• May

    Driving and License Misconceptions in Mexico


    When you come to Mexico, it’s important to have valid Mexican insurance and a driver’s license from your country and to keep both with you when you drive.

    One other point. Don’t carry an original license or insurance papers. If you run into a crooked cop he/she may try to confiscate them (and/or your vehicle, but I’ve never heard of this actually happening). Always make copies and use those, instead.

    Regarding license plates, or tags as they’re sometimes called, the laws differ for Canada and the US. According to my understanding, in the US, your tags are tied to your registration, so it’s important to keep those current or a cop could stop you and write a ticked or demand a bribe (mordida). Whenever possible, don’t pay mordida to a cop. That only allows the abuses to continue.

    With Canadian plates, it’s different. If you look at Canadian insurance papers you’ll see it’s a two part document. One part is for the registration; the other for the insurance. Unlike our American counterparts our registration never expires and stays with the vehicle for as long as you own it.

    And as for the little stickers with the date? Those only indicate that you have insurance, nothing else.

    Another thing that came across my radar screen was getting a Mexican driver’s license. Well, as is turns out, I don’t need it, not as long as I’m driving a Canadian car with Canadian plate. A Mexican driver’s license would come into play if I had a car registered in Mexico. Then I would need it. One exception is when renting a car. You don’t need a Mexican license for that.

    To the best of my knowledge, my information is correct. If I’m wrong on any of this, please let me know and I’ll make the corrections on my blog.


2 responses to “Driving and License Misconceptions in Mexico” RSS icon

  • hi, i am from toronto, ontario and drive a 2003 dodge durango, with ontario plates, with an ontario drivers licence and ontario insurace – i pay about $100 cdn / month for insurance – how do i get baja plates and a baja drivers license and then baja insurace? i plan on moviving to baja near rosarito – thanx – ps your website is very good !

  • You’re jumping the gun a bit. The first thing is to visit the consulate in Toronto and begin the process of obtaining a Residente Temporal, I believe it’s called, which you will need to complete in Mexico. After that you would need to import your vehicle into Mexico (assuming it meets the requirements). After that, you could look into getting a Baja plate and driver’s license. As for insurance, you need to buy that before you enter Mexico and you can do that online. If you want more specific information, write to me directly and I’ll do what I can to help you.

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