As we recently had occasion to find out it is possible to obtain or renew your driver’s license in Riberas del Pilar on the carretera near Muebles Rustico on the lake side before you come to Maskaras Clinic on the way to Chapala.

I am going to speak about specifically renewing your license as that is what we needed to do. However, a visit to the Secretaria de Vialidad y Transporte (also know as the Transito) will provide you with the information and documents necessary for a new driver’s license.

To renew an existing driver’s license you will need:

Your valid passport original and one copy.

Your valid FM 2 or FM 3 original and one copy.

Proof of address (comprobante de domicilio) dated within 90 days. They accept either an original and one copy of your latest phone bill (Telmex) in the name you want on the license, an original electric bill (CFE) in the name you want on the license and one copy or an original bank statement in the name you want on the license and one copy stamped and signed by the bank.

Your Blood Type

Your current or expired driver’s license.

Also you will need to go to the Referendo office in Chapala which is located on the first street behind the big market and has a long hallway which leads to the office where you pay for your driver’s license. You will need to taka all of your necessary documents to make this payment. The amount of a regular driver’s license renewal is $330.00 pesos.

Don’t think copies or faxes without originals will do because they will not be accepted.

You then proceed to the Transito Office which is open Monday of Friday from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm armed with your papeles (documents) and receipt for payment in Chapala and hope the person who serves you is in an amiable mood.

No English is spoken so if you do not have a rudimentary grasp of Spanish I suggest you take a translator with you.

Once you have all your documents submitted and thoroughly inspected you will be asked a series of questions such as your postal code, whether or not you wish to be an organ donor, your telephone number, your status in Mexico, and whether you need your glasses to drive.( Note to the vain – don’t try to fool them about not needing your glasses to drive as there will be an eye test.)

Then you sign an electronic box and they take your index finger print electronically as well. Your picture is taken and you have to do a short computer test to see if you can read the text and know the difference between up and down, right and left.

Once you have successfully completed your “test” a machine spits out your new license and you are on your way.

I know this may sound like an arduous process but, in fact, it is perfectly straightforward and we were able to accomplish the task in 3 visits for me and 4 for my husband. That is because we tried to get a fax by them unsuccessfully. We should have remembered that the Mexican government employees are real sticklers for originals.

The staff of the Transito is very pleasant and helpful and we were in and out in under a half hour once we had everything in place.

Years ago we would have to wait for hours and they were lined up 4 deep to the carretera and there were only certain days of the year you could even approach them for your new or renewed license.

Things are much better now and you can get your license 5 days a week provided, of course, you have all of your paperwork in place. If you do, getting or renewing your driver’s license is a pedazo de pastel (piece of cake).

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