An interesting question was posed to Rolly Brook and me on Mexconnect. ONAPPAFA – Importing a Used Car into Mexico
Mexconnect Topic: Importing a Used Car into Mexico:
Sculptari writes: Rolly and Steve -how does this ONAPPAFA thing work? apparently it is real popular near the border, under the guise of a grassroots movement to protect the rights of Mexican nacionales -especially those living near the border. You hire them to nationalize your car, the first thing they do is file an Amparos, so Aduana cannot seize your car while the application process is ongoing. It is good for one year at time, and costs about $37 USD per year, and you get an annual sticker on the back of your car. After 5 or so years, the org might report that your car is ineligible because it is Japanese (let’s say), but you get 5 years of driving – and the Mexican police are following this -they do not give expired tag tickets, and are constitutionally barred from an impound.
Here’s Yucalandia’s take on the rather curious ONAPPAFA program:
The national President of the ONAPPAFA organization made a filing with the State of Sonora (where this can be a hot issue) on the legality of ONAPPAFA “permits” and problems with them: ONAPPAFA Legal Filing with the State of Sonora. The ONAPPAFA President officially complains of problems that families have when using the ONAPPAFA programs – causing the car owners legal problems with State and local authorities:
No obstante a lo anterior autoridades locales han girado ordenes de decomisar
vehículos, lo que provoca la ira de propietarios por defender su patrimonioi
dándose enfrentamientos con las diversas autoridades que en la mayoría de
las ocasiones solo buscan extorsionar a los conductores. generándose mas
violencia y repudio de las autoridades de todos los niveles. por que se escudan
diciendo que son instrucciones del gobierno federal.
Sabemos que esta en sus manos dar una solución a este problema.
Google Translate Version:
Notwithstanding the above authorities have given orders to confiscate
vehicles, causing the wrath of owners to defend their patrimonial rights
giving clashes with various authorities in most
chances are just looking to extort money from drivers. generating more
repudiation of violence and authorities at all levels. that are shielded
instructions saying they are the federal government.
We know this is in your hands to give a solution to this problem.
So, the ONAPPAFA President reports that people with ONAPPAFA permits (and no Aduana permit) are having their vehicles confiscated, and that these same owners are having clashes with the more than one type of government authorities- This it says to me that using an ONAPPAFA as an ad hoc – (do-it-yourself?) replacement for established legal Government programs
The ONAPPAFA President further officially complains about various extra-legal issues and problems with ONAPPAFA programs conflicting with Mexican Government laws and rules – including the absence of government approval for various aspects of using ONAPPAFA programs in lieu of approved Aduana procedures. The ONAPPAFA President clearly says that there are problems with using the ONAPPAFA permit.
Yet more quotations from other ONAPPAFA leaders in other States seem to echo the potential problems of ONAPPAFA’s nebulous and extra-legal status. This report comes from Chihuahua Solution to the Legal Importation of Vehicles:
A raíz de las declaraciones del Gobernador sobre un posible censo de autos “chuecos”, el líder estatal de Onapafa, Iván Rodríguez, expresó que la mejor solución sería la importación de vehículos, ya que esto estaría dentro de la legalidad.
Dicho censo vehicular no eximiría a los propietarios de un decomiso, ya que los vehículos seguirán siendo irregulares, ya que no tendrán ninguna seguridad jurídica, por lo que Onappafa cree que promoviendo caminos legales, como lo sería la importación de automóviles que portaran placas oficiales, comentó Iván Rodríguez.
Google Translate Version:
After statements by the Governor about a possible census of “crooked” (illegal ONAPPAFA) cars, the State’s Onapafa leader, Ivan Rodriguez, said the best solution would be to import vehicles, as this would be within the law.
This census does not exempt vehicle owners of forfeiture, as the vehicles continue to be irregular, because they will have no legal certainty, so Onappafa believes that promoting legal ways, as would be the import of cars that were carrying official license plates, Ivan Rodriguez said.
Here again, a leader of ONAPPAFA confirms the illegal status of cars imported without paying Aduana duties and without getting an Aduana permit, and he even advises that ONAPAFFA owners best solution is to import the vehicles within the law.
I am no legal expert, nor do I claim expertise in ONAPPAFA permit usage nor do I have any experience with ONAPPAFA permits. Based on my personal perceptions, the ONAPPAFA program is an extra-legal program that may be tolerated by some Mexican authorities – because it appears the common people supporting ONAPPAFA threaten to make a “big stink” and get the Mexican government authorities to temporarily back off. This sounds like the risks of an outsider getting involved in an internal squabble between close family members.
ONAPPAFA clearly is a program designed to help common (poor) Mexicans who cannot afford Aduana’s official import fees. When “supposedly rich” gringo expats try to take advantage of an extra-legal program designed to help poor Mexicans, will the expats be given the same public protection when authorities choose to enforce the law?
Will groups of campesinos show up to protest the confiscation of a Canadian’s car or an American’s car?
Lots of people break laws and never get caught or are not prosecuted – but I think it makes life simpler and less stressful to follow the laws vs. trying to save a few $$ trying an extra-legal, non-government ad hoc program. e.g. Some people in the US go for years without paying taxes to the IRs, and are only caught after a decade of using some extra-legal excuse that income taxes are not Constitutional. Instead, I tend to be a cautious law-abiding guy – paying the fees and taxes that are clearly legal.
Maybe the amparo (like a legal injunction) provides protection. lo no se…
Can amparos be waived aside with the stroke of a bureaucrat’s or judge’s pen?
Can you comfortably live with the possible outcome of losing the car?
To each his own,
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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