Importing & Driving a Car in Mexico


TABLE OF CONTENTS:~ for Mexican Driving & Car importation issues and Rules
~ Click to jump over “Updates” … and view Topics & links to the specific Section you want.

Sept. 10, 2017 Updates
Aduana agents at various US-Mexico border crossings are shifting their stance on whether the US state registration paper is sufficient to get a Temporary Import Permit for US-plated vehicles.  In the past, US state registration paperwork was sufficient, but now many Aduana agents are also requiring that we submit a copy of the vehicle’s title. …  Most recently, the Nuevo Laredo & Columbia Bridge Aduana agents have been refusing to issue TIPs with US starte registration documents, unless the vehicle owner also supplies a copy of the vehicle title.

Further, the fine attorney Lic. Spencer McMullen explains some additional details about additional problems that can occur if you do get your TIP with just registration paperwork:  ….  ” The HUGE issue is that while you can technically get a TIP with the vehicle registration, without the title your car will sit in impound if towed due to improper parking or accident. 

An additional insight to handling the TIP process well:
“… Financed cars should get a US notary certified copy (of the title) with apostille to prepare for this eventuality. ”

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

Dec. 18, 2016 Update
We have added a section on how to protect your TIP’s  $$ deposit  with Banjercito~Aduana,  when you enter to complete the Residente Temporal process (and have just a 30 day TIP)

June 20, 2016 Update
INM at airports appear to now have access-to & use Aduana-Banjercito vehicle permit database information when we fly out of Mexico. …
A recent San Miguel Expat forum post described a change at one INM airport office on for foreigners exiting Mexico (in Mexico on a Visitor’s Visa)… who also had an existing (un-cancelled) Temporary Import Permit for their foreign-plated car:

Our car permit is in my husband’s name (we’re on tourist visas). He had to fly out yesterday to care for his mom for awhile. When the plane was just about to take off, they found him and he had to pay a 390 peso fine because he’s leaving the car behind.
Word to the wise! “

This is the first report we’ve read about what sure looks like INM … now … has the ability to flag our INM records with some of our auto/truck permit information from the Aduana/Banjercito database(s).

Bit by bit,  this is another step in the Mexican government using their nationwide databases to force foreigners to finally comply with Mexican law.

June 13, 2016 Update:
SAT published new rules on Authorized Destruction (Scrapping) of Temporarily Imported (TIP) Vehicles this February.  There are now official SAT authorized sites for disposing of unwanted TIP autos, as listed below.   Unfortunately,  there are none in the Yucatan,  but the State of Mexico is well supplied.

After we have scrapped a TIP car (at our $$ cost ) then we deliver proof to SAT of the vehicle’s authorized destruction … per page 56, anexo 5 :

After completing these steps, we can bring in another TIP vehicle … and if all is done properly, we potentially protect our previous TIP deposit.  Note that people who have tried to use these official rules, have found that SAT does not necesssarily follow their own rules,  so be sure to talk with SAT before trying it.

May 12, 2016 Update

Since last November, Aduana – SAT is no longer processing Retorno Seguro applications in the regional Aduana-SAT offices.    Aduana-SAT have shifted the process to their Mexico City office, and significantly RAISED & changed 8 requirements. … Now,  consistent reports from across Mexico are saying that we can expect 6 week to 8 week waits for Aduana (Mexico City) to send out the Retorno Seguro permits.

For readers who don’t know about Retorno Seguro permits, they are the permit we use to legally take ANY foreign-plated  vehicle out of Mexico – like when our TIPs expire … or when we convert to Residente Permanente visas and can no longer have a TIP vehicle.
Please see our section below on Retorno Seguro permits for details on the NEW requirements & changes at:  ~ What to Do If Your Car Becomes “Illegal” – The Retorno Seguro Program / Permit

KEY Importation and Driving ISSUES and TOPICS:
~ Click the Items below to go directly to the Section you Want ~

~ Advantages & Disadvantages of Permanent v Temporary Import Permits

~ What Cars Can be Imported Permanently

~ Customs Brokers Who Permanently Import Cars

~ Current Process for using a Customs Broker to Permanently Import your Car

~ Pedimento Checker and Issues with Permanently Imported Foreign-Plated Cars

~ A Link to the Mexican Govt’s Official VIN Checker to get Import Duties

~ Preserving your Temporary Import Permits $$ DEPOSIT  when you enter Mexico for 30 days to finish your Residente Temporal Visa process …  Plus instructions for getting a TIP online before traveling to Mexico for existing RT Visa Holders

~ How to get a Temporary Import Permit for your Car – online – before entering Mexico – to get a 180 day TIP

~ Rules for Classic Cars (29 year olds and over) and Other Exceptions and Exempted Areas

~ How Long is My Aduana Temporary Import Permit Valid For?

~ How to Check the Expiration Date and Status of a Temporary Import Permit on a Foreign Plated Car

~ Aduana Letter to Carry In the Car If Your TIP was Issued before June 11, 2011

~ Leaving Mexico with the Vehicle and Returning Later:

~ Why not just drive out of Mexico, and keep the sticker on my windshield?

~ Want to end the “No Front License Plate” Hassles at Retens?

~ Mexican Customs Law Governing Expat Vehicle Operation and Temporary Importations:

~ What does Article 106 Say about Keeping Your Aduana/Banjercito TIP From Expiring? and
. . . Just Who is Allowed to Drive My TIP Car

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

~ What to Carry in Your TIP Car to Avoid Unnecessary Hassles:

Copy of Article 106 to Carry in Your Car

~ When Should I Notify Aduana of Renewals of My INM Immigration Permit?

~ Official list of documents for notifying Aduana of your new/changed INM visa information:

~ Leaving Mexico with a TIP Vehicle and Returning Later – Multiple Exit/Entry Permits

~ Partial Returns Program: Multiple Exit and Re-Entry Permit Letter

~ Whom to Call With Permit Problems

~ Leaving Mexico without your Vehicle Registered under an FMM – Hint: Don’t

~ What to Do If Your Car Becomes “Illegal” – The Retorno Seguro Program / Permit

~ Important Rules for Operating Foreign Plated Cars in Mexico: Article 106 and Article 17-17.4 Copies to Keep in Your Car

~ What Happens if Your Foreign Plated Car is Stolen …. SURPRISE ! @#%&***!!

~ Advantages and Disadvantages of Permanently Importing a NAFTA Vehicle into Mexico vs. Getting a Temporary Import Permit

~ I Can’t Take My Car to the Border and I Want to Donate It to Aduana

~ Effects of Having a TIP for a Foreign Plated Car When You Apply For Residency at a Consulate:

~ Issues When Leaving Mexico with a Pending INM Application using a Temporary Exit Permission Letter:

~ Still Have Questions About Importing a Vehicle into Mexico?

~ SAT -Directory of Banjercito Locations for Importing Cars

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Jan. 2015 Update for Rules on Vehicle/Car Imports
SAT/Aduana has announced their latest rules for permanently importing cars and non-dually pickup trucks into Mexico.  The rules take effect on Jan. 1, 2015, and are described in the following video:

The ever-helpful, very talented Mexican attorney Spencer McMullen ( ) has offered the following summary of the new Aduana rules for permanent vehicle imports by private individuals.

What vehicles can be imported:
~ Used NAFTA cars and non-dually pickups:  VIN shows they were made or assembled in Mexico, the USA or Canada.
~ only 8 to 9 year old cars, where the model year starts on Nov. 1.  e.g.  a vehicle manufactured  on Nov 1, 2008, is considered a 2009 model year car … and would be considered “8 years old” in 2017.

Note:  ~  Vehicles whose rights are restricted or prohibited from being driven in their home country are supposedly prohibited from importation. (Check with your licensed customs broker before attempting to import a car that is not legal to drive in the USA.)

~ Classic cars more than 29 years old can be imported under special rules.

Requirements & Notes:
~ Importation fee: Roughly $2,000 to $3,000 are typical current quotes from licensed Customs Brokers.

~ Cars can be imported by Mexicans or foreigners with residency visas.

~ Licensed Customs Broker Importers need generally official ID and CURP, emissions certificate,  clear vehicle title, (and nothing that limits their right to be driven in their home country).

1.  Contact a licensed custom broker  (see below) Go to a customs agent with your ID, letter of appointment of customs broker, and vehicle title.
2.  Basically they have to verify :
~    that the vehicle complies with physical / mechanical conditions and environmental protection (verification centers exist close to the border zone aduanas).
~    ~ Verifies that the vehicle has not been reported stolen
~    ~ Verifies that the vehicle VIN number matches the title.
~    ~ Presents any/all US-titled vehicles to American Customs (CBP) to perform the required US export (this process takes an average of two days – but CBP rules say to bring the vehicle to them 72 hours before the planned export).   (Editor’s Note: The rules for Canadian vehicles are still being resolved on this issue.)
~    ~ Prepares the importation pedimento.
~    ~ Pays the proper taxes
~    ~ Turns in the definitive importation pedimento fully paid.

3.  Present the vehicle along with the pedimento at the aduana module for inspection and receive the import pedimentos with its attachments and register the vehicle in the Public Vehicle Registry.

Remember, only a licensed customs agent can do the procedure with Aduana.

Sidelight:  I am just the messenger~author, so, I do not know how Canadians will fare without a title (because some Canadian provinces do not use titles).

Background:  Deeper more detailed questions can be answered by Lic. Spencer Richard McMullen (Cédula #7928026) and official court translator (Perito Traductor). Mx 376-765-7553

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Dec. 15, 2014 Update

SAT/Aduana recently released the latest version of their Vehicle Importation Manual.   The new manual can be found here:

The most important changes for vehicle Temporary Import Permit (TIP) holders are:
1.   Since June 2010, foreigners with TIPs must notify Aduana each time they renew their INM permit, or when they exchange their FMM & consulate preauthorization for a Residente Temporal card.   THE Nov. 2014 CHANGE: ~ Aduana now allows us to send them our INM renewal notice EARLY.   Aduana now requires  either  the copy of the new INM card OR  ~ the NUT number ~ OR INM’s printed resolution authorizing the new card.  INM’s printed “resolution”  authorizing the new card is the paper they give you when you are approved for fingerprinting – because when we receive this INM “resolution”, it means  we are formally approved for the visa.     (Item 2.4)

Ironically, the INM “resolution” document only has your NUT printed on it, and does not show your name or any personal identifying information.

This means we can now notify Aduana early – before receiving the INM card – using the 2 INM papers we get while processing our new INM visa (renewal) application.  If you have a TIP:   SAVE  that INM paper with the NUT number,  and  SAVE   that INM paper that approves you for fingerprinting.

Even though the new SAT/Aduana rules say we can use just the NUT,  savvy travelers note that it’s best to use both INM papers to renew your TIP:   If Aduana receives our request to renew out TIP with just the NUT paper, there can be a problem if Aduana checks the INM records before INM finishes approving your application.  When we have both INM’s  NUT paper and the notification of approval for fingerprinting, we have cleared that final key INM hurdle.

To avoid losing your deposit, good immigration attorneys are having their clients file their Aduana vehicle notification the very day they are notified they can place fingerprints, including a copy of the notification, as well as the pdf notification with no personal information.

2.  SAT/Aduana’s Second Big Nov. 2014 Change:  SAT/Aduana has changed to 15 business days  for the grace period for filing our INM permit-renewal / TIP renewal (after INM card approval).   It is no longer 15 calendar days.    (Item 2.4)

3.   SAT/Aduana maximum duration periods for renewing TIPs now matches INM permit periods:  The new maximum periods that we can have TIP vehicles imported with Residente Temporal is up to 4 years.   Residente Temporal Estudiante’s TIPs are for the duration of their studies.    TIPs for FMM para “canje”  (foreigners entering Mexico using the 30 day canje preauthorized visa from a Mexican  consulate) are for up to 30 days, and can be extended up to 4 years when you get your Residente Temporal. (Item 2.2)

Nov 15, 2014
Questions about driving cars into Mexico under Tourist Visas and Residente Temporal INM permits have filled years of expat and travelers forums.  This article is a 9 year collection of insights trolled from Mexican law and people’s experiences.  If we’ve done our job, you should be able to find answers to the common questions, and if not, leave us a comment/question and we’ll do our best to give you answers based on the current rules and regulations about importing and driving foreign cars in Mexico.   There is a table of topics covered here, where you can click on a topic that interests you: ~ KEY Importation and Driving ISSUES and TOPICS

Nov. 15, 2014 Update:
The San Miguel Allende INM/Aduana-issues facilitator Sonia reports that the Queretaro Aduana office and the Distrito Federal Aduana office have been issuing new expiration dates for her client’s vehicle Temporary Import Permits (TIP), even after the TIP’s formal expiration date, as long as the foreigner delivers their request for extending/registering a new TIP expiration date within 15 days of receiving their latest INM visa/permit.  Since Mexican mail can be slow,  it may be necessary to use a special carrier to deliver your TIP expiration date extension letter before the Aduana 15 day grace period ends.  Here is an example letter:  Example Letter Notifying Aduana of changes-in or renewals-to your INM Visa

Note that if INM is tardy in getting your INM permit renewed,  you may exceed Banjercito’s 15 day grace period, and Banjercito automatically confiscates our deposits on Day 16 after your TIP’s printed expiration date,  while your expiration date request letter to Aduana preserves the validity of the TIP – it does not necessarily protect the Banjercito deposit. …  If you want to protect the deposit,  you have to notify Aduana in writing, with enough time left in Banjercito’s 15 day grace period for Aduana to record your request and notify Banjercito –  using your INM NUE and Pieza number information –  or go to the border by the expiration date – and surrender the TIP to collect your deposit.  (still messy) …

Oct. 21, 2014 Update: ~ How to get a Temporary Import Permit for your Car – online – before entering Mexico – to get a 180 day TIP    If you take your Residente Temporal pre-approval and Canje visa from the Consulate  – and you enter Mexico to get a Temporary Import Permit (TIP) for your car,  Aduana and Banjercito only give you a 30 day TIP.   Instead, if you apply online with Aduana/Banjercito for a TIP, delivered to your home,   then Aduana gives you a 6 month (180 day) TIP. For details, see our section on this below by clicking on the link at the beginning of this paragraph.

Whether you get a 180 day TIP expiration date or a 30 day TIP expiration date, when you get your INM permit, be sure to give written notification of your INM permit’s expiration date to Aduana. We must notify Aduana before 15 days after the TIP expiration date, or Banjercito confiscates our deposit. The TIP remains valid, but you lose your deposit.  ~ Example Letter Notifying Aduana of changes-in or renewals-to your INM Visa

If you notify Aduana of the new INM permit expiration date for your TIP within 15 business days of receiving the INM permit, even if it is beyond the TIP’s printed expiration date,  Aduana has been granting extensions of the TIP expiration date – saving a trip to the border- though Banjercito may have confiscated the deposit under the 15 business day rule).

As of 2017, some Mexican Consulates are also issuing TIPs.  Temporary vehicle import permits can be obtained for $35 American at Mexican consulates in Albuquerque, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Francisco, Phoenix, and Chicago. Temporary vehicle import permits may be obtained at a Mexican consulate up to 6 months prior to your trip. When obtaining the permit at a Mexican consulate, you may choose the date when the permit goes into effect.

Getting a TIP at the Mexico US border:  If the title or car registration has any names listed on it of persons who are not traveling with you, you will need to bring a notarized letter from those persons authorizing the trip.

Jan. 22, 2014 Update: ~ Current Process for using a Customs Broker to Permanently Import your Car   ~ Note that with the Jan. 1, 2014 changes to Aduana and SAT rules, it is possible for private individuals to permanently import cars without a Customs Broker. We typically advise against attempting doing this because filling out the US Govt. forms for cancelling your US title and exporting the car out of the US, and then filling out all the Mex. Gob. forms to import the car into Mexico is very complex, involving peculiar govt.-speak terminology, and 3-5 days for the 2 Govts. to check and approve the paperwork (or require revisions for first-time inexperienced filers). If you contact a reliable Customs Broker before you get to the border, they generally have all the details and paperwork squared-away, ready for you to sign, and complete the process in just 3 – 5 hours versus 3-5 days for DIY efforts. Costs vary widely between crossing points and brokers, from low costs at Mexicali and Nogales, ranging up to 2X to 4X higher costs at the Texas border crossings. (The cost of living in Texas must be 3X higher(?) ~ $2,000USD vs $700 ~ than other places for the same car and same service?)

Note that as a part of our commitment to keeping our information current and valid, we make updates on these articles from time to time – so our core articles evolve over time to reflect current reality.    Recent additions to this article, include sections on:  (click on the Bolded Underlined items to jump directly to that section)
~ Current Process for using a Customs Broker to Permanently Import your Car

~ Effects of Having a TIP for a Foreign Plated Car When You Apply For Residency at a Consulate       and

~ Issues When Leaving Mexico with a Pending INM Application using a Temporary Exit Permission Letter:

May 2, 2013 Update
There have been reports from around the internet of various customs brokers and other “Agents” who are offering paper-only permanent imports of foreign-plated TIP cars, where the expat sends cash and their car’s papers to the “broker” and they get Mexican license plates in return.    Note that some brokers have provided falsely obtained state plates, with no valid Aduana pedimento for the importation.   Also note that if the broker does this for you, you should get your TIP cancelled too.   Finally, there really MUST be a pedimento listed in Aduana’s national database for your VIN at the end of the process.   That pedimento should also allow the car owner to easily register their car with their state DMV.

Alternately, if you want to buy a permanently imported car from someone else,   or you have permanently imported your foreign-plated car, and you want to check if Aduana has officially logged your VIN & pedimento into their database, then:   Check this Aduana website to see if a car was successfully imported: CONSULTA RÁPIDA DE PEDIMENTO ESPECÍFICO  and SAT’s website VIN checker website:
Note:  If your car was legal before you changed to a non-working INM Residente Temporal then your foreign-plated car and your Aduana TIP are still valid,   as long as you kept your INM permit valid.    Residente Permanente card holders cannot have TIP cars in Mexico.   “Working” (lucrativo) Residente Temporal permits are not allowed to keep TIP cars.


March 15, 2013 Update:   If you have issues with renewing your foreign-plated TIP vehicle, as a Residente Temporal: Contact — Lic. Karen Villaseñor   01-55-5802-0000 x46889  Administracion Central — 01-55-5802-2069

You can also write directly to Aduana DF to request an extension of your TIP, including copies of your INM card, the new INM expiration date, the VIN, make, model, TIP number, and your passport number.  There is a pdf form from Aduana/SAT – on page 41 – to send in – note that it loads very slowly.

Administración Central de Planeación Aduanera
Av. Hidalgo No.77 Modulo IV primer piso
Col. Guerrero, Delegación Cuauhtémoc
Código Postal 06300, México D.F.

Be sure to have your extension request ARRIVE at an Aduana office before 15 days after you receive your INM permit renewal – even if it requires express delivery.

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Also CHECK OUT our other articles describing how to go to the border and resolve TiP problems, TRICKS to DRIVING IN MEXICO, etc at:

Updates to Aduana, INM & Banjercito Procedures for Visas and Importing Cars

” Give me my Ticket . . . Please ”
… What to Do and Say If You are Stopped by the Mexican Police

Spanish Phrases to Use in an Emergency

Driving in Mexico (cruising?)

Pemex Gasoline: Issues?

ONAPPAFA – An Alternative to Paying Aduana Import Duties and Permit Fees?

Options for Foreign-Plated “TIP” Car Owners in Mexico, esp for Permanent Residents

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What’s it all about, Alfie?  Basically all NAFTA made foreign cars and pickups (but no dually’s) can be temporarily imported by expats with FMM’s (Visitor / Tourist Visas), and Resident Temporal INM permits (what used to be called FM3’s No Inmigrante Rentista & No Inmigrante Lucrativo) by getting a Temporary Import Permit (Permiso de Importación Temporal de Vehículos) from Aduana / Banjercito.   Alternately, only NAFTA vehicles can be permanently imported, and 6 year old and older vehicles can be imported permanently at modest import duties at the US-Mexico border crossings.

Note that if you are only staying in the 25 km border area,  or ONLY going into specially designated free zones like Baja California, California Sur, Quintana Roo, or parts of Sonora, then you do not have to get a Temporary Import Permit (TIP).  Such cars must only stay in those areas.  If you decide to go to other parts of Mexico, you must return to the border and get a TIP.

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Advantages & Disadvantages of Permanent Imports  vs.   Temporary Import Permits (TIPs):

With a permanent importation permit:
~ You can sell the car here in Mexico.
~ You can keep the car in Mexico as long as you want, regardless of INM status.
~ Mexican drivers can drive your car, without you (or some other expat) being in the car.
~ You must license the car here, and renew your State registration every year ($$).
~ You may have to pay annual State ownership taxes (tenencias $$) depending on your State’s rules.
~ You can only import 8 or 9 year old NAFTA vehicles for $2,000 to $3,000 in import duties and fees.
~ You pay no cash deposit when you bring the car into Mexico.
~ You do not have to go to a (non-airport) Aduana’s office every year to register your new INM permit expiration date.
~ You can import just one vehicle per person a year.
~ You have to pay state taxes on the imported vehicle when you register it to get Mexican plates.
~ You have to formally export a US plated car through a 72 hr CBP procedure, and have the US title cancelled at the border before Mexico Aduanas will import the vehicle.

With a Temporary Importation Permit (TIP):
~ You cannot sell the car here in Mexico.
~ You can only keep the car in Mexico with current & select types of INM permits.
…~ ~ ~ (e.g. If you change from ordinary Residente Temporal  over to working Residente Temporal or to Residente Permanente, then you cannot keep the car here on a Temporary Import Permit, you have to take it out of Mexico or face having it permanently confiscated.
~ Mexican drivers cannot drive your car, without you (or some other expat with a Temporary Resident or Visitor visa) being in the car.
~ You do not have to license the car here, and many States do not require that you keep your foreign plates current.
~ You pay no annual State ownership taxes (tenencias $$).
~ You can import an additional car or truck.
~ You have to pay a cash deposit when you bring the car into Mexico the first time.
~ You must go to a (non-airport) Aduana’s office every year in person to register your new INM permit expiration date with Aduana well before your TIP permit expires.

~ If you bring in a trailer, then the trailer is attached to your towing vehicle’s TIP.  This means when you go to cancel the vehicle TIP, you must also have the trailer with you.

For more details, see below:  Advantages and Disadvantages of Permanently Importing a NAFTA Vehicle into Mexico vs. Getting a Temporary Import Permit

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What Cars Can be Imported Permanently

Specifics for Normal Periods of Permanent Imports: NAFTA cars and non-dually pickups, 8-9 years old qualify for a Permanent Import permit, but the expat must: be a citizen or resident (Residente Temporal or Residente Permanente);  and the vehicle must be manufactured or assembled in a NAFTA country.   The permanent import process is called  tramite => “nationalizing” in English, see Aduana‘s website: “Importing Used Autos”, where the Model Year is determined as the automotive year period between November 1’st from one year to October 31 of the following year.   Check an estimate of your import duties and check your VIN and manufacture date at this Banjercito website:     and you can also check this official spreadsheet of “Reference Values” published by the Secretary of the Treasury (Hacienda y Credito Publica) here:

Invoice values are not accepted.  One Aduana website says that import duties are 10% of the “Reference Values”.

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The US Commerce Department reports:
Compilation of Foreign Motor Vehicle Import Requirements
Mexico maintains a 30 percent tariff for new vehicles, and 50 percent tariff for used vehicles on U.S. and Canadian vehicles not meeting the NAFTA rule of origin and on vehicles from all other countries that do not have an FTA with Mexico. Mexico has also signed 12 FTAs with 44 countries, including such major markets as Japan and the EU member states. See a complete list of Mexico’s free trade partners at:

Note: If the first character of the VIN is a number, then it is a NAFTA vehicle.

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Here is a link to the Mexican Govt’s official VIN Checker with import duties : .

For people who get Mexican plates from a broker for their foreign-plated TIP car, it is important to be sure the plates are legitimate. If a driver is pulled over and the car that shows up as being stolen, the police may approach the driver with guns drawn, and the driver may be arrested and jailed.

If you suspect there might be a problems with your plates, you can check them at these Mexican Federal Govt. websites:
SAT VIN checker:  and this Aduana website for pedimentos on imported cars: CONSULTA RÁPIDA DE PEDIMENTO ESPECÍFICO

You enter your Plate Number, VIN, and Folio ID.

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Customs Brokers Who Permanently Import Cars:
Foreigners who want to permanently import a car must use a customs broker.   Based on reliable internet reports of personal experiences:  The following brokers have been used successfully by various gringos this past year.    We do not endorse them, but pass along their contact information as an aid to readers.     Most of the information comes from Mexconnect posts:  recommended customs brokers for nationalizing vehicles

~ Lic. Oscar Fco. Angulo  – Nogales, MX
Nex. 32*13*322903
Cel Mex 045 631 157 38 21
AnCo Comercializadora

~ Hiram Cervera – Progreso, Merida, Campeche, Cancun  Tel (969) 935-3535
Agencia Aduanal Cervera:

 ~ PG IMPORT – Mexicali B.C. Mexico
Importacion y Nacionalizacion de Autos, Pickups, Lanchas, Motos etc.
Tel. 686 554-2866, Nextel 152 14 74633
Local S3 C. Comercial Caballito,
Blvd. Adolfo Lopez Mateos

~ Transportes Americas – Mexicali B.C
Calz. de las Americas #283
Fracc. Sonora
Tel. 686 564 3413 Nextel. 152 1346 2410.

~ Grupo Cuevas – Nuevo Laredo/Laredo
Tel. 956-729-7004 / 956-729-7415
From: Updates on Aduana TIPs, Residente Permanentes, Pedimentos and Processing

There are also paper-only imports being done on NAFTA cars and non-NAFTA cars.   We have no formal opinions on whether these work or not.

” SMAcoolist: Mon Dec 9, 2013 7:36 am (PST) . Posted by: soniangel32
This week we received several pedimentos and facturas of cars we nationalized from as far away as Ixtapa and Manzanillo. All were done without the cars leaving their property and no driving to the border.

Some pedimentos are slow and others are coming in 3 weeks. Hopefully, in the future they will all be faster.

Happy Holidays

cell: 044-415-106- 1499 ”   ???

Note that the Amparo that Sonia was using for German & Japanese made cars expired long ago.   Note that Sonia’s service does not include a service to get US citizens the US government required official 3 day export permit done by US CBP.   US-titled used cars are required to be formally registered as exported from the USA before they are permanently imported into Mexico.  Customs brokers at the border do this US export for a modest fee.

When you use any Broker or any import system,  it is important to check the official Mexican gob. databases to see if your VIN is recorded, to prove the permanent import process worked –  to see if a car was successfully imported: CONSULTA RÁPIDA DE PEDIMENTO ESPECÍFICO  and SAT’s website VIN checker website: .
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Current Process for using a Customs Broker to Permanently Import your Car
~ Note that private individuals must permanently import cars using a Customs Broker.

Customs brokers/agents have recently required copies of:
~ Your driver’s license,
~ A photo id. (passport is preferable),
~ A copy of your car registration,
~ A photo of the VIN, and
~ A copy of a “comprabante”: your Mexican electrical or telephone bill that shows your current residence.

This just a basic list of common items.  Contact a Customs broker for specifics.

Once you have sent these documents to the broker or agent, the broker/agent starts the nationalization process. With brokers/agents like Oscar Angulo (in Nogales), they can have the documents ready as early as 48 hours. Your new Aduana permanent import documents from the broker now include a Pedimento and a title, and as always ~ check all the paperwork to confirm correct spellings of names and addresses. ~ When you meet your broker at the border to get your new documents, good brokers guide you to SAT (Aduana) or Customs.    If you previously had a TIP (temporary import permit), then you submit the TIP to Banjercito and Aduana, so your car info will be removed from the database. Banjercito employees take a foto of your VIN and they remove the windshield sticker. Be SURE to keep the Banjercito receipt, as proof that your TIP was surrendered to avoid any future hassles that can arise over old TIPS.   After getting your papers from the broker and dealing with any old TIP issues,   you then start the nationalization process with Aduana by handing them the original registration, original title of the vehicle, and the “pedimento” form containing legal information about the car (prepared in advance by the broker/agent).

Officials review the documents and issue a blue import sticker (Registro Publico Vehicular).

Final Steps:  Once you have nationalized your vehicle with Aduana, you still need to register your vehicle in your home state.   Each state has different procedures and their own taxes/fees, so contact your state “DMV” (“SSP”?) to find out the specific requirements for your state.   Typically, you have 30 days to complete this state registration process.

When you use any Broker or any import system,  it is important to check the official Mexican gob. databases to see if your VIN is recorded, to prove the permanent import process worked –  to see if a car was successfully imported: CONSULTA RÁPIDA DE PEDIMENTO ESPECÍFICO  and SAT’s website VIN checker website:  .

Happy Motoring !
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Potential Issues with Permanently Imported Foreign-Plated Car
If you  want to buy a permanently imported car,   or you have permanently imported your foreign-plated vehicle, and you want to check if Aduana has officially logged your VIN & pedimento into their database, then:

Check this Aduana VIN & Pedimento Checker website: CONSULTA RÁPIDA DE PEDIMENTO ESPECÍFICO

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Rules for Classic Cars (30 year olds and over) and Other Exceptions and Exempted Areas
Exceptions to the rules: Cars over 29 years old also qualify for free importation as “classics”. 8-9 year old vehicles designed to haul more than 16 people, cement mixers and other heavy vehicles are allowed to be permanently imported at 10% taxes. There are also special rules for importing 5-9 year old vehicles into the Baja California y California Sur, and special zones of Sonora, but these categories affect few expats, so, we will say no more on these exceptions:
. There are also special exemptions from requirements to get a vehicle import permit, if the vehicle only stays in special “Free Zones”: along the border, parts of Sonora, Baja California, and Quintana Roo. The vehicle must enter Mexico with no Temporary Import Permit, and then stay within these zones.

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Temporary Import Permits for Residente Temporal and Visitante (visitor/tourist) INM Permit Holders
Temporary Import Permits can be issued to any Visitante or Residente Temporal INM permit holders. These permits allow the visa holder to drive around Mexico, while the vehicle keeps its foreign license plates, and foreign title & registration.  (See below:  Articulo 106  de la Ley Aduanera.)

As of 2017, some Mexican Consulates are also issuing TIPs.  Temporary vehicle import permits can be obtained for $35 American at Mexican consulates in Albuquerque, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Francisco, Phoenix, and Chicago. Temporary vehicle import permits may be obtained at a Mexican consulate up to 6 months prior to your trip. When obtaining the permit at a Mexican consulate, you may choose the date when the permit goes into effect.

Getting a TIP at the Mexico US border:  If the title or car registration has any names listed on it of persons who are not traveling with you, you will need to bring a notarized letter from those persons authorizing the trip.

Aduana agents at various US-Mexico border crossings are shifting their stance on whether just the US state registration paper is sufficient to get a Temporary Import Permit for US-plated vehicles.  In the past, US state registration paperwork was sufficient, but now many Aduana agents are also requiring that we submit a copy of the vehicle’s title. …  Most recently, the Nuevo Laredo & Columbia Bridge Aduana agents have been refusing to issue TIPs with US starte registration documents, unless the vehicle owner also supplies a copy of the vehicle title.

Further, the fine attorney Lic. Spencer McMullen explains some additional details about additional problems that can occur if you do get your TIP with just registration paperwork:  ….  ” The HUGE issue is that while you can technically get a TIP with the vehicle registration, without the title your car will sit in impound if towed due to improper parking or accident. 

An additional insight to handling the TIP process well:
“… Financed cars should get a US notary certified copy (of the title) with apostille to prepare for this eventuality. ”

Temporary permitted vehicles must be taken outside of Mexico before the end of their associated INM permit/visa’s CURRENT expiration date, or the car can be confiscated by Mexican officials.  If you towed in a trailer with your TIP vehicle, you must bring the trailer to the border when you take the TIP vehicle out to be able to cancel the TIP and recover the TIP deposit from Banjercito.

TIP Costs and Deposits:
How much does a Temporary Import Permit cost?

~  The Nov. 2014 SAT/Aduana manual continues with the same 3 ways for to applying for TIPs:
– Apply at the border ($51 USS + IVA).
– Apply online at ($45 USD + IVA).  or
– Apply at the Mexican consulates in Chicago, Austin, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Sacramento, Albuquerque, Denver and Phoenix  ($51 USD + IVA). (Item 2.3)

~  Vehicle deposits in the Nov. 2014 SAT/Aduana manual,  remain the same.
$400US for car models 2007 – 2015,
$300US for car models 2001 – 2006, and
$200US for cars 2000 and older. (Item 2.3)


  • USD $51.00 + IVA = U.S. $59.16 total at the border,  etc- with the Banjercito website costing $52.2 USD.
  • A deposit to guarantee that you take vehicle out of Mexico and cancel the TIP is also required:
    The Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP) has issued a decree which states that beginning on June 11th, 2011 anyone applying for a temporary import permit for vehicles must make a deposit in the amount determined by the following table:
    Vehicle Year Model Amount to be paid in Mexican Pesos based on applicable exchange rate
    2007 and later 400 USD
    2001 until 2006 300 USD
    2000 and earlier 200 USD
    This deposit is compulsory and can be paid by credit card, debit card, or cash (in US Dollars only). Users must keep in mind that if the deposit is charged to a credit card, the charge will be made in Mexican Pesos and will be calculated based on the exchange rate of the day on which the payment is made. This deposit will be refunded to the same credit card on the next banking business day after the vehicle is fully returned and based on the exchange rate of that day.The vehicle must be returned on time and within the time period stated on the temporary import permit. If the vehicle is returned after the stated time period, the entire deposit amount will be transferred to the Office of the Treasury on the day following the expected return date, as allowed by current law.

    To maintain the deposit, we must notify Aduana (in writing) every year that we renew our INM permit.  Banjercito gives a 15 BUSINESS DAY grace period after the TIP’s expiration date for us to send in a TIP expiration date renewal letter – proving we have renewed our Temporary Residency INM permit. – **More details on this in the Dec. 15, 2014 Update at the top of this article.**

    and at:;jsessionid=B690C782E9202D63EEC4B95A166469A4

~How to Preserve your TIP  $$ Deposit when you enter Mexico for 30 days to complete your Residente Temporal visa application process:
Soon after you’ve  registered with your INM office,  and have your NUT number … Go right away to Aduana to notify Aduana in writing that you have an INM Residente Temporal visa in process,  and formally request that Aduana extend the expiration date of your 30 day TIP.

This is the same process at Aduana for both our first Temporary Resident visa & TIP combination and also for all subsequent annual INM visa renewal.

What to Submit to Aduana:

  1. Original and copy of your passport,
  2. Original and copy of vehicle title (Americans) or registration (Canadians),
  3. Take your INM notification paper verifying that your visa process is started ~ which is the page with the NUT number … starting with six 0’s,
  4. Bring the Aduana/Banjercito paper document from which the windshield car permit was removed.

Complete a letter including the requests to preserve your $$ deposit with Banjercito, and to notify Aduana to extend your TIP expiration date (fecha de caducidad).

~ How get a Temporary Import Permit for your Car – online – before entering Mexico – to get a 180 day TIP:
If you take your Residente Temporal pre-approval and Canje visa from the Consulate – and you enter Mexico to get a Temporary Import Permit (TIP) for your car, Aduana and Banjercito only give you a 30 day TIP. Instead, if you apply online with Aduana/Banjercito for a TIP, delivered to your home, then Aduana gives you a 6 month (180 day) TIP.

If you try to enter Mexico with your special 30 day visa (Canje RT) from the Consulate, then you only get a 30 day TIP at the border, which is now  easy to complete the essential part of the INM process,  and still have time left to notify Aduana to extend the 30 day expiration date – out to match your new Resident Temporal permit’s 1 year expiration date.  Details at:

With a 180 day TIP from online application, you have plenty of time to notify Aduana of your INM RT permit’s expiration date (1 year) – to get Aduana to extend your TIP’s expiration date to match your INM permit. With the extension, Aduana also gives you a letter to carry in the car, certifying the renewed/extended TIP expiration date.

Here’s the background information and details for applying online:
~ You may request your TIP permit between 7 – 60 days before entering Mexico with your vehicle.
~ You may ONLY request a permit for a vehicle that is registered in your name, or your spouse, your children, or your parents.
~ You may NOT request a permit for a vehicle that weighes more than 3.5 metric tons (7,716 lbs).
~ If you are a foreigner, before starting the vehicle permit application process, you must go to INM’s (Instituto Nacional de Migración) website to apply for an immigration pre-authorization for your FMM, aka tourist card – or get pre-approval for a Residente Temporal from your local Mexican Consulate. The Consulate gives you a special 30 day visa to enter Mexico (Canje) to complete the Residente Temporal process at your local INM office. Use this special visa to apply online with Banjercito to receive a 180 day TIP, … otherwise, the vehicle permit will be issued for the same period as that stated on your immigration pre-authorization (30 days if you do it at the border).

~ Once the payment has been accepted, Banjercito will send the permit to your address within 7 business days.
~ Once you have received your permit, you must send a copy of the documents you provided during the application process in one of the following ways:
~ Sending the scanned documents by e-mail to
Courier service to the following address: Av. Industria Militar 1055, Col. Lomas de Sotelo, Del. Miguel Hidalgo, México, D.F., CP. 11200.

Delivering them in person to any Banjercito office.

~ Should any of the information you provide during the application process be found to be false, you may be subject to sanctions imposed by the Mexican authorities.
~ Banjercito reserves the right to deny any request for a permit should any violation of current law be found.
~ The applicant must be 18 years old.
~ The person named on the credit card must be the person who is applying for the temporary importation permit.
~ You will not be able to process the permit online if you have a working or student visa, due to the fact that it is necessary to prove that the visa is still valid and it has at least been one year since its been in force. If this is the case you will need to go to the Mexican Consulate that processes vehicle permits or at one of the borders so you may obtain your vehicle permit.

Here’s the Link to Banjercito to get your TIP Online

Good Luck!

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As of 2017, some Mexican Consulates are also issuing TIPs.  Temporary vehicle import permits can be obtained for $35 American at Mexican consulates in Albuquerque, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Francisco, Phoenix, and Chicago. Temporary vehicle import permits may be obtained at a Mexican consulate up to 6 months prior to your trip. When obtaining the permit at a Mexican consulate, you may choose the date when the permit goes into effect.

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How Long is My Aduana Temporary Import Permit Valid For??
Vistor’s permits, and hence their temporary import permits, are for 180 days, while vehicles temporarily imported under Residente Temporal are allowed to stay in Mexico as long as the visa remains valid.   Under Aduana’s new Nov. 2014 rules: We have no more than the 4 years total allowed on our Residente Temporal permit.  If you have a Residente Temporal visa and renew your INM visa, then your TIP remains valid,  but  you must notify Aduana in writing of the extended/new expiration date for your visa within 15 business days before the TIP expiration date, to preserve your TIP deposit.  When you successfully renew your TIP, Aduana issues you a letter certifying the renewed/extended expiration date for your TIP to carry in your car.   See the section below with an example letter for notifying Aduana of your INM visa’s new expiration date.


Surrendering your Visitors (Visitante) permit by leaving the country forces you to also take the vehicle out at the SAME TIME. Whenever the vehicle leaves Mexico, the owner of the vehicle should stop at Aduana (Banjercito) offices at the border to either get a permit to exit and return multiple times, or have Aduana remove the import-sticker. In reality, people who cross the border frequently, just drive in and out. But if do not get the multiple exit and reentry permit from Aduana, AND you wreck the car outside of Mexico OR sell the car outside of Mexico, you just might lose your right to ever get another temporarily import permit.

SAT has a webpage for checking the current status and expiration date of our Temprorary Import Permits at ~ SAT TIP Vehicle Permit Checker at…_internet/index.aspx

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Leaving Mexico with a TIP Vehicle and Returning Later – Multiple Exit/Entry Permit
For expats with Residente Temporal permits leaving and re-entering Mexico with their foreign-plated vehicle, there is a Partial Return program (Retorno Parcial). From Aduana’s website (Google Translation): “Banjercito records exit and return information in the system, and it delivers a partial return receipt to the importer, so you can make multiple entries and exits during the term of the permit.“Exiting From and Returning To Mexico for Temporary Permit Vehicles”

The drive-out / drive-back-in dilemma is really common. Hundreds of expats report years of driving out of Mexico without stopping at the border Banjercito office to get their multiple re-entry and exit permit.   Some expats are now writing back to say that their vehicles are NOT allowed back into Mexico, ever.   A few expats w/vehicles under Temporary Permits later write back to say that their vehicles are not allowed back into Mexico, ever.   Of those who write about NOT being allowed to re-enter with the vehicle,  a few report 1-2 years of filing documents with Aduana in failed attempts to get the mess un-knotted.

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Why not just drive out of Mexico, and keep the sticker on my windshield?
Here are a few small cautions about intentionally crossing the border and NOT turning in the Aduana/Banjercito sticker:
~ If your car is stolen NOB, then you are likely screwed forever for bringing another foreign-plated vehicle into Mexico on a Temporary Import Permit.
~ If your car is wrecked – or the windshield smashed while NOB, … you will likely find it very difficult and time-consuming to get the Mex. Gob. to honor your claim for returning the old sticker.
~ If you sell the car abroad, … you will likely find it very difficult and time-consuming to get the Mex. Gob. to honor your claim for returning the old sticker.
~ If you choose to return to Mexico with a different vehicle, … you will likely find it very difficult and time-consuming to get the Mex. Gob. to honor your claim for returning the old sticker.

Keeping those items in mind, I don’t think the choice to turn-in the sticker to Aduana or to keep the sticker is an automatic “gimme” as you leave Mexico.   I suspect some people choose to turn in their stickers to avoid future hassles – and to be allowed to easily drive a different vehicle on a future return. Others come and go with no hassles.   To each his own.

The negative consequences of leaving and a failed attempt to return without the permit:
~ The owner is never allowed to have another foreign-plated vehicle in Mexico under their visa;
~ they have to find a place to store or sell their car/truck in the USA or Canada while they are in Mexico;
~ they have to find alternate transport to their Mexican home;  and
~ if they want to have a car in Mexico, they have to buy car in Mexico, because they aren’t ever allowed to temporarily import a different one under their FMM, FM2, or FM3 again.

Can you live with this set of consequences? Do you like to roll the dice.*
If not, then stop at the Banjercito office at your border crossing and get a multiple exit and re-entry permit (see web address in the article above for details).

*Rolling the dice on INM and Aduana catching ex-pats breaking the rules, had much much better odds in the past, when paper systems ruled these operations, but now in the era of computerized data-bases, I think we will be hearing of much more enforcement of these easily-tracked easily-detected violations.   e.g.  We were just stopped at the intra-state border checkpoint between Q. Roo and Yucatan (near Dziuche), and an Aduana agent there  noted the Texas license place, and required that we show him a current TIP, for him to check the TIP paper permit’s information vs. the windshield sticker and the VIN.  He pointed out that we must keep proof of the current TIP expiration date, plus the permit, plus the sticker in the car, or they could confiscate the vehicle.  See more below about updating the expiration date of the TIP.

