Residente Temporal: Working vs. Non-Working and Foreign Plated TIP Cars

Aug 9, 2015 Update
While prior Aduana administrative policy was to deny Temporary Import Permits (TIPs) to Residente Temporals with permission to work, Aduana has changed its policy in the meantime to now allow issuing TIPs to working Residente Temporales (RTs)… with some restrictions. According to the Mexican Consulate in Denver: The RT can only apply for the TIP at the border, not online.

May 31, 2013 Previous Aduana Policies
In the evolving story of how Aduana/Banjercito were adjusting their official policies on temporarily imported foreign-plated cars (TIP vehicles) to accommodate the Nov.8 2012 INM changes, the central Aduana office for TIPs in DF (May 2013) started rejecting TIP extensions for WORKING Residente Temporal card holders.

Aduana DF ruled (both in writing and on phone calls) that Residente Temporal Lucrativa permit holders are equivalent to the old FM2 Inmigrante Lucrativa , and hence are not allowed to keep their TIP cars. When expats get their Resident Temporal card with permission to work, their TIP vehicle ( Permiso de Importación Temporal de Vehiculo ) becomes immediately illegal and must be taken out of Mexico.

Residente Temporal Lucrativa permit holders with TIP vehicles must either permanently import their vehicles, or take them out of Mexico. ( See Retorno Seguro for a free 5 day permit to legally drive your car out of Mexico at:  What to Do If Your Car Becomes “Illegal” – The Retorno Seguro Program / Permit.


For other options, also check out:  Options for Foreign-Plated “TIP” Car Owners in Mexico, esp for Permanent Residents

Note that if the police find a TIP car being driven with an expired TIP (e.g. when you have an accident), they can confiscate the car permanently.     Also note that some insurance companies use the excuse of having an invalid/expired TIP as justification to deny payment on accident claims.  In the case of severe accidents, denying coverage can leave the car owner on the hook for $3 million to $5 million pesos of liability per death from an accident, regardless of who is driving the car…

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© Steven M. Fry

Read on, MacDuff.

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19 Responses to Residente Temporal: Working vs. Non-Working and Foreign Plated TIP Cars

  1. Dorothy says:

    Hi… just to be clear, we have an expired TIP but also a letter from Aduana Progreso indicating we have applied to Mexico for an extension on our TIP. Our vehicle is in the name of my husband who has Residente Temporal only; not one that allowed him to work. Therefore,he can still, within the law, drive our vehicle?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Dorothy,
      You have done things well.

      Keep the Aduana de Progreso letter in your car, as proof that you have filed to extend the expiration date of your TIP, per Aduana rules. Also keep a copy of Article 106 of the Ley Aduanera that describes that if you keep your INM temporary residency visa current, then your temporary import permit remains valid.

      The 2 pieces of official documentation should be enough to keep any police from hassling you for a bribe, as long as you stand your ground. In tracking a number of expat forums from across Mexico, we have only 1 verified report of the police confiscating 3 vehicles in Puerta Vallarta two months ago, and the PV police have backed-off from any other confiscations.

      • James Thoman says:

        Thank you for your prompt response to our email. I again talked to the Mexican Consulate in Phoenix, AZ. after I received your reply. Your statement that I would get a Temporary Resident Visa for one year is not necessarily correct. If you apply for a Temporary Visa and you do not have a record of having had a previous visa, Mexico will only issue your first Temporary Visa for one year. If however, you have lived in Mexico for a number of years, you can get a Temporary Visa for more than one year. In our case because we have lived in Mexico for close to six years, the Mexican Consulate said we should be able to secure a four year Visa…

        James Thoman

    • James Thoman says:

      My wife and I have lived full time in Bucerias, Nayarit, Mexico for the last six years (near Puerto Vallarta). In September of 2012, while on our annual summer trip to Arizona, we purchased a new 2012 Chevrolet Traverse and registered and licensed it in Arizona. The fifth year on our FM3 was up in November of 2012, and when we went to renew, INS officials in Nuevo Vallarta, recommended that we should seriously consider obtaining “Permanent Resident” status. We questioned them about our new Traverse and were told that they were not aware of any changes that would be made in Mexico’s TIP’s vehicle program. Well we subsequently learned, after we received our Permanent Residents cards, that we could not drive an Arizona plated vehicle in Mexico. We returned the vehicle to Arizona in May, 2013 and are trying to find a solution so we don’t have to sell the car.

      We have been told by the Mexican Consulate in Phoenix that we can keep our Arizona plated car and return to Mexico with it, if we have our Permanent Resident status cancelled here in Phoenix. Then we can apply for the Temporary Resident status (rentista – non working) or we could even go into Mexico as a tourist but as Tourist Visas are good for only six months, it would mean that we would have to return to the U.S. at least every six months. Unless there is a way of renewing the Tourist Visa and the TIP on our Traverse near our Mexican home, we have pretty well ruled the Tourist Visa option out.

      Can you confirm that if we give up our Permanent Resident status here in Phoenix, and instead obtain a four year Temporary Resident status (rentista – non working), that we will be able to bring our 2012 Arizona vehicle into Mexico and that we will not have to do anything with the vehicle including not having to drive it back to the US within the four years term of the Temporary Resident card? At that time, after November 1, 2017, our 2012 Traverse could be imported into Mexico, through Nogales, as it would be six years old. At the same time, as our Temporary Resident status would have expired, we would again plan on applying for Permanent Resident status.

