Gringo Attitudes Regarding TIPs, INM Permits, and Mexico’s Laws – The Article

July 5, 2013

There has been an interesting exchange of views, buried in the comments section of our Importing & Driving a Car in Mexico article, that raises and tracks a number of ongoing issues that gringos face in Mexico. These discussions seem to boil down to 5 basic issues:

Should we (foreigners) generally respect and follow Mexican Laws and rules?

– Should we instead 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 gringos entitled to create Burger-King-niches in Mexico?   … “Have it YOUR way.

– 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.

The changes in Aduana rules have been simultaneously true-but-changed (updated), due to the May 2011 INM Law 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, unfortunately, NO LONGER have either of the qualifying types of INM permits. Since the “new” 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. In many states, if we accidentally hit and killed a family of 4 Mexicans, we would owe up to $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 they signed,
– Unfortunately, by getting a Residente Permanente card, 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….

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

Read on, MacDuff.

23 Responses to Gringo Attitudes Regarding TIPs, INM Permits, and Mexico’s Laws – The Article

  1. Pingback: Gringo Attitudes Regarding TIPs, INM Permits, and Mexico’s Laws | Surviving Yucatan

  2. Ray says:

    Well stated and I would add that it is not just in Mexico where some of these ideas/attitudes surface.

    • yucalandia says:


      As 100 million Americans become eligible for retirement between now and 2030, the spectre of 2 decades of 10’s of millions of newly-minted Ugly American travelers … does raise its head.

  3. 9kids says:

    Great article, and so true! Unfortunately, those who think they have the “right” to be here and not follow local laws are a horrible reflection that often gets applied to all of us. I say, if they don’t want to follow the rules, send them back where they came from.

    • yucalandia says:

      You wrote:
      those who think they have the “right” to be here and not follow local laws are a horrible reflection that often gets applied to all of us.“.g..

      The rest of us are already paying the price of some gringos insistence on creating a Burger-King-niches in Mexico:
      … “Have it YOUR way“. …

      We hear comments from gentler Canadian and American friends here who note that every year, as obvious foreigners, we get fewer cheery “Buenos Dias‘s”, and instead, more and more hard-faced first-reactions from previously-smiling Yucatecans – due to their natural reactions to an increasing population of “entitled” and noisy gringos (a.k.a Ugly Americans). One friend commented that we are in the midst of a transition from being the “cute minority”, to now becoming a tangible influence on Merida and Mexico.

      As 10’s of millions of Baby Boomer Americans and Canadians retire and travel over the next 20 years, I suspect a very different demographic of gringos will be coming to Mexico: Previous gringos here were an eclectic mix of early retirees and creative risk-takers looking for change and interesting new environs. The coming waves of gringos may be more heavily weighted with gringos coming here to take advantage of cheap labor and cheap services and cheap food. Stingy people who insist on remaking their new-home/new-environment into a little copy of what they had “back home” really do not make very good neighbors ~ as they try to bend people, Mexican Govt. policies, and living circumstances to their will.

      Let’s hope I am wrong.

      Let’s hope that respect, tempered with doses of humility, will rule the days,

  4. 9kids says:

    Me too, Steve, me too. There have been certain expats I refuse to associate myself with because of their attitude toward our gracious hosts. Unfortunately, we may all ultimately be painted with the same brush due to the downright nasty and ungrateful attitude of some.

  5. Tom C. Whitmore says:

    This article is wonderful. Unfortunately, it is so accurate. I know from experience that here in Mazatlán we have many gringos who are only here because it is less expensive than the USA, that have little or no respect for Mexicans and no desire to have them as friends (unless they are rich and generous).

    Fortunately, there are many gringos here who respect their hosts, the Mexicans, including their laws and customs. I would certainly not be upset if the other type of gringos moved elsewhere…..Guatemala, Belize, Costa Rica……or as far from México (and EEUU) as possible.
    Tom C. Whitmore

  6. Bob Zeller says:

    This article and posts have been kind of one sided in its view of Mexico, Mexicans, and their laws. Actually, Mexico applies its laws arbitrarily because many in charge do not know their own law, don’t care that they don’t know, don’t bother to keep current (this includes the vast majority of Mexican accountants and lawyers, especially the anointed Notarios who get paid by setting their own arbitrary fees at will and Mexican law requires that they sign just about every important document), and are allowed to arbitrarily apply the law. That is NOT a reflection of a country of Laws now, is it? Who do you think are the first to suffer from this…Gringos. Who makes money from this and their “mordida”, Mexicans!