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Want to end the “no front license plate” hassles at Retens?
Many foreign vehicles are only issued a single license plate for the back. Having no front plate triggers minor hassles across Mexico, since Mexican police at retens (police checkpoints) frequently pull over vehicles for 5 – 30 minute inspections and document reviews. Solutions? Friends of ours simply took their license plate into a print shop (the kind that makes small signs) and had them create a plastic front plate for about $8. Alternately, you can instead scan your rear plate, print a high quality color copy, and laminate the color copy.

They install the mock plate while in Mexico, and fly through the retens. Is this strictly legal? Well, I would take the mock plate off the vehicle before re-entering the US with the car. Otherwise, there are 100’s of gringos happily motoring – with no reports of problems over the past 7 years that we have been tracking this issue.

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Mexican Customs Law Governing Expat Vehicle Operation and Temporary Importations:
The main part of Mexican Customs Law (Ley Aduanera) that covers expat driving and importation issues is Article 106, and the Operations Manual for Temporarily Imported Vehicles, page 45, Sec. 17-17.4 (“Manual Importacion de Vehiculos” and the section describing how your car’s permission to stay follows some changes in Immigration status: Obligación de registrar y retornar el vehículo)

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What does Article 106 Say about Keeping Your Aduana/Banjercito TIP From Expiring?  . . .Just Who is Allowed to Drive My TIP Car
Article 106 basically says two things:

  • Your car registration is valid as long as your Visitante or Residente Temporal INM permit is valid – AS LONG AS YOU HAVE NO BREAKS, NO FINES, AND NO CHANGES IN INM STATUS – which means NO MORE THAN 4 years TOTAL;   and
  • It describes who is allowed to drive your car. (see below)

Article 106 allows foreigners to temporarily import a car into Mexico for the duration of the registered importer’s immigration status: e.g. 180 day Visitante visa gives 180 days for their car;   Residente Temporal permit holders have the 365 days (or until their RT permit expires) for their car (plus any extensions or re-applications)   – BUT you MUST notify Aduana whenever you  change status  on your new INM permit,  or renew the INM permit,  or change addresses in Mexico:  reporting the new status and new expiration date (or change in address)- in person and in writing at your local Aduana office.**

If you imported your car after  after  June 2011,  then you MUST notify Aduana every time you  renew  your new INM permit,  reporting the new expiration date  –  in person and in writing at your local Aduana office before 15 days after your old expiration date – or you lose your deposit.  Note that some people have had success reporting their new expiration dates to the Aduana D.F. address listed below, but the timing gets dicey to get the notification reported in time to save any Banjercito deposits you made.

Note that airport Aduana offices DO NOT  generally handle this.

It is also worth noting that:

      1. The car import sticker is valid as long as the holder’s Visa remains valid, up to 4 years total, regardless of the expiration date shown on the import sticker, unless you have breaks or fines on your INM permit or change INM permit status. Residente Temporal period = Vehicle’s approved period.   This all works fine, but you put your Bajercito deposit at risk if you do not notify Aduana annually of INM visa renewals or changes in your visa. ~ See instructions below on how to do this.
      2. Article 106 of the Customs Law (Subsection IV) tells us that  Temporarily Imported vehicles may be driven within Mexico by a foreigner who has an approved type of INM permit**,   by his or her spouse,   their parents  or descendants (children), and… even when the latter are not foreigners: A TIP car  can also be driven by a Mexican,  as long as one of the persons authorized to drive the vehicle travels with him or her in the car.   **Temporarily Imported vehicles can be driven by other foreigners with the same INM permit/(visa) type.
      3.  All temporary import permit holders are required to notify the Mexican Customs office of renewals of your INM permit within 15 days of the expiration date, in person and in writing.   IF YOU MADE A CASH DEPOSIT TO REGISTER YOUR CAR or if you made a credit card deposit after June 11, 2011, you will automatically forfeit the deposit if you do not file early*. This notification (including copies of the vehicle permit and copies of the renewed Visa) is made by taking a letter to your Aduana office describing your name, INM visa type, the new expiration date for renewals, NUT, address, your passport, your driver’s license, your comprabante, and the car’s information, along with copies of “everything” – including the 3 copies of this notification letter – all submitted AT LEAST 15 days of the visa change or visa renewal. * Because the Aduana systems do not currently rapidly update the Banjercito data bases, Banjercito border employees are saying to start your INM renewal as soon as possible (30 days before the expiration date) and they encourage TIP holders to notify Aduana in person, in writing of the new expiration at LEAST A WEEK before the expiration date (Fecha de Caducidad) and hopefully 2 weeks before the expiration date on your Residente Temporal card, if you want to preserve your deposit.
      4. Aduana’s practices appear to have recently changed, where the Progreso Aduana office is now telling expats with Resident Temporal visas that they must keep an approved copy in the car of the renewal notification letter they give to Aduana when they have renewed or changed their visa with INM.
      5.  Sidelight:  Before the Aduana Nov. 2014 New Manual, this used to cause a possible problem for people with TIP cars imported before June 2011:   Since we were required to only notify Aduana of changes in INM permit status (e.g. FM3 to FM2),  then we likely did not have a letter showing your TIP’s current actual expiration date.  ~ Some people who are only renewing their INM permits, and then go on only later to notify Aduana D.F. (by mail) of the new expiration date,  are being allowed to extend that TIP expiration date, even if they forgot in the past.   Will this leniency continue?  … lo no se …

How to Check the Expiration Date and Status of a Temporary Import Permit on a Foreign Plated Car:
Aduana’s web site has a website now to to check vehicle temporary import permits online. Use your temporary import permit number or VIN number and passport number to get details of the permit issuance date and expiration date. ~ SAT TIP Vehicle Permit Checker

For vehicles registered after June 11, 2011, regal 4.2.7 states:
“In order to guarantee that this regal does not terminate your temporary import permit, then within 15 (BUSINESS) days after the date on which your (previous INM permit expires)  IMN permit is granted an extension or re-approval, or change in immigration status, you must present in writing, at any Aduana office in the country or ACOA, a letter describing the circumstances and expiration date of your new permit, attaching a copy of proof of such proceedings and the vehicle import permit ”


Example Letter Notifying Aduana of changes-in or renewals-to your INM Visa
Here is a pdf form from Aduana/SAT – on page 41 – to officially inform them of the change in your INM permit’s expiration date – note that it loads very slowly.

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.

Be sure to have your extension request ARRIVE at an Aduana office before 15 days after you receive your INM permit renewal .


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  Residente Temporal de NUT  ______ (your NUT number from your RT application), 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.


After you submit this letter for notifying Aduana/Banjercito that your visa status or visa expiration date has changed, Aduana will approve your letter/application and they will either:

~ ask you to return to their office in a few days (typically 2), to pick up one of the (now approved) copies of your letter (since you gave them the original and 2 copies) to keep in your car to show the Police during any future stops;

~ Aduana de Progreso no longer approves these TIP expiration date extensions requests locally, as of April 21, 2013.  They send your request to Aduana DF, who approves the extension of the TIP expiration date.


What to Carry in Your TIP Car to Avoid Unnecessary Hassles:
There have been many reports on the internet of Mexican police rejecting/challenging ex-pat drivers’ claims that their sticker expiration date is the same as their RT permit’s exp. date, so, we suggest you keep the following items in your car:
~ A copy of Sec. 17-14.4
~ A copy of Article 106 in both Spanish and English (Spanish for the Police to read, see below)
~ The Aduana approved copy of your letter notifying Aduana of any visa status or visa expiration date changes;   and
~ A copy of the Visa and passaport of the expat to whom the Temporary Import permit was issued.

Here are a few other things to carry in the car, that really help (are necessary?) if / when the Mexican police stop you:

  1. ~ A copy of Article 106 AND Sec. 17-17.4 (Go to Article 106 below) in both Spanish and English (Spanish for the Police to read)
  2. ~ The Aduana approved copy of this year’s Aduana letter describing your TIP’s current expiration date, (which matches your INM permit expiration date).   I
  3. ~ A copy of the INM Visa/Permit and passaporte of the expat to whom the Temporary Import permit was issued.
  4. ~ Copies of all documents (including the paper permit) that were issued with the car’s Mexican importation sticker.


When Should I Notify Aduana of Renewals of My INM Immigration Permit?
In another twist of the regulations, you must notify Aduana in person with a simple letter and supporting documents, formally notifying Aduana within 15 business days of your renewal of your RT (Residente Temporal permit: “prórroga”  or renovación (extension or renewal of your INM permit), so, Aduana can change the temporary status of your vehicle in their computer records.

Since June 2010, foreigners with TIPs must notify Aduana each time they renew their INM permit, or when they exchange their FMM & consulate preauthorization for a Residente Temporal card.   THE Nov. 2014 CHANGE: ~ Aduana now allows us to send them our INM renewal notice EARLY.   Aduana now requires  either  the copy of the new INM card OR  ~ the NUT number ~ OR INM’s printed resolution authorizing the new card.  INM’s printed “resolution”  authorizing the new card is the paper they give you when you are approved for fingerprinting – because when we receive this INM “resolution”, it means  we are formally approved for the visa.     (Item 2.4)

Ironically, the INM “resolution” document only has your NUT printed on it, and does not show your name or any personal identifying information.

This means we can now notify Aduana early – before receiving our INM card – using the 2 INM papers we get while processing our new INM visa (renewal) application.  If you have a TIP:   SAVE  that INM paper with the NUT number,  and  SAVE   that INM paper that approves you for fingerprinting.

Even though the new SAT/Aduana rules say we can use just the NUT,  savvy travelers note that it’s best to use both INM papers to renew your TIP:   If Aduana receives our request to renew out TIP with just the NUT paper, there can be a problem if Aduana checks the INM records before INM finishes approving your application.  When we have both INM’s  NUT paper and the notification of approval for fingerprinting, we have cleared that final key INM hurdle.

To avoid losing your deposit, good immigration attorneys are having their clients file their Aduana vehicle notification the very day they are notified they can place fingerprints, including a copy of the notification, as well as the pdf notification with no personal information.


Documentos necesarios para comprobar la calidad migratoria Para Extranjeros:
Official list of documents for notifying Aduana of your new/changed INM visa information:

Original y copia de su identificación oficial vigente la cual puede ser:
Tarjeta de residencia emitida por la autoridad migratoria en el extranjero
Pasaporte:  Passport Card
Enhaced Driver License and ID Card (EDL/ID)
Certificado de naturalización emitido por el Departamento de Justicia de los Estados Unidos de América
La documentación expedida por el Instituto Nacional de Migración que acredite su calidad migratoria autorizada para el trámite. ”

If you need to contact the Mexico City Aduana office listed in the previous letter, a dedicated reader further reports on June 28, 2012:

The guy to speak to now ( and as he himself said … when the govt’ comes in with the new President a lot of people might lose their jobs to croniism ) is ” ANDRES AGUILAR ” … who speaks good English and he can be reached at the same main Aduana number, then press 7,2,1,1 and ask for extension 49584 to reach him directly.
Also if you run into blank looks at a regional Aduana Office ask them to call him and he will explain what they have to do.”


Leaving Mexico with the Vehicle:
When you leave Mexico with the vehicle imported under a Visitor Visa (Visitante), the sticker must be removed-by and retained -by the Mexican Customs Authorities. If you do not have them remove the sticker, and have them register the exit of your vehicle from Mexico, then their computer tracking will not allow you to bring in any future vehicles, as there is only one vehicle allowed per visa/person – and their computer system will show that you already have a vehicle in Mexico – as tracked by both your INM permit number and your passport number.

When you leave Mexico with the vehicle imported under a Residente Temporal ,you have to decide if you are returning to Mexico with the vehicle later or if you will not return the vehicle to Mexico. If you are NOT returning the vehicle to Mexico later, the sticker must be removed-by and retained -by the Banjercito (Banking side of Mexican Customs Authorities). If you do not have them remove the sticker, and have them register the exit of your vehicle from Mexico, then their computer tracking will not allow you to bring in any future vehicles, as there is only one vehicle allowed per visa/person – and their computer system will show that you already have a vehicle in Mexico.

Be SURE to keep the copy of the document they give you certifying that your old TiP was officially cancelled, allowing you to easily bring in another fresh TIP vehicle later.

~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~

Partial Returns Program: Multiple Exit and Re-Entry Permit Program:
For expats with FM3’s or FM2 Rentista or Residente Temporal permits leaving and re-entering Mexico with their vehicle, there is a Partial Return program. From Aduana’s website (Google Translation): “Banjercito records exit and return information in the system, and it delivers a partial return receipt to the importer, so you can make multiple entries and exits during the term of the permit.“Exiting From and Returning To Mexico for Temporary Permit Vehicles”

Specifics: Remember the Banjercito office you registered your car at when you entered? When you are leaving Mexico, you need to return to a BANJERCITO office at border crossing when you are crossing back into the USA with the vehicle. They will check your vehicle & your Temporary Import Permit, and log your vehicle into their computer system as having exited Mexico officially. Banjercito gives you a return certificate to document the change. As with all similar papers, keep this receipt for when you drive back into Mexico in the future (proof that you are allowed to bring another vehicle into Mexico, since the prior vehicle was not left in Mexico).

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Whom to Call With Permit Problems
On the off chance that you drove out of Mexico without canceling the permit, then you must return with the car with the Mexican Aduana sticker intact. If that is not possible, it takes special actions and months to years of Mexican Gob. actions to clear up the mess. (A good friend from Louisiana reports that it took her over a year to unknot the problems…) At last word, you can call 1 877 448 8728 from the USA or Canada for more information (in Spanish of course). You can then file a formal written request to document your proof that the vehicle cannot be brought back to the Mexican border to:

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.

If you need to contact the Mexico City Aduana office, a dedicated reader further reports on June 28, 2012:

The guy to speak to now ( and as he himself said … when the govt’ comes in with the new President a lot of people might lose their jobs to croniism ) is ” ANDRES AGUILAR ” … who speaks good English and he can be reached at the same main Aduana number, then press 7,2,1,1 and ask for extension 49584 to reach him directly.
Also if you run into blank looks at a regional Aduana Office ask them to call him and he will explain what they have to do.”

If you choose this route, here are the basics of what’s needed (Note: this is only if you drove out without registering the vehicle’s exit, and cannot take the vehicle back to the border due to vehicle’s sale, accident, theft, loss in a divorce settlement etc.):
– A notarized letter that explains precisely why you cannot bring the vehicle to the border (in Spanish) and describing the current legal / physical status of the vehicle.
– Copies of the title & registration you used when you took the vehicle into Mexico.
– Your original permit from Banjercito & the sticker from the vehicle (plus a foto of the VIN is very helpful).
– Sufficient documentation to prove your claim of: sale of vehicle, accident, loss in a divorce settlement, theft. Fotos of accidents/total wreck, police reports, official bills of sale – notarized, copies of divorce papers, insurance company reports, etc and other documents that prove your claim are usually necessary. Some past claimants have found that fotos of a wrecked vehicle showing the sticker intact were helpful.
– Your current contact information: home address, phone & e-mail.

Does all this make it clear why it’s worth it to remember to stop and register your vehicle’s exit from Mexico, and let the Aduana folks remove the sticker?

Leaving Mexico without your Vehicle Registered when you have an FMM Visitante Visa: (Hint: Don’t)
If you entered Mexico with a valid Resident Temporal, then there are no issues with you traveling out of Mexico without the vehicle. If, however, you enter Mexico on a Visitante Visa and get a TIP for your car, then you must only leave Mexico .. with the vehicle – driving out. The vehicle’s permit sticker has control numbers associated with your Visitante Visa’s FMM and your passport, and when you leave the country (e.g. by flying), then when you depart Mexico, they take/cancel your old Visitante Visa & FMM card.

When a visitor~tourist re-enters Mexico, they are issued a new Visitante Visa using the FMM, and the number on the new Visitante Visa-FMM will not correspond to the control number on your car’s sticker, which will potentially cause big problems when you attempt to leave Mexico with the vehicle.


What to Do If Your Car Becomes “Illegal” – The Safe Returns Program / Permit:
If your car becomes illegal due to visa changes, visa’s expiring, or whatever reason, you can apply for a free temporary permit that gives you 5 BUSINESS days to remove the vehicle from Mexico.

Where to Apply:  In April 2017 the RETORNO SEGURO permit program was been shifted back to local~regional Aduana~SAT  offices.  This is a blessing, because the local~regional Aduana~SAT offices (like our Hacienda~SAT office in north Merida) were able to process the applications in a week or less ~ while the national SAT office in Distrito Federal was horribly slow (4 – 6 weeks).

UPDATE:   The official forms for the new  Retorno Seguro permit procedure can be found here:

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

According to Jessica Amaya Lopez ( ~ 01-55-12-03-1000 ext 47691 ~) here is the current procedure:

Complete the form and send copies of these documents to the address below:
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  FREE.   Aduana-SAT offices take about 1 week to process applications.

SAT-Aduana also now want   proof of address,   but what if a person rents?


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Article 106     and   Manual de Operación para la Importación Temporal de Vehículos y Motocicletas: Article 17 Sec. 17 17.1 & 17.4
Many people who drive across and around Mexico in their Temporary Import Permit cars swear-by keeping a copy of Article 106 (of the Customs Law) and Article 17-17.4 (of the Aduana Operations Manual), because many/most Mexican Police do not know the rules.

Here are a copies to print and carry in the car:


Que Se Entiende Por Régimen De Importación Temporal
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.

ARTICULO 106. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Fracción IV.        Por el plazo que dure su condición de estancia, incluyendo sus renovaciones, en los términos y condiciones que establezca el Servicio de Administración Tributaria mediante reglas, en los siguientes casos:

a)    Las de vehículos propiedad de extranjeros que se internen al país, con la condición de estancia de visitante y residente temporal, siempre que 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 condiciones de estancia 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 autorizadas 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.

b)    Los menajes de casa de mercancía usada propiedad de residente temporal y residente temporal estudiante, siempre y cuando cumplan con los requisitos que establezca el Reglamento y el Servicio de Administración Tributaria mediante reglas.

Ley Aduanera 9/12/2013 D.O.F.

Ley Aduanera:  Dec. 9, 2013

Aduana Manual de Operación para la Importación Temporal de Vehículos y Motocicletas:
“Articulo 17:
Fracciónes  17.1 & 17.4,
17.- El plazo para retornar los vehiculos que hubieran sido importados temporalmente al amparo de las calidades migratorias señaladas en la ley, será el de la vigencia de la calidad migratoria, sus prórrogas, apliaciones o refrendos otorgados a dichas calidades migratorial conforme a Ley de la materia.

17.1.- Para estos efectos la prórroga de la vigencia del permiso de importación temporal del vehiculo se acreditará con el documento oficial que emita la autoridad migratoria, sin que se requira autorización de las autoridades aduaneras; en este caso, el permiso de importación temporal se mantendrá vigente aún y cuando el importador haya obtenido cambio en la calidad migratoria de no inmigrante a inmigrante rentista, (Residente Temporal), siempre que exista continuidad en las calidades migratorias.

17.4.- En caso de que el trámite de importación temporal se haya efectuado mediante tarjeta bancaria, y la documentación esté completa, el responsable del CIITEV de la aduana que corresponda, procederá a informa al interesado que no es necesario la presentación de dicho aviso, en virtud de que su vehiculo se encuentra legal en el territorio nacional mientras continúe vigente su calidad migratoria, incluyendo sus prórrogas, ampliaciones o refrendos.”
Aduana Manual de Operación para la Importación Temporal de Vehículos y Motocicletas: “Articulo 17: Fracciónes 17.1 & 17.4


English copies of the Ley Aduanera Article 106 and

the Manual de Operación para la Importación Temporal de Vehículos y Motocicletas: Sec. 17: 17.1 & 17.4

Customs Law: Temporary Vehicle Importation Regulations

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.

Aduana Manual de Operación para la Importación Temporal de Vehículos y Motocicletas: Sec. 17 17.1 & 17.4
17.- The deadline to return the vehicles [that] had been imported temporarily under immigration grades defined by law, this means the effect of immigration status, extensions, or endorsements given to these qualities migratorial [types of immigration status] under the Act.

17.1.- For this purpose an extension of the duration of the temporary import permit of the vehicle will be credited with an official document issued by the immigration authorities, without the required authorization of the customs authorities, in this case, the temporary import permit will remain valid even and when the importer has obtained the change in immigration status of No Inmigrante to Inmigrante Rentista, (Residente Temporal) provided there is continuity in the immigration status.

17.4 .- If the temporary importation procedure has been made by credit card, and the documentation is complete, the head of CIITEV of the customs office, shall inform the person concerned that it is not necessary to submit such notice, which is required for those with a cash deposit guarantee (referring to paragraphs 17.2 and 17.3], under as their vehicle is legal in the country while their immigration status remains in place, including extensions, extensions or endorsements.


Here are a few other things to carry in the car, that really help (are necessary?) if / when the Mexican police stop you:

  1. All original documents that were issued with the car’s Mexican importation sticker.
  2. A copy of the visa associated with the car’s sticker: FMM, FM2, or FM3.
  3. A copy of the passport associated with the car’s sticker.
  4. A copies of Article 106 & Sec. 17-17.4 (shown above).


What Happens if Your Foreign Plated Car is Stolen? … …. SURPRISE ! @#%&***!!
If your foreign plated car is stolen in Mexico, you owe Aduana a 40% tax (as the Import tax) for not being able to take the car out of Mexico, as you agreed-to when you got your Temporary Import permit. Aduana instituted this fee because past expats would dump their foreign plated cars that they did not want to take back to the border, and then claim that “My car was stolen.” to get around the Aduana requirements.

If you choose to not pay the tax, you forfeit your future rights to Temporarily Import another car and drive it here with foreign plates.

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Permanently Importing a NAFTA Vehicle into Mexico vs. Getting a Temporary Import Permit (TIP)

Here are a few less-than-complete thoughts about the advantages and disadvantages of Nationalizing (Importaciones definitivas de automóvilies usuados) a NAFTA Vehicle vs Temporary Import Permits (Permiso de Importación Temporal de Vehículos) (Importación temporal de vehículos):
~ Temporary Import Permits (TIP) require the owner to make annual pilgrimages to the local Aduana office to get their annual letter, certifying their new updated expiration date.
~ TIPs cause some police to hassle some drivers over whether their TIP is still valid (unexpired).
~ Anyone is allowed to drive a Nationalized car, while there are significant restrictions on who is permitted to drive a TIP car.
~ If the TIP car is stolen in Mexico, then the owner may be on the hook for rather wicked 40% taxes/fees of the car’s value.

What Happens if Your Foreign Plated Car is Stolen? … …. SURPRISE ! @#%&***!!
~ With many insurance companies, you must keep the Aduana TIP valid/unexpired, to keep your insurance protection in force.
~ If you lose you TIP paper document, it requires a trip to the border to cancel/surrender the old TIP and about 4 hours of hassles to get a new replacement TIP, plus paying for the deposit.
~ TIPs require $100’s dollars deposit on the vehicle, and Banjercito does sometimes play games in refunding the TIP deposits, particularly if you did not notify them of your new INM permit expiration date before the expiration date.
~ If you accidentally forget to renew your INM permit on time (surprisingly common based on internet reports),  then  your TIP may become invalid, requiring a trip to the border.
~ TIP cars do NOT have to pay annual State tenencias (no annual ownership taxes).
~ Permanently imported vehicles may have to pay annual State tenencias. (States may waive/exempt the tenencia if the vehicle is old or cheap – or if it is a pick-up truck. We have lots of Ricos driving Lincoln pickups, as a tax dodge – since these luxurious Lincoln Mark IV’s never see anything in the bed nor ever haul a load.)
~ TIP cars are frequently stopped at police and military retenes , while nationalized cars are waved through.
~ If you leave Mexico, with the TIP sticker on your windshield, then you can have a year’s worth of hassles resolving the lost sticker if:

the car is stolen,
the car is wreaked or
the car is sold.

~ Nationalized vehicles can be bought and sold easily inside Mexico, while TIP cars are expressly forbidden from being sold or transferred.
~ If the TIP car is lost, wrecked, or stolen inside Mexico, canceling the TIP with Aduana generally requires a letter from a Notario and documentation, and possibly trips to Aduana to get the document proving that the TIP has been canceled.
~ Nationalizing vehicles costs money, and a one day or 2 day trip to your State DMV to register and get plates.
~ Many states require a 1 day annual trip to the State DMV to renew the registration of nationalized cars (though Yucatan just eliminated this requirement).
~ We get regular comments/questions from gringos who leave their TIP vehicle in Mexico, while going back NOB. Many times these migrants run into problems if they get sick, hospitalized, etc and cannot return to Mexico to do the annual Aduana TIP dance.
~ We know more than a few people who either must leave Mexico or the owner dies, and their TIP car is then stranded in Mexico with very few options.
~ If the TIP car dies in Mexico, it generally requires canceling the TIP, and sending Aduana a special letter from a Notario certifying that the vehicle has no value and has been scrapped.
~ TIP cars can be any make or model (FUN), while nationalized vehicles must be NAFTA manufactured. i.e. We had to swap our very sweet Nissan Maxima for a Sentra when moving here, because the Maxima is of Nippon origin.
~ Only 8, 9, and 10 year old vehicles, or classic cars, can be nationalized for modest taxes/duties.
~ Other newer nationalized vehicles are hit with steep taxes/duties (non 8-10 year old used vehicles are charged a 50% duty on the new list price, while new cars pay a 30% duty??**), when nationalizing them vs. only the Banjercito deposit of a few $100’s dollars for a TIP car.
**US Dept of Commerce 2011 Compilation of Foreign Motor Vehicle Import Requirements


I Can’t Take My TIP Car to the Border and I Want to Donate It to Aduana
There are provisions in the Ley Aduanera (Article 61, Fraccion XVII) Ley Aduanera 2012 for destroying unwanted TIP (Temporary Import Permit) vehicles at SAT authorized destruction sites, if you cannot take them back to the border.

SAT published new rules on Authorized Destruction (Scrapping) of Temporarily Imported (TIP) Vehicles this February.  There are now official SAT authorized sites for disposing of unwanted TIP autos, as listed below.   Unfortunately,  there are none in the Yucatan,  but the State of Mexico is well supplied.

After we have scrapped a TIP car (at our $$ cost ) then we deliver proof to SAT of the vehicle’s authorized destruction … per page 56, anexo 5 :

After completing these steps, we can bring in another TIP vehicle … and if all is done properly, we potentially protect our previous TIP deposit.


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Effects of Having a TIP for a Foreign Plated Car When You Apply For Residency at a Consulate:
People who have foreign plated vehicles with old TIPs (Temporary Import Permits) should realize that if they apply with Mexican Consulates to either get Residente Permanente or Residente Temporal, the Consulates have the ability to check your Mexican Government computerized records. If the Consulate finds you have an old moldy TIP on your record (which turns up when they search your name and passport number), they can reject your Residency application and force you to go back to Mexico and first cancel-out/surrender the old TIP. If you have lost the original paper copy of the TIP or if you have a trailer on the TIP, then the process of cancelling the TIP gets even messier:  Unexpected Effects of Having a Trailer with Your Car’s Temporary Import Permit (TIP)  and  Updates to Aduana, INM & Banjercito Procedures for Visas and Importing Cars .

These issues point to the potential importance of:
~ Not losing the original paper copy of the TIP.

~ Surrendering your TIP on a foreign-plated vehicle before going to a Consulate to apply for Residency.

~  Bringing along any trailer that is “attached” to the original TIP, when cancelling a TIP.  and

~  Stop at INM every time you drive out, and have INM register your exit.***

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Issues When Leaving Mexico with a Pending INM Application using an INM Temporary Exit -Exit/Re-entry Permission Letter:
***Note that when you get a Letter from INM permitting you to leave Mexico for up to 180 days, that letter expires in 60 days, so you must officially leave Mexico within 60 days of the letter’s issuance date. If you drive out of Mexico without registering your exit with INM, then the 60 day clock is still ticking – and you must then return to your INM office within 60 days – and you effectively lose the 180 day grace period. This means you should make the effort to find an open INM office when you drive out, and have them record your exit from Mexico, to qualify for the 180 day permission.

It is important to do these things properly, otherwise, you may have to start the whole Residente Permanente or Residente Temporal process all-over-again – re-paying full fees (no credits).

Also note that : If you have already successfully turning in your ID fotos, been fingerprinted, and paid for your Residente Permanente or Residente Temporal, you can give a Carta de Poder letter to a trusted friend or family member, granting them permission to pick up your new Tarjeta de Residencia when it is ready. They then send you your new Residency by DHL or UPS, while you are still in Canada or the USA – and you then turn in your INM letter when you renter Mexico using your new Residency Card.

Still Have Questions About Importing a Vehicle into Mexico?
Why not call Aduana there and ask them?       Check out the official map of Aduana offices, along with their contact information, hours of operation, and addresses at: Map of Aduanas del Pais   to get current contact information for ALL Aduana offices across Mexico.

The latest SAT / Aduana Manual of Rules for temporarily importing cars can be found at:

Note:  Since dealing with Temporary Import Permits involves using Banjercito, you can check this SAT reference to check the applicable Banjercito sucursales office hours etc: SAT -Directory of Banjercito Locations for Importing Cars

Also check out the Aduana webpages on Permanent Importation of Vehicles:
Importaciones definitivas de automóviles usados , , and
Link to the Mexican Govt’s Official VIN Checker to get Import Duties

Ley Aduanera:  Dec. 9, 2013

Web link for SAT rules on Classic cars (over 29 yrs old):

SAT Website to check VINs of imported vehicles:  to see if a car was successfully imported:  and this Aduana website for pedimentos: CONSULTA RÁPIDA DE PEDIMENTO ESPECÍFICO

*** There are good updates and more detailed information flowing in on a Mexconnect thread on these topics at: Updates on INM Procedures and Aduana & Banjercito Procedures

Happy Trails,

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Please Continue to Make Comments and Replies to Help Keep This Information Current!
Disclaimer: This information is not meant as legal advice. It is for educational and informational purposes only. Government policies vary between States and offices, and Mexican Government officials have broad discretion in how they individually enforce policies, so, your personal experiences may vary. See a professional for advice on important issues.

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

Read-on MacDuff . . .


1,059 Responses to Importing & Driving a Car in Mexico

  1. Pingback: Importing & Driving a Car in Mexico | Surviving Yucatan

  2. calliope101 says:

    Thanks for the excellent info. Does the term “spouse” include common-law as well?

    • yucalandia says:

      See the reply I made above to your questions about bringing in a car and a common law husband.

      • Dani says:

        Hello, I am making a TV program and need to bring a car into Mexico from Japan to sell on. Can someone help with how I do this? E mail: Thank you!

      • yucalandia says:

        The only general type of vehicle you could sell in Mexico is one that you permanently import.

        Since only NAFTA vehicles are permitted for permanent importation into Mexico, a Japanese manufactured car does not qualify for permanent importation by private parties/individual.** Check the VIN.

        If it starts with a letter, then No, it is not allowed for permanent importation by a private party. If the VIN starts with a number, then it is NOT a Japanese manufactured car. VINs that start with a number are US, Canadian, or Mexican manufactured cars.

        The article above contains all these details.

        What’s the TV program about?

        **Automobile companies/dealers are allowed to import non-NAFTA cars.

      • Dani says:

        Its a car show, based on buying and selling cars. Then celebrating the car culture in each country we visit around the globe. Its very exciting!

    • Johnny says:


      I have a question about buying a car in Mexico on a 180 day tourist visa, taking it to the states and selling it there- is that possible/ allowed/ a good idea?


      • yucalandia says:

        Hi Johnny,
        You should check the state rules where you would like to do it. Some (most?) states do not allow visitor visa foreigners to buy and register/license the car – which means you would not be able to get the car registered in your name.

        You might be able to get SAT to give you a 5 day Retorno Seguro permit – but you’d have to check with them.

        If you bought US manufactured NAFTA cars, and drove them out using Retorno Seguro permits, it might work.

        If you bought Mexican cars, then you’d have to jump through EPA & DOT hoops to get them compliant before they’re allowed for import into the USA.

      • Johnny says:

        Hey Steve,

        Thanks for the reply! Do you mean Mexican states? The plan would be to buy in Mexico City, drive over the border and sell it in San Francisco about 2 months down the line… I’m happy to jump through hoops as long as they don’t cost too much- just worried about getting turned back at the border. What do you reckon?


      • yucalandia says:

        Hi Johnny,
        Correct, DF and the State of Mexico may not allow you to register or license a Mexican vehicle in your name with just a Visitors Visa – I don’t know.

        You might be better making an arrangement with some gringo who has changed their visa to Residente Permanente (RP) and is stuck with a Temporary Import Permit (TIP) car inside Mexico – where the US car is no longer legal for them to drive in Mexico because their RP permanent visa does not allow TIP cars.

        You could get a 5 day Retorno Seguro permit on the TIP vehicle, drive it back to the USA, and register the sale to you in the USA (since you would have a valid US title that they have signed over to you). The TIP vehicle from the USA would be fully legal to bring back into the USA (no hassles with EPA or DOT standards because it’s a US vehicle).

        There are some gringos with RPs in Mexico City in this problem, and even more in Lake Chapala/Ajijic area who are looking for someone to buy their TIP vehicle that they can no longer drive legally in Mexico. Check our ‘s webboard to ask if anyone has a TIP car they want to sell.

      • Johnny says:

        Thanks Steve! looking into it now..

      • Johnny says:

        So if I agree to buy a soon to be rp’s car (with a 5 day retorno and presumably some insurance) and he signs the back of the registration over to me, will I need to get it registered as soon as I get in the states? Or would I be able to do it in, say, Washington?

      • yucalandia says:

        Hi Johnny,
        I saw your post on Well done!

        It all depends on whether the US-titled car still has valid (current) US plates/registrations. If it does NOT have valid current registration, then when you enter Arizona or Texas, I think they require you to get a temporary (30 day?) registration – to qualify for US liability insurance.

        If it has current plates, I think you just get insurance coverage, and drive to Washington.

        Check with your insurance company, and Washington’s DMV about their specific requirements.

      • Steve,
        So if my U.S. state license has expired (I’m a RT and didn’t want to pay to renew when I’m here full time in Mexico), and I want to sell my Ford Escape in Texas, so I can buy a Mexican car when I become RT, will I be able to drive it to a dealer in TX without getting in trouble with local police? Thanks!


      • yucalandia says:

        Hi Gabriel,
        If you get the free 5 business-day Retorno Seguro permit from SAT, then yes, anyone (name specified in the permit) can legally drive the car to a border.

        At the Texas border, I understand you apply for a 30 day temporary TX permit, (unless the car still has valid US plates/registration).
        Happy Trails,

      • I mean when I become RP, not RT!

      • Karen says:

        Does anyone have more information or experience getting a 30 day permit in Texas? I will be driving a car to Oregon that has been in Mexico for 11 years. The Oregon plates have long expired. Where does one get the Texas permit? Any other info? I can get a 30 day permit from Oregon before I even cross from Mexico into Texas but wonder if that will work in Texas and the other states I travel through. What have other people done?

      • Johnny says:

        Thank you for your help Steve, I’ll let you know how I get on!

  3. Fe Girad says:

    Observed your website via google the other day and absolutely liked it so much. Carry on the truly great work.

    • Dani says:

      Hi Steven, I am making a TV show about cars in Mexico and you seem like a super knowledge! How do I contact you? Thanks, Dani.

  4. Tony says:

    Can anyone recommend moving companies to the Yucatan?


    • yucalandia says:

      Our information on good shippers is out of date, so, I suggest you post the question on Yolisto. There are plenty of ex-pats on that site with experiences from the last few years.
      Much Luck with the move!

      • Dani says:

        Hi there,

        Our film crew are out in Mexico CIty next week, we’re looking to speak to anyone buying a car in Mexico City – if any of you are, please contact me:
        Thank you.

      • Steve,   Last week I requested and paid for a permit for a pre-2000 car.  Banercito sends the document out DSL and it shold be delivered today.  My question is this:  I have decided I would rather take a different vehicle than the one I registered with Banercito.  Any suggestions on how to best facilitate this change?


      • yucalandia says:

        Hmmmm… Other than contacting them, no other options spring to mind.

  5. calliope101 says:

    Hi, Steve,

    This is a question related to driving in Mexico. I would like to get your opinion on what type of vehicle would be best for two gringos and their dogs to be driving around the Yucatan in, in the first few months of 2011. We are considering the vehicle we currently own here in BC, Canada, which is a white Dodge 1-ton Megacab dually, but were wondering if we should buy a 1999-2000 Suburban or go with a white van. My query is based on different information read on the Internet about pickup trucks and SUVs being targeted by the criminal element for robberies, kidnapping, etc. What is your take on all of this? I value your opinions because of your scientific approach to things and know that you base them on research of facts, plus your years of personal experience in the Yucatan.

    Many thanks in advance 🙂

    PS: If I could figure out a way to email you from this site, I would do that instead of posting something that is a little off topic. 😀

  6. jay labrie says:

    I am in baja California Sur, Mexico I want to buy a car here . I am an American with only tourist status. the car I want to buy has Oregon license plates that expire in 1 Month. what can I do to legally drive the vehicle in Mexico??

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Jay,
      Sorry to say, since the Oregon plated vehicle is registered under the other person’s FMM, FM2 or FM3, then the rules say that the vehicle has to be taken out of the country by the owner or a member of the owner’s family, where they turn in the sticker on their car to the Mexican border authorities. You can also leave Mexico at the same time, turning in your old FMM to the Mexican INM authorities at the border. You can then return to Mexico by getting a new FMM , and at the same time you can bring the vehicle back in with you under your new FMM and get a sticker specifically attached to your new FMM.

      Realize that you can choose to ignore these rules, and buy and drive the oregon plated vehicle under the other person’s FMM, but the Mexican authorities (as in the police) are allowed to confiscate the vehicle permanently any time you or others are driving it. Since the US vehicle’s approval to stay in Mexico is tied solely and directly to the other person’s FMM, then the permission to have the vehicle inside Mexico is cancelled when they leave Mexico and their old FMM is cancelled. If the current owner has an FM3, then the approval for the car lasts only as long as their FM3 is valid, and they are allowed only one vehicle per FM3, so they cannot bring in any vehicles in the future, until the problem with the old Oregon plated vehicle is resolved. I explain these convolved stories, because it just does not seem worth trying to slide by the law, and the history of enforcement has supported the sequelae I described above.

      Can you please write us with an update of what happens in the future with your dilemma?

      Hope these explanations helped,

      • Rolly Brook says:

        I realize this post is old, but…You missed an important point. The question came from a guy in Baja. Baja does not require a TIP. So, yes, he is free to buy the car. BUT Baja also requires that license plates be current, so in one month the car would be illegal in Baja.

      • yucalandia says:

        Excellent points.

  7. amy says:

    i’ve heard that certain types of FM2 visas allow you to temporarily import your car and certain types do not… is this true or just a rumor?

    great site!!


    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Amy,
      You can keep your imported car that is still licensed outside of Mexico if you have an FM2 that does not permit you to work in Mexico – e.g. retirees are allowed to keep their non-Mexican plated car, but people on FM2’s that include permission to work are not allowed to keep a non-nationalized vehicle.

      • amy says:

        update: i have a FAMILIAR FM2 (my husband is mexican) and they did not allow my car to be temporarily imported with this status (even though this status does not allow me to work in Mexico.) the only FM2 that you can have and receive permission for you car is the RENTISTA FM2.

      • yucalandia says:

        Great Update! Thanks!!!

  8. amy vogt says:

    thanks, steve!!

  9. Robert Brown says:

    Excellent write up.

    Question. Does Mexican law or regulation state that the driver of a car with a valid temporary import permit must in addition to all the other requirements have a valid non-Mexican drivers license?

    I ask this because a broker for Mexican car insurance told me that the Federales were confiscating cars in violation of this purported law.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Robert,
      Yes, Mexican law does require that foreigners driving in Mexico have a valid driver’s license from another country. I could not find the precise section of Mexican law describing the requirements, but the US State Department’s website on Mexico confirms that the Mexico accepts valid US driver’s licenses: .

      I suspect that you may be asking about the law, because your license is expired back in your home country. Under the letter of the law, an expired license is not a valid license => it is not legal to drive here with an invalid license. In practice, do the Mexican police accept expired driver’s licenses? I know of instances where they have accepted them, but likely it was because
      a. they either couldn’t read English or
      b. they didn’t want the paperwork hassles that would result from detaining the offending driver and their car.
      Is it worth gambling that a driver will never meet a police officer who both reads English and chooses to enforce the law? lo no se.

  10. Annie says:

    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for the fantastic website info. Is it possible to ditch/sell/give away a car in Mexico without having problems with the authorities? The car is seriously ill and it would be better to get rid of it and continue travelling with public transport but we don’t want problems exiting the country. if it can make it to the border, could we get rid of it in Belize or Guatemala if we can’t do it in Mexico?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Annie,
      Yes, some people do ditch/sell/give away their old foreign plated cars in Mexico (locally called “chocolates” ), but the best way is to take the car to an approved border crossing, stop and have the Mex. border officials remove the sticker from the windshield. Why? Because in the vehicle entry forms you signed, you promised to take the car back outside of Mexico, and there are no legal options for selling your foreign plated/registered car within Mexico.

      If you drive out of Mexico, there are dealers in Belize (across the border from Chetumal) that buy foreigner’s cars. There is one potential option to legally leave the car in Mexico: have a mechanic document and certify in writing that the car is ruined and undrivable – if it has been wrecked, provide pictures of damage, then take fotos of the sticker on the windshield – carefully remove the sticker – and return to the border with the letter, the sticker, and with all registration papers. There is no guarantee that the Mex. Gob. will accept your claim, and their approval process can be slow, but doing this may allow you to bring another car into Mexico in the future. Best of Luck!

  11. Gail M Wood says:

    Can you tell me what documents I need in order to put Mexican plates on my 2006 Subaru? Also, is there a table or chart online where I might be able to get an idea of how much I’ll have to pay in import taxes on it since it is not 10 years old? (I have an FM2.) I’ve had the car in Mexico since 2006 but I’m tired of getting pulled over all the time due to the US plates. I’m trying to figure out if it’s worth the hassle and the import fees to put Mexican plates on it. Thanks very much for your help.

  12. angelo says:

    Hello Steve, thanks for the great info. Regretably I didn’t know some of these odd regulations.

    I entered Mexico with my truck and trailer in Sep 2010, all documented etc.
    I flew back home with my family in Nov 2010 for an anniversary.
    Returned Nov 2010 with a new 180 day visa. According to your notes the vehicle permit is auto extended.

    I expecting to leave May 2011. Sounds like they’ll impound(?) the truck and trailer because the docs do not match now? It would have been reasonable to leave with the vehicle in Nov becasue I drove down from Canada.

    If this is true, then an FM2 might be in order so that everything is re-registered ?

    Thanks in advance for any info you may share.

    Angelo A

    • yucalandia says:

      Updated 6/26/2011
      Hi angelo,
      I do not think that it is guaranteed that Aduana will impound the vehicle(s). If your car becomes illegal due to visa changes, visa’s expiring, or whatever reason, you can apply for a free temporary permit that gives you 3-5 days to remove the vehicle from Mexico. Check out Aduanas website for instructions on how to apply: “Safely Returning Autos” Frommers also reports that Aduana has the option of assessing up to a $250 USD fine for every 15 days that you are late when leaving Mexico with a car that was registered using a 180 day FMM (formerly called FMT). This might be a good time tomake an application for a 3-5 day safe transit permit, or talk with a good attorney, or contact Aduana at Nuevo Laredo to explore your options: (867) 712-2071? Much Luck!

