Getting Your Mexico Driver’s License in Playa del Carmen

New Requirements and Procedures for Getting a Mexico Driver’s License in Playa del Carmen in 2024 – Everything You Need to Know

If you are a resident of Quintana Roo and need to renew your Mexico driver’s license in Playa del Carmen or apply for a new one, you may be in for a surprise!

Licensing for all drivers of motorized vehicles, previously carried out by the Municipal Government, has been handed over to a new department of the State of Quintana Roo called IMOVEQROO (Instituto de Movilidad del Estado de Quintana Roo). This change took effect in January 2024.

Each municipality has its own licensing offices but all processing and oversight is done by the state government. It’s also important to note that the costs for licenses vary from municipality to municipality.

As it turns out, my 5-year Mexico driver’s license was perilously close to its expiration date so I blocked off a few hours today to get it renewed. 

If you know me, you know I did all my homework in advance and I felt very prepared when I went to the new IMOVEQROO offices. I was cautiously optimistic that I would have a “good Mexico day” and emerge with a shiny new license. 

And this is how it went.

plaza palmera as seen from the southbound lane of 307
Plaza Palmeras on the right from the southbound lane on Highway 307

What to Expect Renewing a Mexico Driver’s License in Playa del Carmen

The new licensing department (formerly housed in the Transito building on Av. 115 and Av. Jacinto Pat) is now located in the brand new IMOVEQROO offices in the northwest corner of the Plaza Palmeras. This small commercial complex is easily located on the west side of Highway 307, just south of Av. Universidades. I’ve included a link to the location on Google Maps Plaza Palmeras.

The offices are open Monday through Friday 8 AM until 4 PM and Saturdays 8 AM until 12 PM. They are easy to find and there is plenty of parking.

IMOVEQROO offices in the Plaza Palmeras
IMOVEQROO licensing offices in Plaza Palmeras

When you first arrive, the “gatekeeper” will ask you what kind of license you need (in my case a renewal) and direct you where to sit. If you have ever spent any time in a government office, INM or similar then you know the game of musical chairs we play. Each person is called up to the counter and you stand and shift down one seat until your turn comes up.

licencing office for motor vehicles in Playa del carmen
The IMOVEQROO waiting area and reception counter

The processing time at the front desk is brief. The admin took my documents for review and made sure my application was filled in correctly. I had left the application unsigned because I was unsure whether I needed to sign it in front of her. That did not seem to be an issue. Once I had signed, everything was passed back to one of the modules in the inner office and I was instructed to return to the waiting area. 

After a few more rounds of musical chairs, I was called to the back office. Here, I took a seat across from a very nice admin, each of us with a monitor in front of us. She typed in my details and asked me to confirm the information in the fields as they came up on my screen. I confirmed my blood type and my intention to be considered as an organ donor.

entering data to recieve a mexico driver's license
Processing the application for a Mexico driver’s license

I was not asked for it but I did bring proof of my blood type. When we went on the hunt for our first Mexican driver´s licenses, back in 2004, we went down to Felipe Carillo Puerto because that’s where everyone said it was the easiest.

None of us knew our blood types but they were able to give us a blood test right there in the office. They also issued me a motorcycle license for no additional fee. I have never been on a motorcycle but apparently, I am licensed to drive one.

Ah, those were the days…

I also brought my glasses which I use to drive at night. No eye test was administered but she did make a notation on my license that I require glasses for driving.

I was asked to read a declaration statement out loud, in Spanish. Nothing too complicated. It’s not a test. It verifies your name and your desire to apply for a Quintana Roo driver’s license at this office in Solidaridad.

She took my photo, a digital capture of my fingerprints and scanned all of my documents into the system.

The good news is that the entire process was actually quite organized and I was in and out in under an hour. If I were to grade their customer service efforts today, I’d give the office a 9 out of 10. Not bad for a government office.

For a 5-year A1 license, I paid 2028 MXN. Today, they were only able to accept payment with a credit card or debit card. No cash payments were being accepted.

A few minutes later I was walking out the door with my shiny new Mexican driver’s license!

