Spanish). You don’t need to retake your driving test.

What do I need?

To apply for a Panamanian driving licence you will need a consular declaration, demonstrating that your driving licence is genuine and that your driving licence is listed in the Dutch Central Driving Licences Register. Make an appointment with the Dutch embassy in Panama City to apply for a consular declaration. There is a fee for this service. Find out what you will have to pay in the list of consular fees for the embassy in Panama. Take the following documents to your appointment:

  • your Dutch passport
  • your Dutch driving licence.

The embassy will then draw up the declaration and certify the photocopy of your driving licence. 

Visit the Sertracen website for information (in Spanish) on the other documents you will need if you wish to apply for a Panamanian driving licence. You can make an appointment online.

Attention: Please note: Your Panamanian driving licence may be valid for longer or shorter than your Dutch driving licence.

I will be staying less than 90 days

If you will be staying in Panama for less than 90 days, you can renew your driving licence via the Netherlands Vehicle Authority (RDW), even if it has already expired. Follow the steps to apply for a new driving licence.

Attention: Do you have a valid foreign driving licence, in addition to your Dutch driving licence? Then it is not necessary to renew your Dutch driving licence. You are allowed to drive with your foreign driving licence, also in the Netherlands. You can renew your expired Dutch driving licence once you live in the the Netherlands. You are not required to take a driving test again.

Step 1: Check whether you meet the conditions

You can renew your Dutch driving licence from abroad via the RDW in the Netherlands. This is only possible if you:

  • are a Dutch national or a national of another EU/EFTA country
  • live outside the EU or the EFTA. Or you live in Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius or Saba
  • are not a registered resident in the Netherlands

Do you not meet the conditions? Than you cannot renew your Dutch driving licence abroad. Instead you must exchange your Dutch driving licence for a local driving licence. Read how to exchange your Dutch driving licence.

Step 2: Request an application form

You need an application form to renew your Dutch driving licence. Request the application form via the RDW in the Netherlands. The RDW will send the application form to a correspondence address in the Netherlands of your choice.

Step 3: Collect the right documents

You will need the following original documents:

  • your Dutch driving licence
  • a photocopy of your valid travel document, e.g. a passport or identity card 
  • a completed and signed application form (the original form, no copy or scan)
  • 1 colour passport photo that meets Dutch passport photo requirements and is less than 6 months old. 

In the following situations you will need to supply additional documents. Click on the situation(s) that applies (apply) to you for more information.

Step 4: Submit your documents

Send all the documents needed for your application to the RDW: 

RDW, Unit Rijbewijzen
Postbus 9000
9640 HA Veendam

Step 5: Pay the fee

Pay the fee for your application for a new driving licence. Scroll to ‘Kosten’ on the RDW's website to find out what the fee is and how to pay it. 

After your application has been assessed, the RDW will process your application within 10 working days.

Does RDW approve your application? Then it will take 5 working days before you receive your new driving licence at your correspondence address in the Netherlands.

If your application is rejected you will receive a letter explaining why.