    Ever notice how Mexicans feel that they have to put iron bars on all their windows and doors? What do you think that means? It means that they don’t trust each other…and with good reason because, if you don’t put up these bars, you WILL get burglarized. What does that say about the whole country and its People?

    Come on, the INM has changed its visas three times in three years. What the heck is that. This last time they didn’t coordinate with their sister agency, the Aduana and it is causing all kinds of problems. Also, their banking systems sucks big time…charging a fee for depositing cash…really? Requiring a factura to be able to deduct an expense…how absurd.

    Oh, ever make an appointment with a professional, a skilled laborer or a government official? They never ever keep their appointments on time. To them, your time is of no value. I can tell you first hand that all the inadequacies of their “Mexican ways” has cost me thousands of dollars and thousands of hours of wasted time.

    This last thing with their precipitous stipulation that Residente Permanente is equivalent to “Inmigrado” status and distinct from all the past Visa designations such as FM3, FM2, No-Inmigrate and INmigrante and now requiring a quick one way inevitable progression to Inmigrado/Residente Permanente status, well, I think this is the straw that breaks my back. This sudden turn of events is going to cost me a lot of time and thousands of dollars…again. I am ready to get out of Baja if I can’t switch backwards to Residente Temporal from Residente Permanente.

    • Tom C. Whitmore says:

      It is most unfortunate that you are so sour about México and Mexicans. Your entire comment is nothing but negatives and complaints. You are entitled to your opinion, of course, but I recommend you leave México at your earliest opportunity. You will be happier and the gringos who feel positive about México and Mexicans, as well as the Mexicans themselves, will all be much happier and we certainly will not miss you.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Bob,
      THANKS for the thought-provoking comments.

      Let’s consider the facts on a few of the opinions you expressed:
      …”Come on, the INM has changed its visas three times in three years. What the heck is that. “…

      The CAMARA DE DIPUTADOS (the legislature) changed the INM rules on May 3, 2010, and the CAMARA DE DIPUTADOS changed the rules again on Nov. 8, 2012, with no other changes up to today.

      By simple mathematics, that is two (2) rule changes over 3 years, MADE BY THE LEGISLATURE…. not by INM.

      Sidelight: The rule changes made by the Camara de Diputados reduced the rather-confusing number of INM immigrant categories from 38, down to a very understandable nine (9) categories. They REDUCED the requirements for permanent residency substantially, allowing 10,000’s of gringos to alreagy get Permanent Residency since the changes.

      So, should we really complain about less stringent requirements, and more straightforward categories, and more clear definitions of the rules ?

      Is it unreasonable to ask that some Permanent Residents have $125,000 USD in savings to qualify as a PERMANENT FULL TIME Retiree in Mexico? If the average retiree lives for 22 years in Mexico, (per accepted actuarial statistics), ~ when a gringo has no pension: Is it unreasonable to set a personal FISCAL solvency requirement of $5,681 dollars per year .

      The INM/Camara de Diputados rule, asking gringos with no pensions to have $5,861 dollars per year average, seems like a reasonable requirement to keep the Gringos off the Mexican dole…

      Re other cost savings due to the NEW INM law policies:
      I personally am happy to not have to pay for an extra 3 years of Temporary permits (a savings of nearly $1,000 USD), to get Permanent Residency.

      You also wrote”
      …”This last time they didn’t coordinate with their sister agency, the Aduana and it is causing all kinds of problems. “…

      Neither the INM NOR Aduana have the legal right to make laws governing their agencies.
      Again, you have confused the Legislature’s (CAMARA DE DIPUTADOS = Congress) actions and errors with INM and Aduana.

      Can we really claim to know good solutions, when we continually define and describe the wrong problems?

      Hint: It was the Camara de Diputados (Congress’) responsibility to HARMONIZE the changes they made to INM rules, with the existing SRE and Aduana laws and rules… Blame the legislators….

      But wait, If you read the 2011 INM Law, you would know that Congress/Legislature could really make NO effective changes to Aduana/SAT law, until the Reglamento and Lineamientos were written – as specified in the May 2011 INM Law… Which means the Legislature’s hands were tied until Nov. 2012….

      So, we can fault the legislature for not dealing with about 10,000 gringo’s problems with their TEMPORARY import permit issues – as they instead deal with a Drug War, a failing public education system, and with implementing the first major police, prosecutorial, and judicial reforms in the past 200 years….