Required Documents for Mexico Drivers License Renewal

requirements for getting a mexico driver's license for the first time

The following documents (original and copy) are required when you apply for a driver’s license renewal in Quintana Roo. If you have applied for a license before, none of this should be new to you or difficult to produce. If this is your first time, skip to this section.

Mexican Drivers License 

For renewals, you must bring a valid driver’s license. They require a physical valid license as well as a copy. I brought both but was not asked to produce the copy. If you do not have the actual card, you will have to apply for a new Mexican driver’s license. 

Application Form

The application for a new license or license renewal can be downloaded from the IMOVEQROO website. I printed up 2 copies in case I made a mistake on one. This must be completed in pen with blue or black ink.

Comprobante de Domicilio 

Proof of Address is required in the form of a utility bill such as CFE or Telmex. I do not have a physical bill as I receive all of mine digitally. I produced a color copy of my most recent CFE bill, which was accepted. The bill does not have to be in your name but will be used to put the address on your license. The bill must be no more than 3 months old.


If you are a temporary resident or a permanent resident of Mexico, you have a CURP. You will need a recently downloaded and printed copy. Locate and download your CURP here


I was asked for a valid Passport and a color copy (main page). Mexican nationals will need to present a valid passport or INE and a copy.

Immigration Document

As a foreigner, you will be asked to show your valid temporary or permanent residency card and a copy (front and back).

requirements for getting a Mexican driver's license for the first time

Requirements for a New Driver’s License in Quintana Roo

As I mentioned, up until this year (2024) licensing for motor vehicles was managed by the municipal government at Transito. The procedures have changed many times over the past 20 years we have been here but often included attending a driving “class” in Spanish, taking a written test and a brief practical test. 

Some years these requirements were softened. In the past many expats have reported that they were able to apply for a new Mexico driver’s license with no requirements at all. I think that ship has sailed.

At one time, having lost my physical license card, I was forced to start over from the beginning with an application for a new license. I was able to talk my way out of the written test was was asked to prove that I could parallel park between two cones. The fact that I was the ONLY person out of 10 applicants who could successfully parallel park should tell you something about the level of driver “education” in Quintana Roo.

While the renewal process is nearly the same as I remember it from years past, the application for a new driver’s license has changed. While IMOVEQROO is not administering any tests, they now require a Certificate of Completion from a local driving school (escuela de manejo). The photo below is posted on the wall inside the licensing offices. I do not know what acquiring said “certificate” entails but my guess would be at minimum a written test to ensure that you understand the traffic laws and the road signs and a brief driving test in your own car.

recommended driving school in playa del carmen
Yup. Looks legit to me.

If anyone goes through the process to get a new license, please let me know how it goes so I can update this blog post.

Also required is a certificate of a vision test from a recognized medical center See the image below. Previously, transit would administer a vision test for the issuance of driver licenses, renewal and replacement cards. This must now be done in an accredited vision center. People applying for any of the class B, C or E licenses must also submit to an antidoping blood test and supply the results.

recommended clinic to get a medical exam and vision test in playa del carmen
I have heard you can also get all this done at the Cruz Roja

It is important to note that if you are a foreigner applying for a new license, as long as you have provided all of the information above you should not be asked to surrender your license from your home country.

application requiremtns for a foreigner to get a temporary Mexican Drivers License

Temporary Mexican Drivers License for Foreign Visitors

If you are here in Quintana Roo on a tourist visa, your driver’s license from your home country is valid.  You can also elect to apply for an international driving permit which is recognized in Mexico. If you are planning on staying for an extended period in Quintana Roo, you may want to consider getting a provisional license that will be valid throughout the time of your stay. 

The minimum age for getting a driver’s license in Mexico is 18. The same holds for foreign drivers.

In previous years and administrations, the process and costs for getting a temporary driving permit as a visitor were unclear at best. IMOVEQROO has made the option easy to follow for anyone so inclined. The requirements are not at all unlike other requirements to obtain a new license as a foreigner with permanent or temporary residency. 