      • John says:


        Thank for all your helpful advice! I’m going to have to bite the bullet and take my illegal car out of Mexico. I’ll just find a good used car when I get back and use it until I leave. My question is that when I was at the aduana in DF (and I found out that my FM3 didn’t permit me to have a car here) I got the impression that when I applied for a safe transfer permit that it was not an immediate issue of that permit. It might take some days and I also got the impression that the government sets the time of leaving. Any advice on how to proceed so that I can pick my own date to do a border run?

        Thanks Again

  13. angelo says:

    (resubmitted to correct spelling and clarity )

    Hello Steve, thanks for the great info. Regretably I didn’t know some of these odd regulations.

    I entered Mexico with my truck and trailer in Sep 2010, all documented etc.
    I flew back home with my family in Nov 2010 for an anniversary.
    Returned Nov 2010 with a new 180 day visa. According to your notes the vehicle permit is auto extended.

    I’m expecting to leave May 2011. Sounds like they’ll impound(?) the truck and trailer because the docs do not match now? It would not have been reasonable to leave with the vehicle in Nov because I drove down from Canada.

    If this is true, then an FM2 might be in order so that everything is re-registered ?

    Thanks in advance for any info you may share.

    Angelo A

  14. Jammie says:

    Hey Steve,
    I loved the article, but I have a question about what would be best for my wife and I. We are planning on moving to Mexico in Sept. for at least 5 years. We are looking at buying a new car right now, as ours is old and has too many miles to sustain another 5 years. I was reading about how there is some 10 year rule to bringing in cars. We’ll be down in Manzanillo, and I don’t really want to have to drive back up every year to re-register our car. Could you explain the rules a little better to help me make the best choice as to what year/type of vehicle we buy?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Jammie,
      Personally, I would plan to buy a good used car in Mexico, with Mexican registration & plate/register it here. Used Nissans have very good reputations. Just be sure to get the original copy of the registration of when the car was sold by the dealer. This is often a sticker glued into the inside page of the owner’s manual. This original documentation acts as a title and proves that the vehicle was not stolen.

      If you bring the vehicle in on an FMM, then the vehicle must go back to the border every time you renew your FMM. You could alternately: bring it in under an FM3 or Rentista FM2 (no work allowed under this FM2 visa), or bring it in and nationalize (tramite) it, or buy a good used vehicle here.

      If you want to bring down a car on a FM3, FMM, or Rentista FM2, and drive on your US plates, then:
      – Most US warrantees are not honored here in Mexico.

      – Some US States require continuous insurance, which means paying for insurance simultaneously both in the US and in Mexico.

      – If you bring the vehicle into Mexico under an FMM, then the vehicle is supposed to leave when you do, because the FMM is cancelled/closed-out when you leave.

      – There can be problems getting repairs here. While some US models appear the same as those sold in Mexico, many have different parts. e.g. Between at least 1996 and 2004: Mexican Nissan & US Sentras look exactly the same but they have different brake calipers, different starters, different clutches, and different alternators… (though we have been able to figure work-arounds on each of these issues).

      – If you believe that must buy a vehicle in the US, we suggest that you buy a brand and model that is also sold in the US in case it needs a repair: like Fords… ? But realize that even some Fords in Mexico use different parts: Rangers here are made in Argentina = not as well made as US/Canadian manufactured vehicles – they have different manual transmissions – etc.

      – If you bring the car in on an FM3 or FM2, then there are strict rules about who is allowed to drive the car, the approval is only valid as long as the FM3 or FM2 is valid, and people with inmigrado status cannot keep a foreign plated car, so, if you plan to stay here long term, problems often arise with foreign plated vehicles that do not occur with vehicles purchased in Mexico.

      If you want to nationalize (register and plate) a personal vehicle brought in from outside Mexico:
      – It must be a NAFTA car (made in the USA, Mexico, or Canada) – check the VIN against NAFTA lists. (If the first character of the VIN is a number, then it should be a NAFTA car, & the 3’rd digit has “1” for USA, “6” for Canada.)

      – We understand that you cannot import personal vehicles more than 10 years old, and dual wheeled or dual axle pickups are also not allowed.

      – We understand that vehicles younger than 10 years old can be imported, but you will have to pay stiff import taxes ( e.g. IVA can be 16% or higher – Value Added Tax).

      We imported and nationalized a 10 yr old Ford Ranger and a Nissan Sentra, and have been happy with both vehicles, but I am a mechanic, and I enjoy doing custom work-arounds when problems arise.

      Hope this a good start,

      • draya says:

        I am confused about whether I can bring in a dual wheel truck on an fmm or fm3 (not for nationalization)??? We were planning to drive down our airstream in the next few weeks pulled by a 1990 F350 dually? I was planning to buy it tomorrow . . .so I want to clarify this? Can you help?? Thanks . . .

      • yucalandia says:

        Our prior research found that dually pick-up trucks were not permitted for temporary importation, though I can’t find the citation in the regs right now. In 2006 my sister-in-law wanted me to bring in one for her, and the Aduana folks at the border told us that duallys were not permitted.

        In case things have changed since 2006, I have asked the question of an expert with Aduana,

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  17. John says:

    Dear Steve,
    I just learned about the FM2 requirement that I leave with my car. I got my FM2 in March 2011 and previously had FM3 status for five years and assumed the FM2 status gave me the right to have my car. My FM2 is cargo de confianza, so I am working. Do you know how much time I have to get to the border? I live in Leon, Guanajuato. I really do not want to drive to the border right now under the circumstances with all the robberies and kidnapping happening in the north. Any suggestions? Thanks. John

    • yucalandia says:

      Updated 6/26/2011
      Hi John,
      I understand that your only legal option is to take the car to an official border crossing. If your car becomes illegal due to visa changes, visa’s expiring, or whatever reason, you can apply for a free temporary permit that gives you 3-5 days to remove the vehicle from Mexico. Check out Aduanas website for instructions on how to apply: “Safely Returning Autos” At the border you can have Aduana remove your current sticker that is associated with your old FM3. as you leave, and forfeit any deposit you made when you imported the car. You could then bring the car back into Mexico and nationalize the vehicle, paying fairly steep taxes to bring it in (unless it qualifies under the 10 yr old & “NAFTA made” rules). Or sell it in the border town, return to Mexico, and buy a local car.

      How long do you have? Unfortunately, the vehicle’s permit is already expired, any deposit you paid is forfeit, and it is not legal to drive the car within Mexico, unless you get the 3-5 day removal permit described above. If you are driving without the special permit and get stopped by the police, they have the right to permanently confiscate your car at any time. The strict interpretation of the law formally says that only Aduana officials can confiscate it, but the reality is that various Policia Federale and Estatal ignore this technicality and routinely confiscate illegal expat cars across Mexico.

      Statistics and probability would predict that the more you drive the car, the more likely you are to get caught and have the car confiscated on-the-spot, so, logic would say to drive the car only as much as is required to get to the border or have it towed, if you do not want to risk confiscation. Some past experience says that some ex-pats illegally drive their vehicles for months without getting stopped.

      I guess it all depends on how lucky you feel. For me, it would be better to sell the car at a loss across the border in the US, rather than driving for extended periods & risking having it confiscated.
      Best Wishes for GOOD LUCK on this!

  18. Bill Basham says:

    Dear Steve,
    Thanks for some great information. I would like to present a scenario to make sure that I understand all of the process.
    I enter Mexico with my car (2006 Hyundai-appprox deposit approximately $200)using FMM status and within 30 days apply for change on website to fm2 (rentista).
    Upon several visits to INM paying fees, etc. and my being granted fm2 rentista status by INM, notify aduana by letter of status change.
    Renew fm2 annually and if I leave the country temporarily, return to Banjercito office to have them log removal into system, and receive a return certificate to re-enter.
    As long as these requirements are met my car an I can remain in Mexico assuming my license and registration in US are in order.
    Even though my wife holds dual citizenship I chose this route because of the car limitations on a spousal approach.
    Did I miss anything??
    Your reply would be appreciated.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Bill,
      Under the old Immigration law, your plan works fine, using an FM2-Rentista (proving sufficient monthly income), not FM2-Familiar. Under the new Immigration law (in force since May 25, 2011), there’s a bump in your road, Article 53:
      “Article 53. Visitors, except those for humanitarian reasons and those who have (family) links with Mexican or regular resident alien in Mexico, can


      change status of residence and will have to leave the country at the end of the period of stay authorized.
      “Surviving Yucatan: New Immigration Law Published for Mexico – The Article”

      This clause is not currently being applied yet, but INM can choose to implement it at any time, which means typical Visitor/Tourists to Mexico cannot change residency status without leaving Mexico when INM starts implementing the new law. On a related note: the new/current immigration law requires INM to write El Reglamento for the current law before Nov. 25, 2011, which should mean that INM will start implementing the new law at any time before Nov. 26, 2011.

      Here’s where the fun comes in for you: If you enter Mexico and file for your FM2 before INM implements this clause, it’s all good! If you enter Mexico after INM implements this clause, then INM might say you have to prove your marriage to your esposa Mexicana to allow you to change from the new Visitante visa over to Residente Temporal or Residente Permanente without leaving Mexico first. Did you have a Civil ceremony here in Mexico, or have you registered your US marriage with your local Mexican Registro Civil?

      If you do not have your marriage registered officially with the Mex. Gob., INM could force you to leave Mexico, making a trip to the border with the vehicle, to change residency status under the new immigration law, and then re-enter to make your new Residente Temporal or Residente Permanente visa application.

      Clear as mud?

  19. Thomas Allen says:

    I have an FM3 and left Mexico in May 2011 without getting the sticker removed. I thought there was an adjuana office right next to the border but there was not. Prior years you could just drive throught this little area at the Nogalas border to turn in the sticker. I am returning in September and still have the permit on my windshield and a current FM3. I am planning to stop at the vehicle permit building and straighten this out but I am real nervous about coming into Mexico since I left without turning in the sticker. Any advice?

    • yucalandia says:

      In theory, you were supposed to check in with a Banjercito office before you left Mexico to get a permit letter to leave and re-enter. Many ex-pats report on web-forums that they have come and gone from Mexico for years, crossing out and re-entering to Mexico with no problems using vehicles w/stickers w/o stopping to “check-out”. (I can’t promise anything, but simply report others’ stories). Problems certainly occur if you sell the car or wreck the car with a sticker while you are in the USA, because the sticker is associated in Aduana / Banjercito’s computers with your FM3. The problems also arise if you attempt to bring a different car into Mexico before you have Aduana scrape the old sticker off your car’s windshield. Don’t sell the car and don’t wreck the the car, and the next time you leave Mexico, either get a permit letter from Banjercito at the border or have Aduana remove the sticker.
      Please give us a shout and tell us how it worked out,

  20. Norbert J. Gebauer says:

    We purchased a 10-year import sticker for our motorhome expiring in 2015. Do we need any other papers/document/sticker to re-enter Mexico this coming winter?
    For three winters, from 2006 to 2009, we drove a BC registered Suzuki Sidekick in and around the Puerto Vallarta area. The car was bought from a Canadian who owns a home in PV. Police stopped us a couple of times for various reasons. At one time the officer pointed out that our car was in Mexico illegally and fined us 500 pesos. After a bit of negotiating he let us go after paying 150 pesos (after all it was close to X-mas and I wished him and his family “Feliz Navidad!”). Our encounters with Federales over the years was usually very courteous, polite and somewhat amusing. Now, I always suspected our Suzuki was in Mexico illegally and it could have been easily confiscated. However, police isn’t in the business to to that but rather want to collect the infamous morbida. Some knowledge of Spanish, a good sense of self-deprecating humour and a radiant smile will get one through most run-ins with Mexican Federales. I’m proud to say that we never payed any fine that wasn’t appropriate. In other words, if you don’t screw up, don’t pay!
    We now RV in southern Florida but I really miss Mexico and wouldn’t hesitate to return to this beautiful, exciting country despite all the negative news. As long as we stay away from border towns, or get passed them as quickly a spossible and never drive after dark, heck, it’s safer there than in many of our own big cities! Hasta la proxima, amigos!


    • yucalandia says:

      Here are our understandings: The temporary import rules for vehicles are tied to the ongoing “visa” status of the person who registered for the temporary import permit on the RV. If that person has maintained their Inmigrante/FM2, or No Inmigrante/FM3 status, and that Immigration status is still current, then the 10 year vehicle permit remains valid (because the Aduana’s rule linking ongoing Immigration approval to ongoing temporary vehicle permit approval uses the term “vehicle” in describing the requirements).

      In theory, you needed to stop at a border crossing Banjercito vehicle registration office to register the RV’s departure and get a departure-re-entry letter: see “Exiting From and Returning To Mexico for Temporary Permit Vehicles”. “El retorno de los vehículos internados temporalmente – Retorno Parcial“.

      If you did not stop and register the departure of the RV when you left Mexico, then Aduana could (in theory) deny your re-entry into Mexico under your current 10 yr permit. Reports from around the internet describe how most drivers return into Mexico with their vehicles successfully, without previously registering their departure, but there are also a few reports of people who are required to pay fines, and get a new permit (added $$$) when they attempt to re-enter.

      Did you register the RV’s departure at a Banjecito office and get the Retorno Parcial permit letter when you left Mexico?
      Is the temporary import permit holder’s FM2 or FM3 still valid?

  21. purplepatty says:

    I’m hoping this is the right place to ask a new question. I brought my car across the border on my FM3 in Aug. 2005 and subsequently it was totaled July 2006 in Michoacan. I was hospitalized for a week and thus unable to turn in my import sticker to Aduana in the required 5 days after the accident. Two months later I flew to Houston, bought a new car and drove to Laredo. At the Aduana office there I presented the police report of the accident, the insurance adjusters report with photos of the smashed car including the sticker, license plate and VIN and letter from the insurance company that showed they had paid me for the car. And I had my sticker, still adhered to chunks of windshield along with title, registration, paperwork from original sticker, FM3 and passport. The Aduana officer would not accept my proof that the car was totaled and undrivable–he said he wanted to see the vehicle and it’s condition. I told him it was not drivable and was in a junk yard in Zamora, Michoacan. And that I had another vehicle with me to import. He said I would have to go to Aduana in Morelia (the capitol of Michoacan) to turn in my paperwork and get a sticker for my new car. At km 21 the officer noticed I didn’t have an import sticker. I told him what Aduana had told me about going to Morelia for the new sticker and he said, “OK” and waved me through.
    I later went with the same paperwork as at the border to Aduana in Guadalajara. I talked to 5 people in different offices, none of which could help me. I was finally told to hire an attorney. I did that and gave him all my original paperwork and sticker which he took to Mexico City. It has now been 5 years and I still have an illegally imported car (which I drive only locally) and no idea how long this process will continue. A year ago, through my attorney, Aduana wanted to know why I didn’t turn in my sticker within the required 5 days. I had my attorney send them a copy of my surgeon’s notes including my admission and discharge dates from the hospital. And I’ve heard nothing since. Is this case hopeless or can I expect some action from Aduana in the near? future?

    Thanks so much for any help or advice–Pat

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi patty,
      You have checked all the boxes, submitted all the forms, supplied the correct information, followed the rules, hired an attorney to take actions, and did it in the most timely fashion possible, and the system still did not work. I know of one other woman who jumped through similar hurdles 2 years ago on a similar problem of being unable to produce the Aduana vehicle sticker, and she had a former Mexican Supreme Court justice throw his weight onto her similarly-knotted vehicle-permit-stuck-in-Mexico-City loop. At last word, her vehicle permit was still in limbo.

      If you are worried about the possibility of your current car being confiscated, and want to drive legally, worry-free: you could buy a local car and take your old car outside of Mexico to sell. There are 3-5 day temporary permits issued free, for the sole purpose of legally shuttling illegal vehicles out of Mexico. See:“Safely Returning Autos”

  22. Gail M Wood says:

    I previously posted a query about importing my 2006 Subaru and paying whatever the import duties might be since I was tired of being pulled over in Mexico for driving a car with US plates. Since then I have talked to an import attorney in Morelia and he emphatically told me that Japanese made cars are not prohibited from being imported into Mexico, period, no matter what model year they are. I have since sold the car in the US and will be buying a Mexican plated car. I have no way of knowing if this rule is in fact true, but I was tired of the whole scenario of repeatedly being pulled over for having US plates. Not worth it.

  23. Gail M Wood says:

    I apologize for the error in my above post. It should read: “He emphatically told me that Japanese made cars ARE prohibited from being imported into Mexico, period, no matter what model year they are.”

  24. Jonathan says:

    Hello and Thanks for all the information you have supplied.
    I have a problem right now that me and my grandma were in chihuahua mex and i had to leave back to the us and left her in mexico. And on my return back into the interior of mexico they confiscated the vehicle with the claim that i as a grandson to the importer(my grandma) was not an authorized driver and therefore that cualified the vehicle as being in a ilegal state.
    we both have our fm2 forms and they ares still curent.
    They are not wanting to give the vehicle back even though me and my gradma went to pick it up
    the did a lot of paper work when they took the vehicle and now they say we have to give them any proof we think will help the situation within 10 bussiness days and then they have about 4 months to respond with their acction in the case.
    I Know that in the articolo 106 it says that a decendant of the importer is an authorized driver, however the officials say that this is only in reference to a son or as they call it a direct descendant.
    I don’t know what i should turn in for proof to help me get my grandma’s vehicl back.
    If there is anything you could do to help me it would be very apreciated. thanks

    • yucalandia says:

      I think your problem has become serious enough that you need to hire a professional to solve your problem.

      As your grandmother’s descendant, you were legally allowed to drive her temporarily imported car around inside Mexico, but you were NOT allowed to drive it out of Mexico across the border, and you are not allowed to drive it back across the border back into Mexico.

      Only the car’s temporary permit holder is allowed to drive it out and back. You also needed to get a letter from a border-crossing Banjercito office when you left Mexico with the vehicle: There is a “Partial Return” program. From Aduana’s website: “Banjercito records exit and return information in their system, and delivers a partial return receipt to the importer, so you can make multiple entries and exits during the term of the permit.“Exiting From and Returning To Mexico for Temporary Permit Vehicles”

      Your case is unusual, and I believe you need to talk with Aduana and get a written list of exactly what documents and information you need to give them to recover your car,
      AND contact a professional experienced in these matters (a Customs Broker or Lawyer) for help.
      Best of Luck,

  25. Tony says:

    Thank you for the great information! I have a problem, not yet mentioned. My 1997 vehicle, which resides in Mexico under my FM3, is defunct. It will not start and no amount of trouble shooting either by the dealership, my local mechanic, or website auto problem solvers can fix it!
    I can’t drive it to the border to have its sticker removed. It would seem that the best thing I can do is to sell it for parts, but I can’t do this until its removed from my “file”. Can I nationalize it without going to the border? Help!

    • yucalandia says:

      This goes beyond our expertise. You can donate the car to the Mexican Gob., and free up your FM3 to allow you to bring in another Temporary Import. Contact your Aduana office for instructions on how they currently do this.

      • Tony says:

        Steve, thanks for the quick reply. wish there was another way. Tony

      • Frank says:

        Tony this may be a bit too late and you probably resolved the issue by now. I have had several friends whose vehicles have been wrecked and not drivable, Because of the pain in the but about rules and regulations they have all loaded their vehicles on trailers and taken them to the border just to get the sticker removed from the windshield. I realize it seems like a hassle but for them it was worth the expense just to be able to get a new permit in the future.

  26. Lisa Friesen says:


    My husband and I entered Mexico on an FMT and driving our truck in October 2009. Our intent was to stay for 6 months but we decided to make it permanent. We obtained our FM3’s at the beginning of March 2010. We paid for the assistance of a local trusted individual, who was previously employed as a federal policeman. We renewed our FM3’s again in 2011, again using the same indivudual to assist us. From what we understood, our vehicle remained legal as long as our status remained legal. From what I am reading now, our vehicle is actually illegal as we did not notify Aduana of the change in status and to extend the vehicle permit. Is this correct? If we can prove continuity in our status to Aduana do we still have to return to the border to correct the situation? Thanks for your information.

    • yucalandia says:

      The Aduana rules say that you should file the change of INM status in person, along with the documents listed in the article above (edited to add the list). I would go to your Aduana’s office with the required letter and documents, and ask them if anything else is needed.

  27. Robert says:

    Hi Steve,

    I have only two questions. First, where the heck do you find all the time. I know that you stay indoors during the hot part of the days because of limited use of AC’s . . . . . . . . . . but my goodness man where do you find all the time? (smiling)

    Second and more serious question: I would like your take on the following. I came in with my 2008 Tahoe and 16 ft enclosed cargo trailer. I am on an FM 2 “Rentista”. I need to go back NOB with only my Tahoe (as I do not really wish to pay all the extra cash for both additional gas and the cuota fees for both Tahoe and trailer. I have to go back for my VA Medical appointments and should return within ten days. My Mexican Temp Import Sticker of course has both the tow vehicle and the trailer listed. What’s your take on this particular situation? I have been stopped once last month, driving without the trailer at a local federales checkpoint and asked where my trailer was. I explained it was at my house up the road (which went over well) as I didn’t wish to spend all the extra money, for driving a trailer around town when it was not necessary. That satisfied him and he let me go and nicely said have a nice day. Do you think that I could do the same thing and drive across the border without checking in, and ten days or so later drive back without the trailer and not have a problem? Appreciate your feedback.

    P.S. A great site you have here.


  28. Robert says:

    Hi Steve,

    I have only two questions. First, where the heck do you find all the time. I know that you stay indoors during the hot part of the days because of limited use of AC’s . . . . . . . . . . but my goodness man where do you find all the time? (smiling)

    Second and more serious question: I would like your take on the following. I came in with my 2008 Tahoe and 16 ft enclosed cargo trailer. I am on an FM 2 “Rentista”. I need to go back NOB with only my Tahoe (as I do not really wish to pay all the extra cash for both additional gas and the cuota fees for both Tahoe and trailer. I have to go back for my VA Medical appointments and should return within ten days. My Mexican Temp Import Sticker of course has both the tow vehicle and the trailer listed. What’s your take on this particular situation? I have been stopped once last month, driving without the trailer at a local federales checkpoint and asked where my trailer was. I explained it was at my house up the road (which went over well) as I didn’t wish to spend all the extra money, for driving a trailer around town when it was not necessary. That satisfied him and he let me go and nicely said have a nice day. Do you think that I could do the same thing and drive across the border without checking in, and ten days or so later drive back without the trailer and not have a problem? Appreciate your feedback.

    P. S. Great site you have here.


    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Robert,
      The drive-out / drive-back-in dilemma is really common. Hundreds of expats report driving out of Mexico without stopping at the border Banjercita office to get their multiple re-entry and exit permit. A few expats w/vehicles under Temporary Permits later write back to say that their vehicles are not allowed back into Mexico, ever. Of those who write about NOT being allowed to re-enter with the vehicle, a few report 1-2 years of filing documents with Aduana in failed attempts to get the mess un-knotted.

      The negative consequences if Aduana/Banjercito catches the violation:

        The owner is never allowed to have another foreign-plated vehicle back in Mexico under their visa,
        – they have to find a place to store or sell their car/Tahoe in the US,
        – they have to find alternate transport to their Mexican home, and
        – they have to buy a different car in Mexico.

      Can you live with this set of consequences? Do you like to roll the dice.*
      If not, then stop at the Banjercito office at your border crossing and get a multiple exit and re-entry permit (see web address in the article above for details). If you suspect that Banjercito may require that the trailer must go out with the vehicle, check with Aduana on their official policy before you travel.

      *Rolling the dice on having INM and Aduana catch ex-pats breaking the rules, had much much better odds in the past, when paper systems ruled these operations, but now in the era of computerized data-bases, I think we will be hearing of much more enforcement of these easily-tracked easily-detected violations.

  29. Robert says:

    Hi Steve,

    Good response. I certainly was not looking for a way around the law, but just not knowing what is the correct procedure as , I have not been able to find such information one way or the other. but your . . . . . . “Rolling the dice on having INM and Aduana catch ex-pats breaking the rules, had much, much better odds in the past, when paper systems ruled these operations, but now in the era of computerized data-bases, I think we will be hearing of much more enforcement of these easily-tracked easily-detected violations.” . . . . . . . . is a good “heads up” and one that I readily agree with. I believe that while there doesn’t seem to be any direct information one way or the other, and since here in Mexico we all know that “the only thing for sure, is that nothing is for sure”, it is much wiser to error on the side of spending the extra dollars for additional tolls and gas. I also believe like you that Mexico is quickly learning how to “track and enforce”.

    I think I am going to try going to Aduana in Queretaro and maybe asking them and also get, in writing, their response if I ca indeed leave my trailer at my home in Queretaro for a short medical trip NOB.


    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Robert,
      Can you give us a shout when you hear from Queretaro Aduana about their position on truck/trailer combination registrations and the Partial Return program?

      Happy Trails!

  30. Marty Rosenzweig says:

    Hi Steve,
    It appears that when we enter Mexico from Texas with our 2009 vehicle (under FMM rules) we will post a $400 deposit at the border. However, if the long awaited ferry service from Progreso to Tampa actually begins early in 2012, that would be our preference for departing Mexico. Is it your understanding that we would forfeit this deposit since we’re (legally) departing at a different crossing? If so, with all the computerization of the process, can you supply any possible rationale for this rule?


    Xcalak Q. Roo

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Marty,
      We’re confused. Will you enter Mexico at 2 different locations, at 2 different times, leaving Mexico between the 2 entry dates?

      Or are you saying that a deposit paid at a land port of entry (border crossing) can be refunded, and that deposits paid for entry at a sea port is not refundable?

  31. Marty Rosenzweig says:

    Sorry about the confusion! Neither! My understanding is that, if you want your deposit back, the new regs require you to exit Mexico at the same location you entered. It’s as if Banjercito is holding your deposit in an envelope (!) at the point of entry and so you need to get the refund at the same bank.

    “Specifics: Remember the Banjercito office you registered your car at when you entered? When you are leaving Mexico, you need to return to the corresponding BANJERCITO office at the border crossing where/when you are crossing back into the USA with the vehicle. ”

    So, on our next annual trip, if we make the vehicle deposit at Allede (south of Eagle Pass, TX), for example, and then take the ferry from Progreso back to the U.S. (instead of driving back up and “checking out” through Allende), is there any way to get the $400 deposit back?


    • yucalandia says:

      Hey Marty,
      I just now saw your new posts.

      I think there is a little confusion between the old paper or local computerized Aduana systems and Aduana’s newer national computer data base systems. The old system worked best when expats entered and departed through the same port-of-entry/border-crossing. We understand that the current system now allows Aduana to check your records at any of their locations, especially since ex-pats are going into their local Aduana offices to notify Aduana of changes in Immigration status. The changes are entered locally, but the data is then available at all the Aduana ports of entry across the country.

      “….on our next annual trip, if we make the vehicle deposit at Allede (south of Eagle Pass, TX), for example, and then take the ferry from Progreso back to the U.S. (instead of driving back up and “checking out” through Allende), is there any way to get the $400 deposit back?
      ~~ The law says that you should get your deposit back, if your car is returned on time, with the sticker intact, and with all your documents, regardless of your “port of entry” departure point.

      I would check with Aduana first, though, to confirm that their systems can do this smoothly. Please give us a shout when you actually use their new system(s).
      Happy Trails,

  32. Marty Rosenzweig says:

    Another question: Years ago, when the ferry did operate from Tampa to Progreso (for one season?), was there a immigration office where you could get a tourist card and, more importantly, a vehicle permit (maybe it was passenger only?)? The first would be easy since Progreso is a port of entry but they probably weren’t (aren’t!) expecting to deal with vehicles!


  33. Gunther Hepner says:

    I brought my 2008 Ford explorer sport trac titled and has US plates in to Mexico in January of 2011 under my existing FM3 non inmigante I recently married my wife who is Mexican and when my FM3 expired I got an FM2 inmigrante. I am retired and live off of my pension and I do not work we have a home here and I am now a resident in Mexico. I was told today 7/29/2011 that I could not keep my Ford legaly in Mexico under my new status because my Caracteristica says “Familiar”
    Just does not make any sense..

    • yucalandia says:

      That sure is a tough break, but that’s the law’s consequence of you choosing to apply as a dependent: – a foreigner who is financially dependent on your wife.

      As it says in the article above: If you had applied for an FM2: No Inmigrante RENTISTA, you could have kept your vehicle. As a self-supporting independent Rentista (living off foreign investments and foreign savings/pensions), you are entitled to keep a foreign plated vehicle. As a – financially dependent – Family member, who does not have to meet any foreign pension/investment income requirements, you gave up the right to have a foreign plated vehicle.

      By legally announcing your status as a Family member of a Mexican, you are also officially identifying stronger ties to Mexico, because Familiar is the path to citizenship: you can claim the right to apply for Citizenship after just 2 years (a significant benefit) = much closer ties to Mexico. As a Familiar person who can now fast-track their citizenship, you are formally giving up some foreign ties(?), like your car’s umbilical cord back to the USA.

      Whoever advised you to change from Rentista to Familiar did not consider your desire to keep your car. You only needed to provide 3 months of bank statements or investment account statements showing sufficient $$$ to have kept your Rentista status & your car.

      This is my way of saying that you made the choice that created you current status. The Mexican government does not force people to choose the less rigorous Familiar category.

      I wish I had better news for you, but sometimes we have to live with the consequences of our decisions, and sometimes they are the consequences of less-than-thorough advice or less-than-thorough research.

      It sure can be “no fun” to make a mistake like this. Was this a “Do-it-yourself” effort, or did someone advise you?

      Are you planning a trip to the border to sell the Ford?

      • Gunther Hepner says:

        I would like to keep the car if possible I’m going back to imigration on monday to see why they changed my status from Rentista to Familiar (the only thing I can think of is because I married a mexican) I think there was a miscommunication and I hope that it can be fixed. I am retired and recieve a check every month I also did all the paperwork myself and I remember telling them and giving them copies of my retirement deposits.
        If I cannot change it I will have to make a trip to the border…..

      • yucalandia says:

        Best of luck, Gunther!

        Our local INM agents push expats married to Mexicans to get FM2 Familiar visas, since they see it as a fast-track to citizenship.

  34. rachael says:

    My husband and I were asked by his mother (who is retiring In merida in september) to drive her car down to the yucatan. She is single and has health problems and can not be in a car for that long so she is going to fly. She has not finished paying her car off yet, but is current in the payments. Do you know if this will be a problem for us if shes not with us? Please let me know asap

    • yucalandia says:

      Your situation has multi-issues going on simultaneously. First, you would need a notarized letter from her car finance company authorizing the car to be taken to Mexico. Does she already have an FM3 Rentista or FM2 Rentista (rentier = or person living on pension income)? Are you moving to the Baja & Sonora zone where you can permanently import 8, 9, or 10 year old cars? Is the the car going to stay within the Border Zone, or within the special Baja/Sonora Free zone where it needs no permit?

      Multiple other sites say that Aduana will allow you to bring a spouse’s or immediate family member’s car into Mexico, without having the visa holder/car owner present at importation. You would need a notarized letter from your mother authorizing your plan, plus an official (apostilled?) copy of her birth certificate, and some sites recommend including a notarized copy of her passport with your application. You also need a current registration, and the car’s title. AND 2 COPIES OF EVERYTHING you will be submitting.

      The next hurdle is what visa you use to import the car: Do you have an FM3 Rentista or FM2 Rentista (where you would you register her vehicle’s Temporary Importation under your your visa)? I am not sure how Aduana handles changing the cars permit ‘from your visa to her visa, later.

      You might consider posting your question on Mexconnect, to find out other expats experiences on how to transfer the car’s Temporary Import permit from your visa to hers (at her local Aduana office) when she arrives , or would you plan to keep a current FM2 Rentista or FM3 Rentista? This all is also REALLY UP IN THE AIR until INM issues the NEW regulations on visas and imported car permits. We are currently operating under the old statute, but INM will issue COMPLETELY NEW rules on visas between now and December 2011. The old FM2/FM3/Inmigrado categories completely go away after the New Regulations are issued, and NO ONE KNOWS how INM and Aduana will handle CAR PERMITS and the NEW “Residente Temporal” and “Permanente Temporal” categories…

      See: See Full Article at: “New Immigration Law Published for Mexico – The Article”

      Since your mom will likely be a rentier/”Rentista “, living off pension/savings income, she would seem to qualify for the NEW Permanent Resident category (maybe not available until Dec. 2011), which means she would file for Permanent Residency once, get approved, and never have to file or pay again vs. the annual $250 – $300 (or more) per year residency renewal dance. It seems likely that the new “Permanente Temporal” category will not allow expats to keep Temporarily Imported vehicles (just as the current Inmigrante/permanent resident category does NOT allow foreign-plated cars).

      I don’t like speculation, but I’d hate for you to go through all the hassles to bring in your mom’s car, just to find that you have to take it back out of Mexico after 6 monthst of an FMM/Visitante visa, due to changes in the upcoming New Immigration Regulations, because she wants/needs to apply for the New Permanent Residency visa.

      Your mom could instead buy a used car here under an FMM, and avoid all the hassles and uncertainty.

      Could you instead plan to to buy a modestly priced car here for her? As long as you make sure that the car has it’s legal permits from the original vehicle sale (Mexican version of a title that proves where it was originally purchased) to avoid buying a stolen car, there are lots of very good used cars here. In particular, Nissans are rugged, get good gas mileage, are relatively easy/cheap to have repaired, have easy easy access to lots of very inexpensive aftermarket parts if they break, and almost all mechanics work on Nissans here, and they are NAFTA cars.

  35. John says:

    Oh Boy…..
    I think I’m in big trouble. I entered Mexico exactly 180 days ago through Laredo. I entered on an FMM visa. I then got a visa “No Inmigrante” about 3 months ago. I did not do anything…..and I was looking through my papers thia afternoon and realized that my temporsyrimportation permit expires today……what alternatives do I have no that I’ve passed this expiration date?


    • yucalandia says:

      In theory your car’s temporary permit’s expiration date changed to the expiration date of your No Inmigrante visa. Reports from around the web report no problems for expats who go to their Aduana office with their letter explaining their new visas status and with their supporting documents, even when they are beyond the 15 day grace period for reporting the visa change/renewal.

  36. Eric says:

    I have a specific question when only holding an FMM/FMT. My family and I have been living in Playa Del Carmen for 6 weeks and have already purchased a vehicle here with mexican plates. Can we register this vehicle in our name on our Tourist visas and how does that work since we have to leave the country in 180 days and return to renew our FMM? Also we are looking for another vehicle and I don’t know if it is better to purchase a foreign vehicle, with american plates and fight with the import sticker every time we leave the country, which will be by plane or just stick to Mexican cars. Thanks for your help with my question.

    • yucalandia says:

      Your options depend on whether you intend to follow Mexican law, and upon whether you are willing to risk having the car permanently confiscated if you are caught.

      You can legally buy a Mexican car in Mexico, but you can only register it if you are a resident (FM3, FM2, Inmigrado, or naturalized citizen). We advise: Get your residency, (costs about $275 USD), and then register the car and operate it legally.

      If you choose to drive a car registered to someone else (a Mexican), then you are gambling that they will continue to pay the annual tenencias (yearly taxes), and that they pay the annual registration and licensing costs, and hopefully they pay for insurance too. They also have to be willing to certify that they allow you to drive the car, if the police question your arrangement.

      Since most of us cannot be assured that a different person will pay all the bills and fees on time, then you risk having the car confiscated. As Mexican States increase their requirements for licensing and insurance (e.g. in Yucatan in a few months, you will need to have all three current annual approval stickers/holograms posted in your back window), your chances of having the car confiscated increase over time.

      Purchasing a foreign plated vehicle in Mexico is strictly forbidden, and you again risk having the vehicle permanently confiscated on the spot if the authorities catch you.

      If you get an FM3 or the new Residente Temporal permit to stay in Mexico, then you can register and drive the Mexican vehicle legally, and if you want to also buy the other foreign plated vehicle – make a trip to Belize/Chetumal, and bring the foreign vehicle back into Mexico, registered with a Temporary Import permit in your name, on your FM3.

      We advise: Get your residency, (costs about $275 USD), and then register the car and operate it legally.

  37. Eric says:

    Oh wow, I have wrong information. I thought as long as I had a valid visa, whether it be for residency or just for tourism I could buy and own a car in Mexico. I had read before that just as long as I didn’t try to leave the country with the car I could own/register a Mexican plated vehicle with an FMT/FMM. Please advise if this is not correct. Also I thought the same applied with an American plated vehicle, just as long as I have a valid Visa I can import the vehicle throught the border, whether that be the US/Mexico border or the Belize/Mexico border. I have read if the vehicle(American Plated) is foreign you can cross over into Belize and transfer the title there and then you can reenter Mexico and claim your new vehicle as your own on whatever visa you possess including an FMT/FMM. Please advise on this as well. Obviously it will take time to get an FM3/FM2 and I will need a vehicle until then, just want to make sure I take the best route until I can obtain an FM3. Thanks again for helping me through this.

    • yucalandia says:

      The general rule across Mexico is that FMM/Visitor permit holders cannot register Mexican vehicles. Since Quintana Roo (like Sonora and Baja California) have some special rules and exemptions that offer extra leeway to tourists etc, maybe Q. Roo allows Visitor visa holders to register a car? Other states prohibit it. State officials in Mexico are given latitude in application of the law, and Quintana Roo is a special zone in several ways, so, again, maybe Q. Roo has a way for Visitors/FMM tourists to register a vehicle? I think it is time to get definitive information on how Q.Roo handles FMMs and car registration. Please give us a shout when you find out the actual rules for Q. Roo from their version of the DMV.

  38. Gunther Hepner says:

    I brought my US plated 2008 Ford across the boarder last year under my FM3 I now have a FM2 Rentista do I need to do any changes or inform the local Aduana office?

    • yucalandia says:

      Yes, the rule says to notify Aduana in person within 15 days of INM visa changes or renewals: bring your letter requesting the change and your documents. Since Aduana data bases are not linked to INM data bases, by filing with Aduana, then you can keep the correct expiration date of your car permit current in Aduana’s computers – but only by notifying Aduana of your new INM visa expiration date.

  39. Giovanni says:

    Hi Steve, my Step dad is an American Citizen but has an FM3 Visa to live in Mexico, He brought a 2007 Tahoe (Oregon Plates) to Puerto Vallarta wich is the city i live in, My dad got sick and moved back 2 the states again, he called me a few days ago and asked my to sell his car… by reading you article im sure that it cant be done.. on the other hand my dad cant drive all the way back to the states because of his medical condition… im not sure what 2 do??? i hope you can help out …
    Sorry for my spelling its been a while….

  40. Cheryl says:

    Hi Steve,
    Great site, I’ve gleaned a lot of very helpful info. I have a 1990 Chev S10 pickup that I am driving down from Canada to Mexico. I have an FM3 and a residence in Mexico. I want to permanently import this car into Mexico i.e. get Sinaloa tags for it. What is the process to accomplish this? Any help you provide would be greatly appreciate.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Cheryl,
      Since the vehicle is more than 10 years old, you cannot permanently import it. You may only bring it in under a Temporary Import permit. There are exceptions for classic cars, but yours does not qualify.

  41. Bill Glenn says:

    I have a 1970 VW that I would like to bring into Mexico. It is old enough for “vehiculos classicos”, but is not a NAFTA vehicle. Is there someway it can be brought in? Currently, I’m under a no inmigrante visa, living in Mazatlan, and have a 1988 van with foreign plates that I brought in years ago. I’m doing the research for several of us with old cars, so any help, or enlightenment, would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Bill,
      Good question. Your situation is unique, and I don’t know if there’s some exception that might apply or fees that could be paid. Do you have a visa/permit that would allow you to import it temporarily? (Inmigrante/FM2 or No Inmigrante/FM3) This sounds like a question for a lawyer familiar with Aduana’s rules on very old vehicles. Nothing we’ve read in the current Mexican laws allow it.

  42. Gunther Hepner says:

    From my knowledge you are only allowed one vehicle to be brought in across the boarder with your FM

    • Bill Glenn says:

      You are allowed to bring in both an RV and a towed vehicle in one person’s name. If you are under a 180 day visa, they both must leave Mexico before it expires. You can come back in on another 180 day, but your vehicle, or vehicles, cannot for another year. If you bring both in, and have a No Inmigrante, the old FM3, or the new FM2, or change to that status while in Mexico, you can leave one, or both , in Mexico when you exit, as long as your visa is valid. There are rumors that things may be changing next month, but nothing is known at this time.

  43. Jon says:

    I have a working FM2. Can I permanantly import a 10 year old car? If so, just to be clear, I am currently visiting in the US. If I enter MX before Nov 1, 2011, what must the age of the car be?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Jon,
      Yes you are eligible to import one 10 year old vehicle. As I replied to Meir, Mexico Aduana defines model years as Nov 1 to Oct 31 – so, cars manufactured between Nov. 1, 2010 and Oct. 31 2011 are currently eligible for permanent importation (until Nov. 1, 2011 when the 2002 model years become eligible).

  44. Jon says:

    Thanks, but don’t you mean manufactured between Nov 1, 2001 and Oct 31 2001 are eligible. Also, I was under the impression that if I had a working FM2, I couldn’t drive a foreign plated car. Wouldn’t it be foreign plated until I had it legalized? or is it somehow automatically legalized when I cross into MX, maybe just a form to fill out at the border?

  45. christopher says:

    Hi Steve,
    Thanks for all the great information on this site. I’m hoping you can answer this for me.

    Last Friday (9/30), I re-entered Mexico by car via Nogales in order to get my FM3 renewal paperwork in before the expiration date (10/4/11). I was cutting it close but knew I could make it to the immigration office in Bucerias on Monday (10/3). After crossing the border (at km 21) I obtained a car importation permit for my Honda, which of course shows an expiration date of my FM3, which is 10/4/11). I was told that I would need to visit the Aduana office in vallarta as soon as I had the paper from immigration proving that my FM3 renewal was being processed.

    On Monday (10/3) I went to the immigration office (in Bucerias) and submitted all of the renewal paperwork and should have my new FM3 card in 10 days or so. Right after I left the immigration, I went to the aduana window at the vallarta airport (where immigration told me to go) and showed them my FM3 renewal receipt, car importation papers, etc. After speaking with 5 different people, they told that I would likely need to visit a Banjercito office (closest one of which is in Guadalajara) to notify them in person of the renewal. This didn’t sound right to me, so they gave me the phone number to call for more information. That phone number is:

    When calling the number, I was transferred 5 times before speaking with someone who told me that I needed to speak to the Aduana office in Mexico City for instructions, and gave me a phone number, which turns out to be invalid.

    I’m now at a loss at what to do. In reading your notes, it appears I have 15 days to let the Aduana know that my FM3 has been renewed, however, no one at the aduana (vallarta airport) seems to know what to do with the information. I’m wondering if I should wait until I have the new card and then try going to them again, with a form letter like the one in your notes and see if that helps?

