Mexican Custom’s New Importation Rules: Starting Nov. 1, 2011 – The Article

Mexican Customs (Aduana – SAT) has published several key new importation rules that affect both tourists and expats entering Mexico. These rules take effect on Nov. 1, 2011, affecting the amount of non-personal items that Mexicans can bring into Mexico by land, and changing the age of vehicles that can be permanently imported for both Mexicans and foreigners. In short, Aduana has raised the limits from $75 USD to $300 USD exempt from duties for non-personal items, and 8 and 9 year old vehicles are now eligible for permanent importation.

“Aduana’s Annual Temporary Paisano Program Importation Rules- SAT Webpage”
El Servicio de Administración Tributaria informa que desde el 1 de noviembre de 2011 y hasta el próximo 8 de enero de 2012, se amplía la franquicia de 75 a 300 dólares para los pasajeros que arriben al país por vía terrestre, igualándose a la que tienen derecho los que arriben por vía marítima o aérea.

Google translates this as:
The Tax Administration reports that from November 1, 2011 until January 8, 2012, they are extending the exemption from 75 to $ 300 for passengers arriving into the country by land, equal to what thy are entitled those who arrive by sea or air.

The “Aduana’s Importation Rules- SAT Webpage” also includes useful links to describing rules on allowed baggage, applying online Temporary Importation for vehicles, access to the current status of applications, and the costs for importing specific vehicles using your vehicle’s VIN.

Importing 8 & 9 Year Old Vehicles:
The specific rules for permanently importing 8 – 9 year old cars into Mexico are published at: “Permanent Importation of Used Vehicles: whose model year is eight and nine years before the year of importation”

You can find out exactly what Mexican Customs fees will be owed for permanently importing a vehicle at:
“Car Import Quotations” . Enter your VIN and go to the next page. Enter your vehicle Make (Ford), Enter the Model (Ranger), enter an LOW** approximate value (in USD), and tick the box (or not) to confirm that you want to take the car beyond the border zone (“Importación al interior del país“), and then CLICK the “CONTINUAR” button. (If you hit return, the website rejects your application).

**If you enter a too low estimated value, you get the very coool message:
—- “El valor en dolares declarado no puede menor a $****. Favor a declarar otro valor.” —- which tells you Aduana’s minimum acceptable value your vehicle… *sweet*

Enter an estimated value that is equal-to or more-than this minimum value, and hen CLICK the “CONTINUAR” button. You will get a page that reports Aduana’s fees to import your vehicle.

Mexican Custom’s Website (in English) for:
“Aduana’s Online Webpage for Pre-Registering Your Car For Importation or Applying for Your Temporary Permit Online”

You can go online to start your Temporary Import Permit process, or use the site check out your vehicle’s eligibility. There is an option to pay online, but I personally am hesitant to make online payments to Aduana/Banjercito/INM for things, because if there is an error in the information you enter, or if you use the wrong page, or make any error, it can be challenging to get your money back, and you have to pay again in the meantime anyway.

If you have further questions, they offer this contact information:
Correo electrónico para dudas:
O llama desde México al 01 800 46 36 728 y desde Estados Unidos y Canadá al 1 877 44 88 728.

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

Read on, MacDuff.

69 Responses to Mexican Custom’s New Importation Rules: Starting Nov. 1, 2011 – The Article

  1. Khaki Scott says:


    The last 2 articles are trying to make me sign in to WordPress before I can read the article… you may need to take a look at that…

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  3. Marygwen Dungan says:

    Do I understand this correctly, you can bring in vehicles newer than 8, 9 or 10 years and pay 10% of its value to register it? And it eventually becomes perment after paying a 10% registration fee every year?

    Or does this mean a newer car will never become permanent?



    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Marygwen,
      According to everything we read in the Diario Official de la Federacion, and Aduana webpages, vehicles less than 8 years old cannot be permanently imported, to protect the Mexican vehicle sales industry. You can temporarily import a less than 8 year old vehicle using a No Inmigrante/FM3 Rentista or Inmigrante/FM2 Rentista, and then later take the vehicle out of the country and bring it back in for permanent importation when it qualifies under the 8, 9, or 10 year rules.
      Can you tell us where you got the 10% figure and the 10% per year follow-on?

  4. Marygwen Dungan says:

    I read at one point that it costs 10% of the sticker/book value for registration each year.

    The first time I tried a VIN number with the website you provided, it came up with a 10% fee. I just tried it again with a different VIN and it came up closer to 20%. Attempted to run it again to double check and it gave an error message in Spanish.

    So, would it be possible to bring in a late-model vehicle and drive it to Belize, for example, once a year and keep a US registration? If possible, in that case would it matter if the car had been assembled in Japan, as mine is?

    Add this to thinkgs that make you go hmmmmmm

  5. Marygwen Dungan says:

    things, that is

  6. Sandy says:

    My car is a 2000 ford can i still put Mexican plates on it?

