Learning the In’s & Out’s of renewing our car registration….


Getting Scott’s truck registered…


Well, its already been a year ago that we bought that shiny new truck for Scott . (That truck is no longer even remotely close to “Shiny” anymore! LOL! ) Which means it’s time to renew the registration and the insurance. No, you don’t get to just do it online. Things get done altogether differently here in Panama. And renewing a registration is not at all the same as what we’re used to. We’ve…Okay… I should say ‘I’ve’ been expecting the whole process to be somewhat stressful and possibly even a giant pain in the @#$. But, here’s the big surprise…it was so darn easy! I think a year ago when we got our cars and we were told that next time we renew the registration we would need to go to Dolega to do it, it sounded a little daunting to me because it was an unknown. At that time we had never really been to Dolega aside from driving through when there was a detour during road construction. And we have had some limited experience dealing with government offices and all the frustrating bureaucracy that one must endure most of the time. So I’ll speak for myself when I say, I wasn’t looking forward to dealing with getting the registration renewed.

The first thing one must do in order to get a new car registration is to have a Revisado inspection. There are certain places that are allowed to do this. None of which are in Boquete. So we were told to go the Bridgestone tire store in David. They want to see your proof of car insurance before they will do the inspection. We went one day before our insurance was to expire and the nice women at the counter shook her head and said,”no, you must first renew your insurance”. Oh boy, here we go….When we bought the truck from Toyota they offered insurance and it was convenient and a good price so we went with it. I have my car insurance through a local women who has an office here in Boquete and many of my friends had highly recommended her. We had planned to change Scotts over to the same place as mine when his expired but given the fact that we were on a mission to get his car inspected that day and the Toyota dealership is right near the inspection place, we just drove on over to Toyota to see if we could renew it there.

Now we fully expected to have a whole rigamarole to go through at the dealership. Nope…shockingly we experienced the most efficient, fast, easy renewal process we could ever have imagined. We were in and out of the dealership with a renewed car insurance and all the paperwork within 10 minutes. We simply walked in with our nearly expired paperwork, handed it to the guy at the desk and he looked at it, typed something into the computer, made a fast phone call, left the room for a minute, and returned with all the new paperwork with all Scott’s info on it and everything…BAM! just like that, we were ushered over to the lady to pay her for the year, about $500.00 , and that was that! We walked out feeling like something must be wrong! Surely they will call us back in and tell us there was a mistake or maybe the lady at the inspection place will shake her head and say..”No, this will not do”. I mean, Sheesh! That was amazing. Back to the inspection place…

We went back and gave her all the new insurance info which she happily took and then called the guy to take the truck for an inspection. It’s funny, we could see the truck from the waiting area and it was sitting there for the longest time, waiting to be ‘inspected’ but no one seemed to really look at it and then before we new it they just kinda drove it back over to the parking area and we paid and got our Revisado inspection paperwork and that was that. We aren’t really sure what they ‘inspected’, but weren’t about to ask any questions. Now we had all we needed to go get our new registration. But not on that same day, Scott needed to get back to the property because he had his crew working and needed to check on them. We actually just went today…

So off to Dolega we went this morning. We had been told that we needed to go to the “Municipal Offices” in Dolega. Ideally it would have been great to have been able to just go along with someone else who knew what they were doing but we just weren’t able to pin down anyone and in the end it was way better for us to just head on out and figure it out ourselves. We were told where it was and it sounded pretty easy. One great thing about living in a community where there are so many people who have forged the path before us is , we get lots of great advice. One bit of advice that we always get and is never a bad thing to just make a habit of is to always have copies of everything before you go to any government office. We did just that, we made copies of the revisado inspection, the insurance, the old registration, Scotts passport, his California drivers license and anything else that seemed like it might possibly be important. You just really never know what they may ask for and they often don’t have a copy machine in the office.

We had no problem finding the Municipal Offices in Dolega. It was right off the main highway . After parking the truck we walked into a courtyard type place and sure enough, just around the first corner there were two windows and people paying their registration. We got in line and handed the nice lady behind the window our revisado inspection paper, ready to hand her anything else she may ask for, but low and behold she didn’t ask for anything! She typed in the computer, walked over to another area of the office and came back with our new license plate and sticker. And $47.00 later we walked back to the truck with brand new registration in hand! Well! That was sooooo easy! No problema! Now, we wont be fooled, just because they didn’t ask for any copies of anything “this” time doesn’t mean they wont next time! So we’ll continue to make copies and bring everything we can possibly think of to bring, because that one time that you don’t is when they will ask for it. Hah!

Now, that seemingly “daunting” task seems soooo darn easy. I cant even believe I worried at all about that. I’m glad I know how to do it because mine is due in October and I’ll just go right on down and do it without one tiny worry. Rumor has it that soon there will be a place up here in Boquete where we can go for our Revisado inspection so maybe in October I can go there, that will be nice. Oh, and you may have noticed that I said we got our new “plates”. Well, here in Panama every year they give you brand new plates, not just a little sticker to put on the plate, and also a sticker that you must display in your windshield of your vehicle. Hey, it may be a little different, but it’s just how they do it here and I’m glad to know the procedure and will just do whatever I need to do. As time is passing we continue to learn so many things about life here in Panama. Yes, there are so many differences but in the end I think no matter where you relocate there are many things to learn. Even just moving to a different state, you have to figure out where certain offices are and what requirements they have for different things and undoubtably you have to adapt to different ways of doing different things. Our Adventure is proving to be an experience with many many new and different things to adapt to which is exactly what we signed up for!


9 responses »

  1. They were probably taking pictures of 3 sides of the car. That’s what they did when we had our car inspected and I was told that’s what is required.

  2. Wow! What perfect timing. Glad things were ‘liso’ for you. We are in the process of moving our registration from the birthplace of our car (Panama City) and will be registering here. Thanks for the tip on insurance. Guess I better check that today.

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