The Costa Rica-Panama border at Paso Canoas was pretty easy. It took just under 45 minutes, the longest time spent was waiting in line at immigration to get stamped in.
First, we pulled up to the border and parked, where we were instructed to go buy vehicle insurance ($25 for one month). That took about 5 minutes. They won’t stamp you into Panama if you’re bringing a vehicle and don’t purchase the insurance first. You’ll need the following documents:
2) Title of the vehicle or something showing ownership of the vehicle and the VIN
3) Registration of the vehicle or something showing the License Plate number
After we got the vehicle insurance, we took the paperwork to the Aduana office, and let them process everything while we stood in line for immigration. We stood there for a good 30 minutes while waiting for a bunch of truckers to get stamped in also. It’s a covered area, so it wasn’t too bad. When we finally made it up to the immigration window, the Immigration Officer took my passport and asked me a few questions about how long we’re staying. She took my finger prints and a photo and told me that Kaden and Bronson could come back and get stamped in when the TIP was issued. They would need to bring that paper back in and show it to her and she could stamp them in. If you’re unlucky, they’ll want proof of financial solvency, which is to say a bank statement proving you have enough money in your bank account to stay for your allotted time in the country and proof of onward travel. We didn’t get asked for either.
I left the immigration office and headed over to the Aduana building where I needed to sign two forms. They issued me the TIP, I verified the information was correct (the VIN and Plate numbers, motor number if you have one on your registration) and took my TIP and gave it to the boys so they could get stamped in.
The DGA (Aduana) inspector came over and looked inside the vehicle, and gave us a slip saying we were inspected, the doctor came over and had us fill out a Covid questionnaire, literally 5 questions, and sent us on our way.
Once the boys were finger printed, photographed and stamped in, we were free to head to the fumigation center. This was $5.00, they give you a receipt and send you through the fumigator. There was no line, and it took us less than 5 minutes to get through this last part.
This process was pretty quick and we had a tramite personal show us where all the offices were, so it made the process seamless. We gave him a small tip and went on our way. We were given 30 days for our vehicle, and my passport was stamped with a huge stamp saying I could not leave the country without my vehicle.
If you want to know how to store your vehicle and relative costs associated with it as well as retrieving your vehicle when you re-enter Panama, read our next blog… Storing and Retrieving your Foreign Vehicle in Panama.