Aduana – SAT Makes Big Changes to Retorno Seguro program

April 28, 2017 Update
The RETORNO SEGURO permit program has been shifted back to local~regional Aduana~SAT  offices.  The Aduana~SAT central “Distrito Federal” office has decided to no longer process Retorno Seguor permit applications.  This is a blessing, because the local~regional Aduana~SAT offices (like our Hacienda~SAT office in north Merida) was able to process the applications in a week or less ~ while the national SAT office in Distrito Federal was horribly slow (4 – 6 weeks).  SAT  offers this form to file for a Retorno Seguro permit:

Click here for more details on Retorno Seguro permits:
~ What to Do If Your Car Becomes “Illegal” – The Retorno Seguro Program / Permit


The application form is half way down the DOF web page:
Solicitud de autorizacion para el retorno de vehiculos extranjeros con permiso de importacion temporal de vehiculos vencidos, de conformidad con la regla 4.2.20

Complete the form and take copies of these documents to your local~regional SAT office:
1. Passport
2. Utility bill 90 days in any name which will be address used for courier
3. Driver’s License (Mexican, Canadian or American)
4. Visa front and back
5. Vehicle Title
6. Receipt proving payment of the original Temporary Import Permit
7. Permiso de Importacion Vencido (the original paper document that also contained your windshield permit)

If a person other than vehicle owner will be driving the car in the accompanying letter you must state their full name as on their passport and provide a copy of their Drivers license ID.

The Retorno Seguro permit is still free.

See more details at our main article on Importing Cars and Driving in Mexico:
Importing & Driving a Car in Mexico

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

Read-on MacDuff . . .

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55 Responses to Aduana – SAT Makes Big Changes to Retorno Seguro program

  1. princesanancy2012 says:

    Strictly for information should someone be discussing it.

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. GEO says:

    Thank you for this update. good job to all those concerned. for your information, i am in chetumal and have been here 25 years helping friends with border problems on the belize side and on the mexican side. with immigration and with import, export and with car permits. recently starting nov 1st we encountered a new requirement, that is very scary, as well. if you have a rebuilt title or a salvage title of any kind. or if you title says rebuilt on it anywhere, or if your car has been given a rebuilt or salvage for minor things or been registered in canada or usa as a rebuilt. it will not be given a temporary permit at the border. anymore.( by the way this was a renewal !!) just so you know some titles from canada have rebuilt on the registration, if they have ever been in an accident and even if they met stringent repair rules to allow them to be driven and plated back where they came from , it does not matter to mexico officials. we spent 1 week with the help of miss Guadalupe (office mgr at banjercito 25 years.) who is very kind and helpful and were able to get one in but as of jan 1st she says it is out of her hands. some salvage titles from the usa are for example: a car was stolen and not found and 30 days later the car is recovered in perfect condition, no damage, but the payout was made by insurance . it will forever have a salvage title but easy to get plates for it as it can be certified in usa and then plated and registration etc.
    I think the reason for this is, that, so many hit, damaged and totaled cars pass through mexico on there way to salvador belize guatemala etc. and have been the cause of horrific accidents. (many are towed or towbar through.) as a result even properly rebuilt , certified and registered cars now will not be allowed,or if they show up on the tri national computor list of rebuilt or salvage units. if they have been registered as rebuilt or salvage in usa or canada. just my observation. sorry for the news. just a heads up . i dealt with this personally just this month. geo in chetumal.

  3. zelda marlowe says:

    Question: does the retorno seguro permit apply to TIP vehicles which are leaving Mexico permanently??

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Zelda,
      The returno seguro permit can be gotten for ANY foreign-plated vehicle that you want to take to the border for ANY reason.

      Some people with expired TIPs do use a returno seguro permit to take the vehicle to the border to get a new TIP, without ever leaving Mexico.

      • Chuck Dueck says:

        Hi Steve.

        You write that the “returno seguro permit can be gotten…” If I want to take my van out of Mexico, should the word “can” read “must,” or is there still another option? We had planned on taking ours out at the end of January.

  4. Jonas says:

    Vehicle situation is out of control, can’t legalize (aduana has been closed) can’t take out of country, getting dumb And dumber daily, NO common sense!!

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Jonas,
      There are solutions:

      ~ Follow the law, as it has been the same for the last 10 years:

      Take our temporary imported cars out of Mexico by the expiration date of the permit.

      Stop treating our temporary cars as if they are permanently-allowed to stay in Mexico.

      When Americans & Canadians are required to pay their bills on time … to get insurance … to go vote on voting day … following published rules.

      Why do those same Americans & Canadians resist … and outright refuse other time … to do legally required things … on time?

