Since we are full time residents of Mexico and drive a car with Mexican license plates, we both got our local driver licenses last year.
Readers often ask me what the requirements are to get a driver license in Mexico and that question is not easy to answer because just like in the United States, the requirements differ depending on jurisdiction. Nevertheless, I thought it might help some readers to hear about our experience in order to at least get an idea of what to expect.
The first thing we had to do was take a 200 question written test (only offered in Spanish), followed by a practical road test where we had to perform several high-speed maneuvers on a wet test track. If you don’t score at least 90% on the written test or if you hit two or more cones on the practical test, you fail and have to wait six months from attempting it again.
Just kidding! We didn’t have to do any of those things to get our licenses. Since we already had valid licenses from the U.S., we only had to supply the following documentation and pay $388 pesos each ($19.40 USD) to get our licenses in Tulum:
- Copy of a valid passport
- Copy of valid driver license from your home country
- Proof of residency in the municipality of Tulum (e.g. electric bill in your name)
- Certified blood test showing blood type (we had blood drawn at a local medical lab)
- Proof of legal presence in the country (Temporary or Permanent Resident Card)
The licenses are valid for two years and they take your pictures at the office at no additional charge.
I knew that one of the readers would inevitably ask me if they could get a license with just a tourist visa, so I went by the Dirección General de Seguridad Pública y Tránsito in Tulum to inquire. The officer that I spoke with told me that foreigners had to either have a temporary or permanent resident card to get a license. He added that in the case of a temporary resident card expiring in less than two years, the license would expire on the same date.
Let’s Wrap This Up
An additional benefit of having a local license is that you can use it as proof of address to get a local’s discount. Just in case you’re wondering, a resident card does not have an address on it.
If you’re thinking about getting a local license in Mexico, I’d recommend getting a list of the requirements from the local office tasked with issuing them. This will save you a lot of wasted time and frustration in the long run.