    Any advice is much appreciated.

    • yucalandia says:

      Do you have an Aduana office that is not at an airport. Our local airport Aduana personnel also do not know the auto importation regulations, and airport Aduana offices do not accept these updates. Here in Merida, we too have to go to a different Aduana office to register the new INM visa approvals. The Banjercito office people also are not versed in these laws, and their computer databases simply show that your Aduana permission has expired with the old INM visa expiration date. You have to go in person to an ADUANA office, that is NOT at an airport to register the change. You still have time before your 15 day grace period expires to go to Aduana to register the new INM visa expiration date – unless you have not received your new INM approval and new expiration date.

      • christopher says:

        Thanks Steve,
        I wondered about finding another aduana office here too but everyone I ask keeps pointing me to the airport. I’ll continue to look for one, thanks.

        On a side note, I was a little unclear about whether or not I should be able to obtain a multiple re-entry/exit permit at a different border crossing than Nogales. I do intend on leaving and coming back in, but Nogales will be way out of the way from my planned route.

        Thanks so much. Saludos, Christopher

      • yucalandia says:

        All of the border crossing Aduana offices should offer the multiple re-entry/exit permits.

  46. William Resler says:

    Greetings Steve,
    I have lived in Tlaxcala for seven years. I have a 1993 Mitsubishi and my friend has a 1990 Toyota. My friend has one more year on his FM2 and I have two more. From what I am reading we will not be able to keep our vehicles when we advance on from our FM2. Is that correct? Also as my operators license will be expiring next month can I drive my U.S. licensed car with a Mexican drivers license? Many thanks, Bill
    Only took me a year to find a up to date site that could give real info…I have sent your site onto other friends down here….Many thanks.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi William,
      Are you convinced that you want to go on to a visa status that does not allow you to keep a car (e.g. Inmigrado or naturalized citizen) ?

      Instead, you could go back to the “equivalent” to a No Inmigrante/FM3 Rentista for 5 more years. But that’s a hypothetical, assuming that the new upcoming Inmigrante Temporal has a Rentista subcategory that allow expats to keep their foreign plated cars. Said another way: Most experts are expecting the new INM Regulacion to have a category or subcategory that allows expats to keep their cars with Temporary Import permits. OR maybe the new INM categories will have a subcategory in Residente Permanente that allows expats to keep foreign plated cars. We are all waiting to see the new Regulations, that are supposed to be issued before November 26.

  47. Dear Bill,
    You have the best information out there. You need to write a book.
    I studied in Mexico for 5 years in Durango and every six months I had to drive back to the border to renew my permit. I was so excited when I read that foreign cars can remain legally in Mexico without having to return to the border by advising Aduana when you get your visa extended.

    My husband and I just got accepted to a 2-year school program in Leon.The school has advised us to enter as tourists and then change our status within 2 weeks of arriving.
    We are driving down from Canada with a small trailer to haul our things.
    My husband is Mexican and I am Canadian.
    The car we’re driving back to Mexico in is a mexican car, 2007, Altima, but the trailer it will pull is Canadian.
    Should I be the one temporarily importing the trailer? even though my husband’s mexican car is pulling it?
    We have another Canadian car, a 1993 Taurus, that is already in Ciudad Juarez.

    The car in Juarez(Taurus) is under my husband’s name. It is old and probably won’t be able to pull the trailer. Should I change the ownership of the car to my name?
    Can we do a change in status from tourist to student and then advise Aduana annually to keep the car and trailer in Mexico for 2 years and then return them to the border?

    Also, we will be taking dental equipment with us. How can we legally take it with us as we will be using this equipment for school?

    We are leaving next month and I will be anxiously waiting for any information.
    Thank you so much for all your advice.

    • yucalandia says:

      Congratulations on being accepted by the program in Leon. You can certainly enter as tourists, and then apply for student status after you arrive. If you plan to keep the trailer in Mexico, then I would nationalize it, Either way, you could bring in the car and trailer together under a Temporary Import permit under your tourist visa. I would ask INM and Aduana when you enter if they are allowing students to use their Residente Temporal Estudiante visa to keep a Temporary Import permitted car in Mexico. The regulations for the new INM law are being written now, and none of us know what the categories will allow under the new rules (to be issued before Nov. 25?).

      You are allowed to bring in personal items and $50 of non-personal items when driving or walking across the border. Some people choose to make printed spreadsheet lists of everything named in Spanish and listed with prices, and to submit those lists as declarations to Aduana for assessing a 15% duty. Some other people choose to drive across the border declaring nothing, and hoping to get a green light and not get stopped. Some people cross easily with their trailers, never being inspected. Others get inspected, and have to pull out every single item.

      When we have crossed with trailers, Aduana has stopped us, looked at our lists, given us cursory inspections, and waved us through. There might be a “Paisano” program running when you enter Mexico, which means your husband can bring in many things duty-free under this program. Past “Paisano” programs have allowed up to $300 of goods to enter duty free. I wish I had a single answer to your questions, but your situation is a bit complex, and there is no way to know how Aduana will handle things for you and your jubbie,

      Once you are here, with your Temporary Permit for the vehicle, yes, you can notify Aduana of your new visa status & new expiration date, to protect your $400 cash deposit with Banjercito/Aduana.

      Safe Travels!

  48. Lesley Peter says:

    Hello Steve, I would just like to run this past you for your take on the situation.

    We brought in a 2001 vehicle in June of 2011. We were on FMT’s at the time. In September we obtained out FM3’s. We did not know the exact process on what we should do for the vehicle, so we went to see Aduana. There, they told us that no action was necessary. So, now I am concerned that seeing these letter and document examples on the site here, and them not wanting anything from us do not jive. What would you do? Do you think we should just take the letter and documents back to them and try to get them to take them? They were adamant that they needed nothing from us.

    Also, the vehicle itself is a bit of a sticky situation. My Mom is living with us here. She is 90, has leg issues and needed a vehicle that allowed her a ramp to enter a vehicle, so instead of bringing our vehicle, she bought the 2001 van (only 40,000 miles) and used Wells Fargo to finance it. IT has only her name on the title. That cannot be changed until it is paid off. We were told by the authorities here that it was fine that my husband (son-in-law to my mom) was okay to drive it if she is in it or I am in it or he had the papers to connect him (marriage certificate) in the vehicle. IS this your understanding? And, my new concern is what will happen to the vehicle if my mom should pass away? And, if we were to pay this vehicle off, get one of our names on the title, how would that change the situation from the Aduana’s view point?

    If we were to change the vehicle title to my husband and myself, would that be an issue ? Which makes me wonder, if two foreigners, say two Americans, decided to make some kind of vehicle deal while here, say one bought a car from another, could that happen legally? Just curious on that one. I am kind of assuming it would be a nightmare!

    Thank you for any light you can shed on our issues. Lesley

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Lesley,
      Does your mom have an FM3 Rentista ? If so, the rules say she is supposed to register any changes in INM visa status or renewals with Aduana, to preserve the deposit with Banjercito. – If she used a credit card to meet the “deposit” requirement, then it would seem to be ok. If you made a cash deposit, then it is good to get Aduana to register the change in visa status and the new (current) visa expiration date, so, Banjercito does not confiscate any cash deposit.

      If the deposit was secured as a CC, then just make sure you have a current FM3 for mom when you leave the country, and have Aduana remove the sticker when you leave – registering Mom’s new visa status when/if you leave Mexico.

      The most common situation with the police is that they might question if the driver is a family member (though this does not happen very often). I would keep a copy of Article 106 in Spanish in the car, along with a copy of her FM3 & passport, and copies of the driver(s)’ FM3’s & passports. A copy of your marriage certificate might help if the police got pushy. A copy of a letter (in Spanish) from your mother (with her FM3) stating that you and your husband (identifying both FM3’s and passport #’s) are her immediate family members and that she gives full permission for you and hubby to drive the vehicle (identify the vehicle and VIN and Temporary Import Permit number) in Mexico.

      These are not absolute 100% guarantees, but will satisfy almost all police requests (unless the driver has been drinking?). You might also check with your insurance agent, that they are in agreement that you 2 are covered when driving her car – a few insurance companies do not automatically recognize/authorize sons-in-law or daughters-in-law as permitted drivers.

      Your mom can sell you the vehicle, but then you are prohibited to drive it here, until you take it out of the country, return the sticker to Aduana/Banjercito, and then get a new title in your name, re-enter and pay the deposit and log the vehicle under the name & FM3 of the new owner (as listed on the new title).
      Hope that covers your questions.
      Give a shout if there’s more info needed,

  49. Lesley Peter says:

    Hi Steve, Thanks for so much information, very helpful. I do have some confusion still though.

    We brought the van in through Lina, right on the dock in Progreso. So, you would think all the T’s and I’s would be crossed and dotted, but I am finding flaws. I was not there, just my husband and Mom went to pick it up. But, as far as I can tell, there was no fee ever charged in cash or as a possible future fee to a debit or credit card. I asked my husband about this and he insist they did not. He does say they paid around $300 pesos at the Army Bank. I just ran this past him again and he says the same thing. Didn’t take a credit card either. So, I am at a loss as to what happened. He tried to give them the change for the visa and they told him, no, it is good. You need to do nothing. He is not enthused about going back again!

    Mom has an FM3, we are all staying put here now. My glove box is stuffed with papers! I do have passport copies and a full compliment of other important documents (copies) including the Article 106 in Spanish and English. I do like the idea of a paper with my Mom’s permission, in Spanish, that is something I think would be very wise to have. Thank you!

    Our insurance is in all three of our names, specifically noting each one on the policy. Mom never drives (thank the Lord!) and I rarely drive (probably for the best too!). So we are good there.

    The last part on selling and vehicle ownership has some points that interest me. Now, if we paid off the vehicle, and added a name to the title, do you think that would change anything or make a difference to anyone. Just adding a name? We came in with just registration I believe, and permission from the financier, our state does not issue titles until the lien is removed.

    And the last question I have is this, since the car is a 2001, and ten years old, would it be better to nationalize it or could we even with the lien on it? Is it expensive to nationalize a vehicle? I am sure it is time consuming, no doubt, everything is!

    I guess I lied, and have one more question. I want to get this perfectly correct, now my husband has a US license, if he obtains a Mexican license, he is not allowed to drive the vehicle that is attached to my Mom’s FM3? Is that right or wrong? I won’t say it doesn’t make sense, because that is not germane. If he gets a Mexican license, he needs to have a Mexican plated vehicle? I have heard other claims that differ with this so I want to be clear.

    Thanks so much for indulging me and going over things that are addressed, I am such a rock head sometimes on this stuff. It is difficult sometimes to process the way it works because it seems so foreign.

    Thank you again!

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Lesley,
      All seems good.

      The current pedimento and Temporary Import permit are in your mom’s name, so, even if you get the title issued under 2 names, you would still have to make a run to the border to get the van changed to your or hubby’s FM3.

      If you choose to hustle and get your van nationalized in mom’s name, I understand you would still need to go to the border to cancel out the Temporary Import permit and have Aduana/Banjercito remove the sticker. I mention hustling, because the 10 year old deadline for your vehicle ends TOMORROW, Oct. 31. Nov. 1, 2011 is the kick-off date for importing 2002 model year vehicles under the Aduana law’s rules. Since you have no clear title, then this option seems moot.

      Either way it is a 5 hour drive to the Chetumal/Belize border from Merida.

      I just realized that there’s a simple-er way to justify your hubby driving the van: ANY foreigner with the SAME INM visa category is permitted to drive the Temporary Import permitted vehicle. Since you, hubby, and mom all have FM3 Rentistas, then Article 106 clearly permits hubby or you to drive mom’s van. => NO LETTER NEEDED & No proof of relationship needed…

      This is one of several good reasons to keep a copy of Article 106 in the vehicle, (maybe with the key passages highlighted to make it easy for the police to find), since many officers do not know the Aduana laws and rules.

      I think we’ve got all the bases covered now,

  50. Kathleen says:

    Great bunch of info in all these notes and your replies. I have another question regarding older vehicles. We have two vehicles here in Mexico: a 1991 and a 1997. Can we nationalize them?


    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Kathleen,
      It seems that Aduana’s rules are in transition now, offering new services and changing some policies. Please check out our latest article: Mexican Custom’s New Importation Rules: Starting Nov. 1, 2011 at .

      Some Aduana web-sites say that you cannot permanently import older than 10 year old vehicles, unless they qualify as classic cars. As listed in our latest article, you could check out the Aduana VIN checker webpage and enter your information to get a report whether you are permitted to bring them in, and if they are allowed, get a report on the taxes & fees you would owe to import the vehicles. Our 1996 Ford Ranger is eligible, but would cost over $3,000 USD in taxes and fees – which is more than the truck is worth. It would be much cheaper to take the truck out of Mexico and sell it, and then use the $$$ to buy a better vehicle here.

  51. Lesley Peter says:

    Steve, just so I am sure, are you saying he can have a Mexican license and because he is in the same FM3 Visa Category, he is okay?

    One more for you, if my Mom passed away, what would the circumstances be then?

    Thank you for all your time and answers!


    • yucalandia says:

      “…he can have a Mexican license and because he is in the same FM3 Visa Category…” Exactly!
      (unless your state has some unusual state-specific special prescription against it in their Reglamentos de Transito??? – Each state can set it’s own driving requirements.)

      If Mom passes, then we understand you have to take the vehicle out of Mexico. You could either drive it out, and hope not to get in an accident or get stopped, or you could use the Safe Return program (described above) to drive it out legally, or you could have it loaded on a flat-bed and hauled out.
      All good,

  52. Lesley Peter says:

    Thanks Steve, very clear now and very appreciative for your time and patience.

    Thank you so much!

  53. James Hart says:

    Wow! Great info here Steve. I have a question for your regarding the FMM.

    Here is the scenario. Back in February 2011 we crossed into baja and received our 180-day FMM. We had a blast down there and came back home, somewhere in my head I knew I had to return this FMM but it slipped my mind until this week!

    Now I am planning to return to Mexico on Dec. 1st. I am wondering what will happen with this expired FMM? Will I just be fined and issued another one? Will I be turned away since I already “spent” my 180-day visa up? I am kind of freaking out here, Mexico is the first leg of our Pan-American adventure! I need to get in!

    Also, I do not recall getting a vehicle import permit when we went to Baja, just want to confirm that this was not necessary even when traveling all the way to Cabo San Lucas.

    Now we plan to drive across Mexico and into Guatemala, Is there any difference in the vehicle import procedure when you plan to drive across instead of in and back out to the states?

    Here was my trip report back in March

    and here is our new blog for our PanAm trip!

    Thank you sir,

    • yucalandia says:

      INM might nick you for $40 when you return to Mexico, but many people report re-entering with no problem.

      Re Car travel without a Temporary Import permit:
      The US State Dept gives a good description of the rules: “Tourists wishing to travel beyond the border zone with their vehicle must obtain a temporary import permit or risk having their vehicle confiscated by Mexican customs officials. At present the only exceptions to the requirement are for vehicles traveling in the Baja Peninsula and those vehicles covered by the “Only Sonora” program in Western Sonora. This program generally covers the area west of Mexican Federal Highway 15 between the Arizona border and the Gulf of California, ending in Impalme.

      As long you keep the vehicle in the Zona Frontera, Baja California, Western Sonora, etc, then you do not need a Temporary Import permit.(solicitud de importación temporal de vehículos). If you plan to drive outside these special areas, then you either have to drive back to the border, or better still: just get a Temporary Import permit when you cross the border.

  54. Judson Omans says:

    Great site, complicated topic.

    have just brought my boat to mexico on a 10 year temporary import. It was pulled by a car (that I will be returning to US shortly), but the boat has it’s own permit. I have only a 180 day FMM. I don’t know if any of the above discussion applies to boats, but the permit is eaxctly the same piece of paper/ window sticker, from Banjercito as a car temporary import.

    My question is if I apply for an FM2,can I just keep the boat there as long as I maintainmy FM2 ? And do I need to apply for the FM2 while my curret FMM is valid, or can I wait? I really want to avoid trailering the boat bck up to the border 10 years from now, and don’t wat to miss this window of oportunity.

    Kepup the good wrk.

    • yucalandia says:

      Sorry, we aren’t familiar with the rules on boats. I’d love for you to return here and write about what you find out for your situation, when you get it resolved.
      Best of luck,

  55. roy says:

    can i drive a Mexican number-plate car with my US driver license? I would like to borrow my mexican cousin’s car while I visit MX and do some traveling/driving on my own.

    • yucalandia says:

      Maybe yes, maybe no, because it depends on your state’s rules. Every Mexican state has its own Reglamento de Tránsito. Yucatan allows any licensed driver to drive a car with Yucatan plates, but Baja California requires that drivers of cars with BC plates also have a BC license. Read your state’s rules to find out,

  56. tobias says:

    I have a question on your previous remarks “Leaving Mexico without your Vehicle Registered under an FMM: (Hint: Don’t).” I will be driving to Mexico from US in my car, and thereafter taking a return flight to Argentina and back to MexicoCity. I have tried to clarify from the aduana official over the phone if I will encounter any problem at the border while cancelling my vehicle-permit on my final return to US by road. I called aduana [] 1 877 4488 728 from US, then click on option 7-2-2-1-1 to clarify the conflict of control-number between the first FMM (entry by car) AND the new FMM that I will be issued at the airport on my return from Argentina. THEY SAY THAT I SHOULDN’T HAVE ANY PROBLEM at the border while returning by car with the new FMM (entry by avion). Albeit, I somehow trust yucalandia’s opinion than the nice official who answered from the aduana. The toll free number to call the same aduana from Mexico is 1 800 46 36 728. Is Banjercito the final authority in such matters? Can I use a photocopy of my first FMM from the crossing-with-car to return the ‘permiso de importación temporal del vehiculo’? Can someone who has faced a similar circumstance please comment ? Thanks.

    • yucalandia says:

      Reports from people exiting Mexico over the past 6 months say that Aduana/Banjercito personnel have simply been removing stickers, and entering the sticker information into their databases to show that the person returned the sticker, without comparing the person’s current visa with the old sticker’s associated visa, so, the answer you got from Aduana makes sense with current procedures.

  57. robert leyva says:

    I am a US citizen who has been living in mexico for about 20 years by using an FMM permit and renewing it and my car permit every 180 days. I live about 350 miles from the Nogales, AZ border and am getting tired of the trip to the border every 6 months and am thinking about upgrading to a FM3 permit but I’m not sure if the advantages outweigh the costs. I think the FMM costs about 20 USD per 180 days ($40 USD per year) and the car permit around $35 USD per 180 days ($70 USD per year). So about $110 per year plus the 2 trips. What would be the approx. cost per year with a FM3 including car permit?
    Also you mentioned “Exceptions to the rules: Cars over 29 years old also qualify for free importation as “classics”. The car i bring in is now 30 years old. I’ve never heard about that rule. Do you know where I can find more info about that?
    Thank you

  58. carol says:

    Awesome info Steve… thank you for summarizing it so well.

    I have read on other sites that on the tourist status entry, you are allowed to have a US plated vehicle only 180 days out of each year…. is that true? What do people do with their cars who go to the border to renew their tourist visa?

    Also… as an aside, I am curious… I am moving down next spring and will be working as an artist, selling locally and probably shipping some things back to US galleries as well What type of no inmigrante status would be best please? I understand there are many types of (former) FM3 visas.

    And as I understand it the maximum no. of yrs for a FM3 is 5 yrs? So what do people do then if they don’t have the income to qualify for an FM2? Thank you so much for your invaluable info.

    • yucalandia says:

      Thanks for the kind words.

      Since each FMM (tourist permit) are issued for 180 days maximum, an expat can only bring a car into Mexico for…. 180 days, because the expiration date for an auto Temporary Import permit from Aduana is their INM immigration permit expiration date. Change your immigration permit to FM3 No Inmigrante, extending your immigration expiration date by a year, and your car permit’s expiration date automatically gains a year – but you do have to notify Aduana of the change in INM expiration date.

      I am not an expert on the subcategories of No Inmigrante visas, but I would think that a working FM3: No Inmigrante Lucrativo would be appropriate. Ask at INM.
      At the end of a 5 years on a No Inmigrante permit, the current rules say to apply for a new No Inmigrante permit. Still, since the new regulations for the new law are due out at the end of November, check back to in December or January to find out what the new rules are. If you read our article on the new immigration law, your new category would likely be Residente Temporal, but we only know the general characteristics of this category for now;

  59. carol says:

    Thanks Steve…. I wasn’t very clear in my question…. I had heard that the car permit for a tourist permit is only 180 days in any given year… so that if one exits and then gets ANOTHER tourist permit… they can then NOT get another car permit…. have you heard that?

    And… would really appreciate some input re the final question above:

    “And as I understand it the maximum no. of yrs for a FM3 is 5 yrs? So what do people do then if they don’t have the income to qualify for an FM2?”

    Thanks so much!

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Carol,
      The answers to your questions are in my first reply – just not clear enough.
      1. You are permitted to get a Temporary Import permit from Aduana for the time period of your INM permit. This means that if you choose to go to the border every 180 days, to get a new FMM, then your next new Temporary Import permit from Aduana is for the time period of your new FMM. and on and on and on.

      Sidelight: I’m not very interested in trying to understand, explain, or correct all the curious advice that is given to expats on the web, but I’ll respond this one time: I understand that some people on the web are telling expats that they can only get 1 FMM per year, but that’s just not correct. INM and Aduana have allowed foreigners to get serial FMMs and serial Temporary Import permits with each fresh FMM for at least 10 years. For every person (newbie?) who has recently read the letter of law for INM and Aduana (laws recently posted on the internet for everyone to interpret), and then they tell people their interpretations, there are also 5 who take the time to visit INM and Aduana offices and ask how the policies are actually implemented, and there are 10 more who have been traveling to the border and doing the FMM & Temporary Import dances successfully for years.

      2. You asked: “And as I understand it the maximum no. of yrs for a FM3 is 5 yrs? So what do people do then if they don’t have the income to qualify for an FM2?”
      I replied:
      “At the end of a 5 years on a No Inmigrante permit, the current rules say to apply for a new No Inmigrante permit.

      Still, since the new regulations for the new law are due out at the end of November, check back to in December or January to find out what the new rules are. If you read our article on the new immigration law, your new category would likely be Residente Temporal, but we only know the general characteristics of this category for now.”

      I have bolded the key parts of my previous answer to you, to help them stand out. If these answers still don’t make sense, maybe you could re-phrase your question? Really, the old rules/law used to allow serial FM3/No Inmigrante permits, but NO ONE outside of INM officials know what the new rules will say – since they will not be issued until Nov. 25, 2011. You may find that it would be easier to apply for the new Residente Permanente under the new upcoming rules?
      Happy Trails,

  60. Pingback: Importing a car - I'm confused! - Page 5 - Playa del Carmen, Mexico forum

  61. david landry says:

    hi , great info here, i do have a small problem in that i have lost my vehicle registration- i got a copy faxed from our authorities (ICBC) , but no original. – all other docs in order

    any thoughts on the chance of a successful temp import permit with only a copy of the reg?

  62. david landry says:

    well i got the answer first hand – and sent back to the usa.:(

    orig docs only!

    • yucalandia says:

      Hey David,
      Thank you for writing back to describe that the Aduana/Banjhercito agents you worked with would NOT allow a copy of your car registration from the ICBC (Insurance Corporation of British Columbia ?).

      Sorry to hear that things did not work out…

  63. Gerald Wright says:

    Hi guy it’s great that your have this blog i can only hope that people learn from others experiances . We were the smart ones we left the country without turning in our 10 yr permit then sold the unit back in Canada . this year we were denied entry because of that act the paper chase started getting Canadian government documentation to prove the unit was sold in Canada. Then all that stuff plus request to have our oustanding permit cancelled in spanish were sent to Mexico City. Now after reading how long people have been waiting for the forgiveness of there sins we might as well give up and go home. So people take note if you break the Mexican laws you must pay the price.

  64. david landry says:

    fyi – icbc will expresspost a new set original docs – took 4 days but we are now on the beach in mazatlan

    for a laugh – we removed the side view mirror of the ford expedition of the police chief in noajova with our rv awning! – there was some big police gathering and cars parked on the side of the road – his took up nearly half our lane and the guy in the next lane would not give – cops were awesome and super nice – they got the adjuster there in 10 min – and sent me on my way shortly after

  65. juan garcia says:

    ok, so my import permit and fmm are due to expire on january 17th, now if i fly back to the border and get a new fmm visa does that mean that my car permit is still valid as long as my fmm visa is? or do i have to do something else to maintain the car permit valid?

    • yucalandia says:

      ummmmmm, I think you may have a problem. How did you leave Mexico, and what did you do with your old FMM?

      When you drove or shipped the car into Mexico under a Temporary Import permit, you signed an agreement to take the car out of Mexico before your FMM expired. If you left Mexico without turning in your FMM, then your car is in limbo – and if you are stopped by the police, they could confiscate your vehicle permanently. When you left Mexico, you agreed to take the vehicle out with you. Your legal options are to get a 3-5 day permit from the Safe Returns program to drive the vehicle to the border (link listed above).

      You could continue to drive the car, illegally, since your old FMM is not valid, but you risk losing the vehicle permanently. There are reports from around the internet that some border crossings allow expats to re-enter Mexico using their old FMMs, while other crossings do not allow you to re-enter using your old FMM. If they let you in with your old FMM, then you can either file for a No Inmigrante/FM3 Rentista and then re-register the car with Aduana (in person) with your new FM3 and new expiration date, or… once back into Mexico with your old FMM, you would then take the car to a border, exit Mexico, and return under a new FMM and new import permit.

      If INM requires that you get a new FMM when you return, then your only legal option is the Safe Returns program – and a run to the border.
      Good luck,

      • juan garcia says:

        I am still in mexico but my fmm and car permit expire early next year, and i wish to stay here a couple more months, i was just wondering if i could fly back to tijuana(im in guadalajara jalisco) and renew or get a new fmm and keep my cars permit for a longer time without having to drive all the way back to the border.

      • yucalandia says:

        Having your FMM current in Mexico would allow you to file for a No Inmigrante Rentista FM3, which would allow you to keep the car in Mexico. Otherwise, you agreed to take the car out of Mexico when your FMM expires.

    • juan garcia says:

      ok one more thing just to make sure, if i go back to the USA without the car, and come back right away with a new fmm visa(since supposedely your car permit is legal if you have a lagal tourist visa ) than would my car permit stay legal ? i just want to stay a couple of more months and i heard applying for an fm3 visa takes a lot of time and money

  66. Rick Beyer says:

    Outstanding material! Thank you! My wife and I will be in Mexico for 3 months in early 2012. We are renting a condo and the owner has offered us the use of his USA plated vehicle. He has an FM3. We will be in country on FMM’s. In your opinion, is this saying we could have the vehicle confiscated when driving it without him?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hey Rick,
      The owner is very kind to loan you a vehicle. What he is offering is not legal, since you have a different classification of visa than his, so, he risks losing the vehicle if you drive it.

      He may have successfully loaned the vehicle many times, but not gotten caught. It would take a sequence of steps to get the vehicle confiscated. If the police stop you, they typically do not check the visa of the driver.

      If they check your visa, then they would also have to check the Temporary Import permit from Aduana, (which should be in the vehicle). Municipal and State police are not officially allowed to tow/confiscate the vehicle for Aduana Import Permit violations, but they do it anyway sometimes. Formally, the police are supposed to block-in (detain) your vehicle and you until Aduana officers arrive = sitting for hours(??). Then Aduana could permanently confiscate the vehicle, and you could be jailed (for days) for fraud, until your insurance agent makes a financial agreement to bail you out.

      If you got into an accident, then things could get very sticky, very fast. Some people report that some insurance companies would deny coverage for the accident when the car is being driven by an unauthorized driver. You would then typically sit in detention for 3-5 days (or indefinitely), with no food (unless youhave friends or family bringing you food), until someone made a financial arrangement with the police to pay for any and all damages claimed by the other party.

      => Unless someone could come up with a $10,000 – $50,000 US dollars or a bond, then you would sit in jail.

      His offer is kind, but if you had just a little bad luck: like someone turning left in front of you – coming from the right hand lane …
      – then you could be liable for all their damages and their injuries and any and all medical treatments etc – and if you have no insurance policy and no insurance agent coming to the accident site to represent you personally, then the police put drivers in indefinite detention until financial agreements are made.

      So, the car owner is likely protected by his insurance – so, he’s covered – with no worries – but you might find an ugly surprise for yourself if you had a little bad luck while driving. We’ve just had several gringos spend 4-5 days each in jail here in Yucatan because they were not covered for financial bonds to get out of detainment/jail.

  67. Kim Doland says:

    We are three couples who have set up a corporation in Progreso in order to purchase a property for a new Christian ministry. We plan to drive a 15 passenger Econoline down from Calgary, Canada and keep our Canadian plates on it. We just feel more comfortable purchasing a van from a reputable Canadian dealer plus we have a trailer full of equipment that we need to bring down with us.. We would like the flexibility to enable all 6 of us to drive this vehicle in the Progreso area. Will we all have to get our rentista FM2 or the FM3 visas prior to entering Mexico?. Should we register the vehicle in Canada under the name of our corporation? Would we all have to include our names on the vehicle’s registration papers from Canada? Would we all have to ensure that our FM’s had the same renewal dates on them? Are we dreaming or what….??

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Kim,
      1. Authorized Drivers: If you get a Temporary Import permit at the border, then each driver has to have the same category of “visa” as the person who imports the vehicle. So you could all get FMM Tourist visas at the border for 180 days, or all apply for FM-3 Rentistas. Since you would be coming after Jan 1 2012, you will likely be covered by the new INM law => no FM3 – instead Residente Temporal.

      2. Ownership Issues: I really don’t know the relative benefits or liabilities to having an individual or a corporation own the van. There might be insurance issues in having the Corp. own the van – etc – so I would talk with (pay) a professional to help advise you on the ramifications. (e.g. I could try to track down some of the information from our insurance agent, but that would likely take an hour of fooling-around to touch all the bases.)

      If you have the corporation own the van, then carry an official letter on Corporation letterhead stating exactly who is allowed to drive the van.

      Your choice of route through Mexico’s border states may actually be more important, due to the problems with gangs robbing people etc… The coast route is recommended by lots of expats at the beach, but that takes you through some of the most crime ridden states in Mexico – known for roadway robberies. The coast route is also slower due to 2-lane roads and lots of little towns with 1,000’s of topes. The routes through the center of Mexico only take you about 200 mile total out of your way – uses 4 lane expressways for most of the way – and makes for much safer driving and much faster travel and few topes.

      Overall, your plan seems reasonable,

  68. Kim Doland says:

    Wow, Steve…a reply in less than an hour!! Thanks for the advice…..we will ask a professional in Canada who specializes in Mexican ex-pat affairs. Now, what can you tell all of us about the new Residente Temporal – how is it different from the FM3 and/or FM2?

  69. Ian Bourne says:

    Hi Steve,
    I’m immensely impressed with your site and the trouble you go to, very kind of you. I have several questions. I have an FM3 and drove in my 1998 Lexus LX470 from El Paso about four years ago, getting the sticker in Cuidad Juarez at the auto stop on the way south ( a simple, quick and cheap process by the way) and we drove on down to our condo in Cancun. Now we would like to get the Lexus back to the US and sell it and bring in something newer. Can we hand in our sticker at aduana in Cancun and ship the vehicle back from Cancun to Miami and ship another vehicle in that way even though we drove it in from the northern border? Is there a difference in a sticker issued in Cancun from a ship importation to driving one in from the border, some people have told us that you can only drive in Q.Roo with the Cancun sticker ?
    Last question, we brought our 1998 Lexus into Mexico because there was no import tax on that year so we could always sell it in El Paso or Miami as it would be desirable to a Mexican citizen to import to Mexico. What is the current law about no import tax vehicles into Mexico, may be no longer an option. Thanks again, Ian.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Ian,
      You can have Aduana/Banjercito in Cancun remove the sticker, and issue you the document that proves you turned in your sticker, and that you have successfully cancelled your Temporary Import permit – when you take the vehicle out of Mexico. Let them remove the sticker.

      The Temporary Import permits work the same, whether you enter at Nogales, Matamoros, Chetumal, or Cancun. Same driving priviledges and responsibilities and restrictions where ever you drive in Mexico, regardless of what Aduana/Banjercito office issued the permit.

      Only 8 and 9 year old vehicles are being allowed in for permanent importation and nationalization at fees of roughly $1,500 – $3,000 USD per vehicle – based on the NADA Blue Book value. Classic cars more than 30 years old qualify. Other vehicles can be brought in, but at very high import duties.

      Hope this all helps,

  70. Ian Bourne says:

    Hi Steve,
    Thank you so much for that information, so if I am getting that right I can book a shipping freight company for the Lexus out of Cancun, have the Aduana remove the sticker on departure and then ship in a replacement vehicle from Miami back to Cancun. I can then get a replacement sticker when the new (used) vehicle comes in at Cancun. The sticker and rules are then the same as before.
    Are you in Merida ? I owe you a dinner, we have a condo in Cancun and will be there Jan 17 to Feb 8. Thanks again, Ian.

    • yucalandia says:

      Thanks for kind offer. Give us a shout when/if you come over to Merida.

      Yes, you can have Cancun Aduana handle both the cancellation of the old permit and issuing a new permit. I understand that the Ports require the expat to hire a Customs Broker to handle to details. So, you may need to contact a Customs Broker, especially to import the replacement vehicle.

    • Nathan says:

      Hopefully this is still monitored…

      We entered Mexico via Baja California Jan 2016. We got our 180 days TIP in La Paz. We then went to Belize and renewed for 180 more days on a new TIP which expired Dec 18 2016. We flew from Cancun to Florida around then and are now back (leaving our vehicle here while we were gone). I called Banjercitos and Aduana, both of whom said we couldn’t get a permit for various reasons. Now we don’t know how to drive back to Texas legally…

      We went to immigration in Cancun (Puerto Juarez) which is right near Banjercito there too. Banjercito said they don’t do the TIP at all. Aduana near the airport said they only deal with shipping vehicles in.

      I saw the 5 day permit you can get in Mexico City…but we’re far from there. We also would never be able to make it out of Mexico from Cancun in 5 days anyway, as our vehicle is a 1978 Volkswagen Bus and it just doesn’t go that far, that fast.

      Any ideas?

      • yucalandia says:

        You understand parts of your situation correctly.

        You signed a vehicle Temporary Import Permit (TIP) contract, agreeing to take your vehicle out of Mexico BEFORE your tourist visa’s were expired or surrendered/cancelled.

        By flying out of Cancun, without previously cancelling your vehicle TIP, you broke your agreement with Aduana/Banjercito.

        … When we fly out, we have to surrender our 180 day visitante visas.

        Unfortunately … You broke the published rules, and… Your vehicle became immediately illegal to driven when you surrendered your visitor visa to fly out… potentially losing even insurance protection in the event of an accident.

        Read the section in the article above on RETORNO SEGURO permits … designed exactly for your problem.

        ~ What to Do If Your Car Becomes “Illegal” – The Retorno Seguro Program / Permit to Do If Your Car Becomes Illegal

        ALTERNATELY… because you are in Q. Roo … an Aduana/SAT designated FREE ZONE (like Baja California) … you can (WITH CURRENT INSURANCE AND CURRENT LICENSE US PLATES & REGISTRATION) drive to Belize … at the Subteniente Lopez border crossing outside Chetumal…

        There: officially Surrender your old TIP. and apply for & get a new TIP to use to easily drive back to the USA within 180 days.

        Enjoy some truly duty free shopping in the Free Zone of Corazol …

        and motor your way back home with broad smiles,

  71. Ian Bourne says:

    Thanks Steve for all the advice, I’ll get you before we visit Merida the next time, best wishes for 2012, Ian.

  72. frode hovland says:


    I am a Norwgian that want to import a vehicle from the states to mexico. Do anyone know if the import rules are the same for me as for the Americans?

    • yucalandia says:

      Good Morning Frove,
      The rules say nothing about the nationality of the immigrant matching the nationality of the vehicle. Canadians buy US vehicles and import them, so, the rules are the same for you.

      • David Glover says:

        Iam a canadian who has just purchased a 2006 toyota highlander in Houston, texas. In the process of applying for MF3 at the Mexican consulate in canada and moving to Mexico in February, 2012. The dealer will give me a 30 day tag/permit to transport the vehicle. The insurance company will cover me. How do i register the vehicle pryor to entry and get a plated vehicle. How have other canadians who have purchased a US vehicle done this so as to import one to Mexico. Since I am importing to Mexico do I have to pay Texas sales tax? I would appreciate your suggestions

      • yucalandia says:

        Hi David,
        You can pre-register the car online at the Aduana website, or you might find it easier to do at the border crossing.

        At the border, INM will give you an FMM that is good for 6 months. You can use your FMM to qualify to temporarily import your car through Aduana.

        I am not familiar with how you could get a Texas tag, unless you get a Texas mailing address. Each Mexican state has different requirements for keeping your car’s registration current in future years. This means that you might have trouble driving on expired plates from Texas, depending on where you live or drive. If you go to a Mexican state that requires current US or Canadian registration for temporarily imported cars, you may need to register your vehicle in South Dakota. The Clay County DMV in South Dakota has a good reputation among expats for providing ongoing registrations, license plates, etc. for people who do not have US addresses. It’s all legal, they are very helpful, and I think it would be easiest if you got this done before you enter Mexico. Mexconnect has several very good discussions on how to do this. Check out this example:,_Working,_Retiring_F4/South_Dakota_car_plates_P165525/

        Where are you headed in Mexico?

        All the best, and Happy Trails,

  73. Kathleen says:

    With reference to importing vehicles, I just heard about a Onapaffa Permit for foreign vehicles especially older vehicles. We have a 1997 and a 1991. Would having this permit cancel the records of their importation at Aduana and could we then sell them? One of them, the 1997, doesn’t run and no matter what mechanical work is done it won’t run and we therefore can’t drive it to the border to return it’s sticker. We would like to sell it for parts, but first it has to be removed from the system.

    Any comment? Kathleen

    • yucalandia says:

      We enjoy following the discussions on a number of expat boards around Mexico and the BajaNomad board had the best answer we’ve seen describing ONAPAFA, and I think it’s best to give credit – and not paraphrase things – and not just make citations of the web address, because so much content on the web disappears or changes over time. Anyway, here’s an unaltered set of pertinent quotations:

      “HaciendaCerritos – 11-5-2009 at 12:02 AM Wrote:
      A whole lot of Mexican’s use Onapaffa. Let me explain why. My truck was registered in the US and it was not eligible for importation yet because of it’s age, but my mexican husband could not legally drive it with US plates on it. Onapaffa allows Mexicans to drive vehicles with US plates during the process of importation (as long as it has an Onappaffa sticker on it and they have the Onappaffa ID card in their name in the vehicle)- which in some cases can take up to 5 years and you have to pay a fee every year at onapaffa to get a new annual sticker from them. My truck took almost 5 years to complete but he could drive it legally during that time with no problems.

      His uncle did the same thing with a car I brought down for him. The problem is that at the end of the 5 years, he was notified that the vehicle could not be imported because it was Japanese. He lost all the money he paid out.

      I have not known of Americans who use this process, that doesn’t mean they don’t use it – I am just personally unaware of any. I would think it a viable option. They say that you cannot cross back into the US with a vehicle that has a Onappaffa sticker on it, we proved that wrong with another of my vehicles which I did keep valid plates on and we did cross the border with no problem back into California at TJ. Once you have your vehicle legally imported, there may be some restirctions as to how far you can take it into the US – you may want to check that out if you do plan to return it to the US.

      continuing from another poster:
      Be careful of trying to import your vehicle through ONAPAFA. They do not have the legal authority to do this. They are a group formed by local Mexicans to protest annual license taxes on imported vehicles. (Imported vehicles are required to pay a higher annual license fee than Mexican manufactured vehicles are required to pay.)

      The “permit” that ONAPAFA issues is not an import permit. It is a membership fee to join the protest group and you are required to pay a monthly fee thereafter. You will be issued a sticker for your vehicle window and told that only the applicant for the permit may drive the vehicle. If you are stopped by the police for an infraction or inspection the police will ask to see your ONAPAFA papers and verify that you are the authorized driver of the vehicle.

      The ONAPAFA group is lobbying in Mexico City for a change in taxation laws so that imported vehicles are not required to pay higher annual license fees. The fees that are paid to ONAPAFA are not for the expense of an import permit, they are fees to support the expense of their lobbying effort.

      Vehicles displaying the ONAPAFA permit have not previously been issued tickets for invalid papers. The protest group has been tolerated by authorities because it is a “hot potato” political issue. Legally ONAPAFA members are in violation of state and federal laws and risk having their vehicles confiscated at any time that the government is no longer tolerant of their grassroots protest.

      So, it seems that there is no real official ONAPAFA permit, especially for foreigners – but that there is a ONAPAFA sticker that Mexicans can buy and then pay a group annually to renew – and that this is not an official program – and that the Mex. Gob. might shut it down at any point??? But as an expat who has no opinions on politics or the government, I have no opinion on this matter.

  74. Kathleen says:

    Thank you for the very detailed answer. Obviously this won’t work for me. There’s got to be a way to get my undriveable vehicle off the system. Any idea how?

    • yucalandia says:

      Turn it in (surrender it) to Aduana. Aduana is the issuer of the permit, and they have a program for accepting Temporarily Imported vehicles, where they cancel your old permit, freeing you to bring in another vehicle. Or have it hauled to the border and sell it.

  75. carol says:

    Someone on the SMA civil list said that in these types of situations you could just take your paperwork to the Mexican car permit people and explain the situation, and maybe pay a slight fine and they would terminate the permit. Worth a try.

  76. Kathleen says:

    Thank you for this. For the Puerto Vallarta area do I go to the Aduana office at the Puerto Vallarta airport or is there another office that covers vehicles? This is definitely worth a try, thanks again, Kathleen

  77. carol says:

    Sorry Kathleen… I really don’t know.
    One of the local expats should know? Or perhaps you can call a consulate in the US to get the info? Or perhaps search online?

    Good luck…. I’m sure you can do it once you find the right office. It may take going to the airport to find out if there is a different place. Carol

  78. Kathleen says:

    Thanks again and when I find out where and what the procedure is I’ll post it. Wish me luck. Kathleen

  79. Judson Omans says:

    I need to obtain a pedimento for a trailer that is already in Q.Roo under a temporary permit. Does anybody know any contacts for Custom Brokers (Agente Aduanal) around Playa Del Carmen? I need email address. Prefer Broker that speaks English, Thank you, Jud

  80. Steve spick says:

    Hey there

    Love your site , very informative . I am a canadian working in mexico on an Fm3 visa. I recently purchased a used 2001 suburban that has been nationalized. I went to transfer ownership to my name and was asked for a mexican drivers licence . I have been driving for two years with my canadian drivers licence but i have been stopped twice recently and the police told me also that i must obtain a mexican drivers licence. Question . Are there any special requirments for me to get a drivers licence???

    • yucalandia says:

      Hey Steve,
      The rules for driver’s licenses are controlled by each State, so each State has their own requirements. Ask at your State’s version of the DMV.

      e.g. Here in Yucatan, there is no requirement for immigrants to get Mexican driver’s licenses, while I understand Baja California and other States require them for expats living there.

