Update on Vehicle Registration

Suzi, La Suzuki Awaits Vehicle Registration

Suzi, La Suzuki Awaits Vehicle Registration

A while back in April, I started telling you about renewing the vehicle registration for my scooter.  I hate being late for deadlines. As part of my Reduce The Drama program (RTD) I much prefer having everything in place well in advance, so I don’t have to fuss at the bitter minute. My renewal doesn’t come up until June, but I wanted to deal with it early, i.e., in April, just in case.

Soraya and I did indeed sally forth to assemble the pieces. The first step was the insurance. It turns out that my insurance is due May 1 (good thing I started early!), even though my scooter renewal does not occur until June. I was surprised to learn the dates were different, and even more surprised when the ladies at the insurance office were reluctant to renew my policy because it was only mid-April and I still had two weeks left on it.

Soraya’s fluency was once again a major assist, as it turned out the reason for their hesitance was merely electronic. It seems that the computer system is set up so that the insurance company’s computer here in Las Tablas can only put the current date (still April at that moment) into a new policy. As I was changing insurance companies to take advantage of a $23 improvement in the price (one third less than the other guys), mine was a new policy.

There was, however, a solution. The computer in Panama was set up to start a policy at a future date, and if we were willing to wait while the operator on the other end finished lunch and returned to the office, they could accommodate me.

So we waited. RTD.

The joven (young person) who helped me inquired whether I would like towing service as part of my policy. It would cost an extra $10 for the year. After thinking about the fact that my scooter fits in the back of a taxi camion (taxi truck) and qualifies for a $3 ride to the garage from most parts of Las Tablas, I said no. I will take my chances.

And we waited some more. Finally, the operator at the other end sent the policy through to us, I signed, paid, and we were all set.

Our next stop was the Las Tablas Traffico Department of the Police. I wanted the simplicity of paying for the scooter registration here in Las Tablas next year, so I would need to move the registration from San Miguelito, which is somewhere down between Panama and Colon, to here.

Which put another three kinks in the hose of my RTD program. Kink #1: In Panama, where your vehicle is registered is where you have to go to pay. In my case, that is San Miguelito, a serious hike. Kink #2: If I want to transfer it, I need two additional things. First, I need proof that I live in Las Tablas. An electric bill or something like that. And second, I need a Nota de Autorizacion (Letter of Authorization, stating that I want to move my registration from San Miguelito to Las Tablas.

Fortunately I moved the electric bill into my own name some time ago, so that is not a current issue, although it was a major hassle at the time. The Letter of Authorization will be a bit trickier, as it has to be in Spanish, but I’m sure Soraya will help me with the translation (Google – or any other machine translator – is a good start, but can’t quite be trusted for the final product. If you want a translator to help you, consider Luis Garcia).

Finally, the big one, Kink #3: You apparently cannot pay for your registration renewal except in the month in which it is due. The policewoman at Traffico was most insistent about that.

It seems Sr. XXXXXXXXXX of XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX* (see previous blog) can handle the documentation for the location switch as well as the registration.

Ah. Panamanians like the RTD stuff too.

The date I can do nothing about but wait.

So… to be continued… later  in June.


This is the second in a series of posts about the experience of registering a vehicle in Panama.

1. Vehicle Registration in the Azuero

2. This post, Update on Vehicle Registration

3. Registration Renewal in Panama

4. Vehicle Registration in Panama: The Final Segment