Driving in Mexico! Drivers and Motorcycle license


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Although it is not required, we felt it prudent to acquire a Mexican Drivers License. This along with our FM2 Visa, will provide sufficient identification and hopefully our passports and Canadian ID will not be required to be in our pockets at all times. We do carry photo copies of all our documentation just in case though.

Siglo XXI building

A couple of weeks ago we started the process to get our Mexican drivers license. So the first step was to visit the Convention Center Siglo XXI in Merida (Calle 60 north Col. Revolución Ex-Cordemex; Hours: Mon-Fri: 8:00 to 14:00, Sat: 8:00 to 18:00 Phone: (999) 981-6420). We are told there are ‘mobile’ licensing units which visit beach towns once a year, but as Progreso’s date was in June this year we had to make the 20 minute journey to Merida. From Progreso you can take the autobus for 16 pesos and ask the driver to let you off at Siglo XXI which is right on the main road into Merida located south of Liverpool mall.

On our first visit to the licensing department, which we found located in the back of Siglo XXI inside the building, not in the parking lot as noted in many online articles. There is a quaint little desk in the waiting area which you need to approach, past all the chairs lining the hall way. At this desk you will need to present your documents for a quick verification before you are permitted inside the glass doors where all the action is taking place.

Entry way in Siglo XXI to get your license<br/> You must make it passed the desk to enter!

Ok, so being an expatriate we had to show we actually lived here which involves having a rental agreement and a current invoice from the address matching the rental agreement. The rental agreement must be notarized for it to be valid. The invoice must be an electrical or water bill, do not use cablemas! If you had a Mexican bank account that would suffice we believe. However, what we were told to gather on our first visit, was not sufficient for the lady who was sitting at that desk in the afternoon when we returned. Even though we had been told with a notarized rental agreement and the cablemas bill it would be acceptable. We even went one step further and our landlady accompanied us on our second visit to ensure they accepted the rental agreement…which they did but now we required a different statement.

So on our next visit, we brought all the documents required, notarized if requested, and our landlord and we were allowed in past the glass doors! In this room there exists a photocopy machine which you can pay for extra copies of anything required if you forgot to bring copies… ALWAYS HAVE COPIES )if they ask for 2 – bring 3 or 4!). So we paid the nice lady at the photocopy machine for our required copies and we were in line to have our information posted.

So here we were very happy to have our landlord to translate for us as they were now asking for things which we didn’t have! Simple things but if you are going to apply without anyone make sure you know the following as this is printed right on your license:

  • Emergency Contact, Full Name, address and Phone Number
  • Your Blood Type
  • Medical History

Once you have completed this section you will have a ‘quick’ medical examination where you have to read ‘line 5’ to show your vision is acceptable and answer a couple of medical questions (allergies and such). Then you are off to the ‘testing’ section where you will be directed to a computer and have the option of taking the test in Spanish or English. The test is 10 questions and you must get 8 correct to move on to the next step. Lyn got hers right away and she had questions like: A picture of several pine trees with the multiple choice answers being: A- a pine tree; B- a national forest; or C- a swimming pool. My test was not that easy and after getting the first 5 correct things fell apart on me! I was very lucky and the examiner allowed me to take the test again right away. This time I passed the test and moved on to the driving test. The book you purchase to study is in Spanish, yes I know we would like to see one in English for us expats but that is not going to happen. Also, the book contains NO PICTURES! 159 pages of small text…It is now in our scooter as you are supposed to keep it with you at all times…

The driving test, you must have your own car for this step. The test consists of you getting in the car, performing a parallel park in between pylons and being less than 30cm from the curb when parked. Our landlord permitted us to use her car for this step as we had not bought a vehicle yet.

Final step: go inside the building – pay the nice people – get your picture taken – get your new flashy Mexican drivers license and leave the building.

Motorcycle License:

Repeat all of the above steps, no shortcuts allowed! Actually there is one pleasant shortcut – you do not have to take the written multiple choice exam again! But other than that, make sure you have everything ready for them.

This time the driving test consists of you riding your scooter/bike around 3 pylons and back again without your feet touching the ground.

Then voila! you are about receive your Mexican motorcycle license – which you NEED to have if you are driving a scooter/motorbike in Mexico. You just have to pay the nice lady, get your picture taken and wait for your new license.

So, we carry both licenses now for identification and make sure we have it when we are driving the scooter (along with copies of anything else somebody might ever ask for!)


We contacted Julieta Morales for our scooter insurance. She has also helped us get our medical insurance. And yes, she does speak English if you require it.

Agente: Julieta Morales Vera
Email: julieta.morales@segurosmerida.com
Telcel: 9991 63 35 61
Iusacel: 9999 49 31 32


Here is an article I found helpful, I have posted it here in case the link to their site is ever broken.

Article From Yucatan Expatriate Services:
By Yucatan Expatriate Services on April 16, 2010


You can drive legally in Mexico using a valid driver’s license issued by other country, but if you are going to live in Mexico, it is better to carry a Mexican driver¹s license (licencia de conducir). To apply for a Mexican driver¹s license, you will need the following documents:

* FM3 or FM2 Visa (original and photocopy)
* Proof of address (CFE, Japay or Telmex bill less than 3 months old,
original and photocopy).
* Passport signature and photo page (original and photocopy)
* Fee of $212.00 MXN.