  81. Ian Bourne says:

    Hi Steve,
    I tried to send you an email on the home page but could not see a way, sorry, we are in Cancun until Feb 7 and we owe you a dinner (not coming to Merida this time) if you will be this way. I had no idea your web site had all this info about Mexico in general, fantastic site. Apologies for using this as communication, Ian.

  82. Rachel says:

    Hi Steve,
    Am living in Tulum and looking at buying a car. If I buy a car here, can I then drive it out of the state and out of the country to return to Canada? I am getting mixed info here…
    From a friend who has questions, as well: if you drive an RV in on a 10 year permit, can you then fl home, buy a car from US or Canada and drive in with that car?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Rachel,
      Is the car plated in Mexico? If it was manufactured for the Mexican market, it may not meet emissions or safety standards for permanently importing to Canada??? If you are buying an expat’s car who originally imported it from Canada or the US then it should meet Canada’s requirements for safety and emissions standards.

      I know friends who temporarily imported a car on one trip, and an RV later on a second trip.

      • Rachel says:

        Cars I am looking to buy are plated in Mexico. Finding one plated from Canada or US much tougher… I just didn’t want to buy and then find out I can’t cross the border with it as I need to drive my dog and cat with me.

      • yucalandia says:

        Good thinking. You would be able to drive the car across the border, but you would have difficulty licensing it there. Obviously, cars can be upgraded to meet Canadian and US safety and emissions standards, but the cost of retrofitting most cars is just not worth it. If you had purchased a Mercedes for a very cheap price in Europe, it could be worth the expense of retrofitting it for importation as a “grey market” car, but Mexican cars cost so much that the added expense of retrofitting them make it cheaper just to buy a car in the US or Canada.

  83. Rachel says:

    Thanks, Steve! Appreciate the advice and helps with my decision!

  84. Kim says:

    Hey Steve
    We will be driving a truck AND utility trailer with Alberta plates on them, into Mexico in March. I am wondering if I will also have to register the “trailer” at customs on a temporary 180 day permit that is also linked to my 180 day tourist visa? Am I correct in assuming that when I leave Mexico, I will have to take BOTH the truck AND trailer with me? Alternatively, I will likely apply for my FM3 once we are in Mexico and then I can re-new the truck AND trailer permit on an annual basis at the same time as when I renew my FM3 – am I correct? Then I can leave BOTH the truck and trailer in Mexico, even when I have to fly home, right? I have also heard that when I cross the border, I should register the names of any person that I wish to give permission to drive our truck when we are in Mexico. Do you know if there is a limit to the number of names that are allowed? (We wish to allow many staff members of our ministry to drive it…)
    Please confirm my assumptions or set me on the right track….
    Thanks a lot!

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Kim,
      Wow, you really have done your homework well. Correct, correct, correct, …OK… (Oll Korrect).

      If you only have the FMM, then you have to take both out. If you have an FM3 or FM2 Rentista, then you can keep them here as long as your visa does not expire – and you notify Aduana of your visa changes and renewals. One possible note to realize is: Temporary Import permit vehicles can be driven by any immigrant with the same visa category as the current INM visa holder => if you have an No Inmigrante(FM3) visa, then other FM3 holders can also drive it. Same with FMMs – which would seem to let everyone in the group who also has FMMs permission to drive it. Read Article 106 above if you are unsure – and keep Spanish and English copies of Article 106 in the vehicle if you are stopped.

  85. Angela says:

    What a wonderful resource! Thanks for all the information you are sharing. My parents just drove their 2003 Ford to Mazatlan, where they own a condo. Unfortunately, they didn’t figure out in advance that they needed to pick up a sticker at the border and the border agent just waved them through. Now, 2 weeks into being in Mexico, they just learned that they need the sticker and that their vehicle could be impounded. Their options are to drive 600 miles, take a $500 ferry, or order the sticker online. I *think* I’ve found the correct website to fill out the application (banjercito, importacion temporal de vehiculos, right?) and we can get the sticker to them after it is sent to their home in the US. Will they still need to do something when they get it, though? Will they still need to drive to the border or anything? Any advice you can offer while we attempt to legitimize them would be appreciated!

    • yucalandia says:

      Yes, the sticker must be recorded (in person) by Aduana/Banjercito personnel at the border and the Aduana/Banjercito personnel install the sticker on the windshield at the border, and enter the final registration information into their database. If your parents are concerned about having the vehicle permanently confiscated before they get to the border, they could apply for the Safe Returns program listed above. This program issues a special permission that gives the owner a 3-5 day window to drive to the border legally.

      Advice: Apply through the Safe Returns program. If they do not want to risk having the vehicle confiscated, then don’t drive it until they get the Safe Returns 3-5 day permit.

  86. Jack Mann says:

    Thank you for all the great information. After I have my FM3 visa would you comment on which is better, to buy a car in Mexico or to bring from US. It would not matter to me, but from what I have read it appears buying in Mexico may have some advantages. Thanks!

    • yucalandia says:

      Hey Jack,
      You could try to find vehicles in the US that have counterparts here in Mexico: e.g. a Ford Ranger pickup or Nissan Sentra – (vehicles that meet NAFTA requirements if you want to do a permanent import), but even the Nissans do not use exactly the same parts. The Nissan brakes are similar, but need modifications, belts are different, alternators & starters are similar but need modifications, etc.

      For these reasons, I’d plan on finding a good used vehicle here, so that it’s easy to repair. If you live in a rural area in Mexico where it’s hard to find a good used car, instead I would plan to buy a US manufacturer vehicle back in the USA – because they don’t have the parts issues that the Japanese vehicles do.

  87. elizabeth says:

    hello, i have an american friend that bought a car while in mexico, from another american.
    They were told that it was legal for an american to sell a car to another american in Mexico?
    The last time the vehicle was driven into the country by the original owner, they did not get a temporary permit sticker. However the title and registration was signed over to the new owner, legally in the US. The original owner now has a new and legally permitted car in Mexico.
    The old car and new owner are now trying to figure out how to drive the car back to the states on an FMM, and zero importation sticker , except they have an Onapafa sticker/mex insurance/valid drivers license and title.
    Will this car be seized at the boarder? If the original owner drives with the new owner back to the US, because their name is on the original title, will that work? or will the the original owner be punished bc they sold the car in mexico? Will the boarder police will check and know?
    thank you, i know this sounds confusing.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hello Elizabeth,
      Since they have no sticker from Aduana/Banjercito, they do not need to stop at Aduana as they leave Mexico. In theory if they were stopped by the Mexican police for an accident or traffic stop while inside Mexico, the car could be confiscated, because the Onapafa sticker does not officially replace Aduana stickers. Because of the potential hassles for the police to have to deal with Onapafa, the police tend to ignore the violation of Aduana rules (no TIP) for cars with Onapafa stickers.

      Your friend can simply drive to the border, and use their US title to get the car registered after they cross into the US – like in Texas. Texas used to issue temporary 30 day registrations to Americans entering Texas from Mexico while driving on expired plates from another US state. I do not know Texas current regulations on this. Give us a shout on how Texas does things now.
      Happy Trails,

  88. elizabeth says:

    thank you Steve, this helps alot.
    I forgot to say, that there has been a problem with the title bc it is ‘signed over’ legally in the states , but the federales think it looks weird, bc the new owners name is on the back. and start to question.
    because I have heard from my friend that mainland mexico is more strict than Baja, could driving through baja be a better bet not to be hassled by the federales. ? (the car is a sporty and expensive looking for certain areas in Mexico, with tinted windows , so it does cause curiosity, which is very frustrating to my friend, who has been ‘accused’ of suspicious behavior, and fined only while trying to visit a mexican market!)
    So maybe Baja is better, but the US registration would have to be up to date? That would mean getting on the ferry in La Paz. Do you know if they check all car documents at the ferry point? Just an idea. I believe my friend is willing to tip whatever the officers ask , bc
    the confiscation of the car would be a much greater loss.
    Im assuming that crossing back into the US, a US car needs proof of US insurance?
    or will they take ‘international travel’ coverage.
    sorry for so many questions.
    thank you !

    • yucalandia says:

      As I wrote before, the car is actually not legal to drive in Mexico without the Aduana/Banjercito sticker. If your friend wants to take the safest route out of Mexico, use the method described above in the article: Safe Returns program. The Safe Returns document gives the owner 3-5 days to legally drive the car out of Mexico – no questions asked. They can get insurance at the border – or apply by phone or online first. I do not know what “international travel” coverage means for their company – so, it is up to them to contact their ins. co. & find out if their coverage continues in the USA.

  89. elizabeth says:

    hello, thank you for the information,
    i have heard about the safe returns program, but couldn’t find it in english
    on the banjercito website. do you have a link? im greatful for all your advise , this will help
    my friend alot. Will the banjercito recognize that the ‘owner’ is the new one signed over the american way on the back of the original title?

    • yucalandia says:

      Did you read the Aduana / SAT site on Safe Returns? I couldn’t find anything on the Banjercito website about Safe Returns.

      I think your friend has gotten themself deep into breaking Mexican laws, so we propose that the actual owner of the vehicle file for the Safe Return. We do not advocate lying or deception here at Yucalandia – and there are so many layers of broken rules in this case, that we think that that your friend should talk with an attorney about what legal options they have here in Mexico.

      Alternately, if you read the SAT – Aduana site on Safe Returns it clearly says that the legitimate cases for applying for a Safe Returns permit (Supuestos de aplicación) include your friend’s situation: “Propietarios de vehículos ilegales“. If your friend took the time now to legally register their purchase of the auto in the United States, and got an official title from their US state of residence, then your friend would clearly be the legal owner and could legitimately file for a Safe Returns permit.

      Without a title with your friend’s name printed on it, we do not know Mexican law on this dubious situation, so, we do not know who the official owner of the car is in the eyes of the Mexican Gob. A good lawyer may be able to help you determine who has proper legal standing as the owner to file for the Safe Returns program – or just register the sale of the car in the US and get a title listed in your friend’s name.

      Your friend will need a title anyway – so, we advise: apply for a title and kill multiple birds with one stone.
      Happy trails,

  90. Mark says:

    Hi Steve
    I temporarily imported a car into Puerto Morelos from Miami 9 years ago on an FMT visa. As my my temporary import permit expired I renewed it every 180 days at the Banjercito office in Cancun. The car has not been used for 2 years and the permit expired in 2009. My residency status has not changed, but I now re-entered the country on an FMM a few days ago. A European friend recently offered to buy the car from me. Is there anything to prevent me from driving to Chetumal. carry out the cancelling of the temporary import under my name, cross the border out of Mexico, sign the title over to my friend and for him to then cross the border with car under his name into Mexico to carry out the temporary import under his name. The second part of the question is my only option of legally exiting the country with the car applying for the safe return permit? Thanks in advance for the abuse of your knowledge and time.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Mark,
      Thank you for the clear description of the specifics of your situation, and for your clear questions – plus, it shows that you have done your homework before asking for help – Much Appreciated!

      Your plan to go to Chetumal and transfer the car to your friend at the border appears very sound. Your friend’s case to bring the car back into Mexico could be aided by you providing a letter (in Spanish) describing your name, your friend’s name, key passport information for each of you, and further describing that you have have sold him the car (list the VIN and licensing / registration information) and that you give him your full permission to import the car into Mexico, drive the car in Mexico, and use the car as he chooses. Date the letter with the same date as the sale and title transfer.

      The issue of needing the Safe Returns permit is a bit murky for Quintana Roo. There is a good case to be made that Q, Roo is a special tourist zone (like Baja California), and that you do not need a TIP to drive a foreign plated car within Q. Roo, (especially within 20 km of the coast). Aduana, Banjercito, and police have given contradictory advice on this point – and there are many many expats reports that they drive their foreign plated cars in Q. Roo with no Temporary Import Permits. So, other than that, I have no other advice to give on this.
      Happy Trails,

  91. veronica says:

    I have a temp car permit as Fmm, can it be renewed without going to the border, like in guadalajara, jalisco?
    Thanks for your time!

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Veronica,
      You can either get an Inmigrante Rentista (FM2 with outside investment, pension or savings income) or No Inmigrante (FM3) permit from INM, and go to Aduana to get a letter certifying that you have extended your INM permit expiration date – or – go to the border and renew both your FMM and TIP. When you signed the paperwork for the Temporary Import Permit, you agreed to take the car out of Mexico before your INM permit expires.

  92. Mark says:

    Hi Steve
    To update you on my trip to the Belize border for anyone who wants to sell their car to another foreign passport holder.
    I drove to Subteniente Lopez (Chetumal / Belize) border town and crossed out of Mexico. Upon crossing the border there is a Banjercito office on your left with a car park. I removed the temporary import sticker from the windscreen and along with the remainder of the permit presented it at the Banjercito office. They took a foto of the VIN on the car and within 5 minutes gave me the receipt that my permit had been satisfactorily cancelled. My permit was 2 years out of date but they didn’t even question it. I went through at least 6 different police roadblocks along the way and they didn’t question it either. The person I was selling the car to went with me. I endorsed the title to him and he presented it along with his passport and immigration form to Barjercito and no problem at all, within 15 minutes he had his permit to reenter the car into Mexico under his name. They didn’t ask for any other documentation just the endorsed title. It was the same Banjercito person who completed the process and we told her in advance what we were going to do. My experience with Banjercito has varied according to the person you are dealing with but in this case it was easy and efficient.
    Thanks for the help and I hope this helps someone else in the future.

  93. Pingback: Importing car - Playa del Carmen & Riviera Maya Forum by In The Roo

  94. wkramer says:

    I bought a car in Mexico while I had a valid FM3. It was registered legally in Mexico City and all tenencias and inspections are up to date. My FM3 expired and I did not choose to renew it. Is my car still legally registered in Mexico?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hey wk,
      Nope. The car is not legal to drive, and it could be permanently confiscated at a reten, or routine traffic stop, or if you have an accident.

  95. Jarl Tom Lepisto says:

    I live in Playa del Camen, Have had a FM3 rentista Visa and own a 2000Lexus, made in Japan, and can’t get Mexican Plates. I’ve been getting TIP’s in Chetumal. Because of health reasons I didn’t get a current TIP and am wondering what the penalty is when I renew the TIP. I have also heard that I do not need a TIP because Q. Roo is a free zone. Your help is greatly appreciated

    • yucalandia says:

      Since you kept your FM3 current, then your TIP automatically remained current. You are supposed to register the INM FM# renewals and your new expiration date with Aduanas every year. By not notifying Aduana of your renewed FM3, you may have lost any cash deposit you made with Banjercito for the TIP. If you used a credit card to hold your deposit, but no charge was made by Banjercito, then you likely have no loss of deposit. Go to Aduana, submit your letter describing your car and your new INM info. Aduana will give you a letter to carry in your car confirming your current TIP expiration date.

      We have heard no definitive ruling by Quintana Roo officials saying that foreign plated cars must have a TIP. Since you already have a TIP, you should keep it’s expiration date current by notifying Aduana every year, which allows you to drive the car outside of Q. Roo.

  96. Jarl Tom Lepisto says:

    To clarify, I didn’t get a TIP for last year on my Lexus.

  97. Jarl Tom Lepisto says:

    Thanks for th good news! You have a great, informative web site, I would also suspect that I need to keep my current car license plates up to date. Thanks again for everyting!

  98. Dean Rietz says:

    I have a 1999 Honda with MN plates in Acapulco. The car is legal under a FM3 and has been registered with the Aduana each year. I would like to ship the car back to the US or have someone legally drive it to the US. Is this possible and, if so, how can it be done?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Dean,
      If you use a shipper, they will provide the details of what they want. If you find a driver, they need to be either a family member or have a Mexican visa of the same category (FM3) as yours.

      Are you taking the car out of Mexico permanently or temporarily?

      Expats report that Aduana/Banjercito requires the original Aduana/Banjercito paperwork/document for any transactions/filings at the border – copies are not accepted, so, you might have to send the car with it’s original Aduana temporary import permit on its trip to the border.
      Happy Trails,

  99. Mark Sprague says:

    My wife and I are attempting to ship our 2011 Subaru from Vancouver to Manzanilla. We were just informed that it may not be possible to import a car that is not new if it is less than 5 years old in order to protect the Mexican market. Since we will be completing our FM 3 when we arrive, is there something that would not allow us a temporary permit if the car is shipped along with our household goods, rather than driven into the country?

    As the shipper is now asking if we would like to cancel our plans, there is some urgency in this question. We will try to get information from the Vancouver consulate, but any clarification you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,


    • yucalandia says:

      Under Aduana rules, you can import the car under a Temporary Import Permit linked to your FM3. Each shipping company and each Mexican Customs Broker has their own rules about how to ship and import things – since they have some liability. Cars typically need to be shipped and imported in a separate manner or separate sub-transaction – with nothing stored in the car (other than original equipment like the spare tire and jack etc). Just 6 months ago, a friend had their household goods and 2 vehicles shipped into the port at Progreso using Linea Peninsular out of Florida. Each vehicle was handled separately from the household goods – where their household goods were released first, then one vehicle under the husband’s FM3, then the second vehicle under the son’s FM3.

      Do Canadian shipping companies have different rules? Lo no se… Give us a report when you get things settled with your shipper and Customs Broker. Individual seaports may have their own rules – where regional offices of Mexican Govt. organizations are given some lee-way for implementing the policies.

  100. John franz says:

    Great information. Planning on retiring and moving to Mexico next year. I have a 2005 car so it will be 8 years old when we move. My wife is a Mexican citizen(I’m not), so would it make sense to title the car in her name to avoid some of these issues or would it create a whole different set of problems?

    • yucalandia says:

      Our situation is similar, and we chose to nationalize (permanently import) both of ours. Some Mexican states do have annual taxes (in the form of a tenencia like a personal property tax). This might mean that you would have to pay an annual tax by permanently importing it. Yucatan waives the tax for older vehicles. Since some US states require that licensed vehicles be insured, if you also live in a Mexican state that requires that your US license plates/registration be current (like Baja California), then to keep your Temporary Imported vehicle legal, you wind up paying US insurance just to keep the US license valid/current.
      Happy trails,

  101. Mike Bell says:

    Hi Steve:

    This is my second attempt to ask a question: the first attempt just disappeared. I hope it doesn’t show up again as a duplicate.
    Anyway, we paid the $300 US temp import fee with our VISA card when entering Mexico last October. Then, last month, we returned to the States, stopping at Aduana to remove the sticker, etc. They said the credit would show on our VISA the following day. Now, a month later, we still don’t have the credit, although Aduana says it was issued, and my bank says not.

    At the two phone numbers I have for Aduana in Matamoros, where we crossed, I can find no English-speakers, and my Spanish isn’t good enough to explain this somewhat complicated issue. Any thoughts on how I can get back my $300?


  102. Randy Ore says:

    Hi Steve,

    First of all thank you for all the great information and time you are taking to help everyone with their questions. My situation is the same as many others, but after reading many of the responses am trying to figure out the best possible solution for our dilemna. We brought in a 1995 Lexus SC 400 by ship into Progreso two years ago and with US plates. We have not upgraded to FM3 or FM2 because we are back and forth to the US every month, we live in Playa Del Carmen and plan on getting the FM3 sooner than later now that I am a little scared for the car. We were told before by the officials at Banjercito that we could let the temporary permit expire as long as you were in a state that bordered another country i.e., Belize and that we didn’t drive the car out of Q Roo. We were driving to Belize every six months to renew, but haven’t been in over a year so the car is illegal. My question is can we still go to the Belize border and get the sticker renewed until we obtain our FM3 then I am hoping we can make the car legal to stay with the over 10 year Nafta agreement. What are your suggestions or what is the best course of action? Does the old rule for Q Roo apply? We have heard from other friends that many proposed rule changes were either in effect as of recently or coming soon? We have decided not to drive anymore as we have had a few close calls being pulled over by policia municipal. Do you suggest we call Banjercito again at the Belize border? If we have to we will drive it out on the temporary permit to leave Mexico.

    Thanks for your input,


    • yucalandia says:

      Hey Randy,
      It it were me, I would get the FM3 or FM2 (as the person who’s name is listed as owner on the title of the vehicle). I would then apply for a Safe Return permit with Aduana, that will give you 3-5 days to legally drive to the Belize border – with no hassles if the police stop you at one of the many retens (checkpoints) – or if you get into an accident. At the border, turn in the old permit to Banjercito/Aduana without saying anything. Go into the Free Zone and do a little shopping or gamble at a casino. Return to Banjercito/Aduana and request a Temporary Import permit with your new FM3/FM2 – and drive around the Yucatan Peninsula with confidence for a year.

      Risky folks could choose to drive to Belize with no Safe Return permit, and hope that the police do not inquire and hope for no accidents. If the police stop you and notice the discrepency, they can permanently confiscate your car => a long (expensive) walk home?

      If you consider trying to bring the car into Q.Roo without a permit, read the Q.Roo poster’s story (in the Comments above) about the problems that other expats are having taking this approach.
      All the best & happy motoring,

  103. Randy Ore says:

    Steve, thank you were are going to go stand in line tomorrow for the FM3! Appreciate your help!

  104. John franz says:

    Hi Steve, Wife and I will be heading to Mexico very soon for retirement. My wife is a Mexican National and has a 2005 car that is titled, registered, and plated in her name here in the states. We plan on registering the car in Mexico once we have settled down. What are we facing when bringing her car into Mexico? Thanks!

  105. Erin says:

    hi- i have an FM2 rentista- i live in mazatlan- i have a truck and trailer attached to that FM2 rentista permit- question- can i cross over to the US border for a few days of shopping without my trailer attached to my vehicle and return back with the patrial return program? or does the trailer need to be attached??? ALSO question #2: my vehicle has been down in mazatlan for 2 years now and is obviously no longer “legally” registered or insured by the state or California or Arizona- it is a non- op in those states- any advice as to; after i re- register the car thru the dmv- can i get temporary insurance at the border on a vehicle with CA plates?? thanks ~ Erin

    • yucalandia says:

      Other expats have found that they can drive in and out of Mexico with just the vehicle, (leaving the trailer in Mazatlan).

      Yes, you should be able to get US car insurance at border. Another alternative is to get Mexican car insurance that covers you in the USA. People on Mexconnect have said good things about Mexpro in the past: These policies can be purchased on-line, if you have any issues at the border.

      One caution: Will you be driving in Baja California or Baja Sur with you old plates? Both of these states require foreign-plated cars to keep their US or Canadian registrations current.

      For additional insights on the drive, there is an article on Yucatan Living describing details of crossing the border and various routes for driving from the USA to the Yucatan Peninsula: .

  106. Cliff du Fresne says:

    You advised against leaving a car in Mexico and flying home under an FMM because the original FMM is linked to the car import permit number through a control number.
    My question is do they really check?
    I drove home last April through Nogales and surrendered my car permit at the side of the highway. Then to surrender my FMM I had to park the car and walk across the highway to the immigration office – a separate facility. No one was checking or comparing documents so I don’t see how leaving Mexico by plane and then returning later to drive the car out would cause any problems.

    Please advise. Thanks, Cliff du Fresne

    • yucalandia says:

      Even if you leave Mexico by driving, without turning it in, you are forced you to get another FMM when you reenter. Since the data eventually get entered into the national INM and Aduana and Banjercito databases, your car’s temporary import permit is then cancelled, and Banjercito immediately confiscates your deposit. If you get in a wreck, get in an accident, get pulled over at a reten, or get stopped by the police, any of these events can trigger having your car permanently confiscated, with no recourse or solutions.

      When you leave by plane, the systems get even tighter. Before the airlines will let you board, you must surrender your FMM and they log that into the INM systems nearly immediately. Again, if anything happens with the car involving the police, they can confiscate the car on the spot.

      In your home country, do you tell people to break all the laws that are not tightly enforced?

      Most shops do not have completely tight systems to prevent shoplifting. Do you think it is OK to shoplift, just because you likely will not get caught?

      You signed a legal agreement to take the car out of Mexico before your visa expires. Do you routinely break legal contracts back home? ~ likely not ~

      I mention these things, because many foreign visitors to Mexico think following the laws here is somehow optional, magically making it OK to break the laws, as long as they do not get caught. We here at Yucalandia encourage people to respect Mexican laws, at least as rigorously as they do in their home country. Further, we believe that if even 20% of the gringos start to broadly ignore the laws, it will cause a lot of future problems for the expat community if we are labeled as twits who ignore Mexico’s laws. e.g. Nobody benefits from a few individuals pee-ing in the community pool.

      We are guests here,

  107. Cliff du Fresne says:

    I’m not peeing in any pools – I was only asking how tightly do they monitor the system?
    For example, last time my wife flew home she had forgotten her FMM in our condo, so the Mexican ticket agent at Alaska Airlines gave her another one when she checked in. That experience does not jive with the rules that we have been told. As for considering the rules optional – that seems to be the prevailing attitude of most Mexicans!

    All I wanted to know is, if my car import permit is turned in at one office, and my FMM turned in at a different location, do they eventually match them up? Given there is no number on the FMM I find it difficult to believe that they have a system to match them.

    Cliff du Fresne

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Cliff,
      Disneyland view: The frequent attitude of many gringos that compliance (with Mexican laws and rules) is optional is a recurring theme we would like to see gone. I answered your question about how closely they enforce the law, thinking it was yet another request for how to get around the laws: My mistake.

      Since Mexico’s INM, Aduana, and Banjercito systems are now databases, I don’t think there is any manual “matching-up” going on. When INM’s database shows that an expat’s permit (visa) has been surrendered, or cancelled, or expired, that information is transferred electronically to the Aduana & Banjercito databases. Banjercito’s computers track the (old) expiration dates of the INM permits, and they confiscate the auto deposits on the expiration date, unless the owner has filed a new expiration date in their/Aduana’s system. Past reports have described that the systems use the person’s passport number to track/coordinate these things, so, even if your FMM has no control number, their databases still supposedly collate your INM, Aduana, & Banjercito data using your passport number and your name to automatically track the validity of Aduana temporary import permits and INM permits.

      I assume that your wife used her passport to document her status when leaving the country without her FMM, so, they used her passport number to cancel out her lost FMM.

  108. Rolly Brook says:

    You are probably right, but who really knows?

  109. Bill Glenn says:

    I live in Mazatlan, and just renewed my FM3 and updated my vehicle permit. They have a new form for permit renewal, and I have posted a copy here:

    • yucalandia says:


      It shows that they are serious about having FM2 and FM3 holders annually update their temporary import car permit’s new expiration dates. Progreso’s Aduana also now have their own Progreso-specific form too.

  110. Rick says:

    i bought a Toyota Sequoia in Cabo San Lucas 2 years ago. I have a FMM only. I had a concern at that time when buying without a FMM3. The broker I used took care of transfering title to myself and registration as well as getting me a drivers license. All of this was done at the police station in Cabo while I waited in the parking lot. There were extra fees involved of course with me only having a FMM. My registration renewal came up several months ago and as I thought was not able to renew without a FMM3 but got my friend to take care of it for a nominal fee. So I have a FMM, registration in my name and a valid Baja drivers license. First question is I have not been pulled over yet and what could happen? Second question is I am looking at buying a dune buggy in California and driving it across and down to Cabo with my FMM. The buggy is 40 years old so would come under the classic vehicles act but also I understand because of the free trade aggreement with Baja and some ares of Sonora that I would not have to get a TIP so will be able to leave it there and fly home…Canada?. Third question which probably is out of scope for your forum but may be able to help me with or one of your readers. If I buy a dune buggy in California or Arizona say what do I have to do to get it transfered to my name. I have addresses I can use in arizona as long as I do not need a US drivers license. I think I can get mexican insurance online for when I cross border but not sure what to do while driving to border for applicable insurance in California and if the insurance company would want to see a state drivers license. I am aware that there are special provisions in South Dakota for continue ongoing registration of a US vehicle. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    • yucalandia says:

      Keep the vehicle insured, keep the plates and registration current, keep your license current, follow whatever State rules exist for Baja, and it should all be OK.

      Re dunebuggy: Bring it in with NO TIP, but drive it only in approved border zones: Baja California, Baja California Sur, and the “free zone” within Sonora. Keep your US California plates or Arizona plates or South Dakota plates** legal and current, because Baja requires it. Some Mexican insurance policies also cover driving in the USA, so, you could insure the dunebuggy with a reliable agency like Mexpro ( )

      **Clay County SD’s DMV people are very helpful, but you have to have your SD plates mailed to a US address.
      Happy Trails,

  111. Rick says:

    Thanks for the info Steve.Plan on keeping everything current but sounds like I am illegal just by buying it without a FM3. Saw somewhere that you needed a FM3 to buy a vehicle in Mexico. Things are really confusing around the vehicle importation stuff and what you can and cannot do.

    • yucalandia says:

      Each Mexican State has it’s own Rules of the Road for Car/Vehicle registration – which means a lot of effort for a single person to research and track all the changing requirements (and subtleties of how the rules are applied**) for 31 States (30 States and 1 Distrito Federal). The US has similar issues, where each US State sets its own rules on vehicles and other things like starting and operating a business.

      All of the Mexican States we know of allow FMM holders to buy Mexican cars.
      The rub comes in registering the car to drive it. All the States we know of require the person registering/licensing a Mexican car to either be a Mexican citizen or to have FM2, FM3, or Inmigrado status. Some foreigners have a friend own the car, and register it in the friend’s name, but that can lead to problems… Whose name is on the car registration? Why not get an FM3?
      All the best,

      **We’ve studied all 330 or so of Yucatan’s Rules of the Road, and I would guess that at least 30% of our rules are not enforced. Since many regs are never enforced or are unenforceable, should web-authors tell people what the myriad of regs say, or should they stick with what they know by experience? We don’t know what rules are unenforced in other Mexican States, so, we hesitate to offer advice on them.
      e.g. Our new Yucatan rules include requirements that vehicle owners get their vehicles tested annually for emissions and then prominently display the sticker, but: There is no emissions testing program, (never has been), there are no places that do testing, and there are no stickers… (Why? It looks to us like Yucatan’s Governor chose to update our Motor Vehicle regulations, so, their new manual looks exactly like they cut-and-pasted a standard Canadian or US state DMV manual, and translated it into Spanish, in an attempt to immediately bring Yucatan up to modern standards, even if there is no way to meet the new standards???)

  112. Rick says:

    It is registered in my name as well as Mexican drivers license. I paid a premium(bribe)to get both of those….thus the issue I have. I will probably end up getting a FM3 just because of this issue…just did not like having to pay the yearly renewal and associated headaches.

    When I bought the vehicle 2 years ago I asked the dealer(used) about having a FM3 and he said not a problem and he would take care of it. When I paid more money then I thought I would to transfer title/registration and get license then the light bulb lit…deal was already done. FM3 here I come.

  113. debra says:

    In 2010 my mom entered Mexico on her FM2 visa with her car. In early 2011 she had a stroke and was airlifted to the U.S. She is still unable to drive and cannot travel to Mexico. Do you think that our best chance of getting the car back to the U.S. is to apply for the Retorno Segoro under her name and then for one of her children (same last name) to drive it back?
    Would love to hear any other suggestions for resolving this situation.
    Thanks, Debra

  114. High Steve. It is quite final, the car that I shipped in order to legalize it in Mexico cant be legalize because Florida doesn’t have pollution inspection and Merida pollution inspection isn’t good enough (that what they told my agent). I have to ship the car back. I am considering selling it in Belize. Do you have any how to handle it?


    • yucalandia says:

      Hello Meir,
      A friend of ours knows a person who takes cars to the border at Chetumal, has contacts in Belize who buy cars, and then he brokers the deals. Is this what you were considering?

  115. john says:

    hi Steve, Im in a bit of a mess and not sure what to do. My family and i came on fmm in feb. We drove our car from texas to veracruz. Then, we flew back to texas in march and then flew back to veracruz in june. Our temporary import permit expires in august. When we came from the airport we left a bag, one of about tweenty, on the bus and it was stolen. This bag contained our passports, our newly issued fmm visas, our car title, our temporary import permit papers, amongst other things. Now, we have a date set with the us embassy for new passports, which are going to have different numbers, but i dont know what to do about my car and fmm. I was planning to drive it to the border with a secure return permit, provided i can get one. Or try to apply for a rentista. what is your advice
    thanks john

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi John,
      When you flew back to Texas – leaving the car in Veracruz, your Temporary Import Permit (TIP) for the car expired on the day you flew out.

      The expiration date of the TIP lasts only as long as you have a valid INM permit. By flying out, you surrendered your FMM and INM cancelled it – making the car illegal.

      When you signed for your TIP, you agreed to take the vehicle out of Mexico before your FMM expired. Your understandings about the Secure Returns permit are correct: To eliminate the chance that the Mexican Government will permanently confiscate your vehicle at some random stop or accident, you will need to not drive the car, apply for the Secure Returns permit, and then take the car out of the country during the 3-5 day period specified in your Secure Returns permit.

      Re lost FMMs: Your FMMs are tracked by your previous passport number. I think you have 2 options.
      ~ Option 1: Get the Secure Returns permit, and make a run for the border, hoping that you are not asked for a copy of the FMM. Keep copies of your lost FMMs and copies of the lost passports with you as you travel, in case you are stopped. Stop at Aduana as you leave Mexico to log your Secure Returns permit, finally cancelling out your old expired TIP, have them remove the sticker, and then you can immediately re-enter, getting new FMMs with your new passports – and use the new FMM to get a new TIP…. Costs you roughly $850 USD due to the costs of losing the previous TIP deposit + $50 for a new TIP deposit + $400 for a new deposit.

      ~ Option 2: Go to your INM office with a letter explaining what happened with the lost bag and that you need replacement FMMs. Take copies of your old FMMs and copies of the old passports and a copy of a comprabante to INM. They can use your old passport numbers to pull up your latest FMM information. (Or apply for an FM3? – to allow the vehicle to stay in Mexico during future trips back to the USA). With INM’s new permits in hand, apply-for and get the Secure Returns permit. Then make the run to the border. Keep copies of your lost passports with you as you travel, in case you are stopped, because the old TIP is tied to your old passport. Stop at Aduana as you leave Mexico to log your Secure Returns permit, finally cancelling out your old expired TIP, have them remove the sticker, and then you can immediately re-enter, getting new FMMs with your new passports – and use the new FMM to get a new TIP…. Aduana costs wiil be roughly $850 USD due to the costs of losing the previous TIP deposit + $50 for a new TIP deposit + $400 for a new deposit.

      Hope you made copies of everyone’s FMMs, TIP, passports, etc – and stored them in some special location as you traveled. As a cautious guy, during international travels, I used to carry a simple money belt with all these copies – including copies of credit cards (front & back) and some emergency cash – with the wallet positioned on the small of my back – making a nice little back cushion – for bus rides, plane rides, etc etc.

      Come back and tell us how it all turns out,
      Happy Trails, steve

  116. Christine says:

    The question is, if I apply for an FM2 with a work permit for teaching English (online or in classes), and I want to keep my 1994 Ford F150 in Mexico, can I simply go and apply for Guanajuato plates and a Guanajuato driver’s license. All of the writing says you cannot keep a foreign plated vehicle if you have an FM2 with a work permit, but none of it explains whether you can just get local plates, thus keep your truck and the FM2 with a work permit.

    Thanks, Christine

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Christine,
      You would need to do a permanent import of the vehicle. Since your vehicle is not 8, 9, or 10 years old, and not 30 or more, then it does not qualify to be permanently imported. As you agreed to do when you signed for your original temporary import permit, you’ll need to take your 1994 pickup out of Mexico if you change to a “working FM2”. If you really do not want the $$$ or hassles of taking it to a border, you could surrender it to a local Aduana office – and buy a local vehicle.
      All the best,

      • Christine says:

        Thanks Steve. I really appreciate this information. I’ve been puzzling through health insurance, moving things in from Colorado, the vehicle and setting up my website and it helps to have your input.


  117. Rolly Brook says:

    May I add another thought? Christine are you really sure you want to get an FM2 with all the car problems? In a few months the present forms of No Inmigrante (FM3) and Inmigrante (FM2) will be merged into a new category called Residente Temporal. If you change to Inmigrante now, you’ll be spending extra money for something that is about to disappear. You can have a working permit and your car if you stay with an FM3.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hey Rolly,
      Good insight on trying to wait for the release of el Reglamento for the hoped-for, long awaited “new” Immigration law.

      If the government decides to approve and release the new Reglamento, then Christine could qualify.
      If they instead continue the already 8-month-long delay the Reglamento, Christine may run out of time and be forced to do a rush – unscheduled – trip to the border, at the same time she would be trying to get INM approval – forcing two items into the same small window of time.

      What news have you heard on the final release date for the Reglamento?
      Our best sources are saying that the earliest it could be released is AFTER the new President takes power in Dec. 2012.

      Still, if the new President decides to study the issue, to hear and consider comments from the 30+ groups that are officially trying to change the content of the Reglamento, then the issuing of the final Reglamento could be delayed into mid 2013… Meaning that expats who are trying to wait to get into the “new” unapproved INM categories will have to revert to back-up plans using the current rules & laws.

      New Presidents often hesitate to give blanket approval to the unimplemented policies of the former President. If the new President simply approved the current version of the new proposed Reglamento, then the old President would get the credit for the policy change. This would mean that the new President will take office next December, then make their own changes (re-tool) to the new proposed Reglamento – waiting long enough for all perceived credit to Calderón to vaporize. By waiting well into 2013, and by making changes, the new President could then claim all the credit.

      If we assume AMLO gets elected, then his stated goals for CHANGE would seem to mean that he would not want to simply continue and approve the policies of Calderón – especially on the sensitive issues of human rights. This means that the bureaucrats at INM likely will continue to sit on any approval of the new Reglamento until the new boss gives them the go-ahead. (Few facts can make for a lot of speculation.)

      Our speculation results in the opinion that the new Reglamento may not be issued until the summer of 2013 or later.
      Under this scenario, Plan A could be to wait and take advantage of the possibility of a new INM category, paired with a back-up Plan B to either stay with the FM3 or leave enough time take the car to the border.

      Your thoughts???

    • Christine says:

      Thanks Rolly. I appreciate your input too. No, I don’t want to buy extra trouble. I’ll take my time about this.


  118. Rolly Brook says:

    PRI is going to win the election. Since the new immigration law was passed by a PRI dominated Congress, I don’t see that the new administration is likely to mix things up. The new law combines FM2 and FM3, but it seems to me that the actual effect is the abolishment of the FM2.
    I think getting an FM2 now is a waste of money.

  119. RICHARD GERLACH says:


    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Richard,
      As described in our latest auto-permit article ( Updates to Aduana, INM & Banjercito Procedures for Visas and Importing Cars – The Article), both Banjercito and Aduana say that when you lose your paper permit for a Temporarily Import Permit, then you must honor the agreement you signed, and take the car out of the country. (It takes both a Banjercito office for car stuff and an Aduana office.)

      At the border, take the passport of the person who applied for the original permit to the Banjercito office, and they use that passport number to print out an official data page on the vehicle for the “old” permit. Take that Banjercito information along with your letter and the other documents to Aduana. After cancelling your permit, you then apply for a new Temporary Import Permit, paying the deposit and getting a new sticker & paper permit.

  120. John Garvin says:

    Steve you comments on this appreciated regarding selling a foreign plated car in Mexico.
    Carta Responsiva

    My wife who is Mexican assists expats and this is what she was told by Aduana. Her contacts were:
    Aduana Dept of Donations Lic. Petit Salcido 01 55 58 02 0000
    Aduana Dept. Juridico Lic. Lourdes del Fierro 01 55 58 02 1335

    To donate a car it must be at the border or in another country. In a few rare cases one can write to Hacienda and get permission to donate but what they want are vehicles which can be used as an ambulance, for handicapped etc. They do not want the typical personal car of an expat or anyone for that matter.

    However, to sell a car at least 8 years old with foreign plates that is currently legally in Mexico the buyer has the responsibility for the car if done correctly. In doing so, the buyer and seller sign the vehicle Carta Responsiva. This you can get at paper / copy stores etc.

  121. Richard Silva says:

    Hi Steve:
    This is great resource. My wife and I have FM3’s. We both live in Playa Del Carmen and both fly back and forth to the US frequently. I bought a 2002 Chrysler and will ship it via Hyde Shipping to Poerto Morales. I will consign to my wife for pick up. It currently is registered with US plates. Our intent is to get Mexican plates once there. My question is, will my wife be able to pick it up and drive it and what she will need to do.
    Any advice will be appreciated because I will be in big trouble if this is a huge problem!

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Richard,
      I understand that when you use a sea port to import a car, you must hire a Customs Broker. The Customs Broker will tell you what you must have to import the car. To import this 2002 vehicle permanently, you need to get it here before Nov 1, 2012, because that is the date when 2002 model year cars become 11 years old.

      Hyde Shipping should be the ones to tell you the requirements. You will likely need a clear original title and copies, plus copies of your passport. You may need “passing” emissions testing results. Our ports and some states have been requiring copies of the successful emissions testing, while others have not… Strangely, the Yucatecan dept of motor vehicles folks have not been accepting local testing station results – only US state testing results. We have 2 friends who must take their vehicles outside of the country, because of the snarled emissions testing results. I do not know how Puerto Morelos, Q. Roo officials are handling this.

  122. Peter Glass says:

    What happens when your car dies or is totaled in Mexico and you can’t get it back to the border? How do you get your name cleared so you can bring another vehicle into the country?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Peter,
      In theory, you are supposed to take the vehicle out of the country, or surrender (donate) the vehicle to Aduana. Taking the vehicle out of the country (as you agreed to do when you signed your auto permit application) can mean having the vehicle towed to the border. Alternately, there are Aduana rules on-the-books that say you can surrender a car to Aduana, and sign over the title to them. Unfortunately, many Aduana offices do not offer this service (possibly because they don’t know how), some Aduana’s offices direct the dead car owner to go to Hacienda (pass the buck?), and yet other Aduana offices only accept vehicles as viable “donations” ~ vehicles that are useful and function ~ .

      I think you need to go to your Aduana office with a letter explaining that you want to cancel / surrender your temporary import permit, and further explain that the car is totally wrecked (include fotos), and also say that you want to surrender the car and recover any deposit you made with Banjercito. Include your title as proof of ownership, and the original paper import permit. If your Aduana office accepts your proposal, you will need to give them the sticker off the windshield (even if it is attached to a hunk of broken windshield). Some Aduana offices have required an official letter from the police or the junkyard, certifying that the car has been wrecked beyond repair.

      Each regional Aduana office has some leeway in how they handle things, so, hopefully they will accept your letter and documentation, and let you give the car to a dehuesedero (boneyard).

      Please come back and tell us how your local Aduana office proposed to clear your (passport number associated) auto import permit record, allowing you to bring in another vehicle. … or just buy a good used car locally?

  123. Peter Glass says:

    Steve, Thank you so much for your comprehensive answer to my question. I’ll follow your suggestions and let you know what happens. Again, many thanks. Peter

    • awaterma2013 says:

      Hi Peter,

      I have the exact same problem. Could you please comment and let me know how you resolved this?

      best wishes,


  124. Hi Steve,

    I am a health care professional (chiropractor) preparing to move to the Lake Chapala area. I have two cars I want to use there, both are restored classics, a 1976 Cadillac Eldorado convertible and a 1985 Jaguar sedan. My plan is to use the Jaguar as my daily driver, understanding that as a foreign non- NAFTA vehicle, I will only be able to annually renew this car for five years until my FM3 status will have to be replaced by FM2. I’m OK with that, I’ll just drive the car out and sell it, and probably just buy a second car in Mexico. I have several questions that fall into two categories: the cars and visas.