    • yucalandia says:

      Is it a NAFTA manufactured/assembled Ford? If you don’t know, use the VIN checker that is listed above, and if the car is allowed permanently into Mexico, the program will also report your duties and fees for importing the car.

  7. Sandy says:

    Thanks for your reply I went to the link ,entered my VIN and it came back saying my ford expedition was not made in the us or canada and cannot be inported Im from the US and have the car here in Mexico for the past 6 years with my FM2 How can it not be able to be imported Has anyone else had this problem? Thanks again for responding Sandy

    • yucalandia says:

      According to Wikipedia sources, all Ford Expeditions have been assembled in the USA, so, it should qualify as a NAFTA vehicle. Maybe Aduana has a glitch in their database or maybe you entered the VIN incorrectly? If you go back and re-check & re-enter the VIN in the Aduana VIN checker and it rejects it again, then copy that typed version of the VIN and paste it into this site: to see if you get the same result. If the second VIN checker kicks it back with the wrong info, then maybe you either typed it incorrectly or recorded it incorrectly. If the 2’nd site works with your copied VIN, then it would be clear that the Aduana site’s database has a problem. Please give us a shout back about what you find.

  8. Poppy9422 says:

    My car has US Illinois plates and is down with my FM3. When it’s 8 years old, can I sell it in Mexico without returning it to the border? Can I have someone drive it back? I’m a woman alone and would not be able to drive the car back.

    • yucalandia says:

      You could:
      1. Continue to keep it here under your FM3.
      2. Have a family member take it to the border.
      3. You could have a person with the same category of FM3 ( No Inmigrante Rentista ? ) drive it to the border.
      4. You could ride to the border in it with a driver.
      5. You could apply for a 3-5 day permit for someone to drive it to the border under the “Safe Returns” program.
      6. You could have someone haul it to the border.

      At the border, you could either
      1. sell it in Belize, USA, Guatemala or
      2. you could re-import it back into Mexico under a Permanent Import permit from Aduana, and keep it here permanently with Mexican license plates.

      Where are you located in Mexico?

  9. ckoldham says:

    I have a 1990 RX-7 in restored great condition that i want to bring down to San Miguel. I do not want to sell it, just to not have it stolen. ‘anyway, can i legally bring it in. I have an FM3 status now, and know that it will cost, but I just need to know if that model and year can even be imported, at whatever price

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  11. Susan says:

    I have a vehicle with an import sticker from 2010. I applied for an FM3 at the Mexican Consulate in the US and then received the new non-immigrante card in Mexico when I arrived and registred in the fall of 2010. I completed my first annual renewal of the FM3 a few months ago. I printed regulations that stated the permit was valid as long as the visa was valid and carry that in the vehicle. Articulo 106.

    I just read that 30 August 2011 that you must notify Aduana of any change in your visa status (renewal, upgrade, etc.) in order to preserve your bond. I’ve never done that. Is my import sticker/bond invalid now? Do I need to find the nearest Aduana office and get a new sticker? What do you think will happen when the new immigration laws are written with temporary imports?

    Thank you so much for your help!

    • yucalandia says:

      You might have lost your deposit that you left with Bajercito, but if you file / register your INM permission/visa status with your local Aduana office now, it may not be an issue when you take the vehicle out of Mexico. Your Aduana Temmporary Import sticker is still valid.

      There is no official word on how Aduana will handle the new INM immigrant categories. A reasonable guess is that various sub=types of Residente Temporal permits will be allowed to Temporarily Import vehicles. The tougher question is how they will handle the new Resident Permanente status.

      • Susan says:

        Update from Nov. 17 post – I wanted to share the information I received from Banjercito. They said my import sticker is still good as long as my FM3 is valid. I got my sticker in 2010 so I only paid around $40 USD. The newer stickers required a $300 or $400 deposit/bond and those individuals need to notify SAT (Hacienda) office within 15 days of the visa renewal to prevent the deposit from transferring to the government. If it is already expired, the deposit already transferred. This was effective June 11, 2011. To maintain the deposit, you need to present a letter (original and copy) and ask to have the copy sealed/stamped as proof of the request. Bring the original and a copy of your US-Passport, FM3/FM2-Visa, vehicle title or registration, and Temporary Import Permit documents.

      • yucalandia says:

        Thank you so much for the update!

        Your experiences fit our understandings. One added point, Aduana/Banjercito has recently only needed 3 business days to re-imburse people who turn in their stickers properly. I think there is one minor typo in your narrative: after you renew your INM visa, you need to notify Aduana of your new INM expiration date to protect your Temporary Import permit deposit intact with Banjercito – Aduana: not SAT (Hacienda).

        We’re really glad that it all worked out for you.

