​​​Selling, Scrapping, Donating Car 

You may not sell nor donate a foreign plated vehicle in Mexico. True story: a person entered Mexico in 2017 and he does so by driving his car and obtaining a TIP. Now, two years later in December 2019, he tries to enter Mexico as a tourist. He was told: you have a car in Mexico; you may not enter. So for all of those who want to illegally sell their car in Mexico; donate or scrap your car or leave it in Mexico forever I suggest you not do so. 

If a foreign plated car is unable to be driven may it be left in Mexico? NO, it must be towed to the border.

To legally scrap a foreign plated car it is only done so at a about 6 locations and you pay the cost. Once scrapped, you then deliver proof of the vehicle being destroyed to the proper authorities in Mexico City. The requirements are very specific. 

The other issue with taking a vehicle to a scarp yard is that the vehicle may be restored. Mexicans are very creative. Or, parts such as the motor ends up in another vehicle and on a motor is a VIN. The vehicle with that traceable VIN ends up in an accident or it is involved in committing a crime. That vehicle is now traceable to the owner who thought the vehicle was destroyed.

Nationalizing Cars

NAFTA made vehicles may be nationalized at Laredo and some other ports of entry. Check with a broker as to model years. The web site for a reputable broker is: www.superimportaciones.com.

As of today, there is no way to legally nationalize a vehicle that is already in Mexico. 

If anyone offers to nationalize a vehicle and the process is to be completed within days and / or it includes state plates including EdoMex the process has a 100% chance of being illegal. For those obtaining EdoMex plates for their foreign-plated vehicle the process is totally illegal. If you want to check out such a process go and ask your local SAT / Aduana office if it is legal. Every car when legally nationalized receives a pedimento from Aduana.

​Buying A Car in Mexico 

When buying a vehicle in Mexico there are some obstacles. This is not to discourage but to inform. All my comments are based on experiences with clients. There is no CarFax or similar web sites available to the public (only to auto dealers at considerable expense) to check a vehicle's history. What is the actual distance the vehicle was driven? Car sellers including dealers are known to lower the odometer reading. Was it stolen? Was it in an accident and possibly totaled and restored? Was it used as a taxi or in some other commercial application? Is the emissions test current? Are the annual fees current? And, how many of the miles / km driven were on cobblestone? Was the vehicle properly maintained? Were oil changes and filters changed on schedule? Is the vehicle under warranty?

Can you register your vehicle in your state in Mexico as a tourist if you are not a Temporary or Permanent Resident? In the some states such as Jalisco one needs a CURP number to register a vehicle and that is ony available once one becomes a TR or PR resident. In all states you are to have a Mexican state driver's license when you own a Mexican state registered vehicle. Also, in some cases one buys a vehicle and then discovers it can not be registered, e.g. the documents are not complete or not available; the documents have an error such as VIN not matching car's VIN; the vehicle has foreign registration; the car implied as being nationalized was done fraudulently and it was never legally nationalized and subject to confiscation, etc. In buying a used vehicle your payment should be conditional on the buyer being able to register their vehicle within10 days. 

Does the VIN on the factura (original bill of sale) match the VIN on the vehicle? If not, this creates a huge problem and definitely happens. For one client the error existed for 18 years with 1 typo and finally caught but the effort to correct is frustrating and it was never resolved. Did you check on REPUVE, the national database of 30 million plus vehicles that this car is registered there?

Note, the original factura from when a motorized vehicle was purchased new must remain with the car for its' life and signed off on the back by every subsequent seller. Factura for motorized vehicles is essentially a bill of sale and it must follow the Mexican registered vehicle. In many cases a factura is impossible to replace and without it the vehicle can not be registered. For vehicles that have been nationalized, the same rule applies in keeping the original pedimento from Aduana.

Is the car registered in another state? if so, the plates and tarjeta de circulacion should be returned to that state and the Baja de Vehiculo issued before you can register locally. And, to do so the emission's test must be current and all past annual fees paid. If the license plates are not returned one may be able turn in the plates from another state locally but each state has its' own requirements; however, your vehicle will continue to be registered in the state from where it was registered and the annual fee (refrendo) and emissions fines will keep accruing. Some states such as Mexico City also have a high annual tax called "tenencia" that keeps accruing. I have seen whereby the total fees owing were as high as 20,000 pesos. When a vehicle is registered in another state from where it was registered when you bought it, you must have your vehicle physically inspected and a stolen report issued before the local office called Rentas will register your newly bought vehicle and your state issues license plates. There will be fees and a tax to complete in this process. 