    Regarding the cars, I understand that nationalizing the Cadillac should be fairly inexpensive in that it is over 30 years old and is exempt from import duty, but that I first need FM3 status to be able to do this. So if I bring the car in on an FMM as a tourist and after establishing a residence apply for and receive the FM3, I understand I must notify Aduana within two weeks, but what I don’t understand and have not been able to find on the web is the step by step process of nationalizing this car. Would you address this please? So my plan is, once the Cadillac is adorned with Mexican plates, I would be free to bring in the 2nd car, the Jaguar, on a temporary permit, right?

    Regarding visas, I plan to work as a professional and I have learned that in addition to the FM3 visa, I will have to jump thru numerous hoops with the Dept. of Education, mostly about documentation going back to age 6 and first grade, all of which must be Apostilled, to receive a cedulla or license to practice. All well and good, but will my FM3 status change with the licensing process? Will I then again need to notify Aduana about any visa status change relative to my vehicles?

    I read somewhere that while the FM3 is being processed, it is unwise to leave the country, probably because your new visa coming back in would not match the dates on the original permit. True? Would that still apply in my case in that I will be in the process of nationalizing the Cadillac? I would assume that I cannot bring in the 2nd car until I actually have the plates in hand on the first. Any perspective on how fast the wheels turn, or don’t? I’m wondering how long I can expect to wait before I can bring in the second car, as I will have to store it in California which can be expensive.

    Dr. Lowell

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Dr. Lowell,
      First, your post included 23 full copies of what you wrote, so, I deleted 22 of them.

      Second, since you have to turn in the sticker at a Banjercito office at the border when you cancel a Temporary Import Permit (TIP), if you bring in the Caddie first under your FMM, then when you get your FM3, you would need to go to the border to turn in the permit and sticker, and then do the permanent import of the vehicle (Caddie) at the border (on the same stop). You would then need to drive the Caddie back to your Mexico home. And then go make a trip to get the Jag.

      Since you ultimately want the Jaguar in the country with a TIP “under” your FM3, then why not drive the Jag in first, get your WORKING FM3 (No Inmigrante lucrativo), keep the Jag’s permit continuous by logging your change from FMM to FM3 with Aduana. When you have your FM3, go back and get the Caddie and bring it in as a single step – applying for the Permanent Import permit (Importacion Definitiva – see ) when you enter at the border.

      The second option means one less trip back and forth to the border, and one less permit process, plus it gives you a car (the Jag) that you can continue to drive if things don’t work in the ways or work out on the timetable you expect.

      Your local INM office will be in charge of deciding how they want to handle your working FM3 application while you are getting approved to practice as a chiropractor.
      All the best,

      ps You are a brave man, bringing an old Jag deep into Mexico. I have enjoyed working on cars the past 45 years, and Jags fall into a special class. Delightful to drive, beautiful, fun.

      but… they do need repairs a bit more often than other makes of cars. Do you do your own work, and do you have a good parts supplier that will ship parts to Mexico? (Aside: the import duties on parts might make me swallow-hard.)

  125. LOWELL BIRCH says:

    Thanks for your quick response. Your comments make perfect sense. The Jaguar has undergone a recent $20,000 complete restoration, so I do not anticipate needing repairs, but you never know what might pop up on an older car. My safety net is the Caddy which just completed a $30,000 complete restoration. Hopefully one of these car’s beauty will be more than skin deep and keep me on the road. If not, they are both beautiful enough to keep around as objects de art, and I’ll get around on my bicycle.

    I’m still not clear on who to see what to do, to start the importation of the Cadillac. Do I just stop at banercito and say “Here’s my car, here’s my title, here’s my proof of address, here’s my FM3, where do I sign, who do I pay”?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Doc,
      They both sound dandy!

      Yes, you stop at Banjercito with each vehicle. You get the TIP at Banjercito for the Jag. On the Caddie, you pay Banjercito/Aduana any duties, and they will give you paperwork that allows you to drive your car to your home state in Mexico. You will then go to your state’s DMV, where you will stand in various lines for most of a day. They will check your title and paperwork vs. the VIN, they will charge you for the annual state registration and plates, (called refrendo here in Yucatan), depending on the state’s individual rules you may have to pay an annual ownership tax (called tenencia across Mexico) – where your state may waive the tenencia.

      Sidelights: Keep every scrap of paper they give you – as it can cost you a trip back to the border if you lose or misplace the wrong one. Also, many expats are reporting problems with Banjercito’s system for returning (reimbursing) credit card payments for refunding the TIP deposits. Everyone who has paid the TIP deposit with cash, making reports on common expat websites, say that they get their cash back with no hassles.
      Happy Trails,

      ps Are you a Palmer guy? I really need a good chiropractor, but our best fellow here in Merida moved on. There are several remaining, but these individuals have been too rough for me – both actually causing fresh new injuries due to overly-enthusiastic adjustments.

      • Don’t get me started on rough chiropractors. Whenever I change locations or go to a new community, I have to suffer through about 5 hacks before I can find someone with finesse.
        Unfortunate but true. I would be happy to have you as a patient, but the airfare Merida to Guadalahara might make the cost of treatment give you pause, or as you like to say swallow hard. . .

      • yucalandia says:

        too funny !

        Fast, strong, and accurate adjustments – executed at a moment when the patient is not fighting or anticipating the adjustment – are exactly what I like.

      • Hey, Maybe this is off topic a bit, but in that I will need to apply for a FM3 and have it in hand before I can leave the country to retrieve one of the classics, can you tell me about how long I will be waiting, unable to leave, for the paperwork to come thru? Probably varies from state to state, but I’ll be in Jalisco if that helps any. Since I will be wanting to work, would I be applying for a FM3 lucritivo,right,rather than rentista? And would that status affect my ability to import? Does the 30 year old rule apply to non-NAFTA vehicles, ie. the ’85 Jaguar? Could I import it once it hits the 30 year mark in 2015 under the FM3 visa? Or is it not qualified to be imported at all under the NAFTA ruling?


      • yucalandia says:

        Reports from around Mexico have quoted 10 days – 3 weeks to get an FM3 for people who submit the correct documents, can prove sufficient savings or income, and who submit the correct paperwork/letters quickly.

        FM3 Lucrativo, yes – and yes, this type of INM permit allows the holder to temporarily import a car.

        For the rules on classic vehicles, read the Aduana’s website on classic vehicles (at ”
        De conformidad con la fracción III, del artículo 12 del “Acuerdo que establece la clasificación y codificación de mercancías cuya importación y exportación está sujeta al requisito de permiso previo por parte de la Secretaría de Economía”, se exceptúan del requisito de permiso previo de importación por parte de la Secretaría de Economía establecido en los artículos 1o. y 6o., del presente Acuerdo, las importaciones de vehículos cuyo número de serie o año-modelo tenga una antigüedad igual o mayor a 30 años anterior al vigente, y siempre que tengan un peso bruto vehicular inferior o igual a 8,864 kilogramos.

        Por lo anterior si el vehículo que desea importar una antigüedad igual o mayor a 30 años anterior al vigente, podrá realizar la importación del mismo.

        There is nothing listed there restricting classic car imports to only NAFTA vehicles. Further, a 1985 Jaguar turns 30 years old on Nov. 1, 2014, according to Aduana’s general rules on establishing the model year of cars. When you go through Aduana & Banjercito with the Caddie, you can talk with them about the particulars on the Jag. One translation of the above section points to using the serial number (VIN) to determine the vehicle age or using the model year, so, I suggest giving them the Jag’s VIN to confirm ahead of time that there would be no problems.
        Happy Trails,
        Doc Fry

  126. Ryan says:

    Hi Steve,

    Congrats on putting together this fantastic resource. I’d really appreciate your help with a couple of questions. Is it true that with an FM2 “cargo de confianza” I cannot temporarily import a vehicle? If I am able to temporarily import a vehicle, and if I later acquire Mexican citizenship, what implications would this have?

    Thank you in advance,


    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Ryan,
      Agreed, the only FM2 category that is permitted to have a temporarily imported car is “Rentista“. If you get Mexican citizenship, then you are permitted to import a vehicle.

  127. Ryan says:

    Thanks, Steve. That’s helpful. I wonder if I could transfer ownership of the vehicle to my son, who is a Mexican national, and then have him import it? The issue is that he is not of driving age…

    • yucalandia says:

      Hey Ryan,
      Hmmm… I suspect not, but I really don’t know. If that were possible, the next hurdle would be trying to get the vehicle registered by your state DMV in Mexico. I know that only adult auto owners of majority age can register cars and get plates in Yucatán.

      e.g. It doesn’t seem to help much to import a car that ultimately cannot be driven until your son turns 18???
      Happy Trails,

  128. draya says:

    Sort of off topic except that it pertains to vehicle . . . I am desperately attempting to figure this out before buying a truck . . . Can dually be brought in on an FMM or FM3?
    I have seen that dual wheel trucks are questionable to import??? Is this true? We were planning to drive down our airstream in the next few weeks pulled by a 1990 F350 dually? I was planning to buy it tomorrow . . .so I want to clarify this? Can you help?? PLEASE AND Thanks . . . in advance for your time and input! 🙂

    • yucalandia says:

      Until we hear back on the current Aduana rules, you could use the Mex. government’s VIN checker to see if your vehicle is allowed to be permitted for permanent importation:

      Further searching on the internet gives reports of expats in Chapala successfully temporarily importing a dual wheeled pickup and driving it around Mexico with NO PROBLEMS. The owners found that their dually would not fit on the narrow streets of the Chapala area, so they ultimately sold it to a local contractor, by taking it back to the border – where he permanently imported it. => good news for you?

  129. Tara says:

    My three children and I are leaving for Mexico at the end of next month. We all have our passports and will be entering on a FMM tourist visa. I have two vehicles and understand I can only get a permit for one vehicle. My question is, can my son who is 16, get a permit for my other vehicle? Or, if that is not possible, due to his age, can my brother-in-law, who is a Mexican national living in the US (Texas) with a Residency card, get a permit for my other vehicle and drive it to our destination (Aguascalientes)?

    • yucalandia says:

      You can get a temporary import for one of the vehicles under your FMM. If one of the vehicles is 7 – 10 years old, and made in a NAFTA country (VIN begins with a number = made in Canada, US, or Mexico), then your brother-in-law could buy the car from you, and he could permanently import it, if the vehicle meets those requirements.*
      Happy Trails,


  130. LOWELL BIRCH says:

    Steve, didn’t I read somewhere that you must have a FM3 status to be able to import a vehicle?

  131. Tara says:

    One question I forgot to ask is can I bring a 6X10 enclosed trailer attached to the vehicle I will be getting a temporary permit for?

  132. Connie says:

    Hi Steve
    Thanks for putting together this fantastic resource. I’d really appreciate your help with a couple of questions.
    About Us: We have been living in Baja Sur for 14 years. We are both have our Inmigrado. We have a business here. Our only home is here. This is where we live. We do need to travel to the US once a year as we both have aging mothers.

    Perhaps you could answer a couple of questions to point us in the right direction.
    We do have a Trooper imported/plated MX. When we wanted to take it across the boarder for a month we found it was not imported to be able to take it more than for 1 day and only after permission was requested and received. We never did understand if this was permission from Mexico or U.S. DMV.

    We are need to buy a second vehicle:
    Should we buy a car in the US and import it? I
    What kind of importation does it need to be able to be MX plated but be able to travel to the U.S. I understand there is a minimum/maximum age. What is the cost for importing a vehicle with this status? What are the requirements? Can this only be done in T.J. – Ensenada? Or could it be done in La Paz?

    Or should we buy a vehicle here on the Baja in La Paz, Constitution, Ensenada, or T.J?
    Do the plates have to be of a special issue to be able to drive it across the border for a month or longer?

    Thank for your help with these questions

  133. Terry says:

    Hi Steve,
    Thanks for this great resource. Sometimes this all gets very confusing. Last year I purchased a condo in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Nayarit and plan to move and retire there in 2 to 3 years. I visit as often as I can, two to three times a year, usually for two weeks at a time. The cost of renting a car for those visits is getting too costly. I recently purchased a 2003 Ford in the US with the intensions of permanently importing it into Mexico. I live in Oregon and don’t think that I would want to drive it back and forth so plan on leaving it at my condo. If I understand what you have said correctly, I will need to do this under an FM3.
    I am confused about the FM2 & 3 status. My current plans will be to stay in Mexico once I move there in several years. How do you think the best way to approach this is with the immigration laws changing and the need to have my car stay in Mexico? I want to drive the car down in February of 2013 and then fly home.
    Thank you for your time,

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Terry,
      FM3’s work well for people who temporarily import cars. Your plan to permanently import the Ford allows you to have any visa. If you choose an Inmigrante (FM2) INM permit, then it needs to be a “Rentista” category to have a temporarily imported vehicle. FM2’s are for people who are planning to eventually stay permanently.

      The benefits and drawbacks of each type of visa are discussed in our article: Moving to Mexico: FMM, FM2, or FM3? ( None of us know how INM will handle temporarily imported cars under the new law, but your plan to tramite / nationalize your Ford avoids all that.
      Happy trails,

      • Terry says:

        Hi Steve,
        Thanks for the info. It looks like I need to go for the FM3 for now. I will not be moving down for a few years. If I understand correctly I must live in Mexico 3.5 years out of the 5. That is not possible for me at the present time to do that. I guess for now I will do the FM3, and then convert later to the FM2. My fiancée is a Mexican national who also has US citizenship. We plan on getting married when we move to Mexico.

      • yucalandia says:

        There are reports from some Mexican Embassies that INM will begin using the new law by Nov. 2012. Under the new law, FM2 & FM3 (Inmigrante and No Inmigrante), both go away, and instead they get bundled into a single category called Residente Temporal. Under the new law, after 4 years of Residente Temporal, one is eligible for permanent residency: Residente Permanente, which is much like the current Inmigrado status.

        Hopefully the new categories will fit your needs,

  134. John Garvin says:

    My wife is Mexican and a facilitator here in San Miguel. She is at Immigration every few days and we are being told the same. With residente permanente we believe you can keep your foreign plated car. Hopefully, this is true.

  135. john says:

    Hi Steve, excellent info!! Quick question, how do i import my 1993 fith wheel rv here in Acapulco, so that i can resell it legally to a mexican national???? tks

    • yucalandia says:

      Did you import it permanently? If so, then it should be registered in Mexico, and can be sold here. If you imported it under a Temporary permit, then it can only stay here temporarily. You would then have to take it out of Mexico. We do not know the current regs for permanent imports, but I believe that you cannot import it permanently.

  136. Ian Bourne says:

    Hi Steve, not sure I am doing this the right way. You helped me a while back when I brought a USA registered Lexus LX470 into Mexico on an FM3 visa, it’s been at our place in Cancun for about 4 years. We are going down there on the 14th October and my FM3 runs out on the 15th, next day. I’m not sure I want to renew it, it seems I am as well off just to get the normal tourist entry visa each time we visit. Do I need to do something about the car if I let the FM3 lapse ?
    Thanks for your kindness. If you get to Cancun between 14 October and 6 November we still want to buy you dinner, best wishes, Ian.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Ian,
      You have several options.
      1. This is my personal favorite: Take the car to the Belize border crossing near Chetumal (see for our report on this Aduana/Banjercito & INM office group that allow you to do everything without leaving Mexico). Get an FMM (tourist visa). Go across the street to Banjercito and turn in your paper copy of your Temporary Import Permit (TIP) and let them scrape off the old sticker. Then do a u-turn and go back into Q. Roo under your new FMM. This option has several benefits:
      ~ It keeps you legal to drive the vehicle.
      ~ It preserves your right to get another TIP in the future, if you choose.
      ~ It preserves any deposit you made.

      This option has one drawback: Since you are driving the car in the free zone of Quintana Roo (like Baja California), you are prohibited from driving the car out of Q. Roo. The car can only be driven in Q. Roo. If you choose to get the new Residente Temporal, you can always return to the border and get a new TIP if you choose to drive outside of Q. Roo.

      2. Drive the car with an expired permit, and take the risk of getting checked by the police or if in an accident, or possibly when crossing out of Q. Roo into Yucatan. We had to show our TIP the last time we entered Yucatan at the crossing west of Filipe Carrillo Puerto… They may permanently confiscate your car if they choose to.

      I’d love to have dinner in Cancun. My wife and I are flying in on Nov. 3, so I’ll talk with her about it.

  137. Ian Bourne says:

    Hello Steve, Thanks so much for the info you sent, you go to an awful lot of trouble for us all. I think I may do option 2 and drive only in Q.Roo this visit until I have time to renew my FM3, cross my fingers. Does entering Mexico on an FMM change the status of my FM3 or can I still renew it in Cancun this visit if I wish to ? I also have a Brit passport I could use instead of my US one if that makes sense. If I decide to go with option 1 presumably I would have to drive the car out to Belize on the 15th, the day when my FM3 runs out ? Can the Aduana office at the port of Cancun do this same FM3 to FMM sticker change ? Let me know re dinner, we are completely flexible and can pick you up from the airport if needed, you’d be a good guy to have in the car if I get caught ! Best wishes, Ian.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Ian,
      Many many people enter Mexico on FMM’s, without compromising either their TIP or FM3’s.

      Why not enter on the FM3?

      I suggest using the passport that was used to apply for the FM3, and use your FM3. Yes, you can renew your FM3 when you arrive, particularly using the grace period (30 days).

      The Cancun Aduana office does not handle auto permit issues. Permits can be turned in only at border crossings, while permits can be renewed at official sea-port port of entry Aduana offices. The inland and airport Aduana offices are limited in what they handle.

      Re Dinner: We arrive at 2:25 on Airtran on Nov. 3, and would take a bus over to Merida after meeting with you, if that works for your plans.
      All the best,

  138. Ian Bourne says:

    Thanks Steve for another great response. I’ll go ahead and enter on my US passport with the FM3. We can pick you up at the airport if that suits and go to get a meal from there ? Then we can get you to the downtown bus station in Cancun if that works ? Where are you coming in from ? Cheers, Ian.

  139. L.B. says:

    Hello! I was wondering what the regulations were for having a car shipped to Cozumel? My husband and I just bought a house there and have not yet applied for our FM3. Any help would be great!

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi LB,
      You are required to use a Customs Broker, and the car must be shipped empty – with no household or personal goods. Contact your shipper and your Customs Broker for their specific requirements.

  140. L.B says:

    Thank you Steve! Do you know if we are required to have an FM3 in order to receive it?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi LB,
      You should be able to receive it as a tourist with an FMM, but the car permit would be given an expiration date that matches your FMM expiration date. Since you may want to keep the car in Mexico, while flying back home(???), then you really should get an FM3 (or the new Residente Temporal – see our article on the new INM law and new categories at:, because if you fly out, INM cancels your FMM (tourist visa) at the airport, which then makes the car illegal because the car permit expires with the cancelling of the FMM.

      I did not mention it earlier, but you will need originals and copies of your passport, registration, title, and if you have a loan on the car, you must have a letter from the loan holder approving your taking the car into Mexico.

  141. L.B says:

    Thank you so much Steve! Your information has saved me a lot of headache and time! L.B

  142. crb says:

    Thanks for the great site…it’s appreciated because I am totally confused in my attempts of understanding what I am, or am not, supposed to do with my vehicle. I have a made in U.S. vehicle which was manufactured in May of 2002. I just applied for my new FM (permanent) visa. Now I realize that my vehicle is going to be an issue–it was fine under FM3. I think I have missed the 10 year period for importing a vehicle. Any advice? It is registered in Belize so I guess I could sell it there, but you know how it is with an old trustworthy friend you don’t want to say goodbye to.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi CRB,
      If you applied as an Inmigrante Rentista FM2 in the past, you qualified to keep the temporarily import permit (TIP) car.

      Aduana has NOT yet issued a policy statement on how they plan to handle TIPs for INM’s new Residente Permanente (or for Residente Temporal) permits.

      Yes, you missed the period to permanently import the vehicle, since the Model Years start on Nov1 of the preceding year, and end Oct 31 of the year of manufacture. e.g. All cars manufactured between Nov 1, 2001 and Oct 31 2002 are officially called “2002” models.

      What date did you officially apply for your new residency permit? If it was before Nov. 9, 2012, then you applied for an Inmigrante (FM2). The type of Inmigrante makes all the difference. If you did NOT have a work permit, or if you are NOT married to a Mexican, then most likely you applied as a Rentista living on pension or retirement income. Rentistas are allowed to have TIPs.

      If you applied after Nov, 8 (the official application date is the first day you go to your INM office, when they give you a NUT.), then NONE of us knows what the new Aduana rule will be on TIPs.

  143. Terry says:

    Hi Steve,
    This brings up a point i had not considered. I bought a 2003 Ford that I want to import and had planned to take the car down in February or August of next year figuring I was still within the time frame . After reading this i checked the manufacturing date and found it was made in 9/2002. If i understand what you said correctly, that will be to late. would i have untill the end of this year to import? also is it possible to start the import process now and then take the car down later?
    Thanks again for this site!

  144. chuck says:

    Good morning Steve. Thanks for this site. My story: I have just (last week) applied for my new immigration and my papers will change from FM3 to Permanent Resident. I was feeling great about that and called a custom’s broker to help me import my vehicle–manufactured in the U.S. in May 2002. 10 years old. I was told that only 8 or 9 year old cars could now be imported and plated in Mexico. I also had not known I was to visit the Aduana annually to renew…definitely my error. I just didn’t know I was supposed to do that, since I thought the car papers ran with my FM3. Any advice? I, like most people, try my best to live legally in Mexico, but sometimes it’s hard to know what the rules are.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Chuck,
      Oooops, your car is NOT 10 years old under official Aduana rules. 10 year old cars are NOW 2003 models. As noted above: the 2003 current model year covers cars manufactured between Nov 1., 2002 – Oct. 31, 2003. You missed the window to import the car by 3 weeks.

      I think you have to stick with a Temporary Import Permit. or take the car out of Mexico….

  145. Bo says:

    Hi….I have many different opinions who is allowed to drive my legally permitted Vehicle in Mexico. I have a current FM-3, a valid current vehicle permit.
    I have been advised “only my family members are allowed” to drive my vehicle in Mexico without me being in the vehicle, and anyone else other than my family members “are not allowed” to drive my vehicle without me being in the vehicle with my FM-3 card. I understand Mexican nationals are not allowed to drive my vehicle, how about my Canadian friends, can they drive my vehicle without me being in the vehicle.
    What is the ruling who or who can not drive my Alberta registered vehicle, (yes I have all the correct permits).
    Greatly appreciate your opinion…or anyone who has knowledge who is allowed to drive my vehicle.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Bo,
      Opinions are fun, and everyone seems to have one, but in this case the Law is very specific and easy to understand. Your immediate family members may legally drive your car that has a Temporary Import Permit. Mexicans may legally drive your car if you are in the vehicle. OTHER FOREIGNERS who have the SAME TYPE of INM Permit may legally drive your car. This last clause means that foreigners/expats in Mexico on FM3’s, (No Inmigrante permits), or Residente Temporal permits may legally drive your car – since they are all legally equivalent to your FM3.

      Again, this is not an opinion, it is the Law. As we suggest above, carry a copy of Article 106 in your vehicle, in both English and Spanish, (an especially good practice since it includes this exact information).
      Happy Trails,

  146. Erdem Cavus says:

    Hi Steve,

    We have temporary imported our 2004 cadillac to playa del carmen mexico. We shipped it to proggresso then drive to PDC. That was back in 2009 with a tourist visa. We endup staying and getting Fm3 visas and got married in mexico but not legally just a ceromany because sime papers being missing and it wasnt important at the time. We drove our car under fm3 visas until november this year I have offered good job in las vegas decide to move. Car title is in my wife (common wife) name. We end up staying in usa ship all of our stuff except our car. We have been renting a car in vegas couple months now. We try to ship but it wasnt possible without my wife personally drop the car one of the port. I decide to drive the car all the way. First issue is i just realize after read your article that my wife fm3 expired yesterday and i am writing you this from airport on the way to pdc. Here is my question can I drive the car to usa without my wife being with me? Will it be safe? Can I get temp permit to leave the mexico in 3-5 days? Documents I have with me are: copy of her fm3, passport, original permit, notarized copy of the title, notarized permit stating she is allowing me drive her car to usa. I also have my passport fm3 ( not expired) Please help and thank you in advance-:)

    • yucalandia says:

      Yes, you can drive the car. Just explain that it is owned by your wife.

      Aduana gives a formal 2 week grace period on the TIPs expiring, and generally allows a month. You can drive it out.

      For a safe route, read our article on Driving from the USA to Yucatan at Yucatan Living. According to repeated, very current reports from reliable people living at the border, the Central Route, with a crossing at either Laredo or Piedras Negras, is still both a very safe route and is also the relative safest route, and is ironically also the fastest route (due to all the toll roads and few or no topes nor small towns).

      One drawback to allowing the INM visa to expire before turning in the car Permit: you lose any deposit you made.

      All the best,

  147. gwen grafft says:

    HI: does anybody know if there is a way to have my car shipped back to the US? I have to leave due to a family situation and can’t drive it back.

    • yucalandia says:

      You could ship it by sea. There are several ports that handle this. Linea Peninsular ships cars out of Progreso for $600 USD one way (price 2 years ago – including broker fees, taxes, etc ), for delivery in Tampa, Florida. I understand that they were planning to make arrangements for Progreso – Houston shipments. There was once shipping out of Vera Cruz – Houston, and Vera Cruz – New Orleans, but I have no idea of its status.

  148. Erdem says:

    Here is the summary of my trip: I start driving from Playa Del Carmen around 4 pm Nov. 24th. Drove about 4 hours and reach Chetumal road was mostly 2 way and lot of truckers on the road. Past trough several town with traffic lights and lot of topez. Best part is truckers let you know about upcoming traffic by their left turn signal so you dont have to stuck behind them. I stayed in downtown and felt pretty safe . Next day I drove all the way to Puebla took the toll roads ( Cuenta = toll road Libre= local roads) totally worth it. I did not go in to downtown and stayed in Holiday Inn . They have underground parking with security so slept pretty good. I always drove day time and some after dark until Puebla. After Puebla I knew I would be entering state of Durango and Chihuahua which are the most dangerous states in Mexico so I did not drive at dark anymore. I drive Black Cadillac escalade so it drove lot of attention from police and military. Almost everytime i got stopped by military and search . There are 5 military check point all the way to border and I was stopped every single one of them ask where am I going and coming from. I speak ok spanish so I did help me also I emptied my car completely had no suitcases or bag that saved me lot of time. Everytime they ask me where am I going my answer was next big town ( like first day was Puebla second day was chihuahua) it seems that help me for quick search. Second day woke up early because I wanted to drove to Chihuahua which is 17 hours drive. When it got dark I was at city of jimenez and I did not want to drive anymore so look for hotel. There are none. Stayed at most safe looking motel called Colonial right by the highway. They have parking inside so my car wasnt visible for outsiders. I did not felt safe because door was really looks like bathroom doors we have and i am sure with a small amount of force it would be open easily. End of the day nothing happened and as soon as sun was out I was on the road again. After 5-6 hours drive I was at the city of juarez( the most dangerous city) Of course it was day time and it looked like any city with hard working people trying to make living. You have to pass trough the city to get to border of texas. I had no problem. Waited about 25 minutes at the border all they ask was my passport and they search the car with some kind of machine and thats it. I was at El paso Texas. Took I-10 speed limit is 75 mph that made rest of the road to Las Vegas very easy. If I have to give you one advise for this kinda drive take the toll roads. It will cost you a few hundreds dollars but I will save you time and headache. I would like to thank to Steve for his help before I start this journey. His help gave me confidence to do it. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have. Please just write it here so everyone can take advantage of it.


  149. Kathleen says:

    Erdem, thank you for your very detailed report and that you arrived to Las Vegas unscathed.

  150. Kim Doland says:

    Hi Steve
    I need to nationalize my van from Canada in order to make room on my FM3 for the temporary importation of my motorcycle. How do I go about this permanent importation of my van in Progreso, Yucatan? Do I have to go to Aduana on the pier to start the process? What kind of documentation will I need to bring with me? I have read in the past that the vehicle needs to be 10 years old in order to to do this. It just so happens that my van is a 2003 so I can hopefully do this in January! However, I have heard that they are only allowing 8 and 9 year old vehicles to be imported and I am worried that my van might be too old now. Do you happen to know which is correct? Finally, what about my motorcycle? Do I also go to Aduana to get it temporarily imported?
    Thanks for any advice….

  151. yucalandia says:

    Hi Kim,
    Your 2003 Van is exactly 10 years old as of Nov 1, 2012, so, you might want to go in now, before the Aduana folks go on their Christmas/New Years holidays.

    Contact the folks at the pier (muelle). Stop by the little office before entering the road to the pier, and they will give you either a list of things needed, or give you authorization to go out to an Administration building (second group of buildings) about ½ way out from the end of the muelle. They should give you a list of what is needed. HOPEFULLY, they will not require an emissions test…

    There are brokers in Progreso who handle this. A few of the more talented folks on Yolisto have recommended Hiram Cervera:

    Hiram Cervera
    PROGRESO (969) 935 3535
    MERIDA (999) 946 2326
    CANCUN (998) 882 0888
    USA (302) 351 8212

    We have no experience with him, so, I can’t really say anything more than ChuckD and some other sharp local commentators recommended him.

    If you get stuck, I may now someone who has work-arounds…

  152. Kim Doland says:

    Hi Steve
    We took your advice and contacted this broker. Without going into specifics, he estimated that it would cost around US$2000 to nationalize my 2003 Ford Econoline 15 passenger van!!! The darn thing is only worth about US$7000!! Does that sound a little expensive to you, given your experience with this sort of thing? As for the motorcycle, it is sitting here in our driveway with NO Aduana paperwork on it! Should I assume that this is OK as long as I don’t ride it until my wife can register it at Aduana under her FM3/temporal immigrante (or whatever they are calling it now)? Since there is no fee for renewing the temporary importation permits every year, I think that we will just renew the permits when we renew our temporal immigrante visa each year…at least the fee for the visa doesn’t cost too much….or does it? Does this sound like a good plan to you? Or, given that there is such a small window of opportunity to nationalize the van within it’s 10th year of existence, should I just pay the 2K and never have to worry about it again?
    Thanks for whatever advice you can suggest!

  153. Larry Seminutin says:

    Hi Steve,I will be importing our household goods shortly (Menaje de Casa ) via my own cargo trailer towed by my own vehicle. Would lie to come an go from Mexico with same vehicle while leaving the trailer behind unless I decide to leave permanently. Is this a problem when I check out at the border?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Larry,
      Yes, 1,000’s of expats do this successfully. Just have Aduana issue a permit for the trailer, that becomes linked to the car permit. Note that if you want to cancel the car permit someday, you can decide if you want to deal with taking the trailer out at the same time, or later, to keep it all legal and untangled.

  154. Larry Seminutin says:

    Hi Steve. In keeping with legal and untangled, If I chose to replace the vehicle with another while back state-side , any ideas.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Larry,
      When you bring the first vehicle w/trailer, you will get Temporary Import Permits (TIP) for each. Many guys just leave the trailer in Mexico and come and go with other vehicles. When you leave with the first vehicle, be sure to stop at the Mexican side of the border, and turn in your original copy of your car/truck’s TIP, and then have Banjercito personnel remove the sticker from the windshield, and then they give you a receipt for your cancelled TIP. SAVE THIS DOCUMENT/RECEIPT.

      When you return with a different (or same) vehicle in the future, you can then get a new TIP on the next vehicle. You will likely not be allowed to bring in another trailer, until you take out the old one (turning in the old trailer’s TIP at Banjercito whenever it leaves the country).

      Keeping the document proving you surrendered your old/first TIP saves you from any future hassles in getting new TIPs.

      All simple and easy.
      Happy Trails,

  155. JRG says:

    I called Aduana in QRO and talked with Juan Manuel de la Vega. His phone numbers are: 442-227-0013 and 442-227-0100 and extension 62343 for the second number. Once you have your temporary resident visa you have 15 working days to go to Aduana and show them your new visa. Your deposit is then protected for the duration of your visa be it 1, 2, 3 or 4 years. Even if you are pre-approved at a consulate, once you have your visa which you receive locally, go to Aduana to register your visa.

    For those receiving Permanent Resident visas, sometime this year you will be receiving a letter. They are tying INM and Aduana’s computer bases together so they will have your address. That letter will give you a date by which you are to remove your foreign plated vehicle from Mexico. This time frame has yet to be determined.

  156. Ian Bourne says:

    Hi Steve, Please help me with an email address to get you, I can’t seem to find one on the home page, however, your site is incredible. It’s Ian, we are coming down again Jan 30 Feb 27 to Cancun, wondering if we can meet and what I can bring for your charity work from the US ? Best wishes, Ian.
    PS Sorry to get you on a reply space.

  157. Doug says:

    OK. Here’s my problem.
    I went to renew my FM3 today (in Guadalajara) and was told I must change to Permanent Residence status – meaning a new ID Card.
    What do I do with my German Licensed car? If I am a permanent resident, will I be allowed to continue driving it as I was with my FM3? Since the car is less than 30 years old, I am not allowed to get Mexican Plates.
    I was told by Immigration, even if I have a Permanent Residency Card, I can drive to the Border, de-register my car, obtain a new Tourist Visa and re-import the car. I would have to do this each 6 months but am I allowed a Permanent Resident Card AND a Tourist Visa? This doesn’t seem right.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Doug,
      First, Aduana has not made a decision whether Residente Permanente permit holders will or will not be allowed to keep their imported cars. A few Aduana regional directors are saying you might be allowed to keep your imported foreign-plated car for a year, and then you will be sent a letter ordering you to take it out of Mexico. The final Aduana’s decision on foreign plated cars for Residente Permanentes is reported to be coming by the end of January. Cars like yours can be sold in Belize if as a Residente Permanente you cannot keep the car.

      Alternately, you can do a series of Visitor’s permits, and drive the car to the border every 6 months, turn in the old import permit, apply for a refund of your $200 – $400 USD deposit, and give Banjercito a fresh $200-$400 dollar deposit, and then do the dance all over again in 6 more months. Or sell the car at the border.

      You are correct in assuming that you cannot have a Visitor permit and a Permanente Residente Card at the same time, as the computer tracks them by your name and by your passport number.

      • rubygeorgina says:

        That is good information. I was told the other day that IF one has working papers then you must remove your foreign plated vehicle.. but this is the rumor mill… have you heard anything to validate that rumor?

        Was interested to hear that they are tying Aduana with INM and that a letter will be issued indicating the date for removal of your vehicle.

        Thanks for all your great work in keeping us informed and legal.


      • yucalandia says:

        Hi RubyGeorgina,
        There have been zero / zip / nada official announcements by Aduana on the issue of foreign-plated cars (TIP cars) and the new INM residency permits.

        Even though there have been no rulings, no announcements, or not even comments, some enterprising (very cautious) Mexican lawyers are telling their clients that they MUST take out their foreign-plated cars. There are also equivalent numbers of Mexican lawyers saying you can keep your car (for now and likely permanently).

        Me? I recognize that Aduana has formally known about INM’s new Residente Permanente category since May 2011, and Aduana has taken ZERO actions to change their rules to write in prohibitions into the Ley Aduanero. When an agency does not issue prohibitions for 21 months, then why should these lawyers make their own ad hoc personal rulings, proclaiming things that Aduana officials clearly have NOT been willing to say?

        The current Aduana statutes say NOTHING about the status of Permisos de Importación Temporal de Vehículos for either Residente Temporal or Residente Permanente card holders. In the absence of a ruling, we are left with the Articulo 106 de la Ley Aduanero, that specifically states that if the auto permit holder maintains a valid INM permit, then the auto permit remains valid.

        Further, some sharp Mexican lawyers have pointed out the Mexican legal principle/right that the Mexican Gob. cannot arbitrarily take away an existing legal benefit from an individual, unless they first provide substantial justification for removing that benefit.

        So, we are all waiting to see what Aduana actually decides…
        ( making all the recent comments … ~ dust in the wind ~ … )

  158. John says:

    You can also let your fm3 expire, go to office next day and pay fine then restart your fm3 for four more years. Instructions from jefe of ins Acapulco office.

  159. Don Saigle says:

    My apologies, but I can’t find this specific item addressed. I obtained my FM3 in Feb. of 2012, leaving Mexico in April. I drove back into Mexico during Oct 2012 and obtained the TIP as I crosssed. I was given a piece of paper by the bank that stated:

    ” NOTE: EXTENSION PERMIT FOR TEPORARY IMPORT. 15 days prior to expiration date of original permit a FM3 form will have to be processed to Inmigration office (or in case of FM2 Rentista Category). After renewing your FM3 or FM2 you will have 15 days to go SAT for deposit processing in office. If this is not realized with in 15 days, the deposit will automatically transfer to the Federal Treasury (TESOFE)”

    I’ve just received my new residente temporal card issued. How do I notify Aduana of the renewal/change in status? I’m in Bucerias outside of Puerto Vallarata. Thanks

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Don,
      How do I notify Aduana of the renewal/change in status? I’m in Bucerias outside of Puerto Vallarata.

      The paper they gave you was a courtesy notice telling you about their standard policy since June 2010. Every time you update your INM permit, TIP holders must go in person to their local Aduana office, and register the new expiration date (of your renewed INM permit), so they can update their TIP databases with your new expiration date for your car’s permit.

      A quick check of the Map of Aduanas del Pais shows Aduqana offices in Manzanillo and Guadalajara.
      Happy Trails,

  160. John Faux says:

    Hello all . This is a GREAT THREAD!!..however…I still can’t find my particular issue here. So hopefully my question will benefit other newbies to Mexico like myself.

    I drove my van via Nogales and arrived here in Mazatlan January 27. Aduane in Nogales issued my vehicle permit for just 30 days! My Temporary Resident application was made November 28 and after a huge mistake on migrations part my card should be ready around March 1.

    I have read that my vehicle permit is linked to the expiration of my visa status and my card. True? Is there ANY point in me going to aduane right now, to get my permit extended with no resident card in hand …only an application? In fact do I have to go there at all since the van permit expires with my one year temporary card??

    Thanks for help offered. Cheers!

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi John,
      Do you care if you lose your $$$ deposit on the TIP ?
      If not, then things should ultimately work out fine.

      Re your deposit and requirements to notify Aduana of INM permit activities:
      Since June of 2010, You (and everyone else) must notify Aduana within 15 days after your TIP’s expiration date, notifying them in person of your INM permit’s actual (new or extended) expiration date. If you get your INM permit before current TIP’s 30 day expiration, (Jan. 27 + 30 = Feb 26). then it all works out. If you get your INM permit after your TIP expires, but notify Aduana of the new expiration date with 15 days (“grace period”) of the expiration date, (Feb 26 + 15 = March 13), then it likely works out, … but sometimes Aduana takes time to notify Banjercito and then Banjercito confiscates the deposit on Day 15 of the “grace period. If you exceed the original 30 days on your TIP, and exceed the 15 day grace period, then you definitely lose your $$$ deposit you made with Banjercito. Be sure to notify Aduana in person as soon as possible, (with your new INM permit expiration date), and if possible, do not go beyond the TIPs expiration date.

      Normally, when you notify Aduana of the actual expiration date (and prove the status) of your INM permit, Aduana issues you an official letter to carry in the car to show the police and Military to prove that your TIP has not expired. Still, with your unusual situation, Aduana will likely not issue you a letter until you get formal written notification of your INM permit’s new expiration date… or show them your new INM residency card.

      Fortunately, there is still time for you to get your new card from INM, and notify Aduana within the 15 day “grace period”.

      Happy Trails,

  161. Don Saigle says:

    Thanks – no way to do this via phone, email or mail/delivery?

  162. Don Saigle says:

    Thanks Steve – I did a little research and outreach here. I stopped into the Aduana office at the PV airport. They provided me with a form letter to submitted to the Administradora de Operacion Aduanera “3” in Mexico City. Other then attaching the necessary copies of documents, there’s no need for anything else. I’ve since heard similar experiences in process from others on this side of the country and no formal letter being issued by Aduana. FYI.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Don,
      Wow, your PV-airport Aduana office is the first one we have heard of that handles the car permit renewal issue. cool….

      Unfortunately, the annual letter is being issued by many (but not all) regional and local Aduana offices, (it is also issued by the DF office). This means that police in a given state can be used to expecting their TIP holders to carry a current letter, but if you are from an area where the Aduana office does not issue a letter, maybe you just carry some receipt they gave you for that year???

  163. fugawibill says:

    Both myself and my vehicle are approaching an age that neither of us belong on long road trips. I have seen references to a donation program to clear the permit, but can’t seem to locate them. Several of us expats are in a similar situation, and would like to know what your take is. Thanks

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Bill,
      There is an official plan “on the books”, but when we have gone to 2 different Aduana offices here in Yucatan peninsula, they have no idea how to do it. They sent us to Hacienda to ask more questions – which we have not followed up on yet. I would note that reliable reports from gringos in other parts of Mexico are saying that their Aduana offices no longer accept any vehicle: They only want good working, useful vehicles, like vans… Maybe your local Aduana office personnel know more than ours?

      To avoid this run-around, one other friend here asked their Notario what to do. He told them to have the vehicle disposed of locally (by a junkyard ~ dehuesadero ~ ), and he has written them a letter to have the junkyard sign, certifying that the vehicle has been destroyed and cut up for parts, and cannot and will not be used ever again. You turn in your windshield permit sticker, with the original TIP paper copy, and a copy of the Notario’s letter, and Aduana then accepts your surrendered permit, and clears the permit from their system and taking it off of you passport record and off your INM NUE number record.

  164. fugawibill says:

    In my case, it is a perfectly usable van, which, I am sure, a local charity would be pleased to receive. According the Aduana here in Mazatlan, the cost to destroy, and clear the TIP, is between $300 and $400US.

    It appears from your coment above, that they may have a program similar to a “Kidney Car” NOB. Of course, you can always have someone else drive it out with a Retorno Seguro. Either one might also be a solution to the foreign vehicle problem when upgrading to Residante Permanente.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Bill,
      You mention the potential problems that MIGHT occur if an expat with a foreign plated car upgrades to Residente Permanente. This issue remains open/unresolved, and there are as many experts and lawyers saying that expats who already have cars here, will be allowed to keep their cars, as there are opinions that the TIP cars will have to go.

      I have added a section above to partly answer your questions – at: I Can’t Take My TIP Car to the Border and I Want to Donate It to Aduana. This section includes 3 possible Gob. references for more official information on your situation.

