Showing Your INM Permit: Mexican Traffic Law Updated

Aug 24, 2013
News from around Mexico:  The old advice about foreigner drivers not having to show their INM documents to police has now officially “expired“, both in INM rules and om various state laws. e.g. Article 50 of the new Ley de Movilidad y Transporte (Mexico’s Transit Law for Jalisco) describes the we now must to have our INM document (Residente Temporal card or Residente Permanente card or Visitante permit) to be able to drive (in Jalisco and … other states).

Artículo 50. Los vehículos registrados en el extranjero podrán circular en el Estado, si sus conductores acreditan la legal internación y estancia en el país de los mismos, mediante la documentación expedida por las autoridades federales competentes.

Mr. Google translates this as:
” Article 50. The foreign-registered vehicles may move in the state, if their drivers
prove the legal entry and stay in the country of the same, by documentation issued
by the competent federal authorities (INM).”

Combined with the various state rulings that we must show our INM IDs to police, consider INM rules that also require that we carry our INM permits (when outside our homes) and that we must show these permits when requested by Mexican Govt. officials.

We now return you to your previously scheduled programming…
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© Steven M. Fry

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14 Responses to Showing Your INM Permit: Mexican Traffic Law Updated

  1. Meir says:

    What about my wife (dual citizen) driving my car?

    • yucalandia says:

      Morning Meir,
      Yes, Aduana law (Article 106) clearly specifies that family members are permitted to drive your vehicle.

      Other non-family member Mexicans are prohibited.

  2. igualla7 says:

    The old rules used to allow you to drive in on a tourist visa and change to an FM3, so your car was as good as your new status. So, if you have a car here that puts you in this situation, then your entry will not match your card.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi igualla7,
      I think there is a different legal principle that governs the case you describe. We have always been required to notify Aduana of any changes in INM visa status. When a person changes from Visitante/Tourist to any residency permit (temporary, permanent, FM2, FM3), they notify Aduana of the change in INM status using a letter – and the TIP remains valid.

      If you follow the current law, when we renew our FM2’s or FM’3 as Residente Temporal (the most common renewal this past year) – then you are RENEWING your existing INM permit, formally, in the eyes of Mexican law. Next: Since June, 2010, we are also required to notify Aduana of INM permit renewals.

      If a former Tourist visa, who changed to FM3 or FM2, followed Aduana’s notification rules on each visa type change and each renewal, with no breaks and no penalties, then their current ongoing TIP is still valid.

      This has been confirmed by the Aduana DF hotlines, the SAT hotlines, Customs Brokers, and by Aduana DF managers (specifically Sra. Villanueva) multiple times this past year.
      Happy Trails,

      • igualla7 says:

        Thanks so much. UGH. I have not notified aduana. Do you happen to have an example of what to put in this letter and where to send it?

      • yucalandia says:

        Hi igualla,
        Yes, we have a copy in our Importing and Driving a Car in Mexico article:

        Example Letter Notifying Aduana of changes-in or renewals-to your INM Visa

        Your Location and Today’s Date
        Lic. ______ _______
        (For Progreso Aduana Office: use Mariano Bueno Guerrero)

        Administrador de la Aduana
        de _______ (city of your Aduana office), _____________, (your State)

        For Progreso, use:
        Administrador de la Aduana de Progreso

        Por este medio la gue suscribe _______ (your last name), ____ _____ (first and middle names), pasaporte no. __________________ (enter passport number), notifico a esa autoridad aduanera mi: “cambio migratorio de ingreso a Mexico” (for changes in visa status) or “cambio de fecha de caucidad a _______ (enter your new visa expiration date) de mi ______ (your visa category: e.g. No Inmigrante Rentista for FM3′s or Inmigrante Rentista for FM2′s), de NUT ______ (your NUT number from your FM2 or FM3), esto a fin de esa autoridad esta notificada y se me de una extension de permanencia de mi vehiculo.

        Mi dirección es:
        (enter your address and official postal code)

        Mi número de teléfono es: (enter your telephone number)

        Mi información de coche es:
        Con VIN:

        Entrego para constancia copias de:
        1. Permiso temporal de vehiculo
        2. Pasaporte (first 2 pages)
        3. Cambio migratorio nuevo (or) Renovación de mi permiso INM
        4. Comprobante domiciliario

        _____ _____ (Your Signature)
        _____ _____ (Your Printed Name)

        Note that some Aduana offices now have their own pre-printed forms for you fill out. If you cannot get to an Aduana office, you can try sending your information to the Aduana D.F. office at:

        Administración General de Aduanas
        Administración Central de Operación Aduanera
        Administración de Operación Aduanera “3”
        Av. Hidalgo No. 77, Módulo IV, 1° piso, Del. Cuauhtémoc
        Col. Guerrero, C.P. 06300, México D.F.

      • igualla7 says:

        Great information! (as usual). Would you happen to have an email address from Aduana so that I can ask them first about my paperwork for permission to bring the car in that I do not have anymore. Last year I was robbed and included in the bag of goodies, I later discovered had also included that paper, although, of course, I still have the sticker on the car…?