Only buy from quality car dealers with a license to sell cars. In summary, please do your homework when considering a used car purchase in Mexico.

​​​Car Permit (TIP) Regulations

Please click link to right, print and carry these regulations. 

Foreigners or Mexican permanent residents abroad, as well as those who prove working abroad for a year or more.

Mexicans with legal residency abroad must present one of the following documents:

Permanent Resident Card (Resident Alien), or Passport (not Mexican) or Passport Card.
In the case of foreigners who are tourists, temporary resident and student temporary resident, they may temporarily import a single vehicle, and must present for that purpose their current passport or passport card and the official document issued by the immigration authority.
The interested party must prove ownership or possession of the vehicle that is intended to be temporarily imported, and must submit for any such purpose the following documents in original and simple copy:

  • Title of ownership or registration of valid plates that accredit them as owners of the vehicle, issued by the competent authority of the foreign country. (Canadian provincial registered cars do not have a title, only a registration.) If new and no title yet, a bill of sale will also be accepted.
  • Lease agreement in the name of the importer, with the letter from the lessor authorizing the temporary importation of the vehicle.
  • Credit agreement in the name of the importer.
  • Document proving the working relationship of the importer and the document that ties the ownership of the vehicle to the company. (Example: car is in company's name and you own the company).

Truthfully declare, that they undertake to return the vehicle in question, within the authorized period and not to perform acts or omissions that constitute infractions or crimes for the improper use or destination of the same.

Pay the equivalent of $44.00 USD + IVA (tax) for the procedure. This fee may be paid in cash or by credit card issued outside Mexico, in the name of the importer.

You can not sell a foreign plated car in Mexico. For a Temporary Resident it is recommended you turn in your car permit when you drive out of Mexico. If you were unable to return the same vehicle to Mexico (due to total loss, for example), as you will have a difficult time to have the vehicle removed from the Mexican data base. They would consider the vehicle as still being in Mexico and you would forfeit your guarantee deposit and be prohibited from bringing in another vehicle.

Units That May be Imported Along with the Vehicle 
includes along with vehicle having a valid car permit (TIP) you may temporarily import a boat up to four and a half meters (14.7 feet) long plus the trailer for transport; in addition off-road recreational vehicles, motorcycles, tri-motorcycles; ATVs or watercraft up to a maximum of three units, for which you must prove ownership of the units transported and they must be registered on the same TIP as the vehicle. When the vehicle leaves the motorcycle, boat, trailer etc which are tied to the main vehicle's TIP must leave or typically you are sent back to get all "vehicles" registered on the TIP.

In the case of motorcycles or tri-motorcycles entering Mexico by their own momentum and having foreign plates they must apply for a temporary import permit (TIP) and comply with al the requirements of a TIP.

Mexican Nationals Living Abroad may obtain a TIP.  As well as proving work abroad for a year or more, they must submit the document issued by the immigration authorities of the foreign country proving they are a permanent or temporary residents abroad by the legal authority of that country in accordance with international agreements to which Mexico is a party. 

Permanent Resident visa holders may not have a foreign plated car in Mexico. The only exception is where no TIP is required. Otherwise, it is subject to confiscation and plus a large fine. If in an accident your insurance is null and void. 

Who May Drive Your Foreign Plated Car in Mexico? Vehicles with Temporary Import Permits may be driven in Mexico by the importer, their spouse, their parents, grandparents, brothers or sisters, children, grandchildren even though they are not foreigners or by a foreigner who is a Tourist or Temporary Resident without the permit holder in the vehicle. Or, by a Mexican National when, whichever of the prior persons authorized to drive are in the vehicle. This means if car permit is in the name of a Temporary Resident, that person's spouse even if a Permanent Resident or a Mexican national can drive the foreign plated vehicle without the person in whose name is the car permit being in the vehicle. It also mean a Mexican national such as a maid, gardener, mechanic, bellhop, etc can not drive your vehicle without the TIP holder in the car. In the case, if caught cars have been confiscated plus fines. 

Call 078 to reach the Green Angels who patrol Mexican toll roads. They provide mechanical assistance and emergency radio communication; aid in case of accident; advice and route information including maps; services and tourist attractions of the region.

Also please note, the original factura (bill of sale) obtained when a vehicle is purchased new follows the vehicle for the life of the vehicle. Every seller signs off the back of that factura. Without the original factura even if 20 years old and it being signed off by the seller to you, you can not register the vehicle. 