      When you get some resolution, can you please come back and give us a report?
      Thanks, steve

  165. Merlenna Higby says:

    I have another question, is it possible to keep a foreign plated vehicle if we get a work visa? Or do we need to have it still leave the country every 6 months on a tourist visa, or sell it if we don’t want to have to drive it to the border every 6 months?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Merlenna,
      Just what INM permit type do you have (or are planning to have)? p(This affects your ability to have a TIP car more than your work status.) If you choose to get a Tourist permit (not a visa)**, then yes, you have to go to the border and cancel out both the Tourist permit and the Aduana temporarily imported auto permit every six months – or for whatever period up to 6 months INM authorizes. Have you considered a Residente Temporal INM permit (?) – which can be purchased for 1 to 4 years – and allows you to keep the car for the entire period, without trips to the border.

      You can read more about Residente Temporal permits at our main article on Immigration to Mexico at: New Rules and Procedures for Immigration, Visiting, and Staying in Mexico .

  166. Pingback: Temporary Opportunity to Permanently Import a Car Into Mexico | Surviving Yucatan

  167. I have lived in Mexico for 8 winters with a tourist visa.
    This January I acquired a Temporary Resident Visa in Vancouver that I must start to convert to a Temporary Resident Card within 30 days of entering Mexico.
    I wanted to purchase a 4 year temporary resident visa but INM in Mazatlan says I can only purchase a 1 year visa in the year that I convert.
    Is this true?

    • yucalandia says:

      Since individual INM offices have broad latitude in deciding how to implement the policy, they have the right to issue only a 1 year visa. I would ask to pay for 4 years, and show them a copy of the official text describing the fees for 4 years of a Residente Temporal card, though.

  168. Don Saigle says:

    Attended presentation today by INM and SAT in Nuevo Vallarta. IF I heard thing correctly, Aduana has totally disconnected the TIP issues from resident status ( temp and/or permenant ). Foreign plated vehicles can only be in the country for a max. of 180 days and only on a tourist visa status. Those that have foreign plated vehicle that wish to leave them in country, have to contact a customs broker to have the vehicle ‘naturalized’. Has anyone else heard this?

  169. Pingback: Aduana Proposal to Allow Existing Foreign-Plated “TIP” Cars to be Permanently Imported ? | Surviving Yucatan

  170. Rob says:

    Hi Steve,
    So here is the thing….I did not know the rules and regualations…I came to Mexico two years ago….and I bought a vehicle (US$4800) off a couple here…..then later when I realized this was not alllowed I tried to contact the people who sold it to me….long gone….the vehicle has Arizona plates (I am from Canada) and does not appear to have any sticker…..they have not responded to my emails about my enquiry regarding how they brought the vehicle into Mexico….so I buried my head in the sand….for two years! I know , I know not smart but it is what it is…during that time I had an FM3 and then left and came back on a toursit visa….and have been driving the vehicle all of this time… is mine I do have the bill of sale etc..,.but it is still all registered in the previous owners name…the plates are expired….
    I have enquired with the state of Arizona and can obtain a temporary permit once in the U.S. or online before I leave Mexico so I can drive it through the U.§. to Canada. But how do I get it out of here… is a great vehicle….of course I cannot legally sell it on although someone could just drive it the way I did……and I probably cannot legally drive it out of Mexico…cannot find a sticker anywhere on the windshield….maybe they only drove it in for a day with no sticker then stayed and later sold it to me. Anyhow here is the thing…what are the chances and where would be the best place for me to drive out of Mexico…do they always stop people or could I just drive…once I am on the U.§ side I am legal and then onto Canada….
    Ah the complicated situations I has been a great vehicle…if needs be…I would even consider giving it to one of my Mexican friends…but then they cannot legally use it anyway.
    So what are the chances of me driving right through……

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Rob,
      Good story. Fun details.

      Your Current Options:
      1. Continue driving it as you have for the past 2 years. Hope for continued good luck. Leave Mexico when you want, arranging for temporary AZ registration to allow you to drive legally in the USA/Canada. Will Arizona issue the temporary registration without also issuing you an AZ title? Will Canada give you plates, based on just a US title that has been signed over to you (no US title printed in your name)?
      2. Use the Safe Returns program described in the article above, giving you a 3 to 5 day window to drive out of Mexico legally.

      I don’t know what state you are in, so, I cannot hazard a guess as to the chances of driving out without hassles. My best guess is that you would likely be able to drive out of Mexico without any Mex. officials or police questioning you. In the realm of risk, your risk of problems may be greater regarding getting in an accident. Many Mex. insurance companies use the excuse of your vehicle not having proper registration to disallow protection on accidents. If you got into an accident, you could find yourself indefinitely in a Mexican jail (no food, no water in many), until you can definitively prove that you can pay for any possible future medical problems related to accident-related injuries, plus damage to the other car.

      In the worst case, the current liability payment to dependents, ordained by the Mex. Gob. in case of accidental death, is over $300,000 USD. You could sit in jail a long time if you have no valid insurance protection. e.g. We know one fellow who sat in jail over him hitting a motorcycle rider who ducked in front of him, without phone calls, no food, no water, for 4 days, until his insurance agent finally resolved the financial bond issues. (the motorcyclist had a broken leg)

      Since we cannot control what the guys do on motorcycles here, we chose to get auto insurance.
      All the best,

  171. fugawibill says:

    A question I have not seen addressed yet is whether there have been any changes to the RV permit program. I, like some others, leave my RV in Mexico year around.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hey Bill,
      Check out the Aduana ppt presentation listed in the comments on our latest first post: It says that RV permits remain in force for 10 years, and that they can be renewed for an additional 10 years. We have read nothing official on this.

  172. Chad says:

    Hi Steve,
    So, there is a delay with getting our visa at the consulate in the states, but we want to go ahead and purchase a car before we return to start the process. Well, supposedly we can purchase a car without residency (except at a dealership), but can’t register it until residency has been obtained. There have been posts made that you can place the car in a third-party’s name and draw up a legal contract stating that you are technically the owner and have full power over the vehicle. Is this something you would recommend? Have you seen cases like this? I know another site pointed out that you simply say you just bought the car and haven’t registered it yet, but my fear would be that the license plates would change or something and that wouldn’t work for long. Any ideas on what we can do? We don’t want to pay for a rental car for a few months. Thanks so much… again… for your help.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Chad,
      Hmmmmm…. This is clearly an area where you know much more than we do.
      Sorry, we have no knowledge or experience in this area, and we have not heard anything from friends.

      If you find out definitively how this works (or not), please come back and tell us your experiences.

  173. Eliana says:

    Hi Steve,
    I am a 28 yr old British citizen with dual nationality (mother is Mexican). I am planning to live in Mexico for a few years, maybe permanently. I fly first into the US next week to visit friends, and I have an idea to purchase a used motorhome there, between 6-8 yrs old, drive it across the border and into Mexico. I wish to import it permanently, which would also require me to nationalise it. A motorhome will be cheaper long term than rental and give me the flexibility to move about until I settle down somewhere.
    Do you know the procedure for permanently importing a vehicle since I am a Mexican citizen? However I will be buying the vehicle in the US? Can I register it in the US in my name without being a US citizen? Since it would not be a temporary import permit I need, what kind of paperwork needs to be done before I reach the border? As I understand, I would need to go to a border office to file for both the permanent import and the nationalisation. I don’t know if I would get both done in a day and obviously am a little nervous about hanging around in a border town for too long.
    Do you think it is worth doing all this, given the nationalisation costs seem so high? Do you know what other costs like taxes and customs fees would be? I have done numerous web searches and it seems almost impossible to find good quality used motorhomes in Mexico. I have looked into shipping a motorhome over from Miami to Cancun, but was told the only place you can permanently import a motorhome would be through Laredo Texas. Is this true?
    I would appreciate any advice!! Also, what route would you suggest taking in terms of road travel? I will probably have one or two friends also with me in the motorhome who will be coming in as tourists. We plan to drive to San Cristobal de las Casas and thereafter stay in the central / south of Mexico. Thanks so much in advance! Eliana.

    • yucalandia says:

      For the best route through Mexico to get to southern Mexcio, check out the Yucatan Living article: Driving Through Mexico to Yucatan . We still think it was and still is the best route as when I originally wrote the article.

      It would take an entire article to describe the terms and conditions for permanently importing a motor home. Check outón temporal de casas rodantes” for all the current and official details. Because of the high value ($$$) of motor homes, you may be forced to use a Custom’s Broker. In that case, the Customs Broker will tell you exactly what they need for their particular border crossing’s procedures and policies.

      Only you can decide what choice is best for your personal style: All the conveniences and headaches of a house on wheels vs. hotels or short term rentals. Since we don’t know how you intend to stay or your lifestyle choices in Mexico, we really cannot say what is best for you. I can say that big motorhomes are prohibited from traveling through or around a number of city centers, except during certain hours (evening or night-time), because they just cannot be driven easily in heavy traffic on narrow streets.

      Will you park on friend’s or family property? The motorhome parks we have seen are all located on the outer edges of cities – necessitating either ~ bicycles (FUN) ~ or patience and knowledge of the bus systems … or taxis? Alternately, you may want to drag a small car behind the motor home, to have transportation once you get to San Cristobal and other destinations. Unless you have a partner to drive the small car, with all the limitations of towing front wheel drive vehicles, you would likely need to also buy a small 2 wheel trailer to haul the around-town car.

      The friends we know who have done this for years … LOVE IT… the pace is so different – it makes for much more leisurely travel . Sidelight: How are your repair skills? Every motor home or travel trailer we have been around have ongoing minor nuisance issues that crop up.

      I would really advise contacting Jonna at Blah blah blah, GINGER”: . She has done the motor-home travel life around Mexico for years, is a wonderfully-talented, highly-knowledgeable, and practical person, and she’s a hoot to talk with – now happily living in Merida.

      Tell her “hi” from us.

      Happy Trails,

  174. rubygeorgina says:

    I learned last week that there is a temporary AMPARO (amnesty) on foreign plated vehicles. Trying to find out more. But what I have been able to determine so far is that vehicles 5 years or older qualify with VINs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 AND now also J and W (so Japanese and German built vehicles). No idea how long the AMPARO might last or how much it will cost to legalize. Any information on your end of things?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Ruby,
      We wrote a post on the Amparo** on Feb 12: Temporary Opportunity to Permanently Import a Car Into Mexico

      We have friends who live just a few blocks from Tiocorp, and they have been checking out the offer. The first reports say that Tiocorp seems ok, but we are waiting to hear a first-hand report of how well the importation worked and waiting for information (the reputation and reliability) on the Customs Broker that Tiocorp is using in Tijuana.

      Please come back and tell us what you find out – using the Comments section for the post listed above.
      There is also a thread on this on the Mexconnect forums: to read more(?)


      **Amparo’s are not amnesties. Amparos are a feature of Mexican law that are very similar to a US judge’s temporary restraining order (TRO) – where an individual judge or Federal official puts some Mexican Govt. program or rule on “temporary hold”. As temporary restraining orders, no-one knows how long it will be held open (they may cancel the Amparo today… or tommorrow – or it may last for years), and we do not know the exact scope of this one. Many of us expat legal-beagles have been digging to find a copy of this Amparo, but we have had zero success so far.

  175. Chad says:

    Hi Steve,
    Regarding the clause in Article 106 about a foreigner other than the importer driving a NOB car. It spells out immediate family or a foreigner with ‘migratory status’. Does migratory status include a tourist visa? So, a friend who is in Mexico with me could drive my vehicle?

    Of course, the question remains if insurance would cover another driver. I have never understood those clauses with rental cars and some caution that you should contact individual insurance companies. However, the policy goes with the car, not the person. I have GNP Seguros for my NOB car and their customer service the couple times I have tried has been horrible. I can’t get an answer if I am the only driver allowed to drive for coverage. Do you know if this normal for NOB car policies with companies like AXA, GNP,etc.,etc. I can’t imagine being in an accident and the policy not being valid b/c an approved driver (according to the Mex. Gov’t) was driving.


    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Chad,
      The text of 106 Fracc IV actually says that any other gringo with the same category of INM permit is allowed to drive the car. If you import the car with a Tourist permit, then another gringo with a Tourist permit is allowed to drive it, according to INM law.

      You may be fine, or not? I have no idea what is in your rental car agreement or in your regular car insurance policy. Talk with your agent, as the help line representatives may not know the T’s & C’s of your specific policy, (since a bad/wrong answer from a phone rep may be worse than no answer).
      Happy Trails,

  176. Dorinda says:

    We will drive our Korean manufactured car back to Canada in mid-April as we realize that we can’t nationalize it as planned. Our TIP expired 2 years ago. We are applying for a Retorno Seguro (safe return permit) and wonder how soon we should apply. Will they date it for the date we plan on leaving or will it be when they receive the application? We want to be a little flexible on our departure date. Any advice is appreciated. I’m losing sleep over this!

  177. Mario says:

    Customs Rep.(PVR CUSTOMS BROKER AGENCY) told me that the MX.Government plans to bring in new rules in July for vehicles with foreign plates.Did somebody heard about it?I was also told that ordinary Police should not seize your vehicle.Only Police from Tax Department!!!???? Mario Thanks!!

  178. J says:

    Legalize vs pay the 40 + % tax on stolen vehicle??
    My bike gets stolen and i have to pay 40% tax plus a bunch of other fees this one is killing me.
    I loose my bike the police local state and fed didnt lift a finger to apprehend when some locals gave good info and they had time to stop them. Anyway now they want $$ on top of that, which would come to around 2k usd. Ok to some no big deal, but for others it may be a lot of money.. Either way its 2 – 2500 bucks to pay tax and clear import permit,
    It would cost about 900- to 1200 to legalize it. Then the tax is not applicable.
    Why not legalize after its stolen and save about half??
    Any Common sense in this law?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hey J,
      Common sense?

      Unfortunately yes. There is a history of some gringos lying to Aduana and gringos ignoring the rules/laws.

      Gringos in the past who did not want to take their TIP cars out of Mexico would sell the TIP car or bike to a Mexican, then claim the car or bike was stolen. The gringo gets the cash, maybe an insurance settlement, and then just files a stolen vehicle report with Aduana to clear the permit. The car/bike would then be used as a “chocolate” with foreign plates, or it would be parted-out.

      Remember that the “T” in TIP is for temporary. People with foreign-plated TIP vehicles have promised in writing to take the vehicle out of Mexico at some point. Without some penalty for not taking the vehicles out, then many gringos would not follow the laws. So, blame the portion of the gringo community who thinks Mexico is like Disneyland – that they don’t have to follow rules or laws – which has caused the Mex. Gob. to put penalties in place. *sigh*

      I suspect you saw our Article’s section on this: What Happens if Your Foreign Plated Car is Stolen …. SURPRISE ! @#%&***!! which you can see from the Section title , what we think about this policy…

      All around the world, a few bad apples do spoil things for the rest of the barrel.

  179. Pingback: My foreign plated car | Real Life in Merida Blog

  180. Kathleen says:

    I have a vehicle that I have taken off the road and want to have it destroyed as it is an accident waiting to happen. I’ve exhausted all repair avenues and it has to be destroyed. I don’t want anyone driving it.

    A while back you commented about “dead cars” in which a friend’s Notario wrote a letter to have a “junkyard (dehuesadero) sign, certifying that the vehicle has been destroyed and cut up for parts, and cannot and will not be used ever again. You turn in your windshield permit sticker, with the original TIP paper coo;py, and a copy of the Notario’s letter, and Aduana then accepts your surrendered permit, and clears the permit from their system and taking it off of you[r] passport record and off your INM NUE number record.” Did your friend get confirmation that ,indeed, the permit was cleared from the system?

  181. Pingback: Safe Returns / Retorno Seguro Permits for Taking TIP Cars to the Border | Surviving Yucatan

  182. Pingback: 3 Residente Permanente’s Temporary Import Permit Cars Confiscated | Surviving Yucatan

  183. Kathleen says:

    Great Steve! Did your Notario confirm that when the letter is formalized and notarized then signed by the dehuesodero or mecanico that when Aduana receives it the vehicle will be taken off the affected passport?


  184. Kim Doland says:

    So here’s one that I don’t think I have seen before on this site:
    I have a TIP that has been attached to my FM3/temporale residente visa for just over a year. There is another staff member coming from Canada in July and he will be applying for his own temporale residente visa. I would like to transfer the TIP that is attached to my visa, to HIS visa because I no longer wish to possess a temporale residente visa. We need to keep our Canadian-plated ministry van legal so I’d like him to be responsible for renewing the TIP from now on. Can you tell me how we go about making this transfer happen? Will I need to sell him the van for a dollar/peso so that he can produce a bill of sale in his name?
    Thanks, Steve…

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Kim,
      1. Who is the owner of the van? As a ministry, we had a variation of this question once before, and as long as the van is NOT titled/registered in your name, then yes… sort of….

      1.a. But the yes requires going to the border. You can cancel out the old TIP:
      ~ Surrender the paper TIP document using the following procedure:
      ~ Have Banjercito personnel take-off the old sticker
      ~ Take a solicitud letter addressed to the Aduana crossing you will go to: saying you want to surrender the existing TIP: (modify the letter at : )
      ~ Supply all the information and documents listed in the section of this article for renewing the expiration date of a TIP
      ~ Recover your TIP deposit from Banjercito

      1.b. The other person (who is at the border with you) then uses their Residente Temporal to get a new TIP in their name.

      2. If you are the owner of the van, then do everything listed in 1.a., then,
      2.a. You sign the title of the van over to the other person, and maybe have a letter dated for that day that documents the sale.
      2.b The other person (who is at the border with you) then uses their Residente Temporal to get a new TIP in their name on the vehicle that is now in their name.

      We know of at least 4 sets of people who have successfully done the vehicle sale at the border with Belize.

  185. Kim says:

    Actually, I am the owner of the van but I will NOT be able to go to the border to cancel my TIP. Do you think that a friend could take my place by cancelling the TIP at the border and driving the van into Belize, as long as I have previously completed a bill of sale which transfers the title to a third party who will also be travelling to the border? I am willing to part with my Banjercito deposit so it’s not like I would have to personally sign something, right? Once they are in Belize, how long before the new owner can turn around and drive back into Mexico with his new TIP?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Kim,
      Yes, your proposed plan is possible. You would need to write a broad and effective Power of Attorney (Carte de Poder) permitting your friend to drive your car, to cancel your Permiso de Importación de vehiculo and to take the car out of the country. A second letter would describe the sale of the vehicle to you. Both letters should identify both of your passport numbers, picture IDs (copies of yours), INM IDs, and all of the other documents and items shown in the list of items for “Official list of documents for notifying Aduana of your new/changed INM visa information:” above:

      We successfully did this for a friend just 2 months ago at the Belize, Subteniente López/Santa Helena, Mexico-Free Zone of Corozal border crossing. His wife (a different last name from his) owned the car, so I wrote him a Carte de Poder for her to sign to allow him to act as her legal agent and legal representative in all matters involving the vehicle, including driving the vehicle, including surrendering the TIP, receiving the Banjercito deposit, selling the vehicle, etc. Aduana de Subteniente López and Banjercito read the letter, and did the cancellation just fine. We then sold that vehicle in Belize the next day. Your friend could opt to go into Belize for some truly Duty Free shopping OR they could stay in Mexico – parking in the little lot at the Banjercito window, and doing all their transactions without leaving Mexico. Did you read our article on this?

      Remember, that border crossing Aduana office 9for processing papers and permit requests) closes at 5:00 PM…

      • Kim says:

        No, Steve, I did not read your article that you are referring to about “doing all the transactions without leaving Mexico”. Can you help me to locate it?

      • yucalandia says:

        This is one of those issues where as the site administrator, I read all the comments, intermingled, from many different articles and different posts on just one page.

        I was (goofily – mistakenly) referring to comments on this topic, that I made to a diffferent poster, in the comments section of a different thread.

        Here are the comments from the other article:
        “Gerard Uc in Chetumal is doing similar J car and German car imports, by paper-only, but Sr. Uc has the German (or American) car sold (on paper) to a legal Mexican car dealer, the Car dealer then uses his more liberal car-business privileges to import the car, he then sells the car back to you (on paper), and the dealer then issues you the new title/factura/bill of sale, pedimento, and Tamaulipas plates…

        2 gringos have reported using Sr Uc successfully:
        Gerardo Uc

        We just this week have two acquaintainces who are now sending Sr. Uc money and papers to do their cars. We will give reports/updates when we hear more.

        Hope this helps,

  186. kettenburgmex says:

    We have the new temporary resident visas and were told that only foreign-plated vehicles that were brought into Mexico before 2011 DO NOT have to have a TIP while traveling in Mexico or re-entering the country. Our vehicle was tied to our old FM2, but now do we need a TIP or not? We have never left a deposit while traveling to and from Mexico.

    • kettenburgmex says:

      What does “your comment is awaiting moderation” mean? Just checking because I posted this comment some time ago and I have not received a response. Are there certain comments you reject because of wording, etc.?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi KBMex,
      All foreign-plated cars in Mexico** must have a valid, unexpired TIP.

      **If you only drive the car in the 25 km border zone or in Baja California or Baja California Sur, then foreign-plated cars do not need a TIP.

      Where is the car now?

      You describe an “old FM2”. What INM permit do you have now, and what is its expiration date? What does the “Refrendo #” on the back of your current/unexpired INM permit say?

      The answers to these questions are needed to determine your current options.

      • kettenburgmex says:

        Hi Steve,
        Appreciate you getting back to us. As I mentioned we have the new temporary resident visas and we are in our 3rd Refrendo. We understand that the car permit is no longer tied to the visa. We cross the border every year both ways and the car was originally brought into Mexico before 2011. Several people have told us that for the next two years (4 years of temporary resident visas) we don’t need a TIP because the car entered Mexico before 2011. We are thinking differently. Which is correct? We need to return to the States again the last part of May. Any info will be helpful.

      • yucalandia says:

        Hi KBMex,
        I asked you: ” What INM permit do you have now, and … what is its expiration date?
        Your reply uses generic terminology (“new temporary resident visa“) – so, we cannot interpret what card you have nor do we know the expiration date (crystal ball is cloudy today). The new temporary residente permits are Residente Temporal cards. The only “visas” that one gets for entering Mexico. There are no visas for living/residing in Mexico.

        Because you did not answer our previous requests for more (necessary) information, we cannot answer your questions.

        Next: I previously asked you where the car is now. You chose not to answer.
        Again, because you did not answer this request for more (necessary) information, we cannot answer your questions.

        Did you have any breaks, or expirations, or fines or penalties assessed to either your current or earlier INM permits?

        We really do need all of this specific information to answer your questions.
        Happy Trails,

  187. Kim says:

    This is awesome, Steve…thank you so much for the detail in your response. It sounds like a slam-dunk….we just have to remember to stop on the Mexican side of the border to cancel our TIP and everything should work out fine….
    thanks again for all of your efforts on behalf of us gringos who don’t have a clue!

  188. I left a comment earlier, it appeared on the site and now is gone and no reply. Can you give me a reason? Thank you.

    • yucalandia says:

      Yes, our daughter and grandson are in town for a few days from the USA.

      I do this site with only some help from my Mexican wife.

      I do all this for free.

      I agreed to help a friend today who needs to buy a car. He needed someone who knows the law and the permits and knows Spanish to inspect the legal paperwork on the prospective car. It turns out that the car had a salvage title, … , and the last 2 Mexican sales transactions for the vehicle had not been officially recorded… This took me away from being able to see your messages.

      Plus, my family scheduled a birthday party for me today, and we had to do a lot of prep work for the party, plus the time at the party.

      I apologize for taking 5 hours to get online and review what you wrote. We have had a number of pretty nasty and ugly things written by commentators, so, we moderate the first few things things that people write here, since we basically have a “G” rated site, and a few “G” rated readers.

      I hope these explanations are enough to meet your request for “why” I have not responded in the last 4 hours.


      • kettenburgmex says:

        Wow, we really aren’t communicating. I don’t know how else I can say it so I’ll try again. We just received our Residente Temporal visas and the expiration date is 2 years from now since we paid for the next two years after which we will go for Residente Permanente. We are currently in our 3rd Refrendo- no breaks or fines in the current or former cards. I only said Temporary Resident visas in English, but I meant the Residente Temporal cards.
        Our car is in Mexico and we drive it back and forth to the States once every year. It is a 2006 Nissan Frontier. Several people we know have sworn that one doesn’t need a TIP if the vehicle was brought into Mexico before 2011. I just want to know if this is true or do we need to apply for a TIP regardless of when the car was brought to Mexico?

        I think I’ve answered all your questions.

      • yucalandia says:

        Hi KBMex,
        You are correct about not communicating.

        In the first reply to you, I wrote:
        Hi KBMex,
        All foreign-plated cars in Mexico** must have a valid, unexpired TIP.

        How can I make this any clearer?
        All foreign-plated cars in Mexico must have a valid Temporary Import Permit that has not expired.

        Does you car have Mexican license plates? If it does not have Mexican plates, then, it must have a valid TIP.

        You write:
        Several people we know have sworn that one doesn’t need a TIP if the vehicle was brought into Mexico before 2011.
        The law has been clear on this point for at least 22 years. It really does not matter what other people tell you, if your intent is to keep the vehicle legal.

        Accurate communication really can be difficult. At 5:07 pm yesterday, you wrote a post with questions, and then at 5:22 PM you wrote again:
        What does “your comment is awaiting moderation” mean? Just checking because I posted this comment some time ago and I have not received a response.

        Even though we are a free website, with no income coming in, we really do try to reply to readers questions in a reasonable amount of time.

        My apologies for such slow and inadequate responses,

  189. kettenburgmex says:

    This is my first time on Yucalandia and I didn’t realize how it was set up, that you did all this work voluntarily and also have a life. So…sorry for my impatience and I understand the system now. Thanks for all the work you do keeping us informed.

  190. kettenburgmex says:

    Thank you for your reply Steve. I will take you at your word and let those people who are misinformed know that it makes no difference when the car was brought into Mexico. If the vehicle has foreign plates and is no longer attached to a valid visa, it must have a TIP. This is the answer I was looking for.
    Also, if you will check your notes and times, I wrote the comment “What does “your comment is awaiting moderation” mean…….” on April 14 at 5:22 p.m. not yesterday 15 minutes after sending my email at 5:07. You already answered this email explaining the time frame and why it took you a bit to respond and I wrote back saying I was sorry and didn’t understand how the system worked. If you are doing all this on your own time for free and need to take time to review comments, of course it is going to take some time. No reason to apologize. Again, thank you for taking the time to respond.

  191. Gordon Jumonville says:

    Hi Steve,

    An American friend has offered to drive my car back to Texas for me. Great! We both entered on FM 2’s back in mid January. Any problems with this?



    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Gordo,
      Good Plan.
      It can be helpful for him to have a Carta de Poder letter from you describing the rights you give him, but not necessary. A copy of Article 106 is also good (showing that he is allowed to drive it.

  192. Pingback: Residente Temporal: Working vs. Non-Working and Foreign Plated TIP Cars | Surviving Yucatan

  193. yostjd says:

    So based on this comment below, from above, I can take my Japanese car to Chetumal and have Mr. Uc make it legal? (we have permanent visa’s) It would explain how a neighbor has the exact same car as I do, from the states/made in Japan, with Yucatan plates……..

    yucalandia says:
    April 14, 2013 at 9:55 pm
    This is one of those issues where as the site administrator, I read all the comments, intermingled, from many different articles and different posts on just one page.

    I was (goofily – mistakenly) referring to comments on this topic, that I made to a diffferent poster, in the comments section of a different thread.

    Here are the comments from the other article:
    “Gerard Uc in Chetumal is doing similar J car and German car imports, by paper-only, but Sr. Uc has the German (or American) car sold (on paper) to a legal Mexican car dealer, the Car dealer then uses his more liberal car-business privileges to import the car, he then sells the car back to you (on paper), and the dealer then issues you the new title/factura/bill of sale, pedimento, and Tamaulipas plates…

    2 gringos have reported using Sr Uc successfully:
    Gerardo Uc
    We just this week have two acquaintainces who are now sending Sr. Uc money and papers to do their cars. We will give reports/updates when we hear more.”

    • Elizabeth Ferdinand says:

      Sending money and papers to someone I do not know makes me nervous. Did your acquaintances have any problems with using Sr. UC?

  194. Karina says:

    I have been told that it is possible to get a pedimento de importacion for one’s NAFTA vehicle at a Mexican Consulate in the U.S. when applying for a Residente Permanente visa. Then the customs broker at the border when entering Mexico is just a formality. Has anyone had any experience doing this or know anything about it?

  195. Bob Zeller says:

    What about all the above as to how it applies to the entirety of the Baja Peninsula that is entirely “Free Zone”? It is my understanding, consistent with the goal of NAFTA to enable easier trade, that TIPs are not required in the Free Zone, also known as the Liberated Zone, Prohibited Zone, or Perimeter Zone or Free Trade Zone. Accordingly, the requirements for current or expired or non existent TIP for a given US plated vehicle in the Baja has to be a non-issue, not a factor, not a consideration and not a concern at play…in the Baja.

    Furthermore, as of this writing, it is my understanding that the FM3, FM2, Inmigrante, No-Inmigrante statuses have not been formally written and therefore not established formally in Mexican Law as exactly equivalent to Residente Permanente status AND Residente Permanente status has not been written in any formal Mexican Law as exactly equivalent to “Inmigrado” status either (keep in mind that “Inmigrante” and “Inmigrado” are not all the same either).

    Is there any written law or written regulations that exist and can therefore be formally cited that expressly states either literally or by actual implication that, in the Baja or in any other Mexican Free Zone, that foreigners with Residente Permanente status may not drive, on an ongoing basis, a US plated/registered vehicle that said foreigner owns in said Free Zone?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Bob,
      Yes, all of the Baja Peninsula is a Free Zone, so TIPs are not required. This continues to be true under both the May 2011 INM law and the updated Aduana regs.

      Your wrote:
      Furthermore, as of this writing, it is my understanding that the FM3, FM2, Inmigrante, No-Inmigrante statuses have not been formally written and therefore not established formally in Mexican Law as exactly equivalent to Residente Permanente status AND Residente Permanente status has not been written in any formal Mexican Law as exactly equivalent to “Inmigrado” status either (keep in mind that “Inmigrante” and “Inmigrado” are not all the same either).

      FM3, FM2, Inmigrante, No-Inmigrante statuses ” still exist and are legitimate for foreigners who received those 2012 permits before Nov. 8, 2012, but for ALL foreigners who have renewed or received new INM residency cards AFTER Nov. 8, 2012 – these categories are NO longer valid.

      As we have written in our immigration rule articles, INM started with 38 different categories before Nov. 8, 2012, and they reduced the number of immigration categories to just nine (9).

      When a system changes from 38 down to just 9, there intentionally are NO equivalencies between the old INM categories and the new ones.

      Re the Free Zone: Reference the Ley Aduanera… That is sufficient.

  196. Frank Homann says:


    Today my common law wife was stopped by the federales here in Morelos state, alone, in my temporary imported car. I now have permanent residency after 9 years, and as it goes the car permit should follow my residency permit. I never wrote to Aduana about my prolonged stay, but don’t care about the deposit or not, and I guess this is the only downside, right? No potential multas or something? Anyway, today’s situation, after a lot of haggling the Federales and the Ministerio Publico are now arguing that spouse (conyuge) in the article 106 of the customs law means married in a formal manner and not common law (we have lived together for 9 years, and can prove it. She is a mexican national). After a day of haggling with the authorities I realize quite clearly that they are improvising. My lawyer says that “concubinato” is equal to spouse. Any precedents, ideas? Very negative experience of course, but seemed to take up half a work day for no less than five federales and a bunch of MPs. Made their day I suppose, so they can feel important even as kidnappings, assaults, armed robberies, murder is at an all time high. Dang, I feel bitter. Hope you can help :).



    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Frank,
      If you follow and know the laws of Mexico , you might view things a little differently ?

      – Your vehicle is illegal to drive in Mexico, as you have no valid permit of any kind.

      – Your relationship with the “concubinato“, likely has not been formalized nor made official.

      – Until you formally establish your “concubinato” status, why should law enforcement personnel believe after-the-fact / road-side claims of “concubinato” relationships?

      – It is the police’s legal responsibility to detain people (in jail), until things are clearly resolved and proven, so your spouse could have been sitting in jail/detention for a few nights until you proved your claims. Do we really want the police to ignore their legal responsibilities – especially when you and spouse are breaking the law.

      – Should we each be allowed to pick and choose which laws to follow, as long as we are not committing “kidnappings, assaults, armed robberies, (or) murder” ?

      If so, society gets pretty messy very quickly: As a Lakota, I would be highly admired as an excellent thief, as long as I steal from other groups/other tribes… Under our code: to sneak into other tribes camps, and steal valued items from other tribes shows bravery, guile, discipline, intelligence, planning and courage. Should I be allowed to selectively practice our 1,000 year old cultural practice, because property theft is not “robbery”…. ?

      – Insurance companies can use your car’s illegal unregistered, un-approved status as justification to deny any future accident claims.

      – As an illegal vehicle, if involved in an accident (regardless of who caused the accident), the driver can be jailed indefinitely until the authorities are convinced you have sufficient $$ to pay any and all $$$ damages from the accident, including $3 million to $5 million pesos per person injured or killed. The owner of the car is also legally liable for all those damages also.

      – All of these things have been well known and well publicized. Which leads to the question of why your lawyer has not pointed them out to you?

      You commented that it “Made their day I suppose, so they can feel important…” . In light of the facts and the laws, I really think you may have gotten of easy. Legally: Your concubinata could be sitting in jail, waiting for you to prove your relationship status and the status of the vehicle, and the insurance protection status of the vehicle – ….

      I personally think we should follow the laws and rules of Mexico, regardless of the robberies, murders, and kidnappings committed by others. I would either take the vehicle out of Mexico legally using the Retorno Seguro program, or legally import it. Mexico really does function better when we follow the laws – and until the people of Mexico make a consistent effort to follow the laws, Mexico will not crack that top tier of nations….

      Which side do we want to be on?
      Keeping Mexico a second-rate country in terms of laws, policing, and justice …?
      – Do we want to continue to be a country known for “road-side justice” and “road-side negotiations”; for bureaucrats arbitrarily levying unpublished “fines” and penalties – or doling out “favors”, and a country of citizens and guests who scurry about – skirting and openly breaking laws ???

      … or do we prefer a government and first-rate society that is known for reliably applying and citizens who adhere to laws ??

      Having the Rule of Law – and having a populace and government who follow it, really is a prescription for smoother better lives, in our view.

      Which Mexico do you want to live in?

      … so, maybe things really did turn out for the best for both of you …
      vs. your proposal that the police supposedly inappropriately abused you and her ???

      Should your lawyer have known these legal and practical facts?

      Lo no se,
      ALL THE BEST !

      • Karina says:

        How does one “formalize” or “make legal” the status of “concubinato”? This is an issue for both foreigners and Mexican nationals. In the area of Mexico in which I live many, many Mexicans do not get legally married because it costs money. They may or may not have a church wedding or they may just set up house. There are also many foreigners here who have long-term live-in relationships with partners to whom they are not legally married. According to what I understand you saying, if one has not “formalized” or “made legal” the status of their partner with whom they live, allowing the partner to drive your car (if they do not have the same immigration status) would be illegal (assuming your car is legally in the country). You would also not qualify as a “family” when crossing the border in order to consolidate the value of items being brought into the country. Is there some process one goes through to establish a “concubinato” relationship and with what agency does one do this?


      • yucalandia says:

        Hi Karina,
        I really like your question.

        This issue splits the hair – and points out how the theory of the law is not always in harmony with the actual practice.

        In the absence of some published national policy, I think we need to hear how it is handled in different regions of Mexico. Based on the police’s roadside behavior, and based on the police’s right to indefinitely detain people after accidents, I personally would want some sort of written document that certifies the relationship status. In some areas of the law, a Notario’s formal certification would be enough. In other areas, you may have to file with the State Registro Civil???

        This question really does require an answer (or answers) from a qualified attorney (or 2). *grin*

  197. Frank Homann says:

    Hi both,

    Thanks for the comments, guys, although the moralizing speech seems a bit off. The car is legal according to article 106. It has its temp import permit and then the legal staus of the vehicle should follow my immigration status which is by now permanent residency.

    My question really boils down to whether the expression “spouse” as an authorised driver in article 6 can be defined as a common law wife. Apparently the penal code defines spouse as a person married to you, where the civil law recognizes common law wifes as spouses. Confused? Well, I am slightly and obviously looking for a way to get around this because I think this is not fair. I

    I agree to following laws, they are the rules of the game, but we might want to do it with some criteria, not blindly and wo questioning. The spirit of the law is to avoid that you sell your foreign made car in Mexico, and apparently it is better for Mexico, according to the lawmakers, to have a whole set of complicated laws than to just facilitate that you pay some sort of import tax and make life easier for everyone. I am in the situation that my Infinity SUV has US plates but was assembled in Japan, hence I cannot legalize. I personally do not think that makes sense, but there is nothing I can do, I guess. Like most Mexicans I just roll over because we all never question the authorities. Back to the spirit of the law, not to sell. Therefore, only he closest family should be able to use the car, and you shouldn’ t be able to de facto sell it to smeone just claiming hat he is a friend. Here my logic tells me that a common law wife of the past 9 years IS in fact close family and that the interpretation of the article should allow for that. If not, I have actually committed the crime of contraband with a penalty of 3 months to 3 years in do anyone have any ideas about how to argue this one?

    To prove the concubinato you just have to provide witnesses and proof of common bank accounts, not that hard. Just not enough to be a spouse under the penal code.

    Any suggestions greatly appreciated.

    To all of you guys who may consider bringing you car into Mexico vs. Buying one in Mexico, o for the latter!!!



    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Frank,
      These discussions seem to boil down to 5 basic issues:
      – Should we (foreigners) generally respect and follow Mexican Laws and rules?

      – Should we follow our own personal / individual sensibilities of what we feel is right and wrong, when our beliefs conflict with the actions & beliefs of local Mexicans or local Mexican govt. officials or police?

      – Are we guests here, or do we instead somehow have all the rights that we imagine exist back in Canada or the USA ?

      – Does it benefit Mexico and other foreigners to have a small-but-growing group of foreigners who intentionally are ignorant of … and ignore …. the laws and rules and ignore the direct instructions of police and govt. clerks, bureaucrats, and other officials? ( Just where do the “Disney-Land” view of Mexico – where Mexican rules “don’t apply to us / me” – “What happens in Mexico, stays in Mexico” attitudes … lead? )

      – What kind of gringo community do you want to be associated with?
      Do we want to be known as people who are respectful, using behavior and personal codes that humbly mesh with local, regional, and national rules and laws – or Do we see ourselves as Patriots and Free Citizens, free to do what we think is “right”.

      The specific issues that triggered these dialogues were the supposed “rights” of Permanent Residents to keep and freely operate their Temporarily Imported Permit (TIP) vehicles in Mexico – along with our “rights” to have and legally assert Common Law (Concubinado) relationships in interactions with Mexican police and other Govt. officials…

      Here are parts of our responses to the questioner:
      Note that Article 106 DOES NOT APPLY to your situation. TIP vehicle owners who have gotten Residente Permanente cards are NOT allowed to keep their TIP vehicles in Mexico, and Residente Permanentes can only legally operate their TIP vehicles when they have a valid 5 day Retorno Seguro permit from Hacienda, to take the vehicle out of Mexico. This official final ruling came down in late February from Aduana Mexico City, and it has been supported 100% in every challenge since them.

      Your idea to “challenge” laws and rulings that you do not personally like, seems to be misplaced. Similarly, your lawyer has really not advised you well or properly about the specifics of either INM law, Aduana law, and the laws that govern police actions. Again: Is it time for you to find a new lawyer? – One who knows both the legal theory, the legal principles, the letter of the law, and how the laws are actually applied? Your lawyer seems to have helped create and support some very mistaken ideas in your thinking and understandings.

      The changes in Aduana rules have been simultaneously true but changed, due to the May 2011 INM changes. Unfortunately, there are many stubborn gringos who cling to the idea that if they continue to have some/ANY INM residency permit, that their Aduana TIP is somehow magically protected.

      The legal principle governing this is that the Aduana Law specifically says only Inmigrante No Lucrativa and No Inmigrante qualify to have TIPs. You NO LONGER have either INM permit. Since the Residente Permanente is a lucrativa visa, then there is NO equivalency between the old qualifying INM permits and Residente Permanente under Aduana’s rules.

      Gringos with Residente Permanentes have had their TIP cars confiscated since the late February 2012 Aduana rulings.

      When we drive our cars with a Residente Permanente, consider that we also put other people at risk significant harm, due to us not having legally required $$$ protection, since insurance companies can deny accident protection coverage due to driving an illegal vehicle. If we accidentally hit and killed a family of 4 Mexicans, we would owe $20 million pesos to that poor family.

      Do any of us have $20 million pesos?
      If not, then it seems to be irresponsible for any of us to ignore the laws, just to serve our personal beliefs.

      Since you (the questioner) opened the door to moralizing, when you incorrectly and non-factually moralized about how the police should not have stopped your spouse, I thought you were open to discussing moral behaviors. Should we remain silent about our peers ignoring and disobeying laws, especially when it puts them and others at risk – especially when the peers ask for advice?

      When we choose to ignore the laws, then a good working society uses the option of peer pressure to attempt to get scofflaws to follow the laws – hopefully before they get arrested and punished.

      Really, here at Yucalandia, we are faced with a basic choice:

      Should we tell people directly and clearly when they make mistakes – and tell them the consequences of not correcting the errors?
      Should we hedge our answers – or sugar-coat things- Doling out “spoons full of sugar” so the “the medicine goes down” – simultaneously risking significant misunderstandings due to subtle, nuanced, read-between-the-lines types of communication?

      We choose the direct and frank route.

      Mexico is better when the Mexicans and gringos know Mexico’s laws and follow Mexico’s laws.

      You (the questioner) write what you think the spirit of the law is.

      Really, the spirit and letter of the Aduana law with TIP cars is straightforward and easy to understand:
      – Temporarily Imported Permit (TIP) vehicles are in Mexico only ** temporarily ** ,
      – TIP vehicles are allowed only for foreigners with **temporary** visas,
      – ALL TIP cars must either be ultimately taken out of Mexico, or destroyed,
      – TIP holders agreed in a signed written contract to take the car out of Mexico when they do not meet the terms of the agreement you signed,
      – Unfortunately, you no longer meet the requirements of the agreement, because you chose to get a **permanent** visa,
      You chose an INM status that does not meet the requirements that you signed-up for,
      – Since you did not keep your part of the legal agreement, you are now required to take the car out of Mexico.

      Re proof of undocumented concubinato status: How do you prove this during road-side stops?

      As such, people in your situation risk having one or both of you sitting in temporary police detention for several days, with no food and no water, until the police can determine your – marital status – and – proof of ability to pay for any and all $$ liabilities. Is it moralizing to simply answer your questions about legal realities and explain the directly related things about how it actually works with the police across Mexico?

      We have friends who have been “detained” this way, and they universally say that it is no fun – except for the one Yucatecan spouse who said she now has a whole group of new friends from her over-night happy-chat session with the other detainees. *grin*

      Hope this helps the dialogue move forward, on WHO gringos are, on WHO gringos want to be, and Do we have any personal responsibility for how we are treated and how we are perceived by our host country and her citizens….

