Drive Legally In Peru-The Expat Edition

To be able to drive legally in Peru is not hard

To be able to drive legally in Peru there are a couple things you can do. All of which I’ve learned either by trial and error or from reading the MTC and Touring websites. None of the ways to drive here are all that hard to do. While one way is a bit time consuming and have time sensitive dates. I personally have a CDL in both the United States and now here in Peru.

What Not To Do If You Plan To Drive Legally In Peru

If you’re in Peru on a tourist visa, the maximum time you can be granted by immigration will be 183 days. More often than not you’ll be granted far less time. Staying longer than 183 days requires residency, meaning you have no rights after 183 days. This also means driving after 183 days will be a violation of the laws, my advice is don’t do it.

Drive Legally In Peru Without An International Driver’s Licenses

When I moved here to Peru I came with an international drivers license (IDL) in hand. I also found out very quickly the Peruvian National Police either refuse to respect an IDL granted by another country, or they have no idea what it is.

You can’t use the IDL as a form of identification. Moreover the police won’t ask for it. Only being allowed in the country a maximum of 183 days means, the IDL won’t be valid after that time period anyways.

Staying Over 183 Days And Driving

Passport Photo
Staying over 183 days means not driving legally

Residency is required if you’re staying over 183 days. With residency Peruvian Law requires you to have a Peruvian Driver’s license to drive.

There is now one way and one way only to be able to drive legally in Peru.

  1. Obtain a Carne de extranjeria

I’ve Got My Carne De Extranjeria, What’s Next?

You have two options

1. Take the entire test just as a Peruvian would.

This means taking a driving course for around S/600, taking a physical exam, taking a psychological exam as well as a written test and finally the practical driving test. Beware that the entire driving part of the test is set to change in February 2021

2. Do what’s called a “canje de licencia de conducir”. Basically you’ll provide a “certified” copy of your driving record. Which you will then have to have “Apostilled“. In the USA this is done by the Secretary of State in the state your license is from.

At this point you’ll need to have all your documents translated by an authorized translator. Remember this part is time sensitive. None of the documents can be more than 30 days old.

I Have My Documents And Am Ready To Go, What’s Next?

This is the part you benefit from. You’re still required to take the “medical exam” including the psychological exam which cost around S/200 and written exam (another few soles). However, you will not be required (as of the date of this post) to do the driving part of the test nor the driving course.

I Don’t Speak Or Read Spanish

Haha well then. . . You’re screwed!

No seriously, no worries, that’s why you’re reading this blog post right now.

There are 3 ways you can do the written exam.

  1. Just go take the test and if you fail study up next time.
  2. Take the exam in English. I however strongly suggest you don’t. From my understanding the English version is written as if a 5 year old wrote it.
  3. Get a translator. Yes for the basic A1 (car license) you can have a translator help you with the test.

Where And How Can I Prepare For The Written Exam?

License Classes in Peru

You can Check out Simulacro MTC on Google Play! With the app you take this written test, in Spanish, over and over again for free until you understand the questions or remember the answers. You can also go here. Again take the test in Spanish and then review your answers. I strongly suggest you do the test in Spanish, you’re living in a Spanish Speaking country now and all the road sign are in Spanish, makes sense don’t it?

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