What is a driver's license?
In Mexico and other Latin American countries, a Driver’s license is issued by an authorized government agency that permits the holder of the driver’s license to drive the vehicle type for which the license has been granted.
Many Latin American countries issue a citizen id card; for example Costa Rica issues an id card called “Cédula de Identidad”, Dominican Republic issues a "Cédula de identidad y electoral", El Salvador issues an Unique id document called “Documento Único de Identidad (DUI)”, Guatemala issues a new Personal id document called "Documento Personal de Identification (DPI)”, Mexico issues a “CURP” card (not mandatory), Argentina issues a “Documento Nacional de Identidad”, Chile issues a “Cédula de Identidad”. Unlike these Latin American countries, the United States of America does not have a separate identity card. In the USA the driver’s license is one of the documents that is used as a proof of identity. When applying to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for an immigrant visa, the USCIS may ask for the driver’s license as a supporting document to corroborate information stated in the application form. If the driver’s license is in Spanish, an English certified driver’s license translation needs to be submitted to the USCIS.
Mexican driver license
As in the USA, matters related to transport, driver’s license and car registration come under the jurisdiction of the states. The state governments’ transport departments (“Secretaría de Transporte”) issue driver licenses. Each state issues a different type of license. The licenses are named after alphabets “A”, “B”, “C”, “D”, “E”, etc. The driver’s license naming convention is not standardized across Mexican states. A driver's license “A” can mean different things in different states. Generally, driver’s license can be classified as those issued for driving private cars, taxis, public transport vehicles, two wheelers, Special buses (school buses, public safety buses, ambulances etc), and commercial cargo vehicles of different weights.
The documentation required for acquiring a driver’s license varies from state to state; but all of them require at least the proof of identity and age, proof of residence, declaration under oath that the applicant can read and write and is physically and mentally capable of driving the vehicle for which the license is applied.
In most Latin American countries (Dominican Republic, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela) the minimum age to get a driving license is 18. Colombia and Guatemala have a minimum age of 16. Cuba on the other hand has a minimum age of 21. El Salvador and Mexico allow teenagers who are 15 years and above to apply for a driver’s license. Although the official age for issuing a driver’s license in Mexico is 18, Mexican states issue temporary permits to those aged 15 to 18. This temporary permit comes with certain restrictions; for instance the permit holder is allowed to only drive between 6:00 am and 10:00 pm.
Content of a Mexican driver’s license
Mexican driver’s licenses vary from state to state, but a typical license contains the name of the state transport depart that is issuing that license, type of license, license number, full name of the license holder, address of the license holder, issue date, expiry date, blood group, photo, signature and thumb impression of the license holder, barcode, name and signature of the authorized issuing authority.
Spanish Certified translation of driver license for United States Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
In the United States, Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is the state level government agency that oversees driver licenses and vehicle registration.
Certified Translation team translate Spanish driver's licenses into English in the format that is required by the DMV. Our translators will certify that the Spanish to English translation of the driver’s license is both complete and accurate. Our translators will also certify that they are competent to translate from Spanish (and other regional Mexican languages) to English.
Our experts translate and certify driver’s licenses from all the Spanish speaking Latin American countries of Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Spain, Guatemala, Equatorial Guinea, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Use of Mexican vehicles and Mexican Driver’s license by Tourist and Students in the United States.
Usually Mexican tourist can drive their cars in the US. Each US state’s DMV applies their own set of rules; for instance, New Mexico allows Mexican vehicles without requiring any special permits. The New Mexico DMV requires a valid Mexican driver’s license, current and valid vehicle registration and current and valid license plates. In addition they also require temporary US auto insurance which should have a liability policy of a minimum of $60,000, injury/death coverage for 2 or more people for a minimum of $50,000 and property damage cover of a minimum of $10,000.
Since Mexico and most of the Latin American countries are signatory to the Convention on the Regulation of Inter-American Motor Vehicle Traffic (Washington, D.C., 1943), many US states allow tourists from these countries to legally drive a vehicle using their local driver's license for a period of up to one year. Usually the driver’s license issued in Latin America is in Spanish, a Spanish certified translation of the driver’s license is required.
For Mexican (and other foreign) students, the DMV laws vary from state to state. Most states have laws which are similar to the state of Wisconsin – “Foreign students attending school in the U.S. who are at least 16 years old and their privilege to operate a motor vehicle in Wisconsin is not suspended, revoked, cancelled or disqualified, can drive with their home country's valid license for up to one year. After one year, they must meet the same licensing requirements as a Wisconsin resident.”
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