The US, Canada and Mexico have had an Memorandum of Understanding on the reciprocity of Commercial Driver Licenses to be recognized by all three countries. This is to facilitate the unimpeded flow of goods between the countries.
It has become more common for H-2A workers in the US to be driving trucks for US carriers. To be legal, these drivers must have the recognized license equivalent for a CDL. In Mexico, that is the Licencia Federal de Conductor (LFC). The LFC is the only license that is equivalent to the US CDL and is issued by the Mexican federal government not any particular state.
Memorandum of Understanding
The USDOT recognizes this license based on the MOU between Mexico, Canada and the United States as part of the USMCA and previously as part of NAFTA. More information on the MOU can be found here: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/international-programs/us-mexico-cdl-mou
The FMCSA has clarified that Mexican and Canadian CDL drivers MAY drive for US domiciled carriers without having to obtain an US state issued CDL. This and a number of other questions regarding the reciprocity can be found here: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/international-programs/commercial-and-non-commercial-driver-license-requirements
So what does a Licencia Federal de Conductor look like? How can I tell if it’s real. The STC has updated the LFC to allow for electronic, paper or card versions of the LFC. This means that any of these version are legal and legitimate. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance… CVSA has put together the following document to help employers and regulators recognize the LFC in its various forms. Please go to: https://www.cvsa.org/wp-content/uploads/Inspection-Bulletin-2021-04-Mexican-Licenses.pdf
We reached out to the CVSA to inquire about license validity and background checks. According to the information below, you can check if the LFC is valid and the US and Mexico share information on convictions but employers cannot check that database… only law enforcement. Please see below for the CVSA reply.
Mexico provides a public online access to verify the Licencia Federal de Conductor (LFC) as far as Mexico’s Ministry of Infrastructure, Communications and Transportation (SICT) system is concerned on Mexico’s status for the driver. Here is the only official government system site link: http://app.sct.gob.mx/ConsultaInfracciones//detalleLicFederal.do
Please note that this site may be labeled by your browser as “not secured” or it may be temporarily down. However, this is the only official government website. Please be aware that there are several other fraudulent spoofing websites faking the SICT’s LFC verification site.
The LFC is the only Mexican license recognized by the U.S. government as equivalent to a U.S. Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). Mexican state licenses are not currently recognized as equivalent to a U.S. CDL.
In addition to the Mexican LFC information system from the link above, the U.S. DOT Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) operates the Foreign Convictions and Withdrawals Database (FCWD) which tracks Mexican and other foreign drivers whose privileges to operate in the U.S. may be suspended or withdrawn. This system is available to U.S. law enforcement only. Currently, there is no access for industry to the FCWD.
We hope this information will help you with your questions and problems regarding Mexican LFC legal use in the US. Remember, Mexican carriers cannot haul goods from place to place within the US but Mexican drivers can drive trucks for US Carriers if they are in the states legally such as with H-2A.