Peruvian Driver’s License For Expats

Expats Often Want A Peruvian Driver’s License

Peruvian driver’s license for Expats just got more complicated. Myself having lived in Peru now for 5 years. And having a Commercial Drivers License in Both the US and now Peru. I’ve learned a few things about driving and licensing here.

While the roads here in Peru are chaotic and oftentimes the driving can be downright dangerous. The Peruvian government is actually taking steps to try and affect positive changes.

This is the most in-depth place in English to find answers on everything you need to know about licensing. Although if you’re new to Peru or are just now considering getting your Peruvian Driver’s License, you should read this blog post first. I’ll include information on paying tickets, where to find out if you got a ticket and discounts for early payment.

Don’t stop reading here, you’ll miss the the all important details.

New To Driving In Peru?

In 2019 Peru implemented a “Permiso provisional para aprender a conducir” or in English a “learners Permit” which allows people 6 month’s to practice driving on Peruvian roads before the big test day. The Learners Permit is free of charge but, you can only get it once and it’s not renewable. Choosing to get a learner’s permit will require you to drive with someone over 18 who has had their license for 2 year’s or more. All of that said, there is no “requirement” that I can find saying a “learners Permit” is required. From what I can tell you can still take the written test today and take the driving test the next (next is figurative).

Where Do I Get A Learners Permit?

You will need to go to your local MTC office outside of Lima, if you live in Lima you need to go to Jirón Zorritos 1203, Cercado de Lima and ask for a “permiso provisonal para conducir”. This permit is only valid for an A1 liciense so it’s for a basic car or pickup. 

What Are The Requirements To Get A Learners Permit?

To be approved for this learners permit you must.

  1. Not have a driver’s license
  2. Copy of your DNI or Carne de Extranjeria
  3. A copy of your medical certificate of psychosomatic aptitude.

The 4th requirement is listed as needing a “request” for permission, but their link doesn’t work. You’ll need to get that at their office. For people that read Spanish you can read all the details here.

Once you provide all the documentation, there is a 4 day waiting period for the MTC to verify everything is correct and valid. After those 4 day’s you can go pickup your learners permit. However you won’t be picking it up at the same place you dropped off your documents, but rather here Jr. Antenor Orrego 1923 – Chacra Ríos, Cercado de Lima.

Below I’ll post current rates as of September, 2020 for your license, rates may be slightly higher as time passes. I’ll even post the official post by the Peruvian Government.

The Goal

One of the main jobs of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications or MTC for short is, improving road safety in Peru. In an effort to improve road safety (see why here) they have implemented a driving skills assessment test. The new rules have been pre-published for the first time (RD No. 002-2020-MTC / 18) and is one of the steps being taken to try and create responsible drivers.

So how is this different from previous years and exams? Previously drivers were only asked to do a written exam, they were then tested on a closed circuit and if they passed that driving portion they were given a license. This means they have/had no real experience on the roads. One day they take a written test, the next a driving test and they’re now allowed to drive. Very simple straightforward process, but not good for the safety of others on the road (Pedestrians or Drivers)

 

A1 License- What Is It And What Do I Need To Do To Get It?

Peruvian Driver's License

 

This page is not about the “Canje de licencia de conducir”, here we’ll discuss getting your Peruvian Driver’s license the traditional way. 

An A1 license is a basic car license, meaning you can drive, car with “WHITE PLATES”, any other vehicle and you’re prohibited from driving it. Get caught driving anything with a different color plate and the fines are enormous. You’ve been warned. Make sure that used car you’re buying doesn’t have a taxi plate on it.

The requirements for getting a Peruvian driver’s license as a Peruvian would are very basic. You’ll need a simple copy of your valid Carne de Extranjeria or CE for short, be sure to bring the original with you. The copy is because they will ask for one and charge you 3 times the price you can get one in the street for if they do it. You’ll also need your “certified Psychological and medical exam”.

The 4 Step Process To Getting Your License

Again this is how to get your Peruvian driver’s license as a Peruvian would, not how to get it doing the Canje.

Step 1. Study the rules of the road. A few years ago there were people outside of touring selling the rules book in English. Unfortunately I’ve not seen them in recent months, so plan on taking the test in Spanish. You can find all the possible questions here.