      • stephmex says:

        Hello Steve,
        My situation sounds a bit like Susan´s, but I was told different things by an Aduanero in Matamoros. I first came to Mexico on a Tourist visa and got a TIP for my car. I was told by someone that as long as my visa was current, the car permit would be valid, no matter what the date on the permit says – so I didnt worry about it. In time, I changed visa statuses and moved further south, and like Susan, I didn´t know that changing my immigrant status would affect the car permit, and have no customs documentation besides the original TIP from 3 years ago. Yes, every time I get pulled over, verify or get towed, they give me grief about the expired permit, but apparently no one is clear on these laws, so eventually they let me go. I recently got pulled over and the cops threatened to impound the car and it was going to be a big mess. I called an aduanero in Matamoros, and he told me that to fix the situation I should either exit the vehicle at the border and cancel the permit, or pay a $850 USD fine in Mexico City to deal with the expired permit. I was looking for a way to avoid driving to the border, but have never heard of this $850 option anywhere else. He then told me I could legalize the car (2005 XTERRA—the vin checker was unable to obtain info related to my vin number!) for another $1,200 USD as of November 2012. After reading your blog it sounds like my car is not even eligible for legalization until next year. At this point, I am considering driving to the border next week to avoid the continual headache of having this car here. (I will rush to Mexico City to get a Safe Passage/Retorno Seguro Permit before they close for the holidays). I am concerned that I am making poor decisions based on sketchy information—but I get different stories from almost everyone I consult! So I guess my questions are what are truly my options/the costs for clearing up the expired permit/changed migratory status issue and can I actually legalize this car and what would it cost? Vin: 5N1AN08V15C645559. Thank you so much for your help.

      • yucalandia says:

        Hi Steph,
        Here are our insights – paired with your observations/questions.
        I was told by someone that as long as my visa was current, the car permit would be valid, no matter what the date on the permit says

        This was mostly true until June 2011. Before June 2011, any CHANGES IN INM STATUS were required to be reported to Aduana, to keep your permit valid. Because Article 107 of Aduana law talks about Temporary Import Permits (TIPs) being valid as long as the INM permit is valid, most gringos just stopped there and assumed that this was the final word… In reality, there were other clauses in the Aduana rules that added the further requirement to notify Aduana of any changes in your INM permit… Which means the cops were mostly right… You (and 10,000’s of other gringos) did not follow the rules, and they could theoretically have permanently confiscated your car….

        But they actually do not have the formal jurisdiction to be the ones to confiscate it. In theory, they would have to call Aduana officials out to the scene… (not likely to happen)… And then you could wave Article 106 at them, and prove that you kept your INM permits valid (even with changes in status or renewals)… and under Article 106 of La Ley Aduanera YOUR PERMIT IS STILL VALID…. Be sure to GET AND CARRY a copy of Article 106 in Spanish and English in your car at all times…

        Article 106 from: Importing & Driving a Car in Mexico

        Further, under Mexican law and the Constitution, your car is just like your home: The police cannot enter your car. The police cannot force you to leave your car. If you are willing to sit in your car, you really do have the classic Mexican-standoff… And do we really think they will tow your car with you inside it???

        Unfortunately, most expat forums and almost all expat Help-Sites get pretty much all of these things wrong, too.

        The Aduana law changed in June 2011, to REQUIRE ALL TIP holders to report each and every new annual expiration dates of any INM renewals of FM2’s or FM3’s. We are given only 14 days to register ( in-person, in writing ) the new INM permit/card expiration date with Aduana.

        Reality: Since Aduana takes time to transfer your updated expiration date over to Banjercito’s data bases, the reality was that you needed to register the new expiration date MORE than 2 weeks before the OLD date, to give Aduana time to notify Banjercito… If you did not register your new date with Aduana VERY early,

        ~ then Banjercito confiscates your deposit ~
        ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

        I called an aduanero in Matamoros, and he told me that to fix the situation I should either exit the vehicle at the border and cancel the permit, or pay a $850 USD fine in Mexico City to deal with the expired permit.
        The part about leaving Mexico can work very well. The rest may or may-not be true… The Matamoros Aduaneros really do march to the beat of a different drummer – not following the same procedures as other Aduana offices…. We just did exactly what you propose with a friend’s mini-van – but we used the very friendly and very helpful Aduana and Banjercito offices at the Chetumal/Belice border at Santa Helena – Subteniente Lopez division of Aduana.

        Did you read our article on how to do this?
        See: Updates to Aduana, INM & Banjercito Procedures for Visas and Importing Cars

        It describes how to cancel/surrender an old permit, and how to get a new permit, all without leaving Mexico. BE SURE to BRING THE PAPER COPY of your current Aduana TIP permit, or you will have to wait 3 – 5 hours to get it cancelled with just the sticker…

        This article also describes why and how to notify Aduana of your annual INM permit expiration date renewals, and to notify Aduana of ANY changes in your INM information or permit (e,g, you MUST notify both Aduana AND INM of any change of address in Mexico).

        ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
        2005 XTERRA—the vin checker was unable to obtain info related to my vin number!) for another $1,200 USD as of November 2012.
        You can easily nationalize an 8, 9, or 10 year old car at reasonable import fees. Younger vehicles are charged a stiff 50% duty on the value that Aduana assigns. Check the manufacturing date of your “2005” Xterra (look at the sticker on the driver’s door post or edge of the driver’s door). If the car was manufactured between Nov 1, 2004 – Oct. 31, 2005, THEN it is officially a “2005” model. If it is a 2005 model, then it is actually NOW available to permanently import for much reduced import duties – as an 8 year old car.

        ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
        At this point, I am considering driving to the border next week to avoid the continual headache of having this car here. (I will rush to Mexico City to get a Safe Passage/Retorno Seguro Permit before they close for the holidays).

        You certainly could do this… The reality of things is that if you carry a copy of Article 106 (as listed above in our article) in BOTH English and Spanish, then 100% of the reports we have received for 7 years have said that the cops back off, and honor Article 106. Under this reality, if you have kept an INM permit valid – with NO breaks and NO expirations – then Article 106 says that your Aduana permit is STILL VALID.

        Have you kept your INM permits valid? If so, then there really is NO NEED to get the Safe Returns permit…
        But note that Banjercito very likely has confiscated any cash deposit you made on the TIP…

        ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
        I get different stories from almost everyone I consult! So I guess my questions are what are truly my options/the costs for clearing up the expired permit/changed migratory status issue and can I actually legalize this car and what would it cost?
        GOOD NEWS… If you can prove to your local Aduana office that you have had NO BREAKS and NO INM FINES and NO EXPIRATIONS of your INM permits, then YOUR CURRENT ADUANA PERMIT is still VALID…. You just have to go in person and notify them in writing at your local Aduana office of YOUR CURRENT INM PERMIT number, along with the information and letter and copies of documents listed in the article….

        If your INM visa/permit had breaks or fines, then you do need to abandon your current TIP at the border, you simply surrender the old paper TIP & sticker, and then get a new TIP, and you only pay the NORMAL refundable deposit of… $200 – $400 USD to Banjercito. …

  12. lorrie sandoval says:

    Need a concrete answer do 10 yr old vehicles still qualify for permanent importation to mexico by a mexican. When I go to the aduana site it only talks about 8-9 yr old vehicles. Pls advise the VIN checkier says it cannot locate our VIN but the VIN decoder lists our vehicle as a GMC 2002 made in the united states. How do I find out for sure before driving from Canada to Mexico. Pls help

    • yucalandia says:

      VINs can be a bit complicated, and sometimes difficult to read. I suggest rechecking the VIN, copying it off of the dash or the driver’s door post. Then compare what you’ve written with your car title. Then try the Aduana site’s VIN checker again to see what import fees would be owed to permanently import your GMC. Sidelight: Is a Temporary Import permit not good for your intents and situation?

      Based on your VIN or the information sticker on the driver’s door post, what is the exact date of manufacture? Does it fall between Nov. 1 2011 and Oct. 31, 2012 – making it 10 years old?

      Please give us a shout with your results.

      • lorrie sandoval says:

        Hi Steve thanks I have rechecked inside the door and the VIN is correct. I cut and pasted in another tag what decoder said re the vin. however the sticker on the inside says 02/02 as the manufacture date . That does make it 10 yrs old but it will still not be found in the VIN checker any advice? I really do not want to get all the way to the border and find out that we cannot legalize it. We have a lot of extended family their (with no cars) and if I need them to pick some up etc I want them to be able to drive the vehicle. Thanks again for your assistance Lorrie

      • lorrie sandoval says:

        here is what it says when I use the VIN on the Aduana site provided
        Información del vehículo

        No fue posible obtener información relacionada al VIN: 1GTEK19T92Z264965

      • yucalandia says:

        I have put out some feelers to find out how Aduana is handling 10 year old vehicles.

  13. Susan says:

    Banjercito said I could go to the nearest SAT/Hacienda. I had asked about the closest Aduana to Playa del Carmen or Cancun. Someone from Mexican Customs is going to be speaking in Playa del Carmen in February and I will try to get more information.

    • yucalandia says:

      Thanks for another good update!

      There are people who don’t have an Aduana office nearby, but who do have SAT/Hacienda offices in their vicinity. We look forward to hearing about the details of an additional possible option, if their Banjercito or Aduana allows it.