      Which is more important?
      Gringos desires to choose Permanente Residency, by sacrificing their right to have a FREE – NO DUTY – TEMPORARY imported car, on which the gringos have paid ZERO taxes, and ZERO road use fees, and have basically free-loaded on Mexican road systems for the prior 4 to 10 years? The newly minted Permanent Resident gringos were ALL free to take their TEMPORARY DUTY-FREE and TAX-FREE and NO-REGISTRATION required cars out of Mexico, (as the gringos legally agreed to when signing for their TEMPORARY permits)…

      Whose needs should be met first?
      Foreign Gringos who willingly break their written contracts?
      Foreign Gringos who have paid no duties, no taxes, and no registration fees for years to operate TEMPORARY vehicles in Mexico?
      Foreign Gringos who openly and intentionally ignore and break Mexican laws and rules?
      Should the legislators focus on millions of Mexican poor kids in really bad public schools?
      Should the legislators focus on the problems of $45 billion of money and 10,000’s of guns flowing across the border from the US public’s annual consumption of $45 billion of drugs smuggled through and from Mexico?
      Should the legislators focus on laws and rules to help build a strong economy?
      Should the legislators focus on the future energy needs of Mexico?
      Should the legislators focus on judicial reform – to move them from Napoleonic Codes up to an English-American style jurisprudence system?

      should I continue…?

      Really, the needs of 10,000 or so gringos with FREE Temporary Imported cars, do seem less important than at least 10 other far more pressing national needs in Mexico.

      Again, Mexico is NOT Burger King…
      You cannot always “Have it em>your way…”

      Mexico is better-off focusing on the very real needs of the many,
      placating the desires of a small number of grumpy foreigners.

      I choose a healthy future for the Mexican economy, a big increase in the professionalism of Mexican police, a big increase in the professionalism of prosecutors and teachers… and judges…. long before resolving the complaints of a few gringos who chose to get PERMANENT residency – hence forfeiting the opportunity to have duty-free TEMPORARY cars in Mexico.

      Reality and facts can appear harsh….

      … but I much prefer making rational, functional, practical, choices that benefit 10’s millions of people…
      ~ Decisions and actions based on reality and facts ~ versus / over the emotional feeling-based proposals and mis-directed claims of people who have not learned the facts.

      So, WELCOME TO MEXICO … with all her problems, warts, opportunities, and many more personal freedoms than in either the USA or Canada…

      No Homeland Security or ICE in Mexico…
      No NSA spying for 5 decades on Mexican Citizens…
      No Federal Felony prison time for making phone calls about the movements of extremely hazardous nuclear materials…
      No J. Edgar Hoovers running their own private internal secret police forces – beyond the control of even Presidents for 40 years…
      No Police breaking into homes at 4:30 AM and shooting the unarmed residents in their beds, due to their political beliefs…
      No Police arresting and jailing people for praying in non-Christian ways for 200 years…. (Read about 1978 AIRFA if you think the US had Freedom of Religion…)
      Males without property and non-whites were allowed to vote in Mexico long before the USA….
      (At the time of the Constitution’s approval, only roughly 20% of US peoples had the right to vote => Basically, white men with land…)
      No Guantanamo Bay prisons in Mexico,
      No Mexico stationing troops in 75% of the world’s nations…

      Should I continue…?

      Really, Mexico is on the verge of entering the top tier of nations in the world, if they can turn around their Judicial, Police, Prosecutorial, Customs (Import/Export), and Public Education systems…. They are already in the first tier of nations as far as economic and manufacturing outputs… There have consistently been more Middle Class Mexicans than Mexicans in poverty for 4 years. There is LESS FOOD POVERTY in Mexico than the US, due to the Mex. Gob. subsidizing the prices of rice, beans, eggs, tortillas etc… ( 1 in 5 US children DO NOT KNOW where or when their next meal will come…)

      Really…. Facts and reality can shatter myths and emotional appeals and “feelings” than gringos suspect or imagine.

    • yucalandia says:

      If you already have a Temporary Residency permit, then apply for another Temporary Residency permit… That is not some move backwards as you propose.

      As a current Temporary Resident of Mexico, you do have to leave Mexico after 4 years of Temporary Residency, to re-apply for another round … but as a resident of Baja, is it more than a 4 hour drive to the US to make the application?

      Living in ANY country as a foreigner makes us guests of that country. Foreigners simply do NOT have the same rights as citizens in basically all countries on planet earth…

      Re your complaints about the 2% tax on undocumented cash deposits made at banks.
      Really, don’t we all want to live in a society that pays its way by paying its taxes?

      If you bring in wire transfers, checks, and other forms of deposits, then there is NO tax charged. You are only charged tax if you actually try to hand them more than … $25,000 pesos of BILLs or coins … per account… per month…

      Don’t most gringos use credit cards or debit cards?

