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Renew Your US Passport Abroad in Panama

I spend much of the year in Panama, only heading to the US for short visits with my family. As my passport was running out of time and space, I decided to renew it in Panama. Here is some information for anyone who may wish to renew their passport aboard in Panama or who must go through the process of replacing a damaged or lost passport.

To begin the process I downloaded the necessary paperwork for renewing an adult US passport and filled out the paperwork. I then made an appointment at the US Embassy to submit the paperwork. I was able to get an appointment as soon as two days later.

At the US Embassy I passed through security, showed my printed paperwork to the desk and then took a number in the waiting room. I was called to the American Citizens Services window within 10 minutes. I submitted the paperwork and paid the fee. I then waiting for another agent to check over everything and then have me sign the papers.

I was told my passport would be ready for pick-up in 10-14 business days. In just 5 business days (8 total days) I received an email telling me my passport was ready.

Upon returning to the Embassy I did not need an appointment; I simply passed through security, took a number, and within 10 minutes was called to the window. I checked over the information of my new passport, signed it, and received back my old passport, now filled with holes so it could no longer be used.

The only thing I was not aware of was that I needed a stamp in the new, completely blank passport, noting that I had changed passports. I found this out upon arriving at the Costa Rica/Panama border. I had to return to the city of David to the Servico Nacional de Migracion office where I was given the stamp promptly and for free (note that you must wear long pants and no hats in this office). There are other branches of the office, including in Panama City. Be sure to pass by this office before trying to leave the country.

I was pleased with how easy the process was and will certainly consider renewing my passport abroad again in the future!

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