You will also be required to do the following:

* Pass a written exam about the rules for driving in Yucatan.
* Pass a practice exam. This usually means demonstrating that you can park
a car, so you will need to take a car with you.

The written exam can be taken in English, but the rule book for driving in
Yucatan is in Spanish. In Yucatan State, it’s called, Reglamento de Vialidad para el Estado de Yucatán. You can purchase it for $40.00 pesos (less than 4 dollars) at the same offices where you get your driver’s license.  The rule book is 159 pages, so it is a good idea to read and study it before taking the test. After you receive your driver’s license, you should keep the rule book with you in your car.

The written exam asks either trick questions or questions of common sense, so just relax and answer as if you were driving.
This is an example of the questions you will find:

You are driving your car through a city and in front of you is a bicycle;
to the left is a solid line. What should you do?
a [_] Tailgate the bicycle.
b [_] Stay behind the bicycle.
c [_] Wait for a broken line to pass.
d [_] Honk your horn to make the bicycle move over.

In Mérida, there are two places where you can obtain a driver¹s license:

* Departamento de Registro y Control Vehicular

Location: Calle  61-A  #494 x 88-A and 90 Colonia Centro
Big building across from the Parque Centenario Zoo
Hours:  Mon-Fri: 8:00 to 14:00, Sat: 8:00 to 13:00
Phone: (999) 923-6540 or (999) 928-5028

* Convention Center Siglo XXI  (in the parking lot)

Location: Calle 60 north Col. Revolución Ex-Cordemex
Hours: Mon-Fri: 8:00 to 14:00, Sat: 8:00 to 18:00
Phone: (999) 981-6420

These two are the only permanent offices in Yucatan State. For those who live in Progreso, Valladolid and other areas, the government provides a mobile office that transports all of the resources needed to obtain a driver¹s license to the different locations of the state.
The mobile office has the following schedule in 2010:

* Valladolid:  May 7th  to 11th, and October 3rd  to 7th
* Progreso: June 20th  to 24th
* Tizimín: July 20th to 24th

8 Responses to “Driving in Mexico! Drivers and Motorcycle license”

  1. Dana says:

    Hi! I am going for my driver’s license today and found this article very helpful : )
    Wish me luck!

    • Kurt says:

      Hey good luck!!
      Make sure you have lots of documents to show them, smile lots, and maybe have someone who speaks Spanish :)

  2. Robib says:

    hi all you expats
    how did you ever study the 159 page manual in spanish?

    i’m a month or more behind as once i got home from grams i dont have dial up computor anymore- supposed to have high speed. One gliche is glens i phone has to be in the same room

    • Kurt says:

      hey, sounds like you are living in a third world country! internet here is pretty good if you are in a city, little more difficult in some parts of the country, but our connection here is great.
      no, I did not ‘study’ the book in Spanish… I tried but I am pretty sure it is not a very good read and will not make any best seller lists.
      yes, it is in the scooter at all times in case we ever get stopped by police as I have heard you ‘should’ have it with you at all times.

  3. Maico says:

    I was wondering how long does it take in Mexico to get the Driver’s licence.
    Can I get it in like 1 month?

    Thank you,


    • Kurt says:

      Hi there, I believe that the time involved with getting your drivers license will depend greatly on each individual applying. If you have all the paperwork required and copies of everything to give, the entire process can take as little as 45 minutes and you will walk away with your drivers license. However, if you do not have all the correct paperwork, which sometimes can change from one person to the next, you may have to make repeated visits and this can be very time consuming.

      Find out what paperwork you require for your situation, bring it and be ready to take the written exam and have a car there ready to take the driving test. The written exam is only 10 questions and I think you have only 15 minutes to answer 8 out of 10 correctly. If you pass, you will go to the parking lot and parallel park your car between pylons. Once you have successfully completed these parts you go back inside, pay the nice lady, have your picture taken and fingerprints, and then they quickly print off your license for you. This is the quick version…

      If you do not have the correct paperwork that they require for your situation then this can take you time to find. If you do not pass the written test, you can rewrite the test after 14 days have passed. I am not sure what happens if you cannot park your car correctly. This is the not so quick version (:

  4. Jay says:

    One Q: If I ONLY want a moto license, do I need to get a normal one first? How would that work?

    • Kurt says:

      Hi there. We did not need to get the vehicle drivers license first but we chose to and then when we did the moto test the following week, we did not have to repeat the written exam portion. We got both to ensure that we were able to drive the moto as neither of had a motorcycle license from Canada. Showing the Mexican DL certainly helps out in a lot of situations… like when you want a ‘normal menu’ on cruise ship day at Eladios!

      We got ours at Siglo XX1 in Merida and you just need to have all the required documents. Count on 3 visits to accomplish your goal of attaining your moto license. First one, should be with all the documents you think you need to bring (bring EVERYTHING and copies of it) then the person at the front desk will inform you what you need still, or if you can proceed. If you get through the doors, you are golden and will be doing a written exam multiple choice (in English if you desire) and you will have to do a small driving test on the moto. This consists of driving through 3 pilons and back without touching your feet to the ground…go slow but not too slow!

      Things I recommend bringing to the front desk:
      1. Passport
      2. Immigration Visa Card (paper will not count if you are in the renewal process)
      3. Original: IN YOUR NAME: CFE bill, Cablemas bill, Bank Account statement
      4. Home ownership/rental agreement proof

      Hopefully this information helps you!

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