New Option for Permanently Importing a Foreign-Plated TIP Car into Mexico

May 3, 2013
Here’s a fun new post from the webforums:

Since everyone has been talking about going to the border, here is how you do it at GDL airport………

1. Go to customs air freight terminal.  It is up around the hotel.  Ask anyone.
2. Find the entrance gate
3. Tell the guard that you want to nationalize a car.  He will point you to a broker.  He will want you to leave ID and give you a badge.
4.  There are a bunch of brokers offices, take the guards recommendation.

You will need:
– 5 pictures of the car, front, back, left, right, and of the VIN #.  I think either the one on the door or on the dash will work.  Take both.
– The original title and 2 copies
– Proof of residence and 2 copies (utility bills)
– 2 Copy of visa or MX drivers license

You have to fill out a form on the car.  Year, number cylinders, engine size, # lug nuts on the wheels, manual/automatic, diesel/gasoline. 2 wheel or 4 wheel drive.

Price is:
2000 older  23,500
01-04         25,500
05-07         28,500
Before 05   $35,000 (I think this is right) (???**)

This is just to get it nationalized, not plates.  Plates come from somewhere else.
~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~
Looks like its time to make a run out to Merida’s airport…. Any experiences from Cancun’s Airport Aduana office?     **I suspect that the $35,000 pesos quoted for 1 to 4 year old cars is not correct.
*     *     *     *
Feel free to copy while giving proper attribution: YucaLandia/Surviving Yucatan.
© Steven M. Fry

Read-on MacDuff . . .

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29 Responses to New Option for Permanently Importing a Foreign-Plated TIP Car into Mexico

  1. Ron says:

    Unfortunately the person who posted this on has not finished the process. Says he know(s) people who have done it. I would like first hand assurance.

  2. Steve, when you have checked out the Merida airport to see if it can be dome please let me know as i have a 2011 that needs to be done

    Thanks Gary

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Gary,
      2011’s would likely either not be allowed to be permanently imported, or they would have fairly high duties, like 40% – 50% of the original new book price. Only 6 year old and older vehicles qualify for the lower duties.

      • Thanks Steve, so i guess i will take it out in August

        Let me know if anything changes, By the way great informative site Well done !!

      • Susan says:

        I just wondered where you saw 6 year old cars can be imported. We called the Cancun aduana, they referred us to an approved broker (which they advised as the only way to go), and the broker said only cars 8 to 9 years old can be nationalized unless you go to some Economica group. We called there and they said our 2007 US made truck could not be imported until November 1 2015. I would love to be able to import it, even if the fee was higher so wondered where that information came from. Thanks.

      • yucalandia says:

        Hi Susan,
        As described above, the rules for sea ports (like Cancun) are different for drive-in border crossings with the USA. Sea ports, like Cancun, are limited to 8 and 9 yr old imports. Drive-in border crossing permanent imports at the US-Mexican border are 6-10. Hiram Cervera described this, and many internet reports by people importing cars at the border have confirmed it.

      • Susan says:

        Thank you so much for the info – guess I didn’t pick up on that. That relieves me since we
        already sent our German manufactured car to the US and have just applied for permanent and are a little frazzled about this whole thing. Thanks!

  3. Don Cuevas says:

    And it undoubtedly applies only to NAFTA manufactured vehicles.

    Don Cuevas

  4. When I read that post it sort of got my hackles up.

    I hear more and more these clever ways of permanently importing cars (Amparos, sending your documents to the guy in San Diego, legalizing at the airport) and I feel that it is important to remind people of one thing: Importing your car in based on false premises or participating in the falsified importation of a vehicle can be likened to “contrabanding”, a crime punishable by jail time and fines of around $1 million pesos.

    My advice to every one of my clients who asks me is the same: Sell your car in the States and buy one here. Don’t bring foreign plated cars to Mexico. Ship them home if you have them here. Progreso to Florida is $700.00 USD.

    • Nancy says:

      Solomon, I trust your advice++++ but I am now extremely worried, as I would like to drive a truck and cargo trailer to Mexico (will be permanente) with my household goods, tools, furniture etc. (retiring ) Do you advise against this- seems very unfair, as we are allowed to import household goods- seems a truck (2008) and trailer would a reasonable approach? Please let me know your thoughts on this? And, perhaps someone has done this resently?

      • My suggestion for importing household goods as a permanent resident would be to ship them freight to Progreso (or your nearest port) and pick them up there from customs. It adds a level of hassle, but you are not legally allowed to drive a foreign plated car as a Permanent Resident.

      • Nancy says:

        Oh man, Soloman, this is so confusing. The Consulate here in Calgary, has told us that we have 160 days to convert our ‘card/visa’ to residente permanente after rec. it. We were also told we can drive to Mexico. Even if we ship the household goods to Progresso, you are suggesting we can’t drive a NAFTA truck/car into the country on this ‘card’ and then nationalise the truck after? I think we will do what you suggest, that is ship, but what about nationalising a vehicle? thanks again so much for you help.