      The Americans & Canadians signed contracts … agreeing to take their Temporarily imported vehicles out of Mexico by their permit’s expiration date.

      Just what is “out of control” ?

      Just who has “no common sense” ?

      Break the law in the USA,
      break the law in Canada,
      break our signed contractual promises

      … and then complain when there are consequences?

      No …
      Somehow, many Americans & Canadians imagine that they are magically exempt from following Mexican laws.

      which truly makes no sense ?


      • Hopeful says:

        Steve, Amen brother! Citizens from other countries need to be thankful we are allowed to cross the boarder PERIOD. We should act in accordance with our gratitude.

      • Rico says:

        This needs to be said in EVERY forum. So tired of listening to whiny entitled foreigners. Thank you!

      • Well, at the moment, we are stuck as the borders were not open to Canadians entering the USA from Mexico thanks to Covid. Sure, some got through but some didn’t. Up to the border guard. So we could not follow the rules. We have tried to give it to the government, everything. I guess retorno seguro is next and hope they let us go through. We would happily give it away but we can’t.

  5. Jen says:

    I’m writing to pick anyones brain. My situation is briefly this: My family lived in Mexico from ’09 to ’11. My husband. (who the car was titled to and so is linked to his passport) died in 2012. The car is still in Quintana Roo. The Temporary Importation Sticker on our car was last renewed at the Belize border in ’11 so its way expired. I have been keeping up the Mexican insurance on the car as well as liability here in NC. Friends have been driving the car on and off over the last few years. So you can imagine how shocked I was when I happened to ask before I renewed my policy this time if I would actually be covered in an accident since the registration for NC is expired (in NC you must have a physical inspection to renew registration) and it’s not legal(because of the expired TIP) in Mexico. The answer was “no”. So I have wasted thousands of dollars in insurance. But even more disturbing if someone had been hurt or killed with the car it would have been a nightmare. I have spent hours and hours reading articles about the best way to handle this situation. And I think I just get more confused. I don’t want anyone driving the car till I can get it insured. I am coming in January, to stay a couple months. One of the primary reasons for coming is to take care of the car, as I do not plan to live in Mexico anytime in the near future. I would of course like to use the car while there. Until I read this article I had planned on getting a Retorno Seguro from the Audana in Cancun, drive to Belize, canceled the TIP in my late husbands name and get a new one in my name (the car is now titled to me). Since Retorno Seguro is now processed through Mexico City via mail and sounds like a true nightmare, its really an impossibility for me. I can not stay in Mexico waiting on the Retorno, and I do not have a Mexican address. SO this is what I’m thinking of trying: driving the car to Chetumal (yes it’s illegal and uninsured) but I see no other options. Turning in the old TIP with a copy of the title in my husbands name, a copy of his death certificate and his passport. Then “try” to get them to give me a new TIP in my name. If by some miracle that happens I still need insurance. Are there any Mexican insurance companies that will insure a foreign plated car that does not have current registration in the states? I read about the South Dakota “work around”. I’d rather not do the S Dakota thing because a) I don’t know if it’s legal for NC residents to do and b) at the end of our trip I would like to ship the car back to the states from Progreso and would rather not have to undo the whole registration. If anyone has any thoughts on the best way to handle any of this It would be most appreciated.
    Thanks so much.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Jen,
      Your plan to drive carefully to the Chetumal border, and get a fresh TIP there is your best option.

      If your insurance company requires current registration, the SD registration is your only viable option.

      • yucalandia says:

        Hi Jen,
        Your state will not care if you get SD registration and plates (done through the US mail).

        The only states that care are neighboring states that border SD.

  6. Michael Bruno says:

    Good information. Just to be sure. If you have a car with a TIP and you know it needs to be taken out of Mexico, you can drive the car over the border to the US while the TIP is still valid. Then, you can do whatever you want with the car while in the US. Is that correct?

  7. Cheryl Cumberland says:

    How do you go about just a change of address. We owned a home, built a new one, and have recently moved.

  8. Dinter says:

    Thank you for your site, it is well done and full of useful information.
    I am currently a 6-months tourist in Mexico, European citizen with an American vehicle (on my name) with a TIP. I would like to stay in Mexico, either extending my visa or making a “visa run” probably by flight as I am not close to a border.
    Is there any way to extend/reissue the TIP without getting out of Mexico? Can I make a new TIP without showing the car at a border?… (when they gave me the first TIP nobody looked at the car.)