      Thank you for your assistance in reviewing our situation.

      James & Shirley Thoman

      • yucalandia says:

        Hi James and Shirley,
        Your understanding of the Mexican Consulate’s instructions are correct. To use the Traverse in Mexico, you would either have to pay very expensive duties to permanently import it now (40% mas o menos), or you would surrender your Residente Permanente card, re-apply for Temporary Residency, and go to Mexico to complete the Temporary Residency process at your local Bucerias(?) INM office.

        There are 2 hitches to that plan though: The Mexican Consulate gives you a special visa to enter Mexico that is only good for 30 days inside Mexico… That means that Aduana issues you a car TIP for just… 30 days… and … The Mexican Consulate also almost universally only approves Temporary Residents for just a 1 year card…

        This 30 day Aduana TIP further means that when you get your comprabante from INM in Mexico (proving they have accepted your application and that you have paid your Temp. Res. fee), you then you must quickly send a letter (with a copy of the INM/bank comprabante) to Aduana asking them to extend your TIP expiration date by 1 year, to match the anticipated expiration date of your new Temp. Resident card… This application to Aduana (before 30 days) stops Banjercito from confiscating your TIP deposit at the 30 day expiration date…. and ….. Yes, you are eligible for 4 TOTAL years of Temp. Res., but the goofy Mexican Consulates are only approving applicants for just 1 year, and then you apply for 3 more years during the following year’s reapplication at INM….

        Did I explain this all OK? You apply at the Mexican Consulate, come to Mexico, start your INM part of the process to get a 1 year Residente Temporal card, use the INM document to file with Aduana for a 1 year extension of your TIP on the Traverse…. and then to start your second year of Residente Temporal, you file again with INM for a 3 year renewal of the RT card, and use that proof of payment to INM to file with Aduana again, but this time for a 3 year extension of your TIP expiration date.

        Clear as mud?

  2. rbennink says:

    The implication is that if you have a permit to work you need to have Yucatan plates on your vehicle. What about if you don’t work? Does that mean having US plates is okay?

  3. Wendy Horn says:

    Hi Steve,
    Thank you for the public service you perform every day with this excellent resource. We have a question that we can’t find any information on. I have applied for my Temporary Residency status at the Mexican consulate in Boise and have received my passport back with the visa page attached to that gives me time to get to our home in Playa del Carmen and go to immigration to complete the process for temporary residency — fingerprints, get the card etc. With this “in between” status, am I able to get a temporary import permit to bring my US car into Mexico? I would be so grateful for any information you can provide. Thanks so much! Wendy

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Wendy,
      Fun, fun question.

      Yes, you have 2 options. You can apply online with Aduana for your TIP . or You can drive to the US-Mexico border and get it at a Banjercito/Aduana office there. The #2 border crossing in downtown Laredo is particularly easy for doing this. Cross in the morning, bring copies of your passport, the car title, the car’s registration papers, and copies of your immigration visa.

      All good,

      • Wendy Horn says:

        Thanks Steve– so an incomplete temporary resident status is not a deal-breaker for a TIP? That is wonderful news! Thank you for your assistance

      • zach says:

        I am wondering if I can bring my car me to go to mexico to work. I am in the process of setting up my visa and going to work in Puerto vallarta will be impossible to get a new tip for the car I read in a post that if you work there you can’t have a tip vehicle? If not is it going to be a hard thing to get it plated with Mexican plates out should I sell the car and fly Lol

      • yucalandia says:

        Hey zach,
        You seem to understand the laws well. To keep a TIP car, you must either have a Visitante visa (that may or may not allow you to work), or have a Residente Temporal visa with NO permission to work.

        The restrictions on working Visitante visas may not work for you. This means that either Residente Temporal with special permission to work, or Residente Permane
        nte are the most likely long-term routes for you.

        Fly in, and buy a nice used car here? See: Yucatan Living » Buying A Used Car in Merida at

        Happy Trails,

      • zach says:

        After reading allot of post I have heard two things not sure what one is correct one is that you can have a tip car only on the temporary work via bit after for years you have to change it the other thing I heard is that you can only do a tip car on a tourist visa. Any idea what the truth is? How hard is it to just get Mexican plates my car is a 05 Ford 500 any idea what the cost would be

  4. sarah says:

    How interesting, incomprehensible, and typical, that Aduana is equating the old FM2 Lucrativo with the new Temporal Lucrativo, although INM did not. My old FM3 Lucrativa (which I had had for 7 years) was switched to a Temporal Lucrativo by INM when the new INM regs came in.

  5. Rich says:

    “J” TIP Car‏‏?
    – I brought a 1991 Mitsubshi Montero, with a “J” VIN, into Mexico in 2007.
    – In April 2013 (effective 17 Mar 2013) I received my renewed my Mexican Visa (Residente Temporal). Since it took many weeks to renew my Visa, I had to immediately leave Mexico without renewing the TIP, which was already expired.
    – I plan to return to Mexico on 2 Feb. 2014.
    – What are my options to renew the TIP on this “J” VIN vehicle?


  6. Correction:

    Thank you again!
    But the new TIP is only valid for 180 days, correct?
    If not correct, If after going to the Border for the renewal, can I renew it locally thereafter, until I need to get a Permanent Visa? Or do I need to o to the Border every 6 months?

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