  3. Steve, do you think permanent resident family members of temporary residents with a TIP can legally drive a vehicle (title is in both names)? I looked at Article 106 and it doesn’t seem to put any stipulations on the family members. I have one more year of temporary resident and one more year to figure out how I’m going to remove the vehicle and replace it with one from MX. My spouse occasionally drives the car, but I am the primary driver. The TIP is in my name and the vehicle title is in both our names. Thanks.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Susan,
      I think you read something other than Articulo 106 de La Ley Aduanera:
      See our article: Importing & Driving a Car in Mexico for a Yucalandia/English translation and the original Spanish version:

      Ley Aduanera ARTICLE 106.
      “Temporary importation is understood as the entry of merchandise into the country, which will remain in it for a limited period of time and for a specific purpose, so long as it is returned abroad in the same condition. The former applies for the following term:

      PART IV. For the term of his or her migratory status, including extensions, in the following cases: Vehicles owned by tourists, visitors, local visitors and distinguished visitors, students, and immigrants who are tenants, whenever said vehicles are their own, excepting tourists and local visitors. When the vehicles are not their own, requirements established within the regulations must be met. Such vehicles may be driven within the national territory by a foreigner –the importer holding one of the migratory status referred to in this paragraph, by his or hers spouse, parents or descendants, even when the latter are not foreigners: and by a Mexican as long as one of the persons authorized to drive the vehicle travels with him or her in the car. Vehicles referred to in this section must meet the requirements pointed out in the regulations.”

      En Español:
      ARTICULO 106 de la Ley Aduanera
      “Se entiende por régimen de importación temporal, la entrada al país de mercancías para permanecer en el por tiempo limitado y con una finalidad especifica, siempre que retornen al extranjero en el mismo estado, por los siguientes plazos.

      Fracción IV. Por el plazo que dure su calidad migratoria, incluyendo sus prórrogas, en los siguientes casos
      a. Las de vehículos propiedad de extranjeros que se internen al país con calidad de inmigrantes rentistas o de no inmigrantes, excepto tratándose de refugiados y asilados políticos, siempre que se trate de un solo vehículo. Los vehículos que importen turistas y visitantes locales, incluso que no sean de su propiedad y se trate de un solo vehículo. Los vehículos podrán ser conducidos en territorio nacional por el importador, su cónyuge, sus ascendientes, descendientes o hermanos, aun cuando éstos no sean extranjeros, por un extranjero que tenga alguna de las calidades migratorias a que se refiere este inciso, o por un nacional, siempre que en este último caso, viaje a bordo del mismo cualquiera de las personas autoriza das para conducir el vehículo y podrán efectuar entradas y salidas múltiples. Los vehículos a que se refiere este inciso, deberán cumplir con los requisitos que señale el Reglamento. Inciso reformado DOF 30-12-1996, 31-12-1998, 01-01-2002.”

      From: is a printable section you can carry in your car to show police who do not know the Ley Aduanera.

      Hope this relieves your concerns,

  4. Pingback: Foreign Plated Vehicle Questions - Playa del Carmen & Riviera Maya Forum by In The Roo

  5. says:

    If one’s foreign-plated car never paid any import duty (never became licensed within the Mexican state within which it is driven) and has overstayed the limits of the visa status of it’s owner, the car is vulnerable to confiscation. Before attempting to nationalize one’s car, one must check the VIN number. Only cars manufactured in a NAFTA country may be nationalized, sold or traded in Mexico. The “J” in our VIN number indicated that our Toyota was, indeed, made-in-Japan. We obtained a ‘Retorno Seguro’ document (simple to do, same-day turn-around time) which gave us 5 weekdays to drive our car from Puerto Vallarta out of Mexico legally. Thanks to your article, “Importing and Driving a Car In Mexico,” expats who find themselves in this situation can then decide whether and how to import a ‘legal’ car into Mexico, or decide whether to purchase one in-country. Truth-be-told, people driving on Mexican roads without paying license plate fees or import fees are driving for ‘free.’ Cheating, in other words.

  6. Creagh Day says:

    Hi Steve, I am traveling to Baja Sur for the first time with my Residente Permanente. My husband will be on a 180 day tourist visa. We got our truck registered in his name only, even though the Title is in both our names. We plan to go down the mainland and take the ferry over to La Paz. Here are my questions:
    1. May I drive the truck in Baja when my husband is not with me? I have my marriage license, copy of the Title, his Driver’s License, etc.
    2. As residente permanente, do I have to declare what we are bringing down? In the past with FM2, we have always checked in with Aduana and given them our list of stuff and then paid the import duty. Does that still apply for me as RP?

    Thank you so much, Creagh

  7. susancarol12 says:

    What’s the lag-time between the President’s signing Aduana or INM legislation and its publication in the DOF? In the 3 past instances where we have followed Aduana and INM legislation, the lag-times have been just 1 or 2 days.

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