  14. lorrie sandoval says:

    decode this has this
    VIN 1GTEK19T92Z264965
    Vehicle History Report Get your Vehicle History Report NOW
    Year 2002 Engine Type 5.3L V8 OHV 16V
    Make GMC Driveline 4WD
    Model Sierra 1500 Ground Clearance 8.50 in.
    Trim Level SL Ext. Cab Long Bed 4WD Front Brake Type Disc
    Manufactured In UNITED STATES Rear Brake Type Disc
    Body Style EXTENDED CAB PICKUP 4-DR Anti-Brake System 4-Wheel ABS
    Transmission 4-Speed Automatic Overdrive
    Standard Seating 6
    MPG Hwy 17 miles/gallon Optional Seating No data
    MPG City 14 miles/gallon Tires 245/75R16
    Dealer Invoice $24,954 USD Wheelbase 157.50 in.
    MSRP $28,519 USD Curb Weight 4998 lbs
    assuming this means 10 yrs old We want to be able to have Mexican plates so I don’t have an issue if my brother in laws drive my kids around in the truck.

  15. lorrie sandoval says:

    Thank You I appreciate your help Lorrie

  16. Chris Perkins says:


    My wife and I own a house in Cozumel. I’m considering driving my 1998 Chevy S10 down from Iowa in early March 2012 with my brother. I may or may not trailer an ATV and or a motorcycle. (2005 ATV and 2002 Motorcycle). If I end up doing this, I would ultimately plan to leave the truck, atv, motorcycle at our house in Cozumel and fly back. I would enter Mexico with an FMM. My question is in regards to overstaying the 180 day temporary import permit. My understanding is that article 106 of Mexican law says that your car is legal if your visa is legal… with that in mind if I left the county by flight and returned to Mexico later by flight with a different FMM would my vehicle still be legal to drive? My understanding is that the visa (in this case FMM) is not directly tied to the temporary import. My understanding is that in order to keep my bond for the vehicle import, all I would need to do is contact Aduana to extend the temporary vehicle permit based on the newly issued FMM. I would ultimately plan to naturalize my truck. I’m also not clear on the ATV / Motorcycle import. I understand that you can trailer up to 3 ATV/Buggy/motorcycle based on the number of people in the towing vehicle. If I wanted to drive my ATV or Motorcycle off or on road, would this be legal? If it sounds like to much hassle, I may just elect to fly down and try to find a decent Mexican vehicle to buy for our place there.
    I greatly appreciate any advice you have!

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Chris,
      When you leave the country, they cancel your current FMM, which means that your Temporary Import permits also expire (when you fly out). Fortunately, because you live in Quintana Roo, you have an alternate option. Quintana Roo is considered a Free Zone, like Sonora or Baja California – which means you can drive your vehicles out of Mexico, at Chetumal, get your deposits back, and return back into Quintana Roo without any Temporary Import permits. The vehicles then stay in Quintana Roo. As long as you do not drive them out of Q. Roo, they remain legal.

      If you decide you want to drive them out of Q. Roo into other parts of Mexico – you would go to the border again at Chetumal, and get a Temporary Import permit under that future visa. It seems like an FM3 would suit you better, rather than dancing with FMMs and Free Zone limitations. Why not get an FM3? We don’t know what rules govern usage of off road vehicles – as every Mexican State has their own driving and licensing rules & requirements.

      • Rick Cole says:

        “Quintana Roo is considered a Free Zone, like Sonora or Baja California – which means you can drive your vehicles out of Mexico, at Chetumal, get your deposits back, and return back into Quintana Roo without any Temporary Import permits”
        The US Consular looked into this and found that Q Roo is not a “free zone”. Can you provide a link that states otherwise.

      • yucalandia says:

        Consider that the US Consulate is part of the US Government, and the Mexican rules on special areas may change more frequently than US bureaucrats are able to keep up with??

        The official Mex. Gob. website on Aduana’s special zones in Mexico (where a number of Customs rules do not apply) says:
        Región fronteriza
        Los estados de Baja California, Baja California Sur, Quintana Roo y la región parcial de Sonora; la franja fronteriza sur colindante con Guatemala y los municipios de Caborca, Sonora, Comitán de Domínguez, Chiapas, y Salina Cruz, Oaxaca.

        This translates as:
        Border region
        The states of Baja California, Baja California Sur, Quintana Roo and the partial region of Sonora bordering the southern border with Guatemala and the municipalities of Caborca​​, Sonora, Comitan de Dominguez, Chiapas, and Salina Cruz, Oaxaca.
        Aduanas Webpage: Franja y región fronterizas (

        This seems pretty clear to us, and it has been officially posted on the Aduanas website since July 29, 2010.

        Sidelight: The US consular satellite office in Cancun, Quintana Roo has struggled to get and keep good employees over the years (since it can be a somewhat thankless job with 16 – 18 hr days, according to a friend of ours who did the job for a year).
        Hope this helps.