Selling a Mexican Registered Vehicle

In selling a car, scooter, ATV, etc, registered in a state of Mexico, be sure to turn in the license plates. If not, later, should you want to register another vehicle in that state, you will be required to pay for every annual registration fee and tenencia if applicable, before you may register another car in that state. This can amount to thousands of pesos.

Temporary Import Permits (TIP) 

These are controlled by Aduana (Customs) and are needed if you travel outside of North or South Baja or outside the border zones (generally further than 16 miles from the border) or outside the permit-free zones of Sonora which is further than kilometer 98 of Mexican Federal Highway No. 15. Also, there is no need for a TIP in Quintana Roo but you need to drive your vehicle there which requires a car permit. For those entering as a tourist the normal permit is for 180 days. You may obtain your TIP as you enter Mexico for $59 or on-line (10 to 60 days before entering) by clicking the blue button below. You may select English in the upper right-hand corner. If your name is hyphenated, please omit the hyphen. Normally, your TIP arrives in 5 to 7 days. You can not extend a TIP obtained as a tourist within Mexico. You must return to the border. The question often comes up, "if as a tourist with a foreign plated car in Mexico, may I fly out and leave the car in Mexico as long as the TIP has not expired". It is the same as a person with an RV with a 10-year TIP.

​Normally, your TIP as a tourist will be for up to 180 days and it may not be extended within Mexico.However, during COVID-19 a Tourist may renew a TIP an Aduana office. In San Miguel I can help with your renewal.

The deposit is $400 for 2007 and newer vehicles, $300 for 2001 to 2006 vehicles and $200 for older vehicles. Your deposit may be paid for in cash or charge card. Effective January 1, 2020 vehicle permits are digital and windshield stickers are not issued. Applicants receive a digital copy via email. Those who obtain their TIP on line must still stop at the border to register their entry into Mexico, with a FMM date stamped. Police officers will have a cell phone application to scan the new permits and verify them.

Above is the new car permit (TIP). Windshield stickers are being eliminated.

All of my services are available in Puerto Vallarta / Riviera Nayarit and San Miguel de Allende.

Please contact me for your health, life, auto and property insurance.


If it does not open, it is not your door.

Importing a Mexican Registered Car In To The US

It is very difficult to legally import a car registered in Mexico in to the US (or Canada) unless the car has been registered in the US previously. It must meet US Federal EPA and DOT emissions and safety standards and most do not. If the vehicle was manufactured for sale outside of the U.S. and does not have a U.S. EPA label in English, then it is a nonconforming vehicle (not manufactured to U.S. Federal emission standards). The vehicle will need to be modified, tested and certified by an Independent Commercial Importer (ICI). Or, if you can obtain a letter of conformity from the manufacturers U.S. Representative. There are also safety standard requirements. An excellent source of information may be found on the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and EPA's web site. Here are links: 

​A Mexican Registered Car In Canada

A Canadian who still is considered a resident of Canada (regardless of their Mexican status) can not drive their Mexican manufactured and plated car in Canada. In addition, vehicles including buses manufactured for sale in countries other than Canada and the United States, do not comply with the requirements of the Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Act, CANNOT be altered to comply and thus CANNOT be imported into Canada.

When a vehicle or bus is sold in a foreign market other than the United States, it's assembled to specific standards for that market. This creates an automatic exclusion for importation into Canada because these standards at the time of assembly are not Canadian or U.S. compliant, and there are no provisions in the law that allows for these vehicles to be modified to meet our standards.

Even if the vehicle was manufactured in the U.S. you have 30 days to import it into Canada and transfer the plates, etc. to your province.

​Information Centre/Centre d'information, Transport(s) Canada, Motor Vehicle Safety/Sécurité des véhicules automobiles 
1-800-333-0371 or (613) 998-8616m Email: MVS-SA@tc.gc.ca


To protect your deposit and extend your car permit (TIP) we urge you to go to Aduana usually found at a large airport. For those in Puerto Vallarta and Nayarit the location is the Puerto Vallarta airport. For those in San Miguel de Allende please go to the Queretaro airport. You go to Aduana when you start your visa application for the first time (when entering Mexico with a pre-approved visa from a consulate) and again when renewing a Temporary Resident visa. Keep in mind, those entering as a pre-approved Temporary Resident from a Mexican consulate, vehicle permits and your FMM's are only good for 30 days. Within 30 days of entering Mexico you must start your visa process at your local INM. Your next step as a pre-approved Temporary Resident is to extend your car permit (TIP) as above and repeat the trip when visa is issued. Failure to do so will mean your vehicle deposit is forfeited. It is same process when renewing a TR visa. Your TIP will be extended for the duration of your visa so both have same expiration date. We can help with extending your car permit and protecting your deposit. 