      What’s up with you wanting to deposit more than $2,000 USD a month per account per bank in billetes, unless you are collecting under-the-table rent or under-the-table income??? The foreigners I know who work legitimately in Mexico get paid by direct deposit or get paid by check (NO TAXES for these deposits) …

      This is like the folks in the USA who whip out big rolls of Benjamins ($100 bills) to buy cars, to buy homes, etc…. Do we really think that it is healthy for an economy to run on $10,000’s in personal transactions paid with only bills?

      Are we really against Mex. Gob. efforts to collect at least some taxes on the underground ~ cash ~ economy?

      Again, every single complaint you’ve offered are like inflatable dinosaur toys… A quick inspection of the facts, deflates every claim…

      Re Professionals and Bureaucrats keeping Appointments on Time:
      Talk with Canadians, Americans, and British citizens about their government’s and their health systems, and their doctor’s and lawyer’s abilities to meet with clients “at the appointed hour”…

      It just does not happen, especially with the health professionals…
      (let along govt. officials or govt. offices)…

      Really, in our local Yucatecan and Merida government offices, I have had far more appointments kept within 10 minutes of the appointed time, than I experienced in decades in Chicago or Washington DC. I once waited 2 months for the FDA to keep their appointment on approving a summer job there… They finally met with me on Aug. 12’th to tell me that yes, I could work for them that summer (a total of 12 days before my appointment back at university).

      USAID had me wait 6 months before meeting their promised appointments (for my last international project with the US Govt.)… So, the delays in Mexico are comparable or much less than those I experienced in 26 years of professional activities with the US govt… Then consider health professionals… In the US, you wait hours in waiting rooms, to see the average physician for 7 minutes… while in Mexico, physicians give you their personal cell numbers, and dialogue for at least 30 minutes per appointment – all for 1/3 the cost….

      Again, reality and facts can be cruel mistresses, when we actually track how they act when “the rubber meets the road”…

  7. Bob Zeller says:

    Yucaladia, Steve, thank you for your very comprehensive and thoughtful responses. I have learned a great deal in less than 24 hours. Your tact and reasoned posts have not been lost on me.

    I am very frustrated right now because I will have to bring my truck and boat back to the USA after all the time and money and effort I have spent trying to arrange a decent vacation home in the Baja.

    Immediately before getting the Residente Permanente status this month, I had Inmigrante status. I have to see if I can reverse that to switch out the RP for Residente Temporal. If so, I can leave the Truck and the boat in Baja. Having to progress to Residente Permanente after the next 3 or 4 years will be fine. That will provide enough time for me to get a newer vehicle to nationalize at a more reasonable affordable rate or buy a decent Mexican plated vehicle that can be checked out for reliability. Same for the boat. If I can’t get Residente Temporal in the coming 12 months, I am going to liquidate all my holdings and get out. I’ve had it.

    In my experience as a professional during my business career in the USA compared to my encounters with Mexican accountants and lawyers, real estate brokers and Mexican government officials and agencies in my efforts to invest a bit in Mexico and establish a vacation home has not been good. The lack of professionalism, lack of knowledge in their own field and in their responsibilities, their absolute refusal to be proactive on any front is nothing less than astonishing. If the counterparts in the USA performed as badly as the so called Mexican professionals, these US professionals would loose their licenses and would have been subject many law suits. Even mediocre US professionals perform much better than the vast majority of professionals I have encountered in Mexico. That has been my experience.

    I don’t know if you have had any experience with owning a Mexican corporation (or an American business for that matter) and dealing with the ridiculous internal banking controls imposed on Mexican corporate and personal checking accounts and the issues in dealing with and accounting for tax deductible expenditures in that environment, and having to deal with Notarios that do not know their own tax code while being empowered to compute and mandate payment of tax liability based on their computations in spite of their lack of knowledge, well, that’s frustrating. I am very punctual and it seems it is a rarity that any of the Mexican professionals that I have had appointments with have been on time or that they actually do what they promise to do when they say they are going to do it. BTW, I have rarely if ever had to wait inordinately or unreasonably for any medical attention for myself, my parents in their old age, for my wife, nor for any of my children.

    Apparently, your experiences have been much different than mine overall. I guess we will just have to accept that, and that’s OK. It is what it is.