  • Application Form
  • Valid License from your home country
  • Valid Passport
  • Immigration Document FMM
  • Certificate of Vision Test from an accredited vision center
  • Certificate of Completion from an accredited local driving academy
  • Receipt of payment

You may request a temporary Mexico driver’s license valid for a minimum of 30 days (315 MXN) up to a maximum of 120 days (1259 MXN). The requirements and costs for a temporary Mexican driver’s license are reasonable but time-consuming when you factor in the required certificates from a driving school and a vision test.

As visitors are no longer issued a paper visa upon entry, you will also need to acquire a physical FMM from immigration (Instituto Nacional de Migración) before you process your application.

Currently, this temporary license is NOT required but driving with a valid license from your home country or an international driving permit is necessary.

What Kinds of Licenses Are Available in Quintana Roo

For most foreign visitors, expats and immigrants the most common licenses to hold are A1 and A2

  • A1 Automovilista – This is the license that most of us are getting. It allows you to legally operate your own car or a rental car.
  • A2 Motociclista – Motorcycles, scooters, and ATVs require a separate license. 

Other classes of Mexico driving licenses include:

  • B1 Private Cargo Transport 
  • B2 Transport of Merchandise
  • B3 Private Transport in app-based ride-hailing services such as Uber
  • C1 Colectivos
  • C2 Taxis
  • C3 Public Transport of Cargo
  • C4 Mototaxis (Tuk Tuks)
  • E1 Ambulances
  • E2 Emergency Vehicles
  • E3 School Transportation
  • E4 Tourist Transport Vans or Busses
  • E5 Transport of Personel

Persons between the ages of 15 and 18 may apply for a provisional license. This functions much like the “learner’s permit” teenagers used to get back in the United States before they could take their driver’s test at age 16. A minor child may apply for this permit to drive with parental permission and by providing all the documentation required for a regular license.

requirement for a dirvers permit for a minor child

How Much Does It Cost to Get a Mexico Drivers License in Playa del Carmen?

Getting a Mexico Driver’s License is not expensive but it’s certainly not free. It’s interesting to note that the costs vary between the municipalities. The costs for a driver’s license in Benito Juarez (Cancun) are higher than the costs in Solidaidad (Playa del Carmen). The costs all the types of driver’s licenses in Solidaridad are shown below.

Advantages of Getting a Mexico Drivers License

Producing a Mexican Driver’s License won’t necessarily excuse you from a valid traffic infraction but it may decrease the chances that Mexican authorities will try to take advantage. Showing a valid license in Quintana Roo means you understand the laws and the systems and are not just a “dumb tourist”.

A Mexico driver’s license may ease the car rental process. A lot of car rental companies get a bad rap (some deservedly) for trying to tag additional insurance and other fees on your car rental. This is a common complaint at the rental car agencies in Cancun and all up and down the Riviera Maya. Presenting a valid local license may make the rental agent think twice before trying to take advantage.

Some transportation services and adventure parks give “Quintanarooense” discounts. A driving license issued in Quintana Roo can help you show residency in this state and is one of the best ways to qualify for those discounts.

getting my mexico driver's license in playa del carmen
My shiny new Mexico driver’s license courtesy of IMOVEQROO

Random Thoughts

While doing my “homework” in preparation for my trip to IMOVEQROO, I came across some internet chatter suggesting that these new Quintana Roo licenses would not be valid or recognized in other areas of the Yucatan Peninsula. I asked the nice lady processing my paperwork and she assured me that the new licenses issued by the state are valid here in Quintana Roo and every other Mexican state. Good to know that my home country does not have the market cornered on misinformation campaigns.

Having now successfully managed the process, I can happily report that ALL of the information you need can be found online on the IMOVEQROO website and Facebook page. They have done a very good job of providing the correct information in a way that is easy to understand and follow.

Location of the IMOVEQROO Offices

If you are going to renew your Mexico driver’s license or apply for a new one, I would be interested in hearing about your personal experience in the comments below. If the process changes, it would be great to have that information to share in this article.


If you found this article helpful, you might also like to read:

VISITAX: What is it? Who has to pay this new tax?

Getting Around the Riviera Maya: Everything You Need to Know

How to Avoid Vacation Rental Scams

10 Fun and Easy Day Trips from Puerto Aventuras

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