Mexico Drivers License: Everything You Need to Know

Mexican laws require a valid driver’s license for everyone who wants to drive a car in the country. But that opens a lot of questions if you are coming from another country. Are only Mexican licenses allowed? do they recognize international driving permits? what about people looking to stay long-term?.

You need to answer all those questions before renting or buying a car to drive on Mexico’s roads so you don’t run into any issues with the authorities and so you can focus on enjoying your stay.

In this guide, I’ll answer all the questions you might have about Mexico drivers license from personal experience.

Can you drive in Mexico with a US / Canadian / UK driver’s license?

Yes. You can drive in Mexico with a US driver’s license or a valid license from any other country. However, there are some requirements you will need to keep in mind.

US citizens must follow these guidelines while driving south of the border:

  • While driving, you should always have with you your US driver’s license.
  • Bring your passport or some other form of ID to identify yourself. Driver’s licenses are not valid ID documents in Mexico.
  • The car must have a Mexican auto insurance policy. Your US insurance will not cover you.

If you plan to drive your car to Mexico, you can purchase the insurance policy through most US insurance agencies.

A vehicle import permit fee and a warranty deposit are required as well. This will allow you to use the car in the country for a certain period of time (6 months usually). The car must return to its country of origin before this period ends. Cross back to the US to have the deposit fee reimbursed.

Here you will find the current vehicle import fees and further information.

If you plan to rent a car in Mexico, the insurance cost will be included with the price in most agencies.

For expats that are planning to live in Mexico long-term, getting a Mexican driver’s license is worth it. You can find the procedure below.

Do you need an International Driving Permit in Mexico?

An International driving permit is an official translation of your local driver’s license. Some countries require one to operate a car in their territory.

Mexico does not require an International Driving Permit. You can drive a car in Mexico as long as you have a valid driver’s license issued in your country of origin.

I’d recommend that you also bring your passport with you while driving a car in Mexico. While your country’s driver’s license allows you to use a car, it does not work as a valid ID.

How to get a driver’s license in Mexico as a foreigner

Getting a driver’s license in Mexico as a foreigner is quite simple. You can get one regardless of the type of visa you have, but the license will only be valid for the remaining of your current visa or residency duration.

If you are on a tourist visa you can still apply for one. However, your country’s driving license is also valid in Mexico. You can simply use that instead. It is not worth the trouble getting one just for a few weeks or months.

Each state has a slightly different procedure to apply for one. Some states have stricter rules and have harder driving tests and written exams while others will pretty much hand you a driver’s license in 5 minutes.

In most cases, you will be asked to meet these requirements:

Requirements to get a driver’s license in Mexico as a foreigner

Before going to your local module. Make sure to do the following.

  • Make an appointment though the state’s web portal. In some smaller towns you will not need an appointment, you can simply walk up to the local module (usually the local police department). Here are the sites for some of the bigger cities.
  • Pay the driving license fee. The cost is between $40 and $60 US dollars depending on the state. In some cases you will need to make the payment trough a bank while in others you can simply pay in cash right there. For motorcycle licenses the cost is between $25 and $50.
  • Ask the local office if a medical form is required. This includes your blood type and a quick vision test. They will let you know where you can get one or you can get it at the local cruz roja (red cross).

Bring the following documentation

  • Valid passport
  • Migratory form.
  • If you are a resident: CURP Number. You were given one when your residency was approved. If you don’t have it, you can consult it here.
  • Proof of address (most recent water bill, electricity bill, property tax bill or bank statement). If you don’t have one with your name on it, you might need to go to the INM and get a letter stating that it is really your address.
  • Medical form (optional depending on the state)

Type E, F, and P licenses (freight trucks, public transportation operators, and driver’s permit for minors) are not available to foreigners.

Car and motorcycle licenses are separate permits. Some states like Mexico City do have a license type that covers both.

If you have a valid US driver’s license or one from your country of origin, bring that to the appointment too. In some states, if you can show one they’ll skip the driving test.

With that in mind, simply go to the local module on the date of your appointment. Take the written and driving test and if you pass them you will walk out of there with your Mexican driver’s license.

It is important to note that all the tests and forms are only available in Spanish.

What does a mexican driver’s license look like?

The current Mexico drivers license looks like this:

Mexico drivers license
Mexico drivers license

It includes the following information. From top to bottom.

Tipo de licencia: License type. The most common types are A (cars), A1 (motorcycles), and A2 (motorcycles and cars). Some license types, like E (freight trucks), F (public transportation), and P (minor driver’s permit) are not available to foreigners.

Licencia No.: License number. A unique number that identifies your license.


Antiguedad: If it’s a renewal, this will list the date of the first drivers license you got.

Nacionalidad: Nationality

Expedición: Expedition date

Tipo de sangre: Boold type

Vigencia: Validity.

RFC: Registro Federal de Contribuyentes. Mexican Taxpayer ID. This is optional for foreigners but you will need to get it if you want to earn income in the country or buy property.

Motorcycle driver’s license in Mexico

Do you need a motorcycle license in Mexico?

You need a motorcycle license in Mexico to ride one. In most states, the car and motorcycle driver’s licenses are different from each other and you will need to apply and take the driving test for each separately.

In other states like Mexico City, there are certain license types that allow you to drive both, but you will still need to take two driving tests.

The requirements and procedures to get a Mexican motorcycle driver’s license are the same as the ones listed in the sections above for cars.

What happens if you get caught driving without a license in Mexico?

It is obviously not recommended to drive without a license in Mexico. It is extremely illegal. Please don’t do it. If you are a foreigner you are opening yourself up to experiencing the bad side of Mexico’s local police departments.

But if you really want to know the consequences according to the law, here it is.

Driving without a Mexico drivers license in Mexican roads will result in a fine of $900 to $2000 Mexican pesos ($45 to $200 US dollars) depending on the situation. The car will be taken to an impound lot (commonly called “corralón”) where you will have to cover the fine. If the car has other pending fines or is behind on the property tax (tenencia), all of them will have to be paid to get it back.


  • You can drive in Mexico with a valid driver’s license from your country of origin
  • Temporary and permanent residents can apply for a Mexico drivers license
  • Motorcycle licenses are different from car licenses
  • Do not drive in Mexico without a license