    I don’t know if the Mexican legislature has to choose between 10,000 gringos or its people. I don’t think that it is an either/or situation as you have posited. Also, with regard to economic issues, both the US and Mexico have one massive problem that tops all others and that is that both have a massively lopsided disparity of wealth and income among their own people. One of the errors many people make is to think if big business and the wealthy do well in a country while the poor get poorer, if GDP grows, then that is considered a good and strong economy. I don’t follow that line of thinking at all. A good economy is one where the people who do the work get appropriately and fairly compensated by that economy so that the vast majority of the people have enough income and wealth to buy the very products and services that they themselves have produced with their own hands and minds. That is not happening in either country. Both countries are at the top of the list of disparity in he world. In fact, the USA surpassed Mexico not too long ago. GDP is growing in both countries, but the disparity is growing also, and that is not good.

    Furthermore, I am not against reasonable bank fees for services they render, but the banking system in the USA has gotten inordinately large and powerful and they charge fees that are not justified by the costs they incur to provide the service, and, I can see some inequitable behavior by Mexican banks as well. Banks were considered a service to the economy, now they are a controlling industry, grown out of proportion to the need for their service which is to manage risk and clear payments. So, I would temper my thoughts and compliments as to the quality and growth of an economy as to whether or not it is proportionately true to its purpose of serving the vast majority of its people in a sufficiently equitable outcome.

    I thank you for your above posts, very informative.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Bob,
      Thank you for taking the time to make such good replies, with plenty of details to understand your situation.

      I am reading that you now have Residente Permanente status, which is causing problems with you having a truck and boat in Mexico. Correct?

      If so, to keep the boat and truck in Mexico long-term, without permanently importing them (not nationalizing them):
      – You would need to abandon/surrender the Residente Permanente.
      – You would need to take the boat and truck temporarily outside Mexico and surrender the TIPs on them. (a quick run to the border)***
      – Once the boat and truck TIPs have been officially cancelled, then you can apply for Residente TEMPORAL (in San Diego – closest Mexican Consulate to you within the USA?).
      – San Diego’s Mexican Consulate has been processing Residente Temporal applications in a few days – after which the Consulate issues you a special visa to re-enter Mexico for the specific purpose of completing the Residente Temporal application process at your local INM office in Mexico.
      – Once INM (in Mexico) issues you your Residente Temporal Tarjeta de Residencia – then you can easily get new TIPs at the border for the boat and trailer… If INM lets you pay for 4 years of the Residente Temporal card, then Aduana has been giving TIPs for the same number of years of your INM permit => 4 years of no hassles and no more bills…(?)
      – INM offices do have the option to tell new Residente Temporal applicants that they only get 1 year on that first Residente Temporal card, which means you then pay for 3 years of INM renewals during the following year’s renewal process – and notify Aduana Mexico City of your 3 year renewal – and they record 3 years of extensions on your TIPs.


      – When you return from San Diego’s Mexican Consulate, with your special entry visa from SRE – the Consulate, you could Temporarily import the boat and truck on just a 180 days… and when you get your INM Tarjeta de Residente Temporal, you notify Aduana of the extension of your INM permit – to get you a full year (or 4 full years ?) on your TIPs. …

      ***Please note that these instructions fit the official rules for all of Mexico EXCEPT Baja California and Baja Sur… We really do NOT know the quirks, eccentricities, and details of how you MIGHT have some special work-arounds in the special Free Zones….

      Hope this helps explain your legal options…. (and yes, your lawyer should have known these things back in at least last February)

      You wrote:
      “…If the counterparts in the USA performed as badly as the so called Mexican professionals, these US professionals would loose their licenses and would have been subject many law suits. Even mediocre US professionals perform much better than the vast majority of professionals I have encountered in Mexico. That has been my experience. …”

      It is really unfortunate that you have not found good Mexican professionals.

      Just like in the USA, it seems that maybe 1 professional in 5 actually are good at what they do….

      1 good mechanic in 5, one good lawyer in 5, one (1) good physician in five (5)….

      Consider US physicians / “Doctors”. Repeated, good studies that analyzed millions of patient records have shown that US physician errors and physician mis-diagnoses unnecessarily KILL 180,000 – 200,000 patients a year in the USA… ~ We pitch fits over 12,000 deaths from drunk drivers, have national campaigns, mobilize the police in drunk driver sweeps, ~ … Yet we ignore 3 decades of US physicians being the 3’rd leading cause of death, and the LARGEST cause of unnecessary deaths in the USA…

      Again facts and reality can be harsh… and learning the facts can be jarring….

      In reality, US lawyers (a less educated bunch than the physician/”Doctors”), actually make far more errors – but their errors rarely kill people.