Mexican Car Registration

The offices throughout Mexico where one registers a vehicle is called "Rentas". Each state has its' own requirements. Registration involves several documents when buying a new or used car in Mexico. If the car is from another state there are additional steps includes returning the plates to the state in which the car is registered and a physical vehicle inspection by Rentas staff. Registering a car that has been nationalized is again another process. I have registered numerous vehicles. 

​​UCD Permit

UCD is an association of nearly 900,000 members in Mexico made to improve conditions and advocating for farmers. They help poor people, those marginalized, orphans and work to find employment for those fighting for an opportunity at a decent life. They also are advocates for Indigenous Peoples. For renal patients they assist in arranging and paying for dialysis and coordinating kidney transplants. UCD encourages and supports sporting events and the involvement in sports while providing trophies and rewards. It is also important to UCD members to promote Mexican culture, traditions, artisans and celebrations. 

An UCD permit is for those with a foreign plated vehicle who want to drive in the state of Guanajuato. Your vehicle must be 2010 or older and where made nor your visa status are not an issue. You are issued a letter from the Director General of the Public Security for Guanajuato state indicating your car is legal. You also receive a letter from SAT stating your car is legal. You no longer need to update your car permit and if a Permanent Resident this allows you to drive legally in the areas I noted. For those nationalizing their vehicle through me your UCD permit is free.​ For those living in or near SMA who require an UCD permit please contact me. 

Retorno Seguro 

This is a special permit for those with a car which is no longer legal in Mexico. The permit is issued at a SAT office. The Retorno Seguro is valid for 5 days following the day it is issued.​​ For a Retorno Seguro in Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit we provide this service. For those on Guanajuato state the Retorno Seguro is available by going to the SAT office in Celaya. 

To the right is a link in blue where you may order your TIP on-line between 10 and 60 days before your trip. There is an English option on the web site. You may only request a permit for a vehicle that is registered in your name or that of your spouse, your child or your parent. Recreational vehicles such as motorhomes will often receive a 10 year TIP and a deposit is not required. You may also obtain a TIP at the Mexican Consulates in Chicago, Illinois; in Austin, Dallas and Houston, Texas; in Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Sacramento, California; in Albuquerque, New Mexico; in Denver, Colorado and in Phoenix, Arizona. If you are having an issue with a TIIP refund: email: permisovehiculos@banjercito.com.mx​​

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Baja de Vehiculos is issued when you buy a vehicle from another state in Mexico and you turn in those state plates. This is recommended before registering a vehicle in another state. Otherwise, your vehicle continues to be registered in the former state with annual fees and emissions test fines accruing.

Calculating Tolls

Toll costs, distance and approximate travel times can be calculated here. 


Insurance is required when driving in Mexico. Your policy in Canada or the U.S. will not cover you in Mexico. In May, Mexico will have new mobility laws requiring all vehicles to have insurance. I am able to provide this insurance from a very reliable provider. 

Vehicles with a salvaged title are not allowed a Temporary Import Permit. Nor may a salvaged vehicle be nationalized. And, while you may get away with it, in the event of an accident your insurance may be void. No insurance may = jail. In addition, if caught in a road check your vehicle may be confiscated and a large fine. As well, Aduana often checks CarFax and if your vehicle has had structural damage you may be denied a TIP.

Also, TIP (vehicle permit) may be restricted to vehicles with a GVWR under 7716 pounds as per photo on the right. Here is the law: Vehiculos que tengan una capacidad de carga maxima de hasta tres y media tineladas de peso. Translated: Vehicles having a maximum load capacity of up to three and a half metric tons of weight. The GVWR is found on the plate on the driver's door jam. Vehicles with a higher GVWR may be denied a vehicle permit if deemed by Aduana staff at the border that a vehicle weighing more is a commercial vehicle. To avoid this from happening, ordering a TIP on-line is recommended.

Article 106 Vehicle Temporary Importation

I recommend you print and carry this law in your vehicle. 

​Temporary import regime means the entry into the country of goods to remain in the country for a limited time and for a specific purpose, provided they return abroad in the same state, for the following terms.

ARTICLE 106. ..........................................................................................

Fraction IV. For the term of your stay, including renewals, in the terms and conditions established by the Tax Administration Service (SAT) by means of rules, in the following cases:

Those of vehicles owned by foreigners who travel to the country, with the status of visitor and temporary resident, provided that it is a single vehicle.

