Driving in Colombia – Part 1

Driving in Colombia – Part 1

As a tourist, it is possible to drive in Colombia with a current driver´s license from your country, state or province however you must have your passport with you at all times.

De acuerdo con el Código Nacional de Tránsito, “licencias de conducción expedidas en otro país que se encuentren vigentes y sean utilizadas por turistas o personas en tránsito en el territorio nacional, serán válidas y admitidas para conducir en Colombia durante la permanencia autorizada a su titular, conforme a las disposiciones internacionales sobre la materia”.

In other words, if you are a tourist or in transit through Colombia you can drive with a valid license for the time that you are permitted to stay in the country.

Once you have a visa and apply for a cedula, the national ID card, you must apply for a Colombian driver´s license.

To apply for a license you must have :

1) A certificate of physical and mental health

2) A driving certificate from a driving school

3) Copy of the cedula

4) Paz y Salvo indicating you have no fines or charges at a national level.

Some of these requirements have changed over the years.  Often a larger driving school had a physician on staff who gave a basic eye test and took your blood pressure. Then you were asked a series of questions supposedly indicating if you were capable of managing a car. As of January 2012, all new drivers were required to take training in driving school. We are just waiting to trying to confirm what the circumstances are if you have an existing driver’s license from another country.

To renew your license you need:

1) A certificate of physical and mental health

2) A copy of your cedula

3) Paz y Salvo indicating you have no fines or charges at a national level.

4) Your original license

5) A payment of 57.200

If you go to a driving school to renew your license the charge may be up to 190.000.  We are also trying to confirm who is qualified to issue the certificate of physical and mental health.

Types of Licenses :

Category A1: (previously Category 1) This is appropriate to drive motorcycles of 125 c.c. or less.

Category A2: (previously Category 2) For motorcycles and moto tricycles of more than 125 c.c.

Category B1: (previously Category 3) Cars, rickshaws/moto taxis, SUV’s, vans, trucks, quads and minibuses of particular service.

Category B2: (previously Category 5) Trucks, vans and buses of particular service.

Category B3: (previously Category 6) Tractor trailers or articulated vehicles.

Category C1: (previously Category 4 Public) Specializing in cars, three wheelers, quad, SUV’s, vans and minibuses for public service.

Category C2: (previously Category C2 public) Trucks (rigid) , buses and minibuses for public service. Also equivalent to the former category 5.

Category C3: (Previously Category 6 Public)  For articulated vehicles of public service.