      • Rick Cole says:

        Sorry, but I wanted to reply to your reply to me, but this will do.
        I’m not certain that Free Zone and Border Zone are synonymous.
        Vehicles here (Q Roo) without permit stickers (turned in at Belize border) have been impounded by Aduana. The “fine” has been up to 14,000 pesos. Once paid, you are given a document of safe passage which gives you five days to return your vehicle to the country of origin.
        As far as the US Consular being up to date. I agree, but the meeting held with the agent was attended by officials from D.F. (Aduana and Migracion) to clear up any misunderstandings.
        Were they totally clear? Of course not. 🙂
        We also learned that it is illegal to sell, donate or give away a foreign plated vehicle. Ooops.
        Confused As Ever

      • yucalandia says:

        Good Good Good Update!

        On a similar note, here in Yucatan, we have been seeing a number of vehicles plated with licenses from other states being impounded in the past month. A neighbor’s beautiful BMW SUV-Crossover was just towed away last night because of having Nuevo Leon plates, but being driven by an emigrant from Nuevo Leon who had moved to Yucatan.
        Gotta update the article…

  17. lorrie sandoval says:

    HI Steve after about 30 phone calls and as many emails I finally got an answer regarding 2002 vehicles. Yes they can still be legalized by a Mexican national. All GMC’s are made in the US or Canada so they qualify. To legalize our 2002 GMC Sierra it will cost from start tpo finish $1310 US if we send down the registration in advance you can have it all completed in about 4hrs once you cross the border. Yippee

    • Frank says:

      Lorrie, I am curious how that worked out for you. I will be moving to Mexico in December and have and older 2001 Chevy that I’d like to import permanently. I think the only difference in our situation is that I hold dual citizenship, Mexican and USA don’t know if that changes things. If you have a chance and it’s not too much trouble let me know the steps that you took. Thank you so much, Frank

  18. Keith williamson says:

    Anyone experienced the spouses FM3 passing away while renewal, now canceled, was in process and whose spouse is told she now has illegally imported car which could be impounded as husband is the temporary importer of record? She was also told that the temporary import bond is lost due to timing.


    • yucalandia says:

      Under our reading of the law, she could get a Safe Returns permit, and take the car out of Mexico. It may be easier to sell the car at her closest border, and get a car here. That approach may also protect the bond – but Banjercito has the last word on the bond.

  19. Keith williamson says:

    Thankyou Steve…will relay to the widow….Keith

  20. Keith Williamson says:

    Hi Steve,,the widow not has legal vehicle in Mexico = a local paralegal did the paperwork and she did not have to make the trip….done after we departed so don’t have all the details.
    Howver, on a related note, friends with whom we had entered Mexico on Nov 1, 2011 at Colombia, and ourselves, departed Mexico on March 28, 2012 also at Colombia. Their FM3 renewal and notification to the Adauna at GDLwas done in January 2012, ours in March 2012. After handing in our stickers, we proceeded to Immigration and my wife, fluent in Spanish, went to speak to the staff who issued the stickers initially. They had no idea of the refund procedure and both of us had a stamped copy of the initial extension application plus a letter from the Aduana saying it was in process – neither of us had received a “final” letter and the paralegal told us he was no longer receiving them. The staff took copies of our temporarty import extensions, made a phone call to someone. and as yet, we have not been credited with the USD $400 refund.

    If Mexico doesn’t smarten up regarding snowbirds, less and less of the flock will be heading back. At this point, we might go back only to dissolve our holdings.

    We will attempt a call to the banercito head office and see if that brings results/ I will advise – others that we have heard of received their rerund the next day following exiting. But it is something to be very alert to.


  21. Alyssia says:

    How do I find out how much a permenent import for a 91′ Lincoln Towncar would be?

  22. Frank says:

    Steve, Awesome write-up,,, I takes a minute to process and the information, but greatly appreciated. I have a question for you though. What do you know or have you heard about the importation changes that could possibly take effect in Jan. of 2013?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Frank,
      Hmmmm… Jan 2013 changes in Aduana policies about importing vehicles? We have heard nothing here (yet?). What have you heard?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Frank,
      Hmmmm… Jan 2013 changes in Aduana policies about importing vehicles? We have heard nothing here (yet?). What have you heard?

      Aduana/Banjercito will have to make changes to their Temporary Import Permit policies, to accommodate November’s upcoming INM changes in visas – where FM2’s go away entirely…

  23. Frank says:

    Hey Steve, I’ve basically just heard rumors nothing definitive but I did find this on a website. “President Felipe Calderón issued a Decree for regulating the permanent importation of used vehicles. This topic has been the subject of debate between the different actors in the Mexican automotive industry, the government, manufacturers and the dealerships of new and used cars. In fact, the Decree, published in the Official Journal of the Federation and which came into force on July 1, 2011 and will remain in force until January 31, 2013, forms part of a series of presidential Decrees that regulate the importation of used cars. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) states that starting January 1, 2009 and gradually until 2019, Mexico will not be allowed to adopt or maintain any prohibition or restriction on the importation of used vehicles originating from Canada or the United States of America, depending on the model year and, in turn, provides for a staged elimination of tariffs on NAFTA-originating goods, including used vehicles”

  24. Ken Ouellette says:

    I have a 77 corvette that has been in Mex for 12 years and an 85 Monte Carle SS that has been here for 8 years, I have an FM2 Rentista . First can I legally drive these cars with a FM2 Rentista. If not will either qualify for Mexican plates. Ken

    • yucalandia says:

      Hey Ken,
      Fun cars!

