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Everything About Getting a Drivers License in Mexico

Drivers license Playa Del Carmen

One of the challenges of moving to Mexico is getting a drivers license. This is mainly because it is a new process and perhaps not the easiest procedure for those who do no speak Spanish fluently. We have tried to make a super easy guide for you to help make this process easier for you.

How to get a drivers license in Mexico

Lets first start with the official list of things you need to get your license.  For foreigners (extranjeros) You will need

1. A copy of your passport photo page

2. Copy of your immigration document.

3. Electric bill or other bill from Playa Del Carmen.

Make sure your copies are clear. Note: It can be hard to get clear copies of immigrations visas since the laminating blurs the copy (but we have found them not to be ultra picky about the clarity of the copy).

Bring originals (definitely your visa) with you just in case you need to get more copies or for them to look at the originals.

It is good to bring a pen and they will ask your blood type. It is not necessary to show a paper with your blood type. If you do not know you can go to a clinic in Playa Del Carmen and get one done for about 100 pesos. One very central clinic is LACLICSA Labratorios on 30th Avenue and the corner of 14th Street (in front of AKI). You can get the result back in one day of you go early in the morning or by 2:00pm the next day.

Drivers license Playa Del Carmen

Where to get your drivers license in Playa Del Carmen

Drivers license Playa Del CarmenYou will need to go to Direccion General De Seguridad Publica Y transito Municipal on the Arco Vial where it intersects with Avenue Jacinito Pat. (Near CFE ad the new IMSS Hospital) This is on the north end of Playa Del Carmen.

Where to go….

There is parking along the road outside the complex and the entrance is on the corner. When you walk in the property on the sidewalk, go to the first building on your right. Just as you enter there will be a desk on your left. Here is where they look over your paperwork. They will look at your papers and ask what kind of license you want and if it is your first time in Playa Del Carmen getting one. They then will tell you where you need to go based on what your situation is. Usually giving you a number and then in that same building you pingpong around to all the windows, paying, filing, and taking a photo.

HUGE TIP: If you have a drivers license from another country and you surrender it to them, you do not have to take the written and driving exam.

Tip: They will ask you for an emergency contact person. Have all the information ready for this. They will ask for a name, phone number and address.

Driving Class to get license

The class times are on the schedule above. They are pretty basic and in Spanish. Most everyone should be able to figure this out.

Driving Test

If you are required to drive it is a basic around the block spin and parking. It is nothing to be afraid of.

Continuing the Process

Drivers license Playa Del Carmen In the paper processing room there is another entrance to the eye exam room and picture taking (see photo). When you get to this step you will first present your papers to the eye exam desk. They will ask you if you need glasses to drive, if you have diabetes, allergies to medications, and what your blood type is. Then they will ask you to cover one eye and read the letters they point to and then the other eye.

Tip: Remember in Spanish I, E and A are all different. Fortunately they are a little forgiving for foreigners on this.

Next pay at the booth the fee. Try to bring exact change because you might get stuck waiting for change.

The last step is the dreaded photo. They do have one small mirror here where you can prep but not much else. They will ask for your paper and then take your photo. Then stand and they want a scan of your right index finger. You will next need to sign an electronic pad for you signature that will go on your license.

Tip: Remember you will need to have this match what your signature looks like normally because banks and immigration all like them to look alike.

They will confirm all the information such as address and name and then ask you to sit while they process your card. It only takes a few minutes and you are done.

Getting a drivers license according to your visa

Can you get a drivers license in Playa Del Carmen if you are a tourist? The answer is yes. However it will be limited to how long your tourist visa is. Your drivers license from your home country is valid in Mexico so it is not too common for people to get a Mexican license. The rules and depending on who is at the counter can effect the answers to your questions about getting a license.

If you are here on a visa temporal, you can get a drivers license up to the time when your license expires. This means that if you have a visa temporal and it is expiring in 4 months, even though you are going to re apply for a longer visa, you will only be allowed to get a 3 month drivers license. Again, this can depend on who is behind the counter. We just provide this information so you are somewhat informed about the process and regulations.

Congratulations on getting a license!

Congratulations if you are at this step! You now have a local ID that can provide discounts and can drive here. We hope this guide has made it a little easier for you to go through this process. Happy and safe driving!

70 Comments on Everything About Getting a Drivers License in Mexico

  1. Hi!
    I am foreigner and was planning to take my driving license in Mexico this Summer (2016) and have the following doubts:
    – Are the practical classes included in the cost mentioned on the photo (460 pesos for 2 years)?
    – I assume they have cars on the school and an instructor for the classes, right?
    – Is there a book to study the road signs? (Or should I bring one with me, from my home country?)
    – Do you know how to get to the driving school from Akumal? Is there a local bus stop nearby?
    Thanks in advance!

