Expat Argentina Life

Getting a Driver’s License in Córdoba, Argentina

Awhile ago I bought a car here in Córdoba, Argentina.

Naturally my first question was – do I need an Argentine driver’s license?

I have a valid driver’s license from California so all information I got after researching was that the answer was no. The California one is good.

This suspicion was confirmed on a few instances including the car insurance company having no problem issuing me a policy with my CA driver’s license. Plus I’ve rented a car here before and they were fine with my CA license.

The final confirmation was when I got a fine on the highway after a really dumb move on my part. I was coming back home after playing paddle with some friends on a Saturday and I took a wrong turn.

The GPS redirected me to get on Circunvalacíon which is a highway that runs in a circle around the city of Córdoba.

Within a few seconds of pulling onto the highway, I pull up to a police control expecting to be waved right through. The police officer holds up his hand to stop me – what could this guy want I ask myself?

Your lights aren’t on – he tells me.

Stupid me, I actually knew that rule but my car’s lights were set to ‘auto’ so they didn’t turn on during the day. It’s also one of those things were even though I knew the rule, since it isn’t a law in the US, it’s not automatically programmed into me to turn on the lights during the day when I get on the highway.

Well it is now.

Anyway the whole point of that story is I gave the police officer my American driver’s license and he had no problem with it.

His only doubt was what piece of info was the expiration date and the document number. He sent me on my way with a fine ($4950 Arg pesos ~ $28 USD) for not having the lights on.

Still I wanted to get an Argentinian Driver’s License just to have one. Plus I think tramites like this are interesting experience.

Getting a Driver’s License in Córdoba

I made the turno at CPC Puerrydon because an American friend of mine said they didn’t make him take the behind the wheel test since he already had a USA license.

The licencia de conducir tramite is pretty simple.

Here’s how it’s done:

  1. First sign up for a VeDi here.
  2. Once inside the portal you make a turno here for a Carnet de Conducir (por primera vez). Select the most convenient CPC.
  3. You download the CENAT (Certificado Nacional de Antecedentes de Tránsito) form and pay it at RapiPago – $500 ~ US $2.80. Bring that with you.
  4. Get a photocopy of your DNI (both sides).
  5. Grupo sanguineo – you need to present your blood type from a lab

I actually didn’t have the last item. That’s how tramites work around here, you’re always missing something.

He gave me an address to a lab that was about 5 minutes away so I drove there. They drew some blood with a finger prick and tested me out. Turns out I’m B+. After 40 years that’s probably a good fact to learn.

It was $500 pesos ~ US $2.80 and took about 5 minutes. With the lab results I drove back to the CPC.

You then go into a little room with a doctor who reviews a form you’ve filled out with your medical history (bunch of yes/no questions). He then administered a quick vision test.

Next it was time for the written exam. I spent a few hours studying up on Argentine driving laws. The government has some test questions here you can study from. A lot of these end up being on the test.

I joked with my wife the correct answer is always the exact opposite of what happens in real life.

When a car and pedestrian are at an intersection, who has the right of way? Real life: always the car. Correct answer: always the pedestrian.

At one point, there’s 3 of us in this small room taking the test and the guy supervising us leaves. A woman in her 60’s whispers to the group: que significa el triangulo?

She was trying to cheat 🤣 The triangle is the yield sign by the way. That woman ended up getting her license so be careful Cordobeses, she out there.

I ended up getting 19 out 20 right on the exam. I’m actually not sure what the minimum correct is to pass. Everyone I saw take the test passed.

After passing the exam we get into the final stage of the tramite where we go into another room. They confirm all your details, have you enter your signature electronically, and then snap a photo with their webcam.

I should mention in between each of those steps is a very healthy waiting period. You’re there for so long you start to become friends with all the others going through the process and the employees working at the CPC.

I arrived at 10:15am and at 2pm, I said goodbye to all my new friends and I walked out of CPC Puerrydon with this shiny new driver’s license.

That’s right, they print it and give it to you right on the spot!

See you in another 5 years CPC.

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