      There is a legal route for you to handle both cars:
      1. Permanently import/register the Corvette as a classic car – get Mexican plates – enjoy it on sunny days.
      2. Temporarily Import the Monte as a Temporarily Imported Vehicle.

      Check out our article at: for details.

      Hold your breath now…. If you stay on a temporary resident INM visa (Residente Temporal under the soon to be implemented law), then you should be able to keep both cars. If, INSTEAD, you choose to apply for the new Residente Permanente INM visa, then none of us know what new rules Aduana will come up with for the new permanent resident category.

  25. stephanie says:

    Hi Steve, Thank you so much for your answer. (from my question above, I couldn´t find how to link this comment there)…I just spent all morning at the Central Customs Office in Mexico City. It was kind of a maze of offices, and was run around to several parts of the building to get all of my questions answered, but the people there were VERY nice. So, I submitted a cambio de estatus migratorio form, and they will be checking with migracion that my visas have been constant–which they should be. They will answer me in a couple of days. Then I would carry that form in my car (with copies of the law and my permit) and should not have trouble. I went to ask about the Retorno Seguro-just in case they dont approve my tramite. And interestingly enough, as I have been some 7 years living here, the man in charge of the retorno seguro permit for foreigners told me that I needed to go to my local Aduana office (in the state of Mexico) to request the permit. He explained that my case should be presented as if I were a Mexican National because of the extended amount of time I have been here. So that was weird, but hopefully I won´t even need to worry about the Retorno Seguro. The lady at the car import office told me that I should wait until next year to legalize my 2005 vehicle because the laws will change then, and the fee will be 10% of the cost of the car–that right now it would cost me 45-50%! Oh, and fyi, a lady at the central mexico aduanas office (and probably all others) will be closing for the holidays on Wednesday, Dec. 19th. I just wanted to say, thank you so much. Your site is by far the best I have stumbled across, as far as up to date and accurate information. You really know your stuff. Thank you!

  26. jennifer hernandez says:

    hi i have a few questions. i am an an american citizen and i want to legalize my vehicle so that i can leave in mexico and my husband and his family and i can use it. 2004 ford f 150. can i legalize it and keep it in my name? or do i have to have a mexican citizen do it?

  27. Kevin Farley says:

    I have enjoyed reading the answers given here. I lived in Q Roo for a year and drove my truck down from Matamoras to Cancun.
    I left May of 2011 without my truck as I was too scared (for my life) to drive it back north to the border after warnings from the State Department about the Narcos and my kind of vehicle, where they take it from you and shoot you.
    So, I have been saving money to ship it out of Puerto Morelos. I came back in November 2011 to get everything ready. I had an FM3 that expired Feb of 2102. As you know the economy in the USA isn’t conducive to making a lot of extra money, so it took till Dec 2012. I paid airfare, hotel and drove to Detroit to get my passport renewed. $160 some later and they told me my passport could not be renewed at this time and they gave me a number to call to find out why.
    It turned out it was a glitch in the child support system. 2 States kept my account active 4 years after my son was emancipated. But courts don’t make mistakes easily fixed without an attorney, lots of money and time. So my passport is not going to be renewed soon.
    I had planned to ship my truck back and my friend said the Aduana in Cancun told me I had to be present with my passport to enable them to allow it to be shipped.
    It has the sticker from when I came into the country still, so I imagine they want the fee for removing that and getting a permit to drive it to the ship.
    My friend has the title and the truck, but he has since become a Mexican National, so he cannot legally drive the truck. I can get someone American to drive my truck, but the sticker is expired.
    I have been trying to see if there is an attorney or a service that can use a power of attorney or something to get past the aduana hurdle. So far, nobody knows anything about it. I don’t have any relatives who can come down and handle it for me. After my experience with corrupt police and the drive through northern Mexico, I believe the State Departments warnings.
    So, if you wish to reply to my email, that would be cool also.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Kevin,
      The good news: you have multiple options – including some you did not describe:
      ~ 10,000’s of US and Canadians have been driving the central Mexico route very very safely for the last 10 years. The majority of the problems have occurred on the Coast road from Matamoros to Vera Cruz… The central route: San Antonio, Laredo, Nuevo Laredo, Queretaro, Arco Norte, Puebla, Veracruz route is FASTER and safer than the coast road. If you take the toll roads, then you avoid about 10,000 coast road topes and avoid about 100 small towns, making the coast road trip actually faster. Because the Gulf of Mexico bulges so far west, the central route is only about 180 miles longer than the coast road. Read the article on Yucatan Living that describes how the central route works well when driving from Texas to Yucatan Peninsula:

      The State Department warnings are important, but they do not recognize that the Narcos in Laredo/Nuevo Laredo HAVE NOT BOTHERED Canadians or Americans.