    • Elizabeth Brown says:

      I also agree with Lic. Freimuth about not taking the risk of importing a vehicle. .

      After the way they have behaved over the past few months, I don´t want to go anywhere NEAR Aduana. I´ll go to a local dealership (fortunately in Vallarta we also have most of the major players). If, down the road, Aduana or the Federales or anyone else ever tries to tell us the car isn´t legal, we will know where to go back to.

  5. albriscoe says:

    So!…we went to the licensing department for our drivers licence. I’d failed the first time because I hadn’t studied. This time I had looked at the translated questions from a source on the internet, so I had more of an idea. Took the test, passed the test, paid the money and then this chap in a very nice shirt and an excellent accent came up to me and said, “I have been talking to the other officers here and everyone seems to be of the opinion that you have had a license to drive for a number of years, is that right?” I replied that the information was indeed correct that I had had a license to drive for over 40 years, in the UK, in Canada and in the USA. He said that because this was so, he was going to waive the drivers test for my wife and I. I thanked him profusely and he left, and that was the end of that. We are now both proud owners of brand new drivers licenses and you know, it was a good thing that he waived the test for my wife, because she has her arm in a sling due to a broken arm. This probably shouldn’t be public info. though Mr. Fry, there’s bound to be someone out there who will go the that office and demand a license without the test, because, “It has already been established that there is now a criteria for expats not to have to take the bloody test”If you know what I mean, (grin)


    PS. Still waiting for the letter from Mexico giving us the go ahead to drive our vehicle, will advise when and if it comes in. al

    Everything changes and nothing remains the same

    Date: Fri, 3 May 2013 14:00:56 +0000 To:

  6. Jacobo says:

    I cannot agree more with the advice from Lic. Freimuth. Granted that everyone has their own idea about what kind of car they want to drive, that is why even here in Merida we have dozens of makes to select from, my recommendation after much research, and I have no interest in the company whatsoever, is VW Clasico, the old Jetta model. You can buy it new for around $12,000 or get a good used three year old one for about $8,000. It is made in Mexico, Puebla. If you want to go a little cheaper and better gas millage you can buy a VW Gol basic for under $12,000 new. There are about 5 million of them running around South America, made in Brazil. Because of overvalued Brazilian Real exchange rate, they are quite a bit cheaper here than in Brazil. But, do purchase a Mexican plated car and save yourself a great deal of hassle. If you are not in a hurry, the peso is very strong right now, around 12.2, you can wait and see if moves your way. When I bought my car l0 months ago, it was close to 14. Hot money is pouring into Mexico for a variety of reasons.

    Please do not take this as expect advice per the VW. Remember, somebody did buy at least one Edsel.

  7. Michael Savage says:

    I was in touch with an import agent that I found through this site and he gave me the following costs for importing my car which was a 2004 Lincoln Aviator:
    Importacion 7000
    Honorarios 1000
    Commercializadora 1500
    Placas 1000
    Gastos de aduana 16500.
    Total 27000

  8. Dorothy says:

    Americans were told today by Customs officials at a meeting with the American Consulate in Progreso, Yucatan that the Mexican Government has decided that neither Temporary or Permanent Visa holders can own or drive foreign plated vehicles… They are now illegal and will be impounded immediately. Has anyone else heard of this change in the law from what we understood it to be???

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Dorothy,
      Thank you so much for the update on the latest misunderstandings of current official Aduana policies on foreign plated Temporary Import Permit (TIP) cars.

      The folks at Aduana de Progreso have consistently been wrong in their understandings of actual official Aduana policies on TIP cars for over 6 months.

      I was not at the meeting, so, I have no idea what was said, but I just spent 30 minutes on the phone with the central Aduana office in DF in charge of Temporary Import Permits for vehicles, and another 30 minutes with Aduana’s bosses at SAT, also in charge of TIPs for vehicles.

      Both clearly said that WHEN A FOREIGNER HAS A RESIDENTE TEMPORAL, THEY ARE ALLOWED TO DRIVE THEIR FOREIGN PLATED CAR. IF Progreso Adauna officials told Residente Temporal gringos that they cannot extend the expiration dates on their legal temporarily imported cars, then both SAT-DF and Aduana-DF said that the Progreso officials were wrong – giving “erroneous advice“.

      If the Aduana de Progreso folks are rejecting applications to renew/extend our TIP expiration dates to match the expiration date of your new Residente Temporal, please see our latest post on this for an official work-around.

  9. Chuck Dueck says:

    Steve, have you had a chance to check out the situation at the Merida airport? After 2 months of trying, I have had no luck with Hiram Cervera. Gerardo Uc in Chetumal has been responsive and wants us to wire transfer $25k pesos to him to start and complete the process. I have a 2006 Dodge Caravan. I’m reluctant to send the money to anyone up front without first hand referrals as to whether he is capable and honorable. Has anyone been successful using Señor Uc’s services?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Chuck,
      I’ve been a busy kid, catching up on things after travel to a family wedding NOB, so, I have not gotten out to the airport. Guadalajara airport is now reporting successful imports, using local customs brokers there, but that does not mean the Merida Airport Aduana will follow suit.

