Driving in Mexico City – “Hoy No Circula” Restrictions

hoy no circula

Driving in Mexico City – What you need to Know

If you plan on driving in Mexico City (or plan to drive through Mexico City), please read this article.

What is the Hoy No Circula program?

First of all, the goal of the “Hoy No Circula” program is to set standards that reduce vehicular traffic in the State of Mexico and DF, thus limiting environmental pollution.  While decreasing pollution directly impacts the health of citizens by ensuring better air to breathe.  Consequently, by restricting driving in Mexico with a motorized vehicle, the program encourages the use of alternative means such as cycling.

Certainly, there are only two parameters that the program considers to decide if a vehicle can or can not circulate:

  • What level of emissions do you have? Once the Vehicle Verification is done, this level is determined and the corresponding hologram is granted.
  • In what digit does your plate end? This is what decides what the color of the sticker will be that you carry while driving in Mexico City.

Ultimately, the rules of the program then decide with this information if a vehicle should or should not circulate on a specific day.

Where does the program apply?

In all the municipalities of the State of Mexico and all the delegations of the Federal District, therefore the areas are:

Gustavo A. Madero, Coyoacán, Azcapotzalco, Alvaro Obregon, Cuauhtémoc, Iztapalapa, Iztacalco, Chicoloapan,  The Magdalena Contreras, Benito Juarez, Chimalhuacán, Miguel Hidalgo, Tláhuac, Cuajimalpa de Morelos, Tlalpan, Tultitlán, Atizapán de Zaragoza, Chalco Valley, Venustiano Carranza, Cuautitlán Izcalli, Milpa Alta, Ixtapaluca, Chalco, Cuautitlán, Naucalpan de Juárez, Ecatepec de Morelos, Huixquilucan, Xochimilco, Paz, Tecámac, Nezahualcóyotl, Nicolás Romero, Coacalco, Tlalnepantla de Baz


What is the purpose of a Vehicle Verification?

During a vehicle verification, the emission levels generated by the vehicle are measured. This assessment determines the hologram assignment for your vehicle to be displayed while driving in Mexico City

One might ask, “where can one get the verification?”   The “Verificenters” are all around the city, you can’t miss them.  Here is the list:

Validate Vehicle

Is my vehicle exempt and can it always circulate?

If your vehicle meets any of these conditions, it will be considered exempt for the purposes of the Hoy No Circula program:

  • If it was validated, and awarded the Hologram 0 Zero, Hologram 00 Double Zero or Exempt Hologram.
  • You have a tourist pass.
  • It is an authorized school transport, common forms are school buses
  • You are obviously disabled and you are properly authorized.
  • You clearly have a transfer and/or dealership plate.
  • It is solar or electric.
  • You specifically take passengers through federal public service.
  • It certainly belongs to a funeral parlor and is in a funeral procession.
  • Has an obvious classic or antique car plate
  • You have a special permit from the Ministry of the Environment.
  • It is clearly an emergency vehicle, such as fire, ambulance, etc.
  • It is a mining and construction machinery or a tractor.

What colors does the sticker have?

Depending on what number the plate ends in, the colors are:

Plate TerminationColour
1 or 2Green
3 or 4Red
5 or 6Yellow
7 or 8pink
9 or 0blue

Does my vehicle qualify as foreign?

Certainly, if your vehicle was registered anywhere outside of which the Hoy No Circula program applies, or if it does not have a hologram in a visible place on the vehicle, it is considered foreign.

What happens if I do not follow the rules of the Hoy No Circula program?

Consequently, you will have to pay a fine. The penal amount varies depending on who has detected the infraction and according to the place where it happened.  The fine in Mexico City is 24 times the Unit of Measurement and Update (UMA), $1934 (pesos). In the State of Mexico, it is 30 times the minimum wage, $4.71/day (2018) or approximately $130 (USD).

What is the Tourist Pass?

Alternatively, by obtaining a Tourist Pass you can transit freely (regardless of the Hoy No Circula program) by State of Mexico and DF.

Importantly, you can only acquire the pass if you meet the following requirements:

  • The vehicle is less than 15 years old.
  • Registered in Canada or the United States.
  • Private vehicle.
  • Not registered in Querétaro, Puebla, Hidalgo, Guanajuato, State of Mexico, Michoacán, Morelos or Tlaxcala or CDMX.

This pass is free and its purpose is to boost tourism in the area. Its duration is two periods of 7 days or a period of 14 days.

You can order it every 6 months, here.

What is the operation of the program for foreign vehicles?

Foreigners can not travel at the following times:

  • One day of the week according to what number your license plate ends, from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. (See Table)
  • Saturdays from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • From Monday to Friday from 5am to 11am.

For a homologation process, you can drive with the same limits as DF vehicles if you come from:

The direct link to the Hoy No Circula program can be found here.  Remember to enter for vehicle type “foreign”.  As a client of, you are already verified as a Tourist Vehicle so you are exempt for 14 days and you can renew it every six months. However, if you plan to stay longer than 14 days you will need to get your vehicle validated (Vehicle) and get your hologram.  So, simply follow the table for your last digit of the license plate, and color for days you cannot drive.® – providing quality Mexico Insurance online since 2003.

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