      The problems for Americans/Canadian travelers have occurred between Matamoros and Vera Cruz…..

      Instead of Matamoros: Just stay in a nice hotel on the north side of Laredo, eat a good breakfast, cross into Nuevo Laredo using Bridge #2 in downtown Laredo, going early in the morning (8 AM), and DO NOT stop in Nuevo Laredo for errands (stay on the highway), and do NOT enter Monterrey (take the city bypass), and you will be fine, like the last 20,000 or so Americans traveling this route.

      ~ If you insist on the $800 USD shipping by boat option, yes, you can issue a Carta de Poder that authorizes someone to file for a Retorno Seguro permit ( ) with SAT. That allows Mexicans or Americans to drive your car during the 5 business day period of the permit. You can issue a Carta de Poder for someone to drive the car to Puerto Morelos, and to act as your legal agent to ship the car to Florida…

      ~ By the time you pay for people to do all these permits, plus at least $800 more in shipping/import/fees – it might be better for you to handle things.

      ~ Do you realize that you can get the Retorno Seguro permit, yourself, and drive the car to the Chetumal/Belize border, and turn in the TIP – recovering your deposit(?) – without leaving Mexico – and that you can continue to drive your foreign-plated car legally in JUST Q. Roo, because Q. Roo is a Free Zone? – like Baja California, the vehicle must have current legal registration and legal plates back in the USA or Canada…

      You could read the comments on this at

      CIITEV_Aduan aMexico
      Wed 7/31/2013
      Good morning Mr. Spiegel,
      Thanks for contact us.
      Effectively, Quintana Roo is considered a Free Zone, so as long as you won’t drive out of there you won’t have any problems. On the other hand, you cannot request for a new temporary import permit because of your stay condition (Residente Permanente is not allow to have a foreign car here in Mexico). If you want to drive out of Quintana Roo, we recommend you to consider nationalizing your car. I let you some information bellow:

      Final Importation
      You need to get in contact with a customs broker, he is the one in charge to make the final import of any car, he will classify the Id of the car, make the import request, identify regulations, restrictions, and taxes of the foreign trade.
      You can find one in the Confederación de Asociaciones de Agentes Aduanales de la República Mexicana (CAAAREM), the telephone number is: 01 (55) 33 00 75 00, in Mexico, D.F., and the website is:
      Another option is to contact with the Confederación Latinoamericana de Agentes Aduanales (CLAA) in its website:,mx, the telephone number is: 01 (800) 702 04 22.
      We extend you an invitation to visit the Customs General Administration website:, where you can find more information about customs and foreign trade.

      I hope this information can clear your mind.
      Best regards.
      For more information please call the following toll-free numbers:

      • In Mexico 01 800 4636 728 7-2-2-1-1 options.
      • From the U.S. and Canada 1 877 4488728 7-2-2-1-1 options.



      I hope these items clarify your legal and reasonable options.

  28. Hey there, I think your blog might bee having browser compatibility
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    looks fine but when opening iin Internet Explorer,
    it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up!

    Other then that, terrific blog!

  29. Very good info. Lucky me I ran across your website by chance (stumbleupon).
    I’ve bookmarked it for later!

  30. sheena says:

    Where do I find a company that does the legalization of trucks in California?? Or arazona??? Please help I can’t find anything

  31. jesus Gutierrez says:

    Wanted to know what it take to get a farm tractor legalized and the years and just about everything I should know

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Jesus,
      We’re very convinced that this must be handled by a professional licensed Customs Broker…

      and convinced that the Aduana agents (at your border crossing) have discretion and latitude in how they handle the import/legalization …

      So, go talk with the Customs Broker you will use, and have that Broker get the details of what Aduana at your crossing will want.

      Happy Trails,

  32. Alex says:

    Hello, hope you can answer a question I have. I recently applied for a permanent residency card. I live in Mexico City with my wife who is a Mexican citizen. It should take another few weeks to receive the card. I would like to bring into Mexico a motorcycle 2008 model from the United States. From what I have read, as long as my permanent residency card is valid, which I understand no longer requires renewing the card ever, can I drive the motorcycle in Mexico with American plates without having to legalize the motorcycle? Would I just have to apply at the border for the temporary permit? In other words is there a special permit for people with permanent residency which allows the vehicle to stay in Mexico for more than 180 days without having to return the vehicle to the border every six months? Thank you for any help.

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