  9. Brittney Battaglia says:

    Hi there… I really appreciate all the updated info! Just what I was looking for. After reading through I realize I am still not clear on a few things. Here is my situation (I really appreciate your advice!)- I was granted my permenant residency while my US plated TIP car was sitting at the mechanics waiting for someone to figure out how to get software to program a new computer (about a 6 month process). Now we have the car back and fully functioning, but of course it is not legal for me or my Mexican partner to drive. We were thinking to sell it to another expat, but being told that is not technically legal? So the other options are import it or returno seguro. We plan to go to the states for the summer anyway, so we thought we would drive. I am a little overwhelmed by facing this returno seguro process, but I have all of the documents listed! Do I need someone to present them on my behalf in Mexico City?

    Next issue… expired plates. Am I understanding correctly that some US insurance is not valid if your plates are expired? I was not able to renew them because the car was not drivable in order to get an inspection (which I would think has to be done in the states anyway). Not sure about what I am facing here or what to do first…? Appreciate your thoughts. Thank you again!

  10. Brittney says:

    OK, great to know. Thank you for clarifying! So, I think I would just renew my US insurance to validate my Mexico insurance and we should be ready to go upon arrival of the retorno seguro (if that is the route we decide). We have a toddler who is not quite 2 years old, so we are really anxious about hitting the road with a little one and having only 5 days to reach the border. Do you know if it is legal for me to sell the car to another expat? Some people are telling me no because now I am not considered an expat myself… if anyone is clear on this (again I am a permanent resident now), please do share. Thank you again for your site and help!

    • yucalandia says:

      TIP cars cannot be sold in Mexico – they have to leave Mexico, and be sold outside Mexico.

      For this reason, people here in Yucatan Peninsula make runs to the border to sell their TIP vehicles, and then the new owner gets their own personal TIP in their name,

  11. marcie cavanagh says:

    Hi Steve,
    Have completed my renewal of a new Temporal and sent off all the information to Aduana in D.F. When I turned in my old TIP I notified Banjercito that the credit card my TIP came in on is no long valid. They took all the information for a new credit card and said “no problem”. It has been several weeks and I do not see a credit on my credit card. I have tried calling the number they gave me to follow up but ONLY get a busy signal (015562722728). Any suggestions on how to follow up on this? Can I go to the local Banjercito in Puerto Vallarta for help?

    • yucalandia says:

      Letters can work better than phone calls.

      Try their official address for the office for TIPs in DF:
      Banco Nacional del Ejército
      Fuerza Aérea y Armada, S.N.C.,
      Av. Industria Militar 1055
      Col. Lomas de Sotelo,
      Del. Miguel Hidalgo
      C.P. 11200, México, D.F.


  12. Wayne G Groves says:

    Hi! We recently had to change our status to permanent residence and would like to know the latest on the Permiso para Returno Seguro application process. We live in Aguascalientes and since we would have to go to Mexico City to apply for the permit, we would like to know how long process takes in actual practice. Does the stated 15 business days actually apply or is it taking longer or shorter? Also, it was stated somewhere that the permiso could be sent to our local SAT office or picked up in Mexico City. Has anyone had any recent experience with this?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Wayne,
      Our main article has updates that cover your questions at: to Do If Your Car Becomes Illegal

      You can apply without going to Mexico City (or go if you want)…

      Recent reports say to expect 5 – 7 weeks for Aduana to process your request and issue the permit.

      Happy Trails,

      • Wayne G. Groves says:

        How do you apply for the permit without good to Mexico City in person?

      • yucalandia says:

        Hi Wayne,
        The link in the previous reply … takes you to our main article on Importing & Driving a car in Mexico.

        At the top of the article is a BLUE link to click that drops you to the article’s section on Retorno Seguro permits.

        In that Retorno Seguro permits section, there are detailed instructions … and (because the Mex. Gob changes addresses frequently) there is a link to the Aduana website for filing, that includes the current address that works.

        Happy Trails,

  13. Andrea says:

    Steve, what is the time allotted after someone getting there Residente Permanente for
    them to apply for a Retorno Seguro permit?
    If they don’t apply within the time limit, is there a fee schedule for penalty fees?
    May they assign someone else to drive the vehicle out of the country for them and if so, what information needs to be provided to whom?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Andrea,
      Formally … there are zero days, as the vehicle becomes formally illegal on the day that INM approves your RP application.

      In reality, we have NEVER heard of a single person being charged for not taking their TIP car out of Mexico when they get an RP visa

      ~ as long as you do NOT drive it ~ .

      You order your Retorno Seguro permit, and the permit is good for 5 business days.