    • Mr.Yucatan // May 9, 2016 at 8:16 PM // Reply

      Hello and thank for checking out our article on getting a drivers license in Playa Del Carmen. The one thing you will learn in Mexico is that things always change. We would recommend going to the place to ask any current details, that way you can make sure you have everything and know what to expect. It would be good to bring someone that speaks Spanish if you do not fluently speak. A few things to note: they do not provide a car and you will need to bring your own or a friends to take the test. There is no need to bring a book of road signs with you since there will be some differences in them. From Akumal you will need to get to Playa Del Carmen, We assume you will come by colectivo. Then you can wither take the bus or a taxi there. A taxi is much faster and only about 40-50 pesos. But as you will be needing a car, you might be coming with a friend anyways. We hope you get your license and it goes smoothly. Part of your journey will be going there to ask questions and see what the current requirements are.

  2. Paul Sanders // June 14, 2016 at 11:16 PM // Reply

    Is it necessary to get a Mexican driver’s license to drive in Mexico or can my Texas drivers license work?

    • Mr.Yucatan // June 15, 2016 at 11:24 AM // Reply

      Hello Paul. You can come here and rent a car with your US license and even use it if you live here. If you are going to live here it can be good to get one as local ID and you can get discounts. A drivers license is failry easy to get and if you are going to be living here for a long time, it is good to have so you don’t have to worry about renewing somewhere else. Also if you move here, some states have jury duty attaches to licenses and you can avoid the paperwork by not keeping a license where you don’t live anymore.

  3. Paul Sanders // June 16, 2016 at 4:53 PM // Reply

    Thank you very much for the very quick replay. “Everything Playa” has been a terrific resource as new residents. Thanks and keep up the great work.

    • Mr.Yucatan // June 17, 2016 at 4:29 AM // Reply

      Thank you Paul. We will keep working on much more article and video so people can feel comfortable moving here if they choose to and can find thing easily. See you around Playa!

  4. Hi There!

    1. Do you know how much it costs to replace a license that was still valid? I just lost my wallet. 🙁

    2. Just an FYI for anyone who might need to know. I have a “Residente Temporal” Visa. They have special tourist prices. The $280 pesos and $560 pesos is the locals price. They have the prices taped to the front desk with two columns, one actually says “Licencia de Turismo”. I had to pay $800 pesos for a 6 month tourist drivers license. They said the computer doesn’t allow them to make tourist drivers licenses valid for over 6 months.

    • Mr.Yucatan // June 24, 2016 at 7:55 AM // Reply

      Thank you for the information on the tourist drivers license. That is good information for people coming to Playa Del Carmen. Sorry we do not have the cost for replacements of the drivers license. We hope it is not too hard for you to get.

    • Thank you for your comment.

      Do you know if you need to have a foreign licence to get this tourist Visa ?
      Thank You.

  5. So is it possible to get a Licence on a tourist visa?

    • Some have gotten a license for the duration of your Tourist Visa but what is the point? Foreign licenses allow you to drive in Mexico and if you are looking to actually live in Mexico then getting a visa will alow you to get a license for longer then 6 months. As with many things in Mexico your milage may vary. Some have gotten the license for the legnth of tourist visa but others have not.

  6. Do they test your visual field? Can you drive in canada with a mexico drivers license if you are visiting?

    • Hello Austin

      You can drive with a valid license from your country here. If you want to get a drivers license you do need to take a visual test. It is funny however because you have to read letters in Spanish and many are double meaning in English so they just might think you are blind.

  7. Inez Strickland // December 29, 2016 at 8:54 AM // Reply

    What type of license do I need in Mexico to drive a bus?

    • Hello

      Are you thinking of doing a tour bus? We will note that most public transportation driving is limited to Mexican nationals. It is a closed profession like airplane pilots. If correct, both can only be done by Mexican citizens. If you are looking to drive your own personal bus, we are not sure, so we recommend a trip to the license center to inquire. If you find out something, please let us know here so we can add the information to our article.

  8. What age do you have to be?

  9. Hello,
    Do you think there would be any chance that i could get a licence as a tourist, without having a bill to show ?

    I’m coming for 10 days, but i’d like to do little road trip.
    I know how to drive, but i don’t have a licence in my own country.

    Thank you for your help.

