US Customs and Border Patrol Memo on Exporting US Used Cars before Importing into Mexico

November 15, 2014
On Nov. 13, 2014,  the US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) issued a formal memo, reaffirming the 1992 US Customs rules that American citizens must formally export their US-titled used cars,  before the vehicle is permanently imported into any other country.

Here is the key part of the official CBP memo.

“Exporting Used Self-Propelled Vehicles
In accordance with the Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR), the U.S. Census Bureau (Census) mandates filing of Electronic Export Information (EEI) through the Automated Export System (AES) or through AESDirect for all used self-propelled vehicles 72 hours prior to export regardless of destination, value or condition. (Reference: Federal Register Notice 78 FR 16366, Title 15 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 30.2(a)(1)(iv)(H) and 15 CFR 30.4(b)(5). ”

“These regulations apply to all used-self-propelled vehicles. First-time and one-time exports will require completion and submission of all mandatory AES filing requirements 72 hours prior to export. ”

Note that the previous CPB rules for $250 fines for private individuals and $10,000 fines for professional importers who do not formally export used American vehicles, still apply.

*                 *                 *                *
Readers who want to read the entire memo, including FAQ’s and answers can get all the details at:

*                 *                 *                *

For more details on Mexican Import/Aduana rules, please see our main article at:
Importing & Driving a Car in Mexico
*                *                 *                *

Feel free to copy while giving proper attribution: YucaLandia/Surviving Yucatan. ©Steven M. Fry

Read-on MacDuff . . .

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to US Customs and Border Patrol Memo on Exporting US Used Cars before Importing into Mexico

  1. MeridaGOround says:

    A certain unnamed party known to me was stopped yesterday for driving a questionably-imported vehicle in Yucatan with plates from another Mexican state. (The importation did not comply with the yanqui law stated above.) All went well. The Policia Estatal are caballeros! That said, I still wonder what might happen if that vehicle were driven back to the north country. But it is something of a relief to learn that the fine is $250us. However, I seem to recall that the offense is a felony. Is this correct? (If so, imagine that driving away from that nation without permission results in a felony charge!)

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Guy,
      Again, disclaimer, we are not legal experts – but it does not appear to involve felony charges: US CBP has been studying this issue since last June, and working it with the Mexican government (hence the changes in Mexican import requirements to increase-enforcement/decrease-cross-border-stolen-car-trafficing).

      Further, the Mexican Govt. is not in the business of enforcing US law, so, if we skipped the US export requirement, but met all of Mexico’s past import rules – then the American vehicles successfully permanently imported into Mexico (with valid Aduana pedimentos and valid Mexican plates) are not required by Mexican police to meet the US export rule. Said another way: If you have legitimate Mexican plates now, then you are fine driving around inside Mexico.

      Is CBP making efforts to find Americans who violated the export rule in the past? Based on reports of Americans driving back into the USA by Mexican-plated cars, there appears to be no current new extra CBP scrutiny of VINs of vehicles entering the USA – so, there is no current evidence of CBP/Homeland Security searching for Americans who permanently imported their US vehicles into Mexico without doing the CBP required export.


  2. MeridaGOround says:

    Thanks for your comments, above, Steve. I’m amused (dismayed) by the statute’s term: self-propelled. Is the law meaning to prohibit bicycles from fleeing USA? Does a car have a “self”?

  3. Safsaf says:

    What about Canadian cars?

    • yucalandia says:

      Because Canada does not have the export requirements that the USA Customs requires, there are no special additional requirements.

      Hint: If you have a Canadian car that was once an American car – manufactured for the American market, and was sold in America, the VIN gets it flagged as an American car when you try to import it into Mexico – even if you legally imported it into Canada. The Mexican law does not have a remedy for this weird little sub-category of Canadian cars.

  4. Dave Grundy says:

    I never thought a whole lot about that “weird little sub-category” much Steve. But the last 3 Canadian vehicles we have owned were all manufactured in the USA, for sale in the USA, and then “imported” into Canada by new car dealers, including the one we nationalized and plated in Yucatan and currently drive in Mexico.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Dave,
      Let’s hope that the most recent Canadian “guinea pigs” who suffered through long delays at the border have “educated” the Aduana folks (at least at Nuevo Laredo) on this weird subcategory, so future Canadians can permanently import their US cars more easily.

  5. Brian S. says:

    The rule to file vehicles in the Automated Export System 72 hours prior to export became mandatory in October. US-based customs brokers often do this for you (for a fee). Or if you have the time to set up an AES account, you can do it yourself.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.