Step 2. Make a payment “for the right to take the written exam”, Be sure you’re using the right code as there are 2 payments needed. According to the February 2020 post by the Government, the charge will be S/56. 

You should also know this 56 soles rate is “strictly for Lima”. You may be charged more or less depending on where you live outside of Lima.

Also according to the official notice, you can make the payment in person, either in cash or with a Visa or Mastercard at Scotiabank, Interbank (only in Lima), at the Evaluation Center, or Bannco BIF (only in Lima). This is new to me, when I did this almost 5 years ago, I was required to use Banco de la Nacion.

Step 3. You can register and schedule your exam in advance, either by visiting the offices of the Touring Automovil Club del Perú, located at Av. César Vallejo n ° 651, from 8:00 a.m. at 4:00 p.m., by calling 016 159 328 or online. Remember to have passed your medical exam first.

Step 4. Take the exam. You must get 34 out of 40 questions right or you will fail.

If you fail, no worries, you can take the test 3 times without having to do the medical exam again. However you won’t take the test again the same day, you’ll need to wait at least 1 day before they’ll reschedule you. All of the licening information I’ve posted is from here. The official government post dated February 2020.

 

Take a look below for how the test has changed.

 

The Current Subjective Test Will Change

This driving test which is currently subjective will be standardized. This means all Evaluation Centers must comply with the new regulations. The test includes standard maneuvers and activities which are as follows

1. Verification and location in the vehicle.
2. Adequate movement in the lanes.
3. Entry and exit of parking lots.
4. Compliance with traffic regulations.
5. Other unspecified actions

The New Test

All classes of licenses will be effected, this includes Class A  (cars, trucks, buses), and Class B (motorcycles and motaxis).

The driving skills test will consist of two stages

1. Driving on a closed circuit
2. Driving on public roads.

However, in the case of Class B (motorcycle license), the evaluation will only be done on a closed circuit.

The second part (number 2 above) will take place after February 1, 2021. With the aim of coordinating with the appropriate authorities on proper road use. While also making an effort to not generate congestion or discomfort to the applicant. 

The new regulations establish, in order to evaluate the skills or the conduct of an applicant, the Evaluation Centers must use a written form. Results of the evaluation will be recorded into the National System of Drivers of the MTC

Congratulations! You Now Have A Peruvian Driver’s License

Don’t get sucked in to driving as a Peruvian does. Falling into this trap can result in tickets and accidents, especially being a foreigner.

Car with Frontal Damage will not be allowed in enter Peru

And while tickets are not all that expensive, the points you get against your license can take your right to drive away in no time.

You’re allowed 100 points on your Peruvian driver’s license before you lose it. Points are given based on “severity of the infraction” and range from 10 to more than 70 points per infraction. Run a red light and you’re looking at 50 points, drive a car without a bumper and get stopped it’s another 70 points, in just 2 missteps you’ve already lost  your right to drive here. Get caught drinking and driving and you’ll lose your license on the spot. Get a 2150 soles fine or a 4300 soles fine, depending if the infraction is an M01 or and M02. In both cases you’ll have your vehicle impounded.

These are just some examples. For the complete list of tickets and the fines that go with them check out the SAT website.

Paying The Ticket Or Fighting It

Fighting a ticket is time consuming and you will never win, ok almost never win. When I say time consuming I really mean a lot of time will be wasted. I own a legal taxi and the vehicle is not subject to Pico y Placa. I got 3 tickets for just that about a year ago, and after 9 months (even with proof in hand) I finally got a decision in my favor on one of them. You’ll spend day after day dealing with SAT, filing reclamos and get nowhere fast.

My suggestion is to learn from the mistake you made (real or imagined) and pay the ticket within 5 days. The Peruvian government gives an 80 something percent discount if the ticket is paid within 5 days and a 50 something percent discount if paid within 7 days on most tickets. You should only go this route if you’re a short term Expat in Peru. Longer term people such as myself should plan on a long fight and plan on wasting the time or pay the price in the end.

Even though I suggest short term Expats should consider paying the ticket, that doesn’t mean that’ll be the end of it for you. If, as in my case, I just paid the first ticket, SAT would use that as a reason to try and force me to pay the other one’s. You’ll be opening the door for more of the same type of tickets by just paying the fine.

The saying goes, “be the change you want to see”

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