Vehicle Importation

This subject is always full of speculation and rumors. The most common rumors is whether or not you must go to the Mexico/US border to re-register your vehicle once you obtain a Temporal visa. The answer is no.

Every foreigner is allowed to enter Mexico with a vehicle which is not Mexican plated (e.g. US or Canadian), as long as you have the following: Mexican Insurance, FMM or Temporal visa, registration in your name, proof of ownership, and a drivers license. The Mexican government (Aduanas/Customs) will charge you $40 USD, and a security deposit (bond) for the importation. This deposit ranges from $200 USD to $400 USD depending on the age of the vehicle. This is refundable if the car is removed from Mexico within 6 months.

The government will then provide your with a temporary importation permit, and a sticker for the windshield. Remember to turn this registration and sticker into customs when leaving Mexico with your vehicle. The main significant reason is if the vehicle is up in the USA or Canada, and is written off in an accident, you will not be able to bring in another vehicle if you have the outstanding permit with the written off vehicle. Even if you try explaining that it has been written off and have the proof, Customs will simply answer you should have turned in the permit when you left. The same problem exists if the car is stolen outside of Mexico with the permit still attached. The other common reason for returning the permit is trading in your vehicle because you found an unbelievable deal on a new one. Without have that Mexican permit returned, you will not be able to bring in the new vehicle.

According to customs, you are not allowed to have more than one foreign plated car registered in Mexico. You may have heard that some people do, but normally customs does not allow it. Also, it is illegal to sell your foreign plated vehicle in Mexico, as is stated on the back of the permit, in English and Spanish. The only legal way to do this is to legalize it in Mexico (e.g. get Mexican plates for it), which is extremely difficult. If you do sell your vehicle here you will not be able enter Mexico with another vehicle. Also, if the vehicle you’ve sold here is in an accident 2 years down the road, and the person you sold it to walks away, you will be held liable for that accident.

Another fact that goes along with what we’ve been discussing is if your vehicle is stolen while you’re here. If your car is stolen, and reported to the police, and to your insurance company, and even if you have gotten a return from your insurance company, you may still be fined or not allowed to bring in another once you return to Mexico with another vehicle.

You are now wondering why you cannot bring in another vehicle? Well, it’s actually quite simple. In the past couple of years the Mexican Government has found out that a number of imported vehicles had actually been reported stolen in the States. People were driving their cars down, and went back to the states, reported them stolen, claimed insurance, and drove them down here and never brought them Stateside again.