      Anyway, I FULLY agree that Mexican lawyers ~ on average ~ are a recalcitrant bunch who generally do not bother to educate themselves on the changes that have happened in Labor Law, in Real Estate Tax Law, in Immigration Law, or in Aduana Law…. The “professional facilitators” in INM matters really are no better….

      This is why Rolly Brook, and Yucalandia, have made consistent efforts to stay abreast of the changes in Mexican laws, and to write reliable summaries of foreigner’s options – and to have our websites fact-checked by GOOD attornies who actually make the efforts to know the laws.

      We do NOT give legal advice here, but we do try to explain people’s options, so they can go to the “professional experts” and recognize if the “expert” actually knows the principles and the details, or if you need to call “Bull-Sh*te” and walk-away to find a better “expert”.

      Again, we have to work hard to find very good professionals to check the information on our sites, to determine if our information fits what is actually happen ON THE GROUND … In that vein: At Yucalandia, we have had 5 separate lawyers review and adjust our immigration information versus what is happening in 5 different states across Mexico….


      I agree completely about the banks… on both sides of the borders….

      US politicians had big government jumped into bed with Wall Street “investment” banks, back in the Reagan and Clinton eras, and we have been paying the prices of this grand ugly collusion ever since. The Clinton era “banking” and investment oversight reforms were the next big step in directly causing the last $7 Trillion financial crash, and Bush, Paulson, and Cheney then leveraged Clinton’s changes to reduce requirements for banks in general – turning Wall Street and financial markets into near-robber-baron casinos – offering far-more-risky financial products than Las Vegas, with far less oversight on Wall Street “bankers” ( Goldman Sachs, Chase, JP Morgan, et al…) – not to mention the $100 billion(s?) of junk real estate loans – and the hundreds of $$ billions of drug money and illegal-gun money laundered by Wells Fargo et al…

      And just why have we NOT seen herds of these “bankers” doing perp-walks up jail-house steps in orange jump-suits???


      Re business:
      I have only run 3 small businesses in my life, and I was the #2 (minority) partner in a medium sized business – where we managed to make payroll every 2 weeks for 13 years (for 80 “professional” employees) – in a business environment of 10 years of a shrinking market – where 67% of our competitors went out-of-business – and had “fire-sales” on prices as they went out-of-business….

      and yes, we had lots of interactions with Local, State, and Federal government, because we were an environmental analysis lab, doing court-defensible analyses, working on environmental clean-ups at almost all of the major DOE (nuclear) sites, and many of the Army’s and Air Force’s major clean-up sites…. We also worked on environmental cleanups in Mexico, Canada, Scotland, Italy, and Ukraine…

      So, yes, I have had a little experience keeping an 80 person company’s doors open – personally handling/managing roughly $32 million in government work (dealing daily with government “professionals) – and doing contract negotiations and contract oversight (working almost daily with lawyers) on roughly $78 million of environmental work… and serving as an expert witness, testifying in legal proceedings for the DOJ and against various Chemical Industry players – going up against adversarial trial attorneys … and I can say with a little confidence that US lawyers are ~ on average ~ not a very bright bunch – and that US lawyers only NOMINALLY know their specific areas of the law – where they generally have only a basic working knowledge of US law in their own specific areas – and when pressed – we could find significant holes / gaps in their approaches in tax law, huge holes in knowledge in the details of of environmental law, and significant holes in contract law, and gaping gaps in their logic during formal depositions and during trials… I can also point to 5 pieces of environmental laws and SBA regulations that we got changed (reversed) during 6 years of personal efforts – gradually grinding the various professional lawyers out of their prior legal positions…

      As a pitiful Chemist / Public Health Scientist / two-time professor – self-educated in environmental law – who also watched contract law TV courses in the middle of the night (during brief bouts of insomnia) – I can say that from personal experiences:
      ….. Lawyers are generally neither well-educated, nor very bright, when it comes to dealing with “non-routine” legal problems in their practices of contract or environmental, or tax law. … So, Mexican lawyers seem surprisingly similar to their US counterparts in my experience.

      US and Mexican Lawyers are nominally OK at coloring inside the lines, when given simple pictures to color – but they really generally are not able to do much more than routine ~ plug-and-chug law ~ repeatedly applying the same thing someone showed them 20 years ago – or mechanically applying what they learned at some seminar… We learned these hard lessons while my family battled with HUD, Park & Planning, WMATA et al for 30 years of real estate disputes between 1962 and 1994 in the Washington DC area… Where mediocre attorneys (hired by my father) ultimately cost us 1/2 of our family’s meager assets… (where I became fully fiscally independent at age 18, personally paying all my university education expenses – and working my way through school (just like Dad, Auntie, and one Uncle) – to leave University with a small nest egg…)

      We each have different experiences… based on how broad or how narrow our prior experiences…
      Not necessarily better nor worse than each other… just different….