      Finally, we really do want to give you the correct and necessary information to keep you and your lovely spouse out of jail, and out of trouble. What seems like moralizing, really was written to try to help you get past the misconceptions of your attorney and your prior DIY (Do It Yourself) approach to already established legal rules/laws.

      All the best,

  198. Frank Homann says:

    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for your reply, it does clarify things for me. In reality I am mentalized for the confiscation of the car, the thing that scares me is the 3 months to 3 years of jail time under the fiscal code for “contrabanda”. Oh, and the car was insured. You are completely right and it serves as a good warning to all: Have insurance. Few Mexicans have, but I am not sure that they understand the implications either.

    While I certainly on a theoretical level understand and support your argumentation, that we should stop moaning and just follow the laws, I think you also have to do some serious reality checking if you want to live here. Estas en Mexico, cabron.

    Firstly, regarding my case at hand: I do not think it is reasonable at all that I am not allowed to legalize my car with Mexican plates just because it is made in Japan. Any other place in the world that I know of, offer you the possibility of paying a tax and registering your car. I think Mexico should to.

    In stead, I have been driving under rules that are to say the least, complicated. So complicated in fact, that neither the police nor the MP or the lawyers I have had involved in this, seem to have a clear understanding. You could say: Well you should educate yourself before entering. Believe me I did, Steve, and I acted according to what I learned on similar blogs like yours, back then. But I din’t hire lawyers for an in-depth study. I thought it was relatively straight-forward.

    The laws are still unclear to me, even after your helpful comment (thank you again). For example, there is also a clause in mexican law that says that you cannot be punished retroactively, i.e. if the car was imported 9 years ago, new rules today cannot apply to the car. At least this is a line of argument based on some statute that one of my lawyers came up with. Or does this apply? Dunno.

    I think it is important to warn foreigners who take their cars to Mexico about the severe risks they expose themselves to. To begin with, you are prone to be stopped frequently by cops who do not know the law. And to be blunt about it: Many if not all are looking for an easy bribe. Foreigner = fat cow. I simply do not drive in Mexico City, because I would be stopped at every other street corner. Some will say: Foreign car cannot drive in Mexico. You point out the permit. Some then say: Your temp visa has expired. You have to show them Article 106 and explain that it follows your stay (as rentista). Then they will try something else: That the car has to be verified for contamination in the state you are driving in — not so. That it today is “Hoy No Circula” (this happened in a forest in the State of Mexico) and you have to explain that you don’t believe it is so, and if the officer can show you where it says so. In this latter case, the heavily armed police officers kept going at it, then they asked for “something for the refresco”. I said no, I did nothing wrong. Finally they let me go with a menacing “next time you come by here, we will confiscate the car”. Thank you. So there is that risk. Then, apparently there is the risk of being accussed of “contraband” if someone not authorized drive the car. In my case, my common law wife. It could have been a friend, moving the car outside on the street. You run the risk of up to 3 years in jail. To take a risk like that is just out of proportion for anyone, I think.

    Steve, don’t you think someone should tell the authorities that it would be a good idea to provide immigrants with this info before they enter the country with their car? Like when you pay your deposit at banjercito, that there should be a one-pager that stipulated in clear language what your rights and responsibilities are, and that defined the fines and possible punishments for not adhering to the rules?

    Or that someone respectfully should propose a change to a simpler rule-set creating a win-win for foreigners as well as for the state?

    Secondly, Steve you live in Mexico. The laws are confusing and not transparent, in general. Everyone try to bend them to their advantage. The system can be brutal and corruption is endemic at all levels. Did you see documentary “Presunto Culpable”?

    How do you eventually change things? By speaking up, when things are not right. By stating: I think these laws are complicated and make little sense. I propose another, simpler and more just solution. Good citizenry in my opinion is to be an active and critical citizen, not afraid to speak up when things are not right. As expats we have the obligation, I think, to do so, because we have seen “best practice” in other places. It is misunderstood “cultural respect” if you think “Oh this is what the Mexicans have decided on, and I must not question things because I am just an expat”. Ordinary Mexicans want change to, but the system, the oligarchy and the corruption, makes it hard. Someday a “Mexican Spring” is needed, hopefully it comes with the younger, more educated generations (hereunder my kids and grandchildren).

    We probably agree, I suspect. Just blowing steam :).

    Thanks for the blog, I find it helpful to be able to exchange experiences in a friendly fashion with people who are in similar situations, not to “cheat the system” but to be able to navigate when things are not clear. So thanks for that effort, Steve. 🙂

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Frank,
      Good conclusions !

      You wrote:
      Oh, and the car was insured. You are completely right and it serves as a good warning to all: Have insurance. Few Mexicans have, but I am not sure that they understand the implications either.

      Agreed, I believed you had and have insurance. I am questioning if your on-site at-the-accident insurance adjuster will deny coverage when they find out that your car is not legal to drive in Mexico. Regardless of what the insurance agents (salesmen) tell their customers, at least 2 big Mexican insurance agencies are cancelling coverage and denying claims when they find out that the owner of the TIP car has a Residente Permanente card. – this leaves both the owner and the driver “on-the-hook” for potentially $$ millions of damages.

      Fortunately, the Mexicans we know do have insurance.
      => All of of our Mexican family members and all of our friends also have insurance, following the Rules of the Road for Yucatan. Maybe we are lucky to know a lot of honest folks?

      You wrote:
      The laws are still unclear to me, even after your helpful comment (thank you again). For example, there is also a clause in mexican law that says that you cannot be punished retroactively, i.e. if the car was imported 9 years ago, new rules today cannot apply to the car. At least this is a line of argument based on some statute that one of my lawyers came up with. Or does this apply? Dunno.

      Fortunately, as of late February 2013, the laws and rules are clear in this area: (repeating from prior emails)
      Residente Permanente card holders CANNOT LEGALLY OWN NOR DRIVE TEMPORARILY Imported (TIP) CARS.

      You chose to leave the INM’s Temporary visa category, and as a result, you chose to break your written agreement with Auana to keep a TEMPORARY INM visa. Since you just now violated the terms of your prior contract, there is NO RETROACTIVITY issue… Your problem was created by you changing to PERMANENT residency in the “here and now” – so there is no retroactive punishment.

      This is like signing a lease agreement to lease your home to renters who agree in writing to NEVER have pets in the home. 7 years later, when the renters go back on their written NO PETS agreement, you as the landlord have the right to tell them: THE PETS MUST GO…

      Aduana is telling you that since you broke the terms of your Temporary Import Permit contract, that now: Your CAR MUST GO…

      You also wrote:
      I think it is important to warn foreigners who take their cars to Mexico about the severe risks they expose themselves to. To begin with, you are prone to be stopped frequently by cops who do not know the law. And to be blunt about it: Many if not all are looking for an easy bribe. Foreigner = fat cow.

      Fortunately, your experiences do not fit everyone else’s, meaning there are far fewer “fat cows” than you imagine – since many of us have never been polled. e.g. I have driven off and on in Mexico since 1985, and I can say that I have only been stopped by police trolling for bribes only 3 times. Have you read our “Dame Mi Multa” article on dealing with police??? Really, knowledgeable people – who speak some Spanish do NOT have to pay bribes. Education and a calm firm attitude, and quick wits, go a long way in these situations.

      You wrote:
      Steve, don’t you think someone should tell the authorities that it would be a good idea to provide immigrants with this info before they enter the country with their car? Like when you pay your deposit at banjercito, that there should be a one-pager that stipulated in clear language what your rights and responsibilities are, and that defined the fines and possible punishments for not adhering to the rules?

      Fortunately, many of these things are published on Aduana and INM websites – but just like in Canada and the USA, you have to be able to read the Lingua Franca of where you are living. Also, when you got your TIP, NO ONE could know the future.

      Even the brightest government officials could not know what changes the CAMARA DE DIPUTADOS (Legislature) would make to future INM laws, so you have asked the govt. officials to be able to magically predict the future, and to advise gringos of what legal changes will occur in the coming decade…

      Considering how Harper and Co. have been changing Canadian laws and regs, and how Clinton, Bush the 2’nd, and Obama have been chainging laws and regs Fast and Furious(ly), do we really expect Mexicans and Mexico to keep the same rules and laws for 20 to 50 year periods? Why doesn’t the IRS tell me what the tax rules will be in 2017, so I know what choices to make now???

      And just why did the EPA write more pages of rules in their first 12 years, than written by the entire US government in the previous 200 years???

      You wrote:
      Secondly, Steve you live in Mexico. The laws are confusing and not transparent, in general. Everyone try to bend them to their advantage. The system can be brutal and corruption is endemic at all levels.

      Fortunately, these observations are yet more of your personal experiences and personal perceptions than they are reality. If you have followed and over the years, you hopefully have found clear explanations of the laws and rules for taxes, for immigration, for importing goods and cars, for driving rules, etc. Almost all of this stuff and the Mexican laws and regulations have been published on the web and in the DOF – but it means someone has to take some time to read it… to keep current.

      We personally have been reading all this stuff, and published summaries within 2-3 days – even when we had to plow through 200-450 pages of inter-related Spanish-Language Mexican-government legalese, to sort it out. We also have worked with 5 separate talented notarios and abogados to arrive at consensus understandings of the details… We also make regular trips to the INM and Aduana offices to ask clarifying questions, and runs to the border to find out first-hand how things actually work.

      This all takes effort, but it means that RollyBrook and us tend to have far better quality, and far more accurate information than Mexican lawyers and Mexican Notarios, who tend to learn something once, and then they assume that the rules have not changed, even 10 or 20 years later. Further, the Immigration and Aduana “facilitators” who gringos pay to do these things have also been notoriously uninformed, especially during the 6 – 9 months that follow the rule and law changes. Ironically, the experts who charge for their services in these areas have been notoriously the poorest informed groups…

      This all points to the need for gringos to stop all the misinformation and gossip that they pass between each other, and to instead find good, well-referenced sources – to limit their confusion, to stop the telephone-game of bad-advice passed from person to person as if it were true, and to instead make good choices based on the facts and the rules. Read the regs for yourself, and make your own choices…. (We offer citations of almost every law and rule – so readers can decide for themselves.) I will note that Mexican tax law is very dense, and like US IRS laws & rules, paying a good expert can save you more money over the long run, than the bills they send you.

      Re corruption: It depends on the part of the country you have chosen to live in. Fortunately, we do not really pay bribes to get things done down here in our poor and backwards – country-bumpkin – Yucatan state – and just like in the USA – City folk often think that their experiences are the norms for the rest of the country… This means that Detroit, NY City, the corrupt parts of Chicago, Louisiana, New Mexico, etc (like Q. Roo and Mexico City) are not representative of the rest of the USA…

      Similarly, Montreal, Quebec, Ontario, Vancouver et al are not like Calgary, Winnepeg, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and the rural parts of BC…

      • yucalandia says:

        Hope this helps the dialogue move forward, on WHO gringos are, … on WHO gringos want to be, … and Do we have any personal responsibility for how we are treated and how we are perceived by our host country and her citizens…. ?

        As a general rule-of-thumb, while in Mexico, if we start to feel like we are in Disneyland – a place where reality is somewhat-suspended – a place with almost no rules – no restrictions – a place where we get to do whatever we want – , or if we are feeling like “What happens in Mexico, stays in Mexico“, then, …. it may be time to pause, and remember: …

        We are guests here.
        There are rules, even though a policeman is not in sight.
        Mexicans may seem to tolerate rude, arrogant, “I know better” (a.k.a. disrespectful) attitudes.
        Mexicans (especially in rural areas) are generally very modest and traditional people,
        … people who value polite and humble behavior,
        … people who do not welcome public drunkenness regardless of the time of day,
        … people who prefer smiles over conflict
        (be patient, gently smile, … nod-and-smile, nod-and-smile, nod-and-smile… and this annoying gringo will ultimately go away if I wait long enough),
        … people who enjoy whatever tasty or fun thing that presents itself in that moment,
        (frequently making us late for promised “commitments”),
        … people who recognize that a simple shrug and “oh well” look on the face, goes a long way to being content,
        (there is nothing that can be done about many of the nuisances/obstructions in life ~ ni modo ~ ),
        … people who value, and even treasure, their pasts and their families, and
        … people living with enough hope & trust to know that tomorrow will be OK
        (and it may be even better than today)**.

        All the best,

        **… Worrying about the future … or World Politics … or How should we change the world to some more ideal state, … and other Germanic, Teutonic, British, American, and Canadian internal ruminations … do not seem to be a central features of Mexicans … or Mexican culture. …

        The Mexicans we know and love, do not sit around having ad nauseum discussions about “solving the problems of the world”. …

        Can anything be learned here? *grin*

      • doncricri says:

        Your latest writings about NOBs coming to Mexico and acting like we’re in Disneyland serve to ground me because the confusing information about bringing and driving our vehicles in Mexico kinda makes a person want to take the law in his own hands in the light of the recent allegation that the new prohibitive laws have more to do with downward pressure from Mexican automobile lobbies than with rule of law. But then again, so what if they do? Admittedly, there is a tendency for us to not respect inconsistent enforcement of the laws here. Everything is so arbitrary. Meanwhile, recommended brokers are saying “we can import it” at the same time the expat forums caution against broker fraud, inconsistency in state licensing, and insurance coverage invalidation. I dunno, is it too much to ask to be able to drive a car in Mexico after having served diligently as a teacher for 3 years ? Now suddenly, FM3s with Residente Temporal con Permiso para Trabajar can neither drive foreign-plated TIP cars nor legally import cars ?

      • yucalandia says:

        Hi Don CC,
        You wrote:
        Now suddenly, FM3s with Residente Temporal con Permiso para Trabajar can neither drive foreign-plated TIP cars nor legally import cars ? …

        None of this is true, to our understandings:
        1. Residente Temporal card holders can have Temporary Import Permit vehicles, but you must notify Aduana that you have officially applied for a new/renewed INM permit BEFORE your old INM permit expires. Since June 2010, Aduana rules say to notify Aduana of INM permit renewals before the INM permit expiration date. …

        2. BOTH Residente Temporal and Residente Permanentes can legally import 6 year old and older cars, at the border. … Pay the duties, pay the annual registration fees, pay the taxes, and enjoy your car – just like the requirements for every Mexican car owner.

        3. If a TEMPORARY Resident decides/chooses to change to PERMANENT category, they have violated the terms of any Aduana TIP agreements they signed to TEMPORARILY import a car – without paying duties.

        So, if you want to keep your TEMPORARY TIP car as a PERMANENT resident, take the car out of Mexico, or permanently import it.

        Re brokers:
        Some have been crooks. Others have provided fully-legal options.

        We have only recommended legitimate brokers in our articles on cars and importation: (see above).

        Caveat emptor,

      • Roger Blair says:

        Hey Steve, You mention that 2 major insurance companies in Mexico are canceling insurance coverage and denying claims to Permanent Residents with foreign plates. Could you specify which companies you are referring to? Thanks, Roger

      • Roger Blair says:

        Dear Steve,

        You state above, “at least 2 big Mexican insurance agencies are cancelling coverage and denying claims when they find out that the owner of the TIP car has a Residente Permanente card.” I have asked for the names of these 2 companies, but you have not replied. My insurance contract says nothing whatsoever about this question. I’ve read every last page of my contract, thus I wonder what companies you are talking about.

        Thanks for your kind assistance,


      • yucalandia says:

        Hi Roger,
        RollyBrook had mentioned them several months ago. I will go look for his quote on this – buried in Mexconnect.

  199. Pingback: Gringo Attitudes Regarding TIPs, INM Permits, and Mexico’s Laws | Surviving Yucatan

  200. Ian Bourne says:

    Hi Steve,
    Lovely stuff and very fair, maybe we could learn from the Mexican people rather than thinking the reverse. It would do us well to respect this wonderful country and tread lightly if we can, otherwise New York is always available for those that cannot adjust.

  201. Sherry says:

    This may be a bit long, but it is fairly detailed about our recent border and TIP experience, and I thought that some might benefit from it. Thank you so much for your work on this site!

    Due to my husband’s Inmigrante Rentista (FM2) being changed to Residente Permanente in April 2013 (was automatic), the temporary importation permit (TIP) in his name would no longer be valid. Since my Inmigrante Rentista doesn’t expire until August 9, 2013, and it also was be changed to Residente Permanente (said we had no choice, don’t know if that is due to fact that we have a Mexican daughter), we decided to turn in my Inmigrante Rentista and have me come back in as a Turista, so that the car could have the TIP in my name. As we live in San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas, the Guatemala border is the closest to us. I did a lot of reading on the Internet, especially Yucalandia’s site, but there were still things that we could not be sure of until we actually did it.

    We left San Cristobal at 7 a.m. on Thursday, July 4, 2013, and after an uneventful drive to Ciudad Cuauhtemoc, we first went into the Banercito office to ask about the TIP for the car. He looked at all our documents and said there would be no problem, except that we needed to pay the guaranty deposit and importation permission in U.S. dollars. We didn’t have any of those with us! He said there would be exchange places at the border on the Guatemala side, and that we didn’t have to take the car over the border. Next stop was the Immigration office next door to the bank. She said that I would need an exit stamp from Guatemala to be able to get a Turista qualification, and then she could receive and cancel out my Inmigrante Rentista. She said I didn’t need to stay out of the country any specified time. Good news!

    So, we drove a little closer to the actual border and parked in a muddy parking lot and walked over the border into Guatemala. We went to their immigration office where they wanted 300 pesos for them to stamp an entry and an exit in my passport. We were glad that our Mexican friend had come with us since he was able to explain things to them better than we could have. They said that normally if you stayed for a few days, you didn’t have to pay anything. They did verify with us that we would not be going beyond the border area before he went ahead and put an exit stamp. Now, the next problem was the US dollars. The people at Guatemala immigration said the banks would exchange pesos for quetzals and then the quetzals for the US dollars. That sounded like a mess. They then said that sometimes the money exchangers walking around close to the border crossing would have dollars. We found someone that said he could get them, and we waited about 15 minutes while he rounded up the $400 USD. Their exchange rate was 13 pesos for a dollar.

    Returned to the muddy parking lot and drove back to Mexican Immigration. There, she had me fill out a form that looked a lot like the FMM and put my Inmigrante Rentista number and the phrase that I had turned in the original. She then gave me another FMM form to fill out and said that I needed to wait a little bit before she could actually process it due to having to process the other part first. She finished processing me about 20 minutes later. It was nice that we could wait in the air conditioned office.

    Back to Banjercito where we canceled the old TIP in my husband’s name. The bank official didn’t say anything about it being really old (we had originally brought it into Mexico in 2006) or invalid due to the Residente Permanente status, which had been a concern of mine that we would have to prove the continuity of my husband’s immigration status. We did have copies of his FM3 with the prórrogas/renewals and his previous Inmigrante Rentista, but nothing from Aduana about extending the TIP to match his immigration status, so that was a relief that we were not asked anything about that. Then, we paid our US dollars that he inspected very carefully and rejected 2 of the $20 bills as they were torn a tiny bit. He wanted copies of the car title, my passport information page, my driver’s license, and the new FMM that immigration had given me. After he verified that all the information matched, he gave us our new TIP sticker to put on the car. At that point, we asked regarding what would happen if I left Mexico by plane, at which point I would have to turn in my FMM, and get a new FMM when I came back to Mexico, if that would be a problem having a different FMM. He said no; the important thing was for me to return with the car by the expiration date on the TIP if we wanted to get our guaranty deposit back, and we would do the same process we had just done. More good news. Back on the road by 1 p.m. to return to San Cristobal with everything done!

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Sherry,
      What a totally excellent report !

      Everything you described fits our understandings – including that they expect us to pay in US dollars (though at the US-Mexico border and at the Belize-Mexico border Banjercito offices accept credit cards)…

      There is one very minor item that seems suspect. In the era of national computerized database records, Aduana and the police and insurance companies ALL can check our INM records to see if we still have a valid INM permit that is associated with the TIP (yes, I saw my insurance agent pull up the information using a VIN)….

      This means that when you fly out of Mexico, you surrender your Visitante permit, and INM cancels that INM Visitante permit. Under the letter of the Ley Aduanera, when your INM permit is cancelled, your TIP automatically expires. … and you vehicle is in Mexico illegally. …

      This generally is not an issue, unless:
      ~ You get stopped by a policeman checking TIPs, or

      ~ You drive from one Mexican state into another – and the state border checking police check on your TIP – which is formally and officially expired… This is not a good situation, where the Yucatan police (legitimately) threatened to permanently confiscate a friend’s vehicle as we returned from Q.Roo, because they thought we were driving the vehicle illegally. Fortunately, we found the paper TIP, and they checked it versus the computer records – and we were on our way…

      ~ You get in an accident and either the police or YOUR insurance adjustor or the other guy’s insurance adjustor… checks the status of your TIP. Since the TIP would be expired due to flying out, your insurance can deny coverage on the accident, and you can be on the hook for all liabilities.

      The possibility of insurance companies using your vehicle’s illegal status (due to flying out of Mexico without taking the car out), as an excuse to cancel coverage is very troubling: Since the Feb. 5 2013 changes in legally required liability coverages, each accidental death triggers up to $3 million to $5 million in payments owed. This means that accidentally killing a family of 4 in a car wreck can leave the (illegal) car owner &/or driver on the hook for a $20 million peso bill.

      The driver (and owner?) can be forced to sit in jail indefinitely, with no food and no water detention, until you can prove that you have enough $$ assets to pay for all liablilites. …

      In this light, the advice the Aduana clerk gave you, may not take account of these very real risks of vehicle confiscation and loss/denial of insurance coverage. Since Aduana is not involved in these items, their clerks are likely not aware of the liabilities.

      2 big Mexican insurance companies have publicly announced that if they find out we are driving illegal vehicles (with expired TIPs), they do deny accident coverage for accidents that occur when driving with an expired TIP… and no, the agents (aka salespeople) of the insurance companies are often unaware of the fine print escape clauses buried in their policies.

      THANKS AGAIN for a REALLY FINE report !

      • Sherry says:


        Thank you for your response. Yes, the Banjercito at the Ciudad Cuauhtemoc and Guatemala border does take credit cards also, but ours had expired at the end of June and the new cards are still in the states!! We were stopped twice by federales within 30 minutes of leaving the border on our way back home. Both wanted to see the TIP paperwork and identification. I showed them my Colorado driver’s license. They didn’t ask to see the FMM, so that made me feel better about what the guy at Banjercito said regarding having a different FMM than what I had when I received the TIP. We didn’t have to cross any state lines, but still, it does sound kind of scary, and I do need to check with our insurance company.

        Thank you!

      • yucalandia says:

        Hi Sherry,
        Yes, for practical purposes, you should be fine with the different FMM, but there are those very small chances of getting caught – so, no accidents… *grin*

        Oh, and Banjercito does have 2 checks of your records that would cause you to lose your $300 deposit.

        First Check: The Banjercito computer tracks your TIP expiration date, and if you do NOT have a Residente Temporal or Residente Permanente on file in the database within 2 weeks of your 6 month FMM Visitante expiration date, the computer automatically confiscates your deposit. The only way to avoid this is to take the car across the border.

        The Second Check: When you take the car out at the border, a Banjercito employee checks your INM records, TIP expiration date, etc. If the Banjercito employee notices that you have a different FMM, or if the Banjercito computer flags your TIP record for having the prior FMM cancelled (due to flying out) then you lose your deposit.
        All the Best,

    • doncricri says:

      Thank you for taking the time, Sherry.

  202. doncricri says:

    In reading Sherry’s reply, it appears that the work-permit FM3 may have to be turned in or renounced in order to trade off for the FMM with TIP, because according to the scuttlebutt on the Chapala web board and according to the reknowned resident lawyer, ‘NO FM3s with permiso to trabajar can import cars, permanently or temporarily.’ However, FM3s who don’t works and are classified as “rentistas” classification can import cars from NOB. This recent prohibition aimed specifically at FM3s with permission to work has been cited all over the as “Buletin 1000” addendum to the aduanal code, at least according to several English-speaking expats. The chat board as well as this website defer to Licenciada Karen Villasenor, in Mexico City as the expert at the number given above 01 55 5802 0000 x 46889. Other websites also list her and she may be overwhelmed by volume of calls these days because she hasn’t been picking up her phone. Meanwhile, everybody else I’ve been able to talk to in government or quasi-govt offices, eg, the Banjercito, and the recommended border town customs brokers, the Licenciada at the SAT office in GDL, and the insurance companies at the border seem to know nothing about the recent FM3 worker exclusionary caveat. Rather, they all say, “come ahead” — “sure, you’re eligible” — “just bring this sum ________” in order to buy a nationalization for my little old Toyota. And regarding the second temporary import option, in fact, the INM pre-authorizes my TIP application, Banjercito accepts my application and will even take the money for the TIP sticker online, plus sell me the 180-day TIP insurance policy. But why would I want want to do these transactions online if what I’m doing really not legal? What if the Chapala people are right, and I get in a wreck and the insurance is no good, just like the man on this page has just cautioned ? Rather frustrating and not feeling quite like a drive through Disneyland. Any feedback is welcome at this point, because my time is near . . .

  203. Kathleen says:

    In a previous reply you mentiioned that one of the ways to remove a vehicle from your record was to “destroy” it. I was wondering if you had any follow-up information from your friend’s Notario regarding this procedure. My 1991 vehicle cannot be driven and I’d like to get it cut into pieces and have its record removed from my Passport.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Kathleen,
      The Notario I spoke with said that the letter needs to specifically certify that the vehicle does not work and cannot work: “no sirve”. He also said the letter needs to certify/document that the vehicle cannot and will not ever be driven again. Finally, he said it needs to certify that the vehicle is “chatarra” (junk/scrap metal), and cannot be driven out of Mexico.

      Those items are in addition to your: official name (as on your passport), your VIN number, your vehicle plate number, your passport number, the effective date of the destruction of the vehicle, and the year, make and model of the vehicle. The Notario suggested that fotos could also be helpful.

      Since Aduana has NO formal procedures or forms for this, the burden of effort shifts to us to document that the vehicle cannot be taken out of Mexico and cannot ever be driven again.

      Hope that helps,

  204. Kathleen says:

    Excellent! Thank you so much for all time and effort. I now can finally start the process, which I’m sure will take some time, but at least I have a place to start. Thank you again, Kathleen

  205. Nancy Thorpe says:

    In June 2006, my husband, John, drove our 1994 Ford Explorer to our home in San Francisco (aka San Pancho), Nayarit. He entered at Nogales on his FM3 issued in 12/2005 but the car was brought in on a 180-day TIP ($345.US) (not knowing the regulations) and he then flew back to the U.S. In December 2006 we returned to Mexico by air and drove the vehicle back to Nogales to bring it back imported on John’s FM3 at a cost of $327 US. The vehicle’s TIP status has been renewed annually with his FM3 renewals over the past 8 years. When he received his last “No Inmigrante” card on 11/ 2012 it only had “Prorroga 1” on the back so assume he can renew as a Residente Temporal for another 2 years. It is my understanding from the information on your site, that since the car was imported prior to June 2011, it is not necessary to register the vehicle with the Aduana when he renews his INM permit in November. And that one only needs to carry a copy of an Aduana letter which you had furnished on your site, indicating that the car was imported prior to June 2011.. Please advise if my understanding is correct. We will probably return the vehicle to the U.S. within the next two years replacing it with a Mexican vehicle before having to renew the INM permit with a Residente Permanente.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Nancy,
      Under Aduana’s official decision out of DF, in Feb. 2013, yes, you do need to register your vehicle’s new expiration date (tied to the new INM Residente Temporal) – the letter on Article 106 is no longer sufficient, since you no longer have Inmigrante Rentista or No Inmigrante status (the ones approved by the Ley Aduanera).

      Apply with Aduana to extend your expiration date, and hopefully preserve your $$ deposit, and your plan to return the vehicle the USA withing 2 years makes good sense,

  206. Nancy Thorpe says:

    Hi Steve,
    Can application be made with the Aduana office in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco which is closer for us rather than the office in Tepic, Nayarit (our house is in Nayarit)?

    Is there a form letter which should be used for registration and what additional paperwork might be needed? Thanks for your helpful information.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Nancy,
      I think you can make the application to extend the expiration of your TIP at any full-service Aduana office – which means you cannot do these things at airport Aduana office… and yes, it also means (to our best understandings) you can apply at either of the two full-service Aduana offices.

      Please come back and give us a shout about how it works out,

  207. Nancy Thorpe says:

    Hi Steve,
    Do you know the locations of the full-service Aduana offices? I have been unable to find any locations on line except for those located either at the border or in major cities i.e. Guadalahara or Mexico City. I had hoped there might be one in either Puerto Vallarta or Tepic. thanks.

  208. Roger Blair says:

    Dear Steve,

    In one of your posts you suggest that foreign plated cars of Residente Permanente are now being confiscated by police. Do you know of actual cases of this? I have only heard of the threat, but have not heard of it actually happening.


    • yucalandia says:

      2 reported in the PV area.

      Spencer McMullin (a very reliable lawyer) reports multiple illegal TIP cars, driven by Residente Permanentes, confiscated for “tax law (Aduana) violations” in the northern Mexican states.

      So, the numbers of confiscations has been small, relative to the number of cars involved. The scarier prospect is getting in an accident caused by someone else, and having 2 insurance adjustors inspecting your documents, and police inspecting your documents and …. being sent to jail because they discover you are driving an illegal unregistered car.

      All 4 parties (your insurance company, their insurance company, the Police, and the other driver) benefit by finding out that you are illegally driving the car. Since we GO TO JAIL, until the police are satisfied that we can pay any and all imagined damages, possible future medical bills for injuries, etc, then your insurance company can use the illegality of the vehicle as an excuse to deny insurance coverage on the accident – leaving you to prove sufficient $$ to pay for all damages and liabilities: e.g. If a family of 4 is accidentally killed, then you owe $20 million pesos in liability…. and you sit in jail


      no food
      no water

      except for what your family or friends bring you –

      ~ until you can prove that you have sufficient $$ to cover all liabilities….

      not a pretty thought,

  209. doncricri says:

    S. McMullin is highly respected and the final word for most expats in Chapala. Lots of discussion regarding cars and I’ve been advised not to bring mine due to my particular FM3 status (residente temporal con permiso para trabajar). Most people, including the highly touted custom’s brokers in Nogales, El Paso, and N. Laredo said, “Sure. Bienvenidos. Come ahead! Bring your old Toyota. No problema.” Curiously, border broker’s estimates (all brokers recommended on the chat board) to import my pristine 93 Toyota are from $850 low in Nogales to $1260 median in El Paso and up to Nuevo Laredo to 32000mn in N. Laredo. And despite all the negative signs, I’d have still done it, driven that little Toyota across the border full of my legal “maneje de casa” household goods, except for that that bottom line caveat first revealed by Spencer. That is, they can invalidate your insurance on a technicality. Not a very expat friendly proposition. I’ll continue to ride my bike, or buy an overprice already-nationalized car. Thanks for this fine informational site.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Don Cri Cri,
      Welcome back!
      I think you might have a misunderstanding: If you use a customs broker, and permanently import your much-loved Toyota, (getting a pedimento from Aduana), then you can register your Toyota in your home Mexican state, and IT IS FULLY LEGAL – with no threat of having insurance coverage lost…. there are no “technicalities” when you permanently import the vehicle.

      The “technicalities” arise when you do a TEMPORARY auto import and then later change your INM status to Permanent.

      You are correct in knowing that WORKING (lucrativo) INM temporary residency permisos, are NOT allowed to have a temporarily imported (TIP) vehicle.

  210. don cri cri says:

    So, you’re saying that “lucrativos” can indeed import cars from the US to MX. My apparent confusion arose from various protracted discussion on the Chapala web board where I was firmly advised not to do it (import car) due to my lucrativo status and possible insurance issues.
    Too bad the laws are unclear and ever-changing, but in this case of FM3 Residente Temporal con Permiso para Trabajar not being able to legally import cars anymore, Mrs Karen Villasenor at Mexico City aduana was cited. Incidentally, the car is sentimental as it belonged to my Mom and has sat in storage for a decade.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Don CC,
      Correct about the permanent import. Fortunately, the laws are clear on this. The Chapala board folk simply confused the RP Lucrativa’s inability/prohibition to use the Temporary Import Permit option.
      Happy Motoring!

  211. Peter G says:

    Thanks for your column, it answers a lot of questions.
    I’m changing to permanent status as of this writing. I know that I cannot (should not) drive a foreign plated car at this point. My question has to do with insurance. If I am driving a friend’s car (with Mexican tags) do I need a separate insurance policy just for me as the driver or am I covered by the insurance policy that my friend has in place on their Mexican plated car?

  212. Tom Williams says:

    Hola Steve, Great job on this board.
    My situation, drove back to the US from Merida last Nov 2012, returned and got a new TIP on my FM3 that was going to expire Feb 2013. received a new Residente Temp Visa con permiso para trabajar valid for three years till Feb 2016. Haven’t gone up to Aduana Progreso to try to get a letter because I didn’t receive the visa till almost a month after applying and didn’t realize I needed to get it before so understand my deposit is long gone. Now I Read that a Temp Res. with permission to work can’t have a TIP permit. Has this been confirmed because or course our Immigation lawyer here never mentioned it. If so what is my best course of action. My car is 2006 Honda made in US. Can I permanently import it now or do I have to wait till 2014, how do I figure out when it was manufactured. I checked the link with the VIN number and it says the fees are only $4000 pesos, but it sounds like using a broker will cost approx $2000 US. an the process be done without by going to the pier and getting the list of documents needed.
    Thanks in advance for your help and insight


    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Tom,
      First, know that I like to play the odds when the odds are in my favor.

      Second, the police are generally not aware of this subtle change in the rules, so carry a copy of Article 106 in your car (in Spanish) to show them that as long as you maintain the equivalent of the old FM3 No Inmigrante, your Aduana permit is still valid.

      Third, we don’t have enough data to make a final solid choice yet for your situation.

      There are a group of expats, their attorneys, and INM directors who are arguing that all Residente Temporales should have the same rights, unless the Legislature decides otherwise in the meantime.

      A reliable immigration attorney, Lic. Spencer McMullin has been told by highly placed Aduana officials that Aduana DF is currently re-considering their decision to ban foreign-plated TIP cars for Residente Temporal Lucrativo (y Con permiso de trabajar). Lawyer McMullin is advising his clients that he has been told Aduana DF will likely decide that all Residente Temporales have equivalent rights, and that they should announce a final decision reasonably soon (1 – 3 months?).

      There is an underlying Mexican legal position/precedents that Mexican regulators cannot arbitrarily take away previous legal rights. Previous No Inmigrante Lucrativo permit holders had the right to keep foreign-plated TIP cars. INM policy is that those No Inmigrantes are RENEWING their permits as Residente Temporal. IF Aduana tries to cancel a previously acceptable TIP permit because someone renewed their INM permit, the renewed permit continues to have all the same legal rights. This means that if Aduana decides that renewing No Inmigrante/Residente Temporal Lucrativos somehow lose their right to have a foreign-plated TIP car, then Aduana is improperly taking away an existing “right”, without legislative approval.

      In light of this “inside” information possibly overturning the ban, and in light that the police are not enforcing this latest tweak to Aduana policies: I would keep my car inside Mexico, drive confidently, keep a Spanish language version of Articulo 106 of the Ley Aduanera with me in the car, be prepared to show police your Feb. 2016 INM temporary residency permit’s expiration date, and drive safely ~ while waiting for a final decision out of Aduana DF….

      Remember, everything we say about Immigration and Customs policies are for educational, informational, and humorous purposes, as we are not lawyers, and we do not give advice on any legal matters.

  213. Amy B. says:

    Hi Steve. Wish I’d read through all your great information sooner. Here’s my problem. Drove into Mexico Feb. 2012 on a tourist visa, obtained a TIP, then immediately applied for an FM3. When it was close to expiring in April 2013, renewed that for the Residente Temporal good for 3 years, rentista status. Just recently I surrendered that card to change status to ‘con permiso para trabajar.’ Based on information from my lawyer, as long as my INM paperwork was in good standing, the vehicle would be also. Now I see that I was supposed to be advising them each time there was a change so I am definitely offside. My concern isn’t the deposit so much as the idea that my car could be seized or that my insurance could be denied. What’s my best course of action at this point? Advise Aduana of the change now and hope to get approval? I see there’s an office in Cancun I could go to. Get the safe return papers, drive to Belize, get a new TIP to bring it back? Import the vehicle permanently? (which I had planned to do at some point) The car is a 2007 Ford Edge and qualifies under the NAFTA rules, VIN starts with a 2. I have not left Mexico since I arrived, if that makes a difference. I’d sure appreciate any advice you could give me, thank you!

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Amy,
      Right now, the police are not taking any actions against Residente Temporals con permiso para trabajar with TIP cars. Have you talked with your insurance agent?

      When you got the RT for 3 years, did you notify Aduana in April 2013 of your new 2016 expiration date – and get a letter from Aduana identifying the new, extended expiration date?

      There may be help on the way, from some proposed changes out of Aduana DF.

      • Amy B. says:

        Hi Steve. No, I did not notify Aduana this spring when I got the RT for 3 years – didn’t realize I was supposed to – so I have no letter from Aduana with the new expiration date. I’ve really messed it up now as my next card (when I eventually get it) will show another change in status from rentista to con permiso para trabajar. Darn! If I understand everything I’ve been reading above, this would mean I would not be able to get an approval letter, as things stand at this point, period. Do I have this right? and I would not be able to take the car to Belize and bring it back on a new TIP either. ? How long away is the possible help you refer to out of Aduana DF, do you think? I’ve found out I can’t permanently import the car until Nov. 2014, so that option is out. Help! Wonder if it’s too late to get my rentista RT card back from INM. I’m not sure what the heck I should do now. Any words of wisdom for me please? Thanks, Amy

      • yucalandia says:

        Hi Amy,
        You are correct on all points. Assuming that Aduana would follow their rules in processing applications from you, they will not issue you a letter extending the expiration date of the TIP, nor issue you a new TIP at a border. There is no word yet from Aduana on re-evaluating their choice to prohibit working Temporary Residents to have TIP cars. None of us have any insight on when they might decide. I assume that INM could change you back to a non-working rentista status – which may be more palatable to you than driving to the border to sell your car in Belize or USA. Its a difficult spot to be in. Other than contacting Gerardo Uc to ask how much he would charge to import your car now, using a special paper-only process, I am stuck.
        Gerardo Uc

  214. Catherine says:

    I have a renewed temporary resident
    card. I attempted to renew my TIP and they aduana in Progreso told me they had to send my application to Mexico City for final approval. I never heard anything back. My fm3 was “rentista”. I do not have work authorization. I think my biggest concern is making sure my mexican insurance still covers my car even though I haven’t received any notification from the Mexico City aduana, etc. thanks!!

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Catherine,
      Since you have maintained a non-working temporary resident visa, going from “No Imigrante FM3 Rentista” to ” Residente Temporal ” – RENEWING your FM3, you have maintained the INM status continuously that keeps your Aduana TIP valid, under Article 106 of the Ley Aduanera. Keep a copy of Articulo 106 of the Ley Aduanera in your car, and you will be fine.

  215. Chris says:

    Steve, awesome work on your website! Thanks for the all the help. I have read everything I can find everywhere until my eyes bleed but I still have not found a definitive answer to our unique situation. My wife and I are soon moving to the Playa Del Carmen area (free zone) to start a business (s). We have been in the area for a week or two at a time for the last 25yrs but never had the need for an FM3 / FM2, Temp, / Perm. Res. before now. As for our vehicles….I had thought that because the new rules state that Permanent Residents must remove their TIP’s we would have to permanently import and plate our vehicles. But with the new knowledge of our area, Q. Roo, being a free zone I think it may be possible to maybe get them there with TIP’s and tourist permits, run them down to Belize and surrender the TIP’s, drive them back up and leave them at our place in Playa, Then leave and re-enter when our Permanent Residency takes effect? Have I got this right? Is there an easier way? I wish there was a five day vehicle ENTRY permit! Thanks for the help.


    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Chris,
      You understand the current situation well.

      There is one loose end that we are waiting to tie up: How do the police across Q. Roo react?

      A friend who now lives in the Lake Chapala area has told us that he has friends back in Q. Roo that have been hassled by both Federal and municipal police for driving their foreign plated cars in Q. Roo without a TIP. This friend describes how an acquaintance of his had their car confiscated at Cancun airport for not having a TIP.


      • Chris says:

        Sounds like I have it all figured, just maybe not the same way the local Policia or Feds do! Wonderful. A couple of our possible vehicles to move down are currently in the magical 9 to 10 years from manufacture. In the long run maybe it would be better to pay our way in now and not have to worry about possible hassles in the future. Can you recommend an honest, English speaking broker for me to use?

        Thanks again,

      • yucalandia says:

        Hi Chris,
        Hiram Cervera is honest, speaks English, runs a large Customs Brokerage with locations in Q. Roo, and he does handle selected permanent imports at the seaports of just 8 and 9 year old vehicles. He is however selective in whom he chooses to accept as a client. I suspect that there is very little profit in handling these private car imports, so he only accepts car imports at his convenience (when the profitable sides of their business is slow?) – and he also seem to accept people for whom he has done done prior larger import jobs.
        Check out the requirements and details here: Options for Foreign-Plated “TIP” Car Owners in Mexico, esp for Permanent Residents

  216. Doug says:

    The beginning of this year, I was forced to get a Residente Permanente card which I received just prior to leaving Mexico. I’ll be returning in October but now I have a car with foreign plates which I can’t drive – driving it back to Germany is not an option.
    How stupid am I? My neighbour has a bank account, two homes, a foreign plated car and HAD an FM3 for only one year – 7 years ago. He does it by staying on a Tourist Visa and after 5-6 months, leaves the Country for a few days and returns on a new one.
    He finds it quite comical I did everything by the book and now have a car I can’t move. On top of that, next Summer, I can’t ship my German registered VW T5 to Veracruz and drive to Grand Teton.
    How do I get rid of this Residente Permanente?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Doug,
      Have you considered using a car dealer at the border to do the import? They are able to import Japanese and German made cars. You have not said how old the car is, but you might find that it can be imported for $25,000 pesos? Have you contacted Gerardo Uc?

      Gerardo Uc

      You could also take your car to Belize and sell it there.

      Or, you could drive the car to the US border, at a crossing that has a Mexican Consulate – like Nuevo Laredo/Laredo and surrender your Residente Permanente, get a Residente Temporal, and reimport the car with an Aduana TIP. After your first year on the Residente Temporal, you could apply for 3 more years. That would resolve both car and visa problems for a total of 4 years. The Mexican Consulate in Laredo has processed the Residente Temporal applications in under 3 hours lately.

      If you want to drive the car legally to a border, you get a 5 business day Retorno Seguro permit from Hacienda/SAT:

  217. Doug says:

    Thank you for the information. The car is 19 years old and heavily modified (ca. 250PS and 700Kg). Nobody in Belize would buy a car stripped to 2 seats, 5 point belts and so noisy one has to wear earplugs at 4000RPM’s. And I can’t legally import it into the States.
    Driving to Nuevo Laredo is a very good idea however. After 4 years, things may change but
    how do I get the car to the Mexican Consulate in NL? Can I get a special permit to drive it there with my RP? Why should I not do what my neighbour does? I can visit my Uncle in Arizona for a few days, return to Mexico and be legal for another 6 months.