      Happy Trails,

      • Andrea says:

        Ok, let’s expand on this a little.
        Foreign plated car is titled to Permanente. Car is sold to individual who has a tourist visa by the exchange of funds and the title being signed on the back as required by the State.
        Your comments above are followed – person designated to drive car to border is the new owner
        Car is driven to Belize border – TIP is turned in by designee (new owner) – new owner then presents to Banjercito the title which has been signed over to new owner – but NOT a new State issued title.
        Is that “new owner” going to be able to get a new TIP?

      • yucalandia says:

        Hi Andrea,
        Maybe … or …. Yes, with lots of caveats … that they do things correctly.

        Caveat 1: You signed a contract with Aduana/Banjercito promising that you would take the vehicle out of Mexico before the TIP is cancelled or expires. Your plan breaks your promise.

        Caveat 2: You signed a contract with Aduana/Banjercito promising that you would not sell the vehicle in Mexico Your plan breaks your promise.

        Caveat 3: The car would have to have current registration & plates back where-ever the car is titled, for the car to be allowed back into Mexico at the Mexico-Belize border.

        Caveat 4: The Mexican officials at the Belize border sometimes require the person doing the switch to stay in Belize a few days.

        Caveat 5: The foreigner buying the car in Mexico & driving the car in Mexico (to take it to Belize) needs to have a well written Carta de Poder (Power of Attorney) giving them all rights & responsibilities for the car as if they were the owner.

        Caveat 6: No accidents… no accidents … no accidents …
        because many/most Mexican insurance companies have clauses buried in the fine print that invalidate insurance protection if the car is illegal.

        The car becomes illegal immediately when INM decides to have you sign your RP visa card.

        Any accident allows the other driver … the police … the police expert accident investigator (a perito ) … your insurance company’s adjustor … their insurance company’s investigator … to notice your vehicle is illegal.

        If your coverage is voided…
        ~ the driver goes to jail indefinitely
        — no food … no water … except as brought to you by friends/family while in jail

        …until you can prove you have ca$$h to pay all liabilities the police decide.
        and those cash liabilities can be that you pay $3 million to $4 million pesos for any accidental deaths.

        Caveat 7: If any police at any stop figure out that your car is illegal (before it is taken to Belize), they can permanently seize the car – and you have almost no avenues to recover the car, if seized.

        Caveat 8: You must list the driver (buyer) on the Retorno Seguro permit.

        Caveat 9: The buyer/driver must surrender/submit both the old TIP sticker & the old TIP document to Aduana at Belize border, and do the paperwork to cancel the old TIP (we have specified this in our past Carta de Poder documents – that the driver is authorized as the owner’s agent/representative to cancel the TIP).

        If you accept / meet all 9 caveats, we know of 3 people who have successfully done this.

        Happy Trails,

      • yucalandia says:

        Caveats #1, #2, #5 & #9 go away, if you go to the border with the buyer, and then execute the sale just inside the Belize border.

        But… we have done it without the (wife) owner … as the husband (with a broad Carta de Poder) & I cancelled the old TIP & sold his wife’s car in Belize.

        As long as you are careful,

        ~ It should all be fine ~

      • Andrea says:

        Thanks, Steve. This is all wonderful information and I think will be a help to many people.
        Again I really thank you.

  14. Richard mason says:

    Hi Steve,

    We have a car in Mexico that we want to take out of the country but the permit has expired We canceled that permit and all our papers are in order. We would like to bring the car back during the holidays, so we have about 3 weeks to get the seguro returno. When do the government offices close, when do they open during the holidays? Can we have the permit sent to us? How do we pick up the permit from the SAT office? We live in Los Angeles. Is there a service that can do this for us or expedite the process. Should we go to Mexico city? We have all our documents ready to send. Is there any hope for us?


    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Richard,
      Since SAT changed to a mail-in system to Mexico City offices, the reports we’ve heard describe 3 week to 6 week waits.

      Let’s hope that when you mail in your Retorno Seguro application, let’s HOPE that they finish approving your application BEFORE the Christmas government holiday shutdown on …

      22 December, 2016 … shutdown until January 5, 2017

      Happy Trails,

      • Max Mason says:

        Hi Steve,
        Thanks for the quick reply. So you don’t know any Service Agents in Mexico city that could help with this? How do I know when it will be ready?


      • yucalandia says:

        Hi Max,
        Yes, the excellent Lic. Spencer McMullin of is an expert at doing these.

        He offers good services, very reliable, very knowlegeable about the specifics of doing these things, at reasonable prices.

        Spencer knows his stuff !

