International driving permit in Mexico

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Roads in Mexico may be filled with traffic congestion at most, but you can manage and maneuver through that easily.

This driving guide can help you drive through the Mexican roads as smoothly as possible. The following are commonly asked questions in relation to using an international driver’s permit.

Who can apply for an international driver’s permit?

Those with valid driver’s licenses can apply for this permit. Always remember that an international license is only an interpretation of your original license. It verifies that you’re physically and mentally equipped to drive a vehicle.

Before getting an international driver’s permit, you need first a driver’s license from your nation of origin. Remember that a temporary or short-term driver’s permit from your country isn’t efficient in applying for an international driver’s permit.

If you’re ready for an international driving license for Mexico, tarry no longer!

Visit the International Drivers Association’s application page and select an international driver’s permit package. Here are the important questions that are commonly asked by tourist drivers regarding the international driver’s permit.

Here are the requirements for your application:

  • Valid Government Issued Driver’s License
  • Passport-Sized Image
  • Passport Copy (if needed)

When should you apply for an international driver’s permit?

You can apply anytime for an international driver’s permit since there’s no span of time when applications are accepted. Tourists and other travelers apply for an international driver’s permit usually months before their trip abroad, so they don’t need to rush.

An international driver’s permit is useful even for short-term travel.

You can apply for an international driver’s permit even if you’re not traveling. Applying for an international driver’s permit is fast, especially at the International Drivers’ Association, compared to before when getting one really takes time.

Once you’re ready to have an international driver’s permit, you can download and print it in just two hours!

Does Mexico require an international driving permit?

If your original driver’s license is not in Spanish or English, which are the languages used in Mexico, getting an international driver’s permit is necessary. This goes for driver’s licenses from countries like Japan, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and other countries that are in their native language.

An international permit will serve as a translation for your native license, which you primarily need to drive in Mexico. An international driver’s permit will be convenient for you, particularly when you cross to other Latin American countries.

When it comes to International Driver’s License, Mexico is not that strict as long as your license is in Spanish or English. It’s preferable however to carry one while driving in the country to coordinate easier with authorities.

So if you’re a U.S. citizen with a driving license, you’re allowed to drive in Mexico with your driver’s license.

Who needs an international driver’s permit in Mexico?

Those who travel frequently should always bring an international driver’s permit with them. Using an international driver’s permit is practical, especially when crossing borders while driving. When it comes to foreigners driving in Mexico, a US license is the most presented driving permit.

Whether you’re on a business trip, a corporate convention, or another professional excursion, your international driver’s permit will be your best friend if you decide that driving is better than riding public transport and suited to you financially and mentally.

If you choose to stay in a foreign country longer than usual, an international driver’s permit can be a short-term driving permit while your new license is being processed. An international permit can also serve you for identification purposes.

This goes even for people driving in Mexico with US licenses.

When do you need to use an international driver’s permit in Mexico?

Regardless of the reasons for doing so, an international driver’s permit can only be used when traveling abroad. You can’t use your international permit as a replacement or stand-in driving permit in your country.

Wherever you’re from, it’s a must to always have your original driving license with you to drive in other countries.

If you decide to experience driving in Mexico, you’ll likely rent a car from rental companies. Leasing one will require you to present your official driver’s license, along with your international driver’s permit for additional identification purposes, depending on the car rental agency.

As for your International Driver’s Permit’s validity, this will depend on your application, particularly your reason for getting one. If you plan to go abroad, say at least 3 times for the next three years, a three-year international driver’s permit package will work best for you.

A one-year international driver’s permit is more practical if you don’t have plans to travel much more in the future. But if you often go on business trips or workshops, it’s advisable that you get a three-year international permit.


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