The vehicles may be driven in the national territory by the importer, his spouse, his ancestors, descendants or brothers, even if they are not foreigners, by an alien who has any of the conditions of stay referred to in this subsection, or by a Mexican National, provided that in the latter case, any person authorized to drive the vehicle is on board and the vehicle may make multiple entries and exits.

The vehicles referred to in this subsection must comply with the requirements set forth in the Regulations.

Household items used for merchandise owned by a temporary resident and temporary resident student, as long as they comply with the requirements established by the Regulations and the Tax Administration Service by means of rules.

Customs Law 9/12/2013 D.O.F. Http://www.dof.gob.mx/nota_detalle.php...

Customs Law: Dec. 9, 2013 http://www.diputados.gob.mx/LeyesBiblio/pdf/12.pdf


Customs Manual of Operation for Temporary Import of Vehicles and Motorcycles:

"Article 17: Fractions 17.1 & 17.4,

17.- The period to return the vehicles that have been temporarily imported under the migratory qualities indicated in the law, will be the validity of the migratory quality, its extensions, applications or endorsements granted to said migratory qualities according to the Law of The matter.

17.1.- To these effects, the extension of the validity of the temporary importation permit of the vehicle will be credited with the official document issued by the immigration authority, without requiring authorization from the customs authorities; In this case, the temporary importation permit will remain valid even if the importer has obtained a change in the migratory quality from nonimmigrant to immigrant, (Tourist to Temporary Resident), provided there is continuity in the migratory qualities.

17.4.- In the event that the temporary importation procedure has been carried out by bank card, and the documentation is complete, the person responsible for the CIITEV of the corresponding customs office, shall inform the interested party that it is not necessary to present such notice, By virtue of the fact that its vehicle is legal in the national territory as long as its immigration status continues, including its extensions, extensions or endorsements. "

Customs Manual of Operation for the Temporary Import of Vehicles and Motorcycles: "Article 17: Fractions 17.1 & 17.4

Note: only Aduana and Federales may legally ask to see your car permit. Article 17-17.4 are beneficial as well. If you have questions you may call or write Aduana.

Aduana: 01-55-5802-0000 and 01-55-5802-2609 or write: citev_Aduanamexico @sat.gob.mx

If you have questions regarding payment for car permit you write to: Banjercito: itvnet@banjercito.com.mx

Below is the Spanish translation of the Ley Aduanera Article 106 and the Manual de Operación para la Importación Temporal de Vehículos y Motocicletas: Sec. 17: 17.1 & 17.4

Que Se Entiende Por Régimen De Importación Temporal

ARTICULO 106 de la Ley Aduanera

Se entiende por régimen de importación temporal, la entrada al país de mercancías para permanecer en el por tiempo limitado y con una finalidad especifica, siempre que retornen al extranjero en el mismo estado, por los siguientes plazos.

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

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

Las de vehículos propiedad de extranjeros que se internen al país, con la condición de estancia de visitante y residente temporal, siempre que se trate de un solo vehículo.

Los vehículos podrán ser conducidos en territorio nacional por el importador, su cónyuge, sus ascendientes, descendientes o hermanos, aun cuando éstos no sean extranjeros, por un extranjero que tenga alguna de las condiciones de estancia a que se refiere este inciso, o por un nacional, siempre que en este último caso, viaje a bordo del mismo cualquiera de las personas autorizadas para conducir el vehículo y podrán efectuar entradas y salidas múltiples.

Los vehículos a que se refiere este inciso, deberán cumplir con los requisitos que señale el Reglamento.

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

Ley Aduanera 9/12/2013 D.O.F.      http://www.dof.gob.mx/nota_detalle.php…

Ley Aduanera: Dec. 9, 2013       http://www.diputados.gob.mx/LeyesBiblio/pdf/12.pdf


Aduana Manual de Operación para la Importación Temporal de Vehículos y Motocicletas:

“Articulo 17: Fracciónes 17.1 & 17.4,

17.- El plazo para retornar los vehiculos que hubieran sido importados temporalmente al amparo de las calidades migratorias señaladas en la ley, será el de la vigencia de la calidad migratoria, sus prórrogas, apliaciones o refrendos otorgados a dichas calidades migratorial conforme a Ley de la materia.

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

17.4.- En caso de que el trámite de importación temporal se haya efectuado mediante tarjeta bancaria, y la documentación esté completa, el responsable del CIITEV de la aduana que corresponda, procederá a informa al interesado que no es necesario la presentación de dicho aviso, en virtud de que su vehiculo se encuentra legal en el territorio nacional mientras continúe vigente su calidad migratoria, incluyendo sus prórrogas, ampliaciones o refrