APRIL 30, 2013
From across Mexico, there have been reliable but curious reports this past week about Aduana offices telling expats who have foreign-plated cars that they should take the car out of Mexico… through the same Aduana port-of-entry where they entered.
This requirement seemed peculiar to us, unless there is a disconnect between Aduana’s various records keeping systems, like local vs. national systems. Suspecting this, we drilled into the various Aduana systems, using a mole who made a quick turn-around trip out through Matamoros to Houston and then returned back into Mexico a day later through Matamoros. This mole was particularly well suited to sleuthing out how the various Aduana systems work, because:
~ He originally entered Mexico before the new June 2010 computerized Aduana system was put into place,
~ He got his original TIP from Matamoros,
~ He recently officially cancelled his TIP at the Aduana de Progreso office,
~ He then recently permanently imported that vehicle at the Progreso Aduana office,
~ He also had the vehicle registered and plated with Yucatan license plates, and
~ He exited Mexico from Matamoros, and returned through the Matamoros Aduana & Immigration offices.
Why tell all of this? At the 25 km point in Tamaulipas, he was stopped, and accused of having a “chocolate”, based on Aduana scanning in his VIN – even though he has Yucatan plates. Lawyer Spencer McMullin of Chapala reports that there are many brokers are taking $$ from desperate gringos with expired/expiring TIPs and Residente Permanentes, issuing falsely-obtained illegitimate license plates, with NO official pedimento from Aduana to prove the permanent import. Because of the fake importations and falsely-obtained plates, Aduana and police officers are now on the look-out for gringos driving suspicious cars.
Guess what… The friend did not think to carry a copy of his pedimento with him => “Go to Jail, Go Directly to Jail, Do not Cross GO, Do not Collect $200…” … was crossing his mind…
Fortunately, it was a slow day at the 25 km Tamaulipas Aduana checkpoint – and the Aduana Supervisor called Aduana de Progreso, using the suspect VIN number. Aduana de Progreso VERBALLY confirmed that they had issued a pedimento for the vehicle, and that they had cancelled out the old TIP several weeks earlier. Results? The satisfied supervisor came out and told the friend to go on his way – that everything is fine.
For readers who are not astute at connecting the dots:
~ NONE of this friend’s Progreso Aduana information for the TIP cancellation is currently in the Aduana data base, (yet)
~ none of the permanent vehicle importation information is in Aduana’s national pedimento database (yet),
~ nor is it in the Aduana-Matamoros local TIP/VIN database, (yet)
~ nor is it in the Aduana national TIP data base, (yet)
~ nor is it in Aduana Matamoros paper TIP/VIN data system (yet)….
Which all combine to explain why people with older TIPS, especially those issued before June 2010, may be best served if they exit Mexico, cancelling their vehicle TIP, at the same Aduana port of entry where they got the original TIP – especially if they are planning to drive out of Mexico, and re-enter before Aduana’s fairly slow systems get updated to show the vehicle’s actual status.
It also says that people with permanently imported cars should carry a copy of their pedimento with them, as the police and Aduana start to ratchet up their efforts to find and confiscate “chocolates” ( cars in Mexico illegally with either fake license plates, expired TIPS, or being driven by Residente Permanente owners).
If you have permanently imported your car, and want to check if Aduana has officially logged your VIN & pedimento into their database, check this Aduana website: http://www.aduanas.sat.gob.mx/soianet/oia_consultarap_cep.aspx CONSULTA RÁPIDA DE PEDIMENTO ESPECÍFICO
Finally, the Matamoros Aduana Supervisor advised that drivers NOT carry the original pedimento in the car, because if the vehicle is stolen, the car can be easily sold using the original pedimento – while a copy is sufficient to prove a proper permanent import but cannot be used to sell the vehicle.
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Feel free to copy while giving proper attribution: YucaLandia/Surviving Yucatan.
© Steven M. Fry