    • Hello Charles

      We know some tourist have gotten a drivers license while here. Often it is limited to the time on their tourist visa. Most tourist do not get one because your license is good from your home country in order to drive here. Honestly, it is asking a lot to get a drivers license in Mexico, on a tourist visa, with no valid drivers license in your home country. Exact policies and experiences vary when people go to get a license, but our advice is just leave it up to the busses. They are comfortable and affordable. You can spend a nice time going to destinations on the bus.

  10. Jonas Santos // February 22, 2017 at 6:26 PM // Reply

    I dont have a motorbike license. Can I get one as a tourist? Will it be valid in europe? I Will be 10 days in Playa del carmen

    • Hello Jonas

      Usually only the licenses are valid during the extent of your tourist visa. That means that even if they will give you one after you pass the test, it would only be valid for the time here. The regulations change often and if a tourist can get a license is not always a given. If you are only here for 10 days it is not worth it in our opinion to try to get one and spend the time doing so. For one, you will need to take a test and you will need to have a bike with you. Just enjoy your vacation and don’t over complicate things by trying.

  11. Do you happen to know if we own a house here how we can register a car, we would not be residents, when we just come here for 6 months at a time?

    Thanks in advance,
    Jolanda

    • Mr.Yucatan // March 5, 2017 at 7:36 AM // Reply

      Hello

      We do not know the details of registering a car as a non resident. Technically you are tourist and as a tourist you would not need to register a car here. You see the issue? There are people with varying opinions and options. To get the official answer it would be best to go to the office on 15th Avenue and the corner of Calle 1 Sur.

  12. Buenas tardes,

    Great post! Though I have a question for clarification… My Canadian license is going to expire soon and I won’t be going back just to renew, so I am looking into getting a Mexican license (I live here, so it is the logical thing to do!). My Canadian license is a regular drivers lic. with an ‘M’ endorsement (motorcycle). Here, I drive a scooter but rent cars occasionally, so do I apply for the car license and am then covered for my scooter as well? Or do I need to apply for both the car and motorcycle licenses?

    • Mr.Yucatan // March 20, 2017 at 8:55 PM // Reply

      There are motorcycle licenses here and car license here. A motorcycle is considered anything with two wheels so it can be different then some locations that go by size of motor. There must be a special arrangement with Cozumel tourist that arrive by ship to rent scooters with car licenses. If you live here that is a different story. Of course details with vary at the DTM office and you will have to double check there. Right now our best answer is you will need two licenses.

  13. Mr. Jackson // May 3, 2017 at 12:04 PM // Reply

    Can I get a license in Mexico if I am revoked in the U.S.?

    • Mr.Yucatan // May 3, 2017 at 6:18 PM // Reply

      You can apply for one in Mexico. You will need to pass the test in Mexico. There is no inter country database that will show them a warning sign. You just need to pass eye, written and driving test in Spanish here.

  14. Belinda Porter // July 5, 2017 at 8:50 PM // Reply

    I have a Mexican Drivers lucience from the Yucatan. I am temporary resident. Thinking of moving to Playa del Carmen. Do I need to reapply for licence again do the tests or do they just issue new licience from my new address

    • Mr.Yucatan // July 6, 2017 at 6:47 AM // Reply

      Hello Belinda

      You are fine until your license expires and then renew in your new state. The only thing that your drivers license can get you is local discounts sometime.

  15. Belinda Porter // July 7, 2017 at 7:55 AM // Reply

    Will I have to do the written test again.??

    • Mr.Yucatan // July 7, 2017 at 8:27 AM // Reply

      No you will not have to unless you let your old license expire and there is a gap between getting a new one. They usually allow two months.

  16. Hello
    Thank you for such helpful article
    I will be in Mexico soon and would like to apply for a driver’s license as a tourist.
    Could you please advise me if there is too much of a waiting time to get the appointment for the drievrs tests? How long in advance should I book it?
    Regards
    Camila

    • Mr.Yucatan // July 25, 2017 at 3:00 PM // Reply

      Hello Camila

      There is not way to make an appointment. It will take about one hour to get it. If you have a drivers license you should be able to just skip the test, so bring your license even if it is expired. You should know though that your license from your home country is valid here as well.