        Happy Trails,

  15. Max Mason says:

    Hi Steve,

    We have a car in Mexico that we want to take out of the country but the permit has expired We
    canceled that permit and all our papers are in order. We would like to bring the car back during the holidays, so we have about 3 weeks to get the seguro returno. When do the government offices close, when do they open during the holidays? Can we have the permit sent to us? How do we pick up the permit from the SAT office? We live in Los Angeles. Is there a service that can do this for us or expedite the process. Should we go to Mexico city? We have all our documents ready to send. Is there any hope for us?


    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Max, or Richard, or whomever you are…

      You’ve asked the exact same question with the same wording twice.

      The answer is still the same:
      Since SAT changed to a mail-in system to Mexico City offices, the reports we’ve heard describe 3 week to 6 week waits.

      Let’s hope that when you mail in your Retorno Seguro application, let’s HOPE that they finish approving your application BEFORE the Christmas government holiday shutdown on …

      22 December, 2016 … shutdown until January 5, 2017

      Happy Trails,

  16. Max Mason says:

    Hi Steve,
    Would it be faster if I hand delivered it in Mexico City.

    sorry for the double entry.

    Max or Richard

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Max,
      Great question.

      I would assume it would be much faster if you hand delivered it in Mexico City, but we have no experience with this.

      If you could hand it to them in person, and then pick up the Retorno Seguro permit in person … you would save days of mail delays.

      Best of luck,

  17. Karen says:

    I received my TIP on a tourist visa in 2010 and applied, in Mexico, for my FM-3 (before the TIP and tourist visa expired). I was told the TIP would be valid as long as the FM-3. I never made the trips to Aduana to notify of FM-3 annual renewals because I came in before the new regulations and deposits required that. I was told it wasn’t necessary. I’ve had Permanente status for two years (the vehicle has been in storage since then). Two other things. My passport has been renewed since then and the plates were stolen off my car so I had to have new plates (new numbers) sent to me. Will there be hiccups when I apply for the Retorno Seguro? I do have a Mexican Driver Lic. and Mexican plated vehicle, but I’d like to get my foreign-plated vehicle out of storage and safely out of the country while it’s still worth something. Having read a lot of the articles here, my FM-3 went to permanente *in* Mexico (not at a consulate outside) and would they have checked for valid (or moldy) TIP at that point? How can I find out if my car is even on the books anymore and if the TIP is considered valid (although expired as of the date of my RP). Or maybe none of that matters. In brief, will I be able to get a Retorno Seguro for this vehicle or are there too many spinning plates? And is there any recourse if you don’t have the original receipt for payment of the TIP? Thanks in advance for any input and for the excellent information you are providing on this site.

    • yucalandia says:

      Actually, since June 2010 ALL TIP permit holders have been required to write an annual letter to Aduana documenting your INM permit’s new expiration date, and to request that Aduana extend your TIP’s expiration date to match your INM permit’s new expiration date.

      You should be able to get a Retorno Seguro permit, even with all the changes in your information.

      Consulates actually do occasionally (infrequently) check Aduana/SAT records to look for moldy TIPS when reviewing Residente Permanente visa applications.

      Looking for something? Try this web page of useful website links:

      Looking for the records on a TIP (part of SEGOB – parent of INM):

      Happy Trails,

  18. What is the best solution under my circumstances? I have a car that the TIP is about to expire (about a week). It is currently broken down and I don’t think I will be able to get it fixed before the TIP expires. Is there anything I can do to still get my deposit back and be able to bring it back into Mexico after it is fixed?

    • yucalandia says:

      Where is the car located?

      What are you doing with your visa? … Is it a Visitante visa or Residente Temporal?

      Where are you over the next 2 weeks? (near a border or port?)

      • Cuernavaca, on tourist cards that are good for another 120 days, and we are in Cuernavaca.

      • yucalandia says:

        If you have 120 days … to protect your deposit: get the car repaired before going to the border in 120 days.

        All other options are pretty messy, and have low chances of success… other than having the vehicle towed to the border.

      • yucalandia says:

        In an odd twist, you could wreck the car … total it … take lots of fotos … send it to a junkyard .. take the broken piece of windshield out with the TIP on it, and along with a letter from a Notario certifying that the car was wrecked, can never be driven, and has been torn apart for scrap & parts… then Banjercito might give you your deposit back.

        At least this approach of clearing the TIP by officially wrecking & disposing of the vehicle saves you from the risks of having to pay 40% of the total value of the vehicle when you entered Mexico … because Aduana charges 40% if you can’t prove you took the vehicle out of Mexico, because you might have illegally sold it while in Mexico: Happens if Your Foreign Plated Car is Stolen

        Good Luck,

  19. Mark says:

    I need a lawyer in Cancun who can get a Returno Seguro letter.

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