On designated years, set three years apart, all of the registered vehicles in the state of Quintana Roo are required to get new license plates by March 31st. This is one of those years.
In case you’re wondering, that’s over 649,000 cars, trucks, RVs, motorcycles and mopeds.
Today I headed to Tulum while Linda was still sound asleep because I wanted to beat the crowds at the local tag agency, which is called Sefiplan. I arrived about 15 minutes before the office opened and removed the old license plates from my car.
I was happy to see that there was only one other person waiting outside. Several more arrived and lined up behind me before the doors actually opened promptly at 8 am.
The key to getting anything done at a government office in Mexico on your very first attempt is to come prepared. I had already prepaid online, so I skipped the cashier and went right to the woman issuing the new plates. She carefully reviewed the stack of documents that I handed her before throwing my old plates in a box behind her desk and handing me new ones.
The whole process took me less than 10 minutes but not everyone else there today was so lucky. A few people were sent away empty-handed because they were missing one or more pieces of paperwork.
One of those unlucky folks was a fellow expat who recognized me from this blog. She told me that she had actually checked the blog for an article with the requirements to get new license plates but she couldn’t find one. You can thank her for this post.
Requirements to Exchange License Plates
If your Spanish is decent, that graphic might be enough for you. If not, here are the things you need to bring along with you in English, along with some helpful tips thrown in:
1) Proof of Payment (Only if Prepaid)
If you prepay (online, bank or store), you’ll need to bring the proof of payment with you.For information about how to see what you owe and prepay, check out How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration.
UPDATE 1/10/20: I recommend that you pay at the Sefiplan office the day you get your plates. Some readers who prepaid were unable to get their plates because the payment didn’t show in Sefiplan’s system yet.
2) Original and Copy of INE or Passport
An INE is a Mexican Voter ID Card. If you don’t have one of those, be sure to bring your passport along with a legible copy of the personal information page.
3) Original and Copy of Driver’s License
This is a new requirement that was introduced this year.
4) Original and Copy of Proof of Address
A current CFE bill works best but only if it’s in the name of the actual person whose name appears on the registration. Otherwise, they may ask for some additional documentation. You folks who are renting should bring along a copy of the lease or similar document.
Insufficient proof of address is one of the primary reasons that people are turned away.
5) The Old License Plates and Registration (Tarjeta de Circulación)
I know you wanted to hang your old plates on the wall of your den, but they want those back. You’ll also have to turn in that small silver registration card. Hopefully you remember where you put it.
Special Circumstance: If the Vehicle is Registered to a Company Instead of an Individual
This won’t apply to most people reading this blog. If the vehicle is registered to a company, you’ll need to bring the original and copy of el Acta Constitutiva and/or poder notorial that contains the name of the legal representative.
Let’s Wrap This Up
If you’re getting new tags for your car/truck or SUV, you can expect to pay $1,246 pesos.
However, if you haven’t been paying your annual registration fees up till this point because you didn’t know you had to — which sounds odd, but is actually quite common in the expat community– be prepared to pay a lot more.