Vehicle registration plates of Mexico

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Passenger car plate issued in Oaxaca.
Passenger car plate issued in Veracruz.
Passenger car plate issued in Chiapas.

Vehicle registration plates of Mexico are issued with unique visual designs by each state, but with one national numbering system, such that serials are not duplicated in multiple states. Most states change designs approximately every third year, with each state on its own plate replacement cycle. Every year owners Mexican plated vehicles pay the tenencia or revalidación de placas (car plates renewal tax). A set of Mexican plates includes one pair of plates, a windshield sticker, and in a few states a plate sticker.

In 2001 the size of the plate number was reduced in order to accommodate the addition of the state number, legend indicating the position of the plate on the vehicle (delantera (front) or trasera (rear)), and additional graphics.

Mexican plates are issued in several different classifications: Private, Private Fronteriza, Public, Public Frontera, Servicio Público Federal, Inspección Fiscal y Aduanera, Armada de México, and Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores. The Fronteriza plates were introduced in 1972 and are available in the Mexico-United States border zone. This zone is formed by the Baja California and Baja California Sur states, as well as parts of Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, and Tamaulipas. While the state of Nuevo León shares a 15-kilometre (9.3 mi) border with the U.S., it does not have any cities within the border zone.

European-style license plates have become popular, as with this example of an unofficial remake of a Baja California plate. Unofficial plates are legaloid: they remain technically illegal, but in practice they are tolerated. However, it should be noted that for most (all?) states you can choose between Euro style plates and the more common (US) style plates

Plate types[edit]

Passenger car plate of Guerrero.
Passenger car plate of Morelos.

Private, non-border zone[edit]

Type Serial format
Antique automobile AB-12
AB-123 in Distrito Federal
Bus 1-ABC-23
Dealership demo car 1-AB-234
Handicapped driver 123-AB
Motorcycle A123B in Baja California, Baja California Sur, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Colima, Estado de México, Morelos, Nayarit, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, Puebla, Tlaxcala, Zacatecas); A 123 B in Guanajuato
ABC12 (following exhaustion of A123B allocation?) in Durango, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Michoacán, Quintana Roo, Yucatán); ABC 12 in Querétaro
1234 A in Distrito Federal
Passenger ABC-12-34
123-ABC in Distrito Federal
RV and Trailer 1-AB-2345
Truck AB-12-345
12-34-AB in Distrito Federal

Public, non-border zone[edit]

Type Serial format
Bus 123-456-A
123-45-67 in Distrito Federal, where the first three numbers denotes the bus route number
123-AB-456 in Estado de Mexico-Distrito Federal joint Transporte Metropolitano issues, where the letters denotes the municipality
RV A-123-456
Taxi 12-34-ABC (A/B-12345 for free taxis and M-12345 for site taxis in D.F.)
Truck 1-ABC-234

Private, border zone[edit]

Type Serial format
Antique Automobile AB-12
Bus ZAB-12-34
Handicapped 123-AB
Passenger 123-ABC-4
BAC-12-34 in Baja California
Truck ZAB-12-34
BA-12-345 in Baja California

Public, border zone[edit]

Type Serial format
Bus 12-34-Z AB
Taxi 12-34-ZAB
Truck 12-34-ZAB

Public Federal Service (SPF)[edit]

Type Serial format
Freight[clarification needed] (purple plate) 123-AB-4
Passengers (orange plate) 123-AB-4
Tourism (green plate) 123-AB-4
Border freight (tan plate) 123-AB-4
Hauling (yellow/orange plate) 1234-AB
Rental (blue plate)
Handicapped (burgundy plate)
Diplomatic (blue plate with Aztec symbol)
I.F.A. (white with dark blue letters)

Seguridad Pública (Local, State or Federal Police and related)[edit]

Type Serial format
All vehicles 01-234 (all patrol vehicles, and official-use vehicles from the federal judiciary)

Letters for the Federal District[edit]

Passenger car plate issued in Distrito Federal.

Since 1998, a partially comprehensive letter sequence has been seen for the Federal District, thus, identifying the car's model year:

  • J for 1998
  • K for 1999 and early 2000
  • L for late 2000 and 2001 (plate redesign; very few tan plate with L were released)
  • M, N and P were used for 2000 and older cars for their renewed plates
  • R for late 2001 and 2002
  • S for late 2002 and 2003
  • T for late 2003 and 2004
  • U for 2005 and 2006
  • V for 2007 and early 2008 (plate redesign)
  • W for 2008 and 2009
  • X for 2010 and 2011
  • Y for 2012 (possible ten-years renewal)

Also, K, L and M are used for the State of Mexico.

Another Type of License plate is for the operation of public transport in Metropolitan Routes Crossing to the State Of Mexico Metropolitan Area.