      All the Best,

  8. Bob Zeller says:

    Thanks again, Steve, for a marvelous and thorough response. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your taking the time to do so. Much of what you just wrote, I agree with, especially the causes and effects concerning the financial crash of 2007/8.

    With regard to my situation, yes, I do currently have Residente Permanente status. Also, I have a presence only in Baja; not anywhere in Mainland Mexico. I have never gotten a TIP for my truck as TIPs are not required in my situation in Baja. I do, however, have a specific TIP for my boat in order to operate it on the water; no TIP is required for Baja for having the boat on land or for transporting the boat on land in the Baja.

    I am hoping that I can surrender my Residente Permanente status In La Paz this week and get a temporary visa or some kind of written permission to continue to stay there for a couple more weeks while I take care of some matters and then return to the USA where I can apply for Residente Temporal at a Mexican Consulate in San Diego, CA. My wife is going with me to Baja this week. She has only an FMM visa and is on title with me on the truck and is covered by the truck’s insurance policy, so I am hoping that she can drive the truck while we are in the Baja. Also, I hope that I can either drive the truck by myself, there in Baja, with her written permission to do so or at least drive the truck with her in in the passenger seat while I drive. I don’t know the law concerning this.

    It would be great if I can surrender the Residente Temporal at the Mexican Consulate in San Diego after I come back to California from this week’s trip to Baja, instead of surrendering it during my upcoming trip while in the Baja, that would simplify things. What do you think, Steve?

    Thanks in advance or any light you can shed on this matter.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hey Bob,
      I think that you are thinking clearly.
      I think you are making good plans.

      I know that the INM offices at the border crossings accept us surrendering our INM permits (as a sub-organization of the SEGOB ministry), but I do not know if Mexican Consulates (part of the SRE ministry) accept surrender of SEGOB/INM documents. The Consulates (as a part of SRE) do NOT approve or issue Residency Permits. Only INM (SEGOB) issues the residency permits, while the Consulates simply start the process. I hope that the Consulate can accept and rapidly process the cancellation of an INM permit, but since Consulates are SRE, they do not have full authority on SEGOB/INM matter. Clear as mud?

      Re the TIP on the boat:
      I do know that some Consulates check our Mexican records to see if we have any existing TIPs when we apply for residency. If they find a TIP (like on the boat), then they have the right to say: “No, you may not apply for a residency permit until the existing TIP is cancelled/surrendered”…

      I think that covers all the details that might interfere with your current very good plans.

      Post Script: Are you getting a sense now of why many Mexican lawyers and Immigration “facilitators”, struggle to give accurate and thorough answers – when dealing with the current thicket of detailed, overlapping, interlocking, interwoven requirements and responsibilities? *grin*

  9. Nick M says:

    I find it interesting we are content to follow “leave no trace”, etc principles and laws here in our own country but find it difficult and nearly impossible to apply similar respect for laws governing our mere presence in a place that welcomes us provided we “play by their rules”. Isn’t it what Americans expect of foreign visitors here? No one gets off the hook for driving without a license, insurance, or current plates/tags. What makes us think we can pull it off in Mexico and get away with it?

  10. Pingback: Big Mistakes People Make with Mexican Lawsuits | Surviving Yucatan

  11. geo in chetumal/ cancun says:

    I love all the above. i just wish they would have a 10 year visa like some countries have where you can come and go as you please multiple entries in th 10 years for 200 or 300 usd one time fee. .
    second comment. . i have been here for 23 years and just make a point of every 180 days going to the usa or living near a border or in a Mexican free zone ( baja or chetumal cancun ) i do not need car permits in this area. and only get them if i travel to the interior. i use debt cards for money here so no bank problems. i will never own a house in mexico because of the expression . ” why buy the cow (house) when you can get the milk (rent it for cheap) for free. plus never have to deal with most of the professionals mentioned above. keep life simple and basic. and enjoy the good things about mexico.( people, beauty etc.) that is how i roll as the big boys say an the nice thing is if i have to i can pick up and move out or anywhere i want tomorrow. just lose one month rent? . simple is better. and once every 6 months cross a border or fly on an special to lax or Houston or Miami for under 200 each. just the break i need. 95 % less frustrating. i get most frustrated helping ex pats like myself who do not follow the rules and get them self in all these jams and we try to help them out. that is something i am ready to quit doing. takes the joy of living here out of us. i tell everyone i can . this simple recipy above. and those that take th advice. have seen the benefit. especially as things change in every ountry an what you thought today . about moving to mexico. maybe a huge difference in 2 yrs or more. again this is me doing what i like as a tourist living in mexico and out every 180 days for a bit of a break and super easy and less complicated if you live near a border or free zone area like Baja or Belize/ Cancun corridor. , Quintana Roo state. KISS (keep it simple, silly )