      We have 2 separate friends whose Sr. Uc deals should be concluding in the next 2 weeks. I will report more when I hear,

  10. Wayne Phinney says:

    Steve, my wife and I own a NAFTA qualified ’08 Nissan Armada. We got a TIP when we crossed the border in Laredo on our move to Chuburna Puerto in 7/10. Our FM3’s are currently 2 yrs old and about to go 3. In addition, on the same TIP (Banercito (sp)) along with the car is our ’07 Polaris ATV 4 x 4. It is and always has been an unlicensed vehicle, as they are not a licensable vehicle in Colorado, where we bought it. Our desire is to import both if possible, providing it makes financial sense. Can you tell me at what point in time can we import the Nissan (providing it does indeed qualify) at the lowest possible % of value and any thoughts on what can be done about our ATV? Thanks!

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Wayne,
      6 year old and older vehicles are eligible to import at the border. Import costs vary widely, with Texas border crossing costing the most (roughly 3X higher than Mexicali permanent imports). This means that the customs broker and the crossing point you choose, is generally more important than the year of the car….**

      Re the ATV: We have a current report from a reader who found that Aduana refused to cancel their TIP on their foreign plated car, because they did not bring the trailer along that was “attached” to that original car/truck TIP. In theory, you need to take the ATV along with you to the border, when you go to surrender/cancel your current TIP.

      **Import duties depend on make, model, and year of car. Our main article on importing cars includes a link to a government websheet that reports the values of pretty much all cars that are eligible for import. Importing & Driving a Car in Mexico

      You should be able to import both, either now or in the future, with successively lower duties with every passing year.
      Happy Trails,

      Note that vehicle model years are defined by Nov 1 – Oct 31… This means that if your “08 Armada” was manufactured in Nov or Dec of 2008, then it is actually an ’09 – and not eligible for import until Nov/Dec of 2014. Check the manufacturing date of your car to avoid this trap…

  11. Edwige says:

    To Solomon Freimuth: Thank you!!… you are the only one so far that has told it how it is… if your car does not qualify for legal importation under the new rules, then… “Importing your car is based on false premises or participating in the falsified importation of a vehicle can be likened to “contrabanding”, a crime punishable by jail time and fines of around $1 million pesos. My advice to every one of my clients who asks me is the same: Sell your car in the States and buy one here. Don’t bring foreign plated cars to Mexico.”… Very good advice…!! We foreigners, who are guests in this lovely country, by importing our cars illegally via whatever methods are available, are contributing to the very system that we all complain about… If we tried this in Canada or the US we would be subject to immediate penalties!!… If I ever need a lawyer here in Mexico, I will definitely know who to contact…!!

  12. Wayne Phinney says:

    Steve, after re-reading your reply to me I’d like to clarify a comment you made regarding going to the border to import. Can’t we import in Progreso or Merida as we live year round in Chuburna Puerto? Also, am I correct in thinking there’s no need to import now, but will have to AFTER my FM3 is 4 years old. In addition, we’ve never been to Aduana at the Progreso pier to update our TIP, and if I understand another post of yours it sounds like this is something we should do ASAP…please advise…..and thanks so much for your help and advice.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Wayne,
      Good clarification. Our locations can make a difference with our reasonable permanent import options.

      The port of Progreso Aduana/Banjercito offices only allow permanent importations of 8 and 9 model year old vehicles, which currently is Nov. 2003 – Oct. 2005 manufactured date NAFTA vehicles. This means your newer ’08 Armada will not qualify for import at Progreso for about 3 more years, (depending on its manufacture date).

      Another hurdle in the process is that private individuals typically need a licensed customs broker to import a vehicle, because of all the forms and eccentricities of the processes. Right now, we do not know of any customs brokers who are willing to take on importing individual private cars at Progreso. Hiram Cervera has not been replying to phone messages or emails asking for quotations on private cars.

      It is good to request an extension of your TIP’s expiration date to match you INM permit date. Aduana de Progreso does require proof that you kept your TIP valid and your INM permit valid, before they will approve importing TIP vehicles at Progreso. The letter from Aduana verifying that your TIP expiration date has been the only proof they have accepted to prove a continuously valid TIP. – as described by Hiram Cervera.

      So, yes, I would register your current INM permit’s expiration date with Aduana. That will also get you a letter from Aduana, showing that your TIP is currently valid, which you can show to any police who stop you and require proof of a valid TIP.

      This procedure is explained at: Example Letter Notifying Aduana of changes-in or renewals-to your INM Visa:

      Happy Trails,

      • Wayne Phinney says:

        Once again, Thanks!! GREAT info. Will take car, titles, etc. for both and original blue Banjercito form and receipt from when we crossed at Laredo. Hopefully don’t have to take our ATV out to the pier as we don’t have a trailer and would have to drive it….which we can do if needed. We’ll see what happens!

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