top of page

Importing a Motorcycle into Panama: A How-to Guide


Embarking on a motorcycle adventure in Panama is a dream for many enthusiasts, offering the perfect blend of scenic landscapes, diverse cultures, and thrilling roads. However, before you can hit the open roads, there's a crucial step to navigate: importing your motorcycle into Panama. This article serves as a comprehensive how-to guide, providing essential information and a step-by-step process to ensure a smooth and successful importation experience.

Understanding the Regulations and Requirements

Panama, like many countries, has specific regulations and requirements for importing vehicles, including motorcycles. Before initiating the importation process, it's crucial to familiarize yourself with the rules set by the Panamanian authorities.

1. Residency Status: Your ability to import a motorcycle into Panama may be influenced by your residency status. Residents and non-residents may have different procedures and requirements to follow.

2. Motorcycle Age Restrictions: Panama may have restrictions on the age of the motorcycle you can import. Ensure that your motorcycle meets the age requirements stipulated by the Panamanian authorities.

3. Emission and Safety Standards: Motorcycles imported into Panama must comply with local emission and safety standards. Ensure that your motorcycle meets these standards, and if modifications are required, address them before initiating the importation process.

4. Customs Duties and Taxes: Be aware of the customs duties and taxes associated with importing a motorcycle. Understanding the financial implications will help you plan accordingly.

The Step-by-Step Guide to Importing a Motorcycle into Panama

Now, let's break down the importation process into a step-by-step guide to make it more manageable:

1. Research and Documentation Preparation

- Residency Status: Determine your residency status in Panama, as this will impact the importation process.

- Motorcycle Information: Gather all relevant documentation for your motorcycle, including the vehicle title, registration, and any applicable certificates proving compliance with emission and safety standards.

2. Engage a Customs Broker

- Professional Assistance: Hiring a customs broker in Panama can significantly streamline the importation process. A professional can guide you through the paperwork, ensuring compliance with regulations and avoiding potential pitfalls.

- Broker Selection: Choose a reputable customs broker with experience in vehicle importation. Research and read reviews to make an informed decision.

3. Shipping Your Motorcycle

- Transportation Options: Decide on the mode of transportation for your motorcycle. It can be shipped via container, roll-on/roll-off (RoRo), or even as air freight.

- Selecting a Shipping Company: Choose a reliable shipping company with a track record of safely transporting motorcycles. Obtain quotes, compare services, and confirm the shipping schedule.

- Shipping Documentation: Prepare the necessary shipping documentation, including the bill of lading, commercial invoice, and packing list.

4. Arrival in Panama and Customs Clearance

- Customs Declaration: Declare your motorcycle upon arrival in Panama. Work closely with your customs broker to ensure all required documents are submitted accurately.

- Payment of Duties and Taxes: Pay the applicable customs duties and taxes. The amount will depend on the motorcycle's value and the specific regulations in place.

- Inspection and Approval: Your motorcycle may undergo an inspection by local authorities to ensure it meets safety and emission standards.

5. Registration and Licensing

- Visit the Transit Authority: Once your motorcycle clears customs, visit the Transit Authority (Autoridad de Tránsito y Transporte Terrestre or ATTT) to initiate the registration process.

- Required Documentation: Bring the required documentation, including your passport, residency card (if applicable), customs clearance documents, and proof of payment of duties and taxes.

- Receive License Plates: Once registered, you'll receive Panamanian license plates for your motorcycle.

6. Insurance Requirements

- Mandatory Insurance: In Panama, it's mandatory to have liability insurance for your motorcycle. Obtain insurance coverage from a reputable local provider.

- Coverage Considerations: Consider additional coverage options, such as comprehensive insurance, to protect your motorcycle against theft, accidents, or other unforeseen events.

7. Enjoying the Ride in Panama

- Explore the Country: With all the paperwork completed, customs processes navigated, and your motorcycle officially registered, it's time to hit the open roads and explore the beauty that Panama has to offer.

Benefits and Considerations of Importing a Motorcycle into Panama

While the process of importing a motorcycle into Panama requires careful planning, it comes with several benefits:

1. Explore Diverse Landscapes: Panama's diverse landscapes, from tropical rainforests to mountainous terrains, offer motorcycle enthusiasts a wide range of exhilarating routes to explore.

2. Cost Savings: Importing your motorcycle can be a cost-effective option compared to purchasing a new one locally, especially if you already own a motorcycle in your home country.

3. Familiarity with Your Motorcycle: Riding a motorcycle you're familiar with can enhance your overall riding experience and confidence on the road.

However, it's essential to consider potential challenges and factors such as customs duties, taxes, and the need for compliance with local regulations. Additionally, staying informed about any changes in importation policies is crucial for a smooth process.


Importing a motorcycle into Panama is an exciting endeavor that opens up a world of possibilities for exploration and adventure. By following this comprehensive how-to guide, you can navigate the complexities of the importation process with confidence. Remember to stay informed about current regulations, engage professional assistance when needed, and enjoy the freedom of exploring Panama on your own two wheels. Whether you're drawn to the Pacific coastline, the highlands, or the lush greenery, importing your motorcycle into Panama is the key to unlocking a truly unforgettable riding experience in this beautiful Central American country.

9 views0 comments


bottom of page