  12. Pam says:

    Where can I find the documentation that the Chetumal to Cancun corridor is part of the Mexican Free Zone and that a TIP on a foreign plated vehicle is not required? I live in Playa del Carmen and would love to remove the TIP on our US truck we keep here. We only drive it between Chetumal and Cancun. We also have a Mexican plated car for trips outside that area. Is there some documentation we can carry to show the police if we are stopped and questioned?

    Thanks for any direction you can provide – really appreciate how informative your site is.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Pam,
      You could read the comments on this at

      Wed 7/31/2
      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.


      and read our comments on the Aduana link on this:
      Drilling into the history: Pres. Echeverria made Q Roo a Free Zone in 1972. This status was further elaborated in the Jul. 1, 1980 DOF publishing of a decreto presidential ( ) …

      In the crudest of analogies, the 20 km rule from the border does not apply to the special zone in Sonora, nor Baja Caifornia, nor California Sur, so, I understand that Q. Roo’s free zone designation falls under the “whole state” type of designation that Baja California y California Sur enjoy. (? though I have not dug out a specific reference)

      One SAT page related to the Free Zone issue, has clearly called out Q. Roo as a Free Zone for several years – in the same category as Baja California and California Sur. Here is an example of a SAT page referencing Q Roo as a state similar to the Californias and parts of Sonora – areas with special rules and special Aduana priviledges:
      “Franja y región fronterizas

      Franja fronteriza norte
      Es el territorio comprendido entre la línea divisoria internacional del norte del país y la línea paralela a una distancia de 20 kilómetros hacia el interior del país en el tramo comprendido entre el límite de la región parcial del estado de Sonora y el golfo de México, así como el municipio fronterizo de Cananea, Sonora.

      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. ”

      Is this enough documentation for you?

      Rabbi Stephen Spiegel wrote:
      If you are addressing Rabbi Steve, you got me. If you were looking for Moderator Steve, re-post. I have gotten e-mails and have spoken twice with Aduana, not heresay. I must take both Aduana sources at their word. Q Roo is treated as a Free Zone. What it means re cars, as I understand it;
      (1) A tourista, 180 days still gets T.I.P. and can drive in Mexico
      (2) A Residente Temporal (non working) gets a T.I.P. for a year and can drive in Mexico
      (3) A Residente Permanente living in Quintana Roo has two choices;
      (A) No permit and can drive only in Q Roo, and no Mexican citizen can drive the car.
      US Tag must be current, US Drivers License must stay current, Mexican Insurance.
      (B) Nationalize the car and drive in Mexico, anywhere

      A few other details, but that is how I understand it, and how I am planning to deal with it. Right
      now, I must drive to Chetumal and cancel existing TIP, even though it is expired. I may just leave it at that and rent a car should I want to travel around the country.

      Further: Banjercito experts say the same thing: Erik Fernandez Carranza wrote:
      Regarding your email, we confirm you the information received from Aduanas (that Q. Roo is a Free Zone).

  13. Pam says:

    Very helpful Steve and Rabbi Stephen. We do have valid Florida driver’s licenses and current Mexican insurance, so we could take it to the Belize border and remove the TIP. As we expected the vehicle to remain in Mexico, however, we let the registration lapse several years ago – and can’t get it re registered in the state we originally drove it from. We now keep a condo in another state (Florida), but can’t register it there since the VIN has to be verified with the vehicle present, nor do we want to pay Florida insurance rates for a vehicle we are not driving there. I know most states require proof of insurance, and others requires an emission test or that the vehicle be physically in that state, etc. So….what to do about getting it re registered in the US? We are in the process of getting our residente permanente cards. Any ideas how to address the registration issue?

  14. Mike says:

    Great article, we received local advice from an attorney not to worry about taking the car back even though we both have RP. Saying the police didn’t care and it was too confusing. While i appreciated the “manana” feeling it gave me it was obviously less than helpful.

    If we want to just junk or donate the car, how would one go about that. The car is not worth importing nor even the drive back. Did read that we might be able to take to aduana or have a local repair shop declare it as inoperable.

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