Quintana Roo: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration

I usually try to keep my articles general enough to be applicable throughout Mexico; however, today I decided to do one about renewing one’s vehicle registration in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo.

The reason for this departure from normal protocol is that I personally know over two dozen expats in this area who purchased their first vehicle in Mexico in 2017 and most of them have no idea how to renew their registration. Since they all follow the blog, this seemed like the easiest way to get the information out to them.

When to Renew

You are required to renew your vehicle registration (tarjeta de circulación) every year by March 31st.

On select years, every vehicle in the state gets a new license plate when they renew. This occurs every three years and the next time will be in 2020.

How to Renew Online

You can renew easily online by going to the following website:


You will need your old tarjeta de circulación for this. That’s the small silver card the lady is holding in the main picture.

On the screen, enter the tag number (placa) and the registration number (folio) from the tarjeta de circulación. Once you enter the information, your information should come up with the total due.

If you have any past due fines or fees associated with the vehicle, those will normally come up too.

There is a link to pay online. Print your receipt and take it with you to the nearest SEFIPLAN office to pick up your new tarjeta de circulación.

You’ll also need to bring the expired tarjeta de circulación and a photocopy of your passport and/or your resident card. If you have a CURP, it’s a good idea to bring a copy of that as well (sometimes they ask for it).

A Note About Paying at the Office

You don’t have to prepay online but I highly recommend it, and here’s why.

Quintana Roo waives a tax called a tenencia, which is basically a tax on newer vehicles. The tenencia tax still shows on the bill for my registration; however, it is cancelled out by a subsidy on another line of the bill.

This results in a substantial savings because without the subsidy, the tenencia for my vehicle would have been $8,172 pesos ($430 USD).

We know of at least one expat who was denied the subsidy when she attempted to pay directly at the office. She was told that the subsidy only applied to citizens. She was finally able to get it but it took a couple of trips and some help from a bilingual friend.

When you pay online, you automatically get the subsidy.

Let’s Wrap This Up

I don’t like to wait until the last minute to do things, so I already renewed my registration for 2018. The total amount to be paid was $354 pesos, or about $18.60 USD. That’s a lot less than I used to pay each year back in Florida.

By the way, if you’re either unwilling or unable to go down and pick up your new tarjeta de circulación yourself, you can complete a carta poder and have someone else do it for you. To learn about those, click HERE.

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About the Author

Q-Roo Paul
Paul Kurtzweil (Q-Roo Paul) was a deputy sheriff in Florida for 25 years before retiring at the rank of lieutenant in 2015. He and his wife moved to Mexico looking to maximize their retirement income. They later started a blog called Two Expats Mexico (qroo.us) to share their experiences, as well as information about the logistical and legal aspects of retiring south of the border.

15 Comments on "Quintana Roo: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration"

  1. Cecile McKee | January 15, 2018 at 7:31 am |

    Great information! I will definitely be paying my online from now on.

  2. Great information! I usually have to research this info myself this mad my day Thanks! 🙂

  3. Good to know

  4. What are the little miniature license plate stickers you see in the back or side windows on some cars? I’m wondering since they aren’t universal.

    • They come with the tags. You put them in the window so the police will know if the tag on the car is the one assigned (if it matches). When you see other stickers, those are the ones from previous license plates.

      In Quintana Roo, you don’t have to put them in the window but if you plan on driving to other states, you need to do it.

  5. LOVE THIS! Always so helpful Paul. Thanks!

  6. Thank you! Still wondering about buying that car once we are legal! But this little tidbit will be one thing we won’t be ignorant about once we get the car :))) It’s a process, heh heh.

  7. Seems online is only for renewals not new registration. I have not found an option to navigate off this to any related pages unless I missed something. I would assume the Tenencia subsidy applies to new vehicles also.

  8. Do you have to have resident status to buy and register a used car in Mexico? I am here on a tourist visa. I come every year for about 5 months and want to buy a car.

    • In theory, yes. However, there are some registration offices that don’t ask for your resident card or CURP when you register. You should ask some expats in that live in the municipality where you will be registering it before you buy.

  9. Follow up to getting registration (Tarjeta de circulacion) and new plates in Cozumel for a new car. I was concerned with the tenencia as mentioned in the article, so I had a friend (Mexican) come with me since I wasn’t sure how to explain subsidies if it did not come off the bill. I had no issue with the tenencia as it did not come up as an issue and clearly showed on the receipt as a debit.

    Having looked at the registraion site linked in the article, it appears it is only for renewals not new registration and plates. I reached out to a few people in the know and they confirmed that I must appear in person to complete the process for a new car.

    I went with my passport and a copy (they did not keep it), my Permanenant Residency card and a copy (front and back and they kept it), original Factura and 3 copies (they kept one), Carta Factura and two copies (they kept one), CFE bill and a copy (they kept it), a copy of my CURP letter (which they examined and returned – not sure if I needed this but they did separate it out purposely), and original paid receipt from the dealership which they separated out and returned.

    The original Factura and copies, Carta Factura and copies, CURP letter copy, and paid receipt were provided by the dealership. Note that in Cozumel they stop verifying the VIN at 2:30 pm and the office is open until 4 pm. The entire process took about 25 minutes. I went in the morning as Government and public offices seem less busy in the mornings. Cost was about $60 USD equivalent.

    Slightly off topic but useful. Thanks for all the articles. In general I found these articles and especially process and costs to have been very useful for our move and the most relevant for Q. Roo. I hope to give back as appreciation for the efforts of you and your wife.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience, Dale. It sounds like you’re transitioning well into your new life in Mexico.

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