  17. I will be coming to Playa this Fall. I have started the permanent visa process and wondered if I have to get a Mexican license or can I continue to use my Florida license which is good until 2020? Also, if I turn in my Florida license, will they notify the State of Florida or can I just get a duplicate?
    Thanks!
    Rosemary

    • Mr.Yucatan // July 30, 2017 at 5:29 PM // Reply

      Hello Rosemary

      Those are all good questions. You will be able to use your Florida license here. Although here are a few things to check on. Is your license tied to jury duty? If so you might want to cancel it. Also having a local license will give you a local idea which can give you discounts on the Cozumel Ferry, busses and eco parks. Your visa will not have your address. Mexico will not notify Florida so you could get a second copy and use one to turn in here to bypass the drivers test (although things change all the time there for regulations).

  18. Are golf carts legal on Playa del Carmen streets. If yes, is a drivers license required? Thanks

    • Hello Rich

      ATV’s have license plates and so do golf cart type vehicles. These do require a license. The only place it might be possible to drive on the street and without a license is inside Puerto Aventuras. We often see kids driving around in there. That town/development is more of a private neighborhood, so that is why.

  19. Probably a silly question, but one were to get a car license, would they also be able to drive a motorcycle, or would they have to pay for both?

    • There are two types of license. You would need one of each to drive each one. There are special things you. We’d to know for motorcycles like not driving on the overpass bridges and driving on wet roads that are important so they have a separate test as well.

  20. This information is extremely helpful, thank you! When you say surrender the foreign license to them, do you mean they will keep it? Or simply look at it/make a copy? Thanks!

    • Hello Alicia
      They will take it and keep it. Of course as with anything in Mexico, the exact policies do change often, so just be prepared for slight additional or easier process.

  21. Hi,
    Im currently studying in Chetumal so I have a temporary student residency, I have my drivers license from Belize. Do you have any information if I require a Mexican license if Im driving a Mexican car? or can I use my own license? Thanks in advance.

    • If you are renting a car in Mexico you can use your foreign drivers license. If you are living in Mexico and buy a car in Mexico you should get a license or Mexico. The standards are not that strict but you can get into a dispute if you get pulled over.

  22. Hi,Going to playa soon,for a few weeks,would like to apply for a licence(i have an Australian one),i’ll be on tourist visa,is it possible?Do i need to take any tests? (even though i can still drive with the Australian one)

    • Hello Mary

      Usually they will just have you fill out forms and pay. The license will only be as good as the time on your tourist visa. So the question is, why would you go through the time and expense to get a license if you can us yours from you country?

  23. Do you know what the process is for the renewal of your PDC driver’s license?

    • Mr.Yucatan // March 14, 2018 at 7:30 AM // Reply

      Yes. You have the option of short or long term renewal. You just need to take all the copies of your paperwork and go to the building on your right when you arrive. Go to the guard desk and the left of the entrance when you enter. They will look over your paperwork and then give you a number. You then go through a process of about 4 stops in that building and they will print it out for you that day.

  24. Jesper Karl Björs // April 18, 2018 at 9:16 AM // Reply

    God Day
    I like to take a drivinglicens in mexico.
    I am from sweden . How long take this to do?
    And the price for the car driving liciens?
    With Luck.
    Jesper

  25. Lynda Favre // July 1, 2018 at 10:29 AM // Reply

    I will be traveling to Playa Del Carmen for about three weeks I have a valid U.S. drivers license, I would like to rent a scooter for the short time I’ll be visiting, do I need a special license to rent and operate a scooter?

  26. DOUGLAS THOMAS // August 10, 2018 at 5:48 PM // Reply

    I am suspended in n.j.Can I get a mexico licence and drive in the other 49 states I realize I can’t in n.j

    • The big question is, are you a visa holder for Mexico? If you have a temp or permanent visa you can get a license and use it in the US. You probably are coming as a tourist and you can get a license but only for the time your tourist visa is allowed, so this will not work for you.

  27. Leo Langston // October 18, 2018 at 12:35 PM // Reply

    Since I could not find out any thing about San Miquel I would assume that the process would be similiar. Will have my TR visa.
    Several questions:
    (1) If you surrender your US licenses what would prevent you from going back home a claiming you lost your licenses?
    (2) When are you required to take the written test?
    (3) If you take the written are you allow to have a translator/facilitator?.
    (4) I have reached out on “Cozumel 4 You” to see if there are any translator/facilitator that can assist. If I am unable to locate one in Coz are you aware of any in PDC?

    • Hello Leo

      You can get a new license in the States if you leave your license here. Just have ID. The written test is for new licenses or if you don’t have a license to surrender. Most of your questions are going to be dependent on who is working that day because things change so often. We don’t think you can take a translator to take the test.

  28. My wife and I are buying a condo in Playa Del Carmen in December 2019. We want to buy a scooter to drive around when we are on vacation. We are from Canada. My question is:

    1/Can we buy a scooter to leave in mexico and get plats for it as a foreigner in Mexico? (visiting a few times a year)

    2/Can we get our scooter license if we are not moving to Mexico? (no Copy of your immigration document)

    • There will be some that say this is possible. Basically it is not possible. Like many things in Mexico it depends on who you ask and how many times you ask. We say it is not possible because you need to register the scooter. If you are a tourist and are leaving the country, you are abandoning a vehicle in the country. Yes, you plan on coming back and plan on getting a 180 day visa. You also can only get a license for the time your tourist card is valid. So that means technically you need to go get a new license every time you arrive in Mexico. There are some benefits of getting a residential visa and doing the whole vehicle and license thing is one of them.

  29. I had my US driver’s license stolen yesterday and I am here in Playa with a tourist visa.
    I have a car and want to be able to drive legally.
    Can I get a temporary Mexican license through mid-April when my visa expires?
    Thanks

    • You can get a license in Mexico for the time of your visa but you will have to ask there if they will issue you one. Most likely if you ask nicely they will. It will depend on who is there and how they enforce the rules. Worst cae scenario you need to take a test to get one.

  30. Hola! I just went through this process today. I think they have remodeled or moved the license bureau since those pictures were taken, but the location is the same and it was a painless process that took about 15-20 minutes at the most. Check in at the reception desk and make sure you have all of your paperwork – including a copy of your USA or other driver’s license, passport, Mexican citizenship docs (I have a permanent resident card) , curp, utility bill with address and emergency contact info. No written or driving test and I didn’t even have to take a vision test! 🙂 5 year license cost about 1300 pesos.

  31. Benoit Lécluse // February 20, 2019 at 6:18 PM // Reply

    Hola .As a canadian I’ll come for 36 days in Puerto Morelos this spring . I’ll come again for 80 days in 2020 spring
    I want to buy a scooter in Playa del Carmen .Between spring 2019 and spring 2020 I’ll have a privat garage to store my scooter . I have a Canadian driver license for car and motorcycle more than 125 cc .Having my canadian driver for
    motorcycle is that good enough for me to buy a scooter and have a owner license .Thank you

    • Hello Benoit

      This question comes up a lot here. Some have done this here. Although technically it is not perfectly black and white. The reason is, should a tourist come and be allowed to buy a vehicle and then technically be allowed to abandon it? This is clearly not what you are doing but that is why the laws are supposed to be for residents of Mexico. Most of the time the dealer can enter a generic number (curp or RFC) and it is good to go. If laws get stricter or change you will need to adapt. It is not a straight forward process but people have done what you are looking to do.

  32. Keith Knowles // March 24, 2019 at 11:56 AM // Reply

    I live in Mexico but my landlord pays all utilities. None are in my name. Can I use a copy of my lease or wifi bill as proof that I am living here?
    Thank you….

  33. Hi
    I have a CDMX licence that will expire in 18 months. Can I change it to Qintana Roo licence easily there in Playa? How long is the licence valid? What can I do for a proof of address if I am just tourist or on a Visa without permanent address in Playa?

    • Hello Rowen

      If you are a tourist you can only get it until the date your tourist visit expires. If you have a residential visa, you will need to show your current CFE bill.

  34. Bill Miller // June 11, 2019 at 11:56 AM // Reply

    Paul, my property manager went with me to secure a 6 month temp license in Playa del Carmen. I do not spend more than 3 to 4 months at a time in Mexico. So I do not apply for. Visa.
    My question is how do I renew the 6 month lines before it expires and is there a limit on the number of times it can be renewed?

    • Mr.Yucatan // June 13, 2019 at 1:35 AM // Reply

      You can only get the license for the time you have your tourist visa. You will have to reapply each time you come to Mexico and pay all the fees again. It is not easy but that is what tourist have to do, and you are a tourist. There are benefits to getting residency but since you are only in Mexico 4 months a year that would not work for you since there are limits to how much time you can spend out of the county.

  35. Thank you for your prompt response. It would be great if this process were available on line as long as you already have a temp license.

  36. hi . i have a traktor trailer liscence from USA want to transfer it to a Mexican one so that i wouldnt need to pass the tests all over . is it possible

    • Mr.Yucatan // June 29, 2019 at 8:33 AM // Reply

      Under Nafta rules US truck drivers can drive into Mexico. If you are looking to be based in Mexico and work in Mexico, that is a whole other immigration issue. It is best to check with Nafta rules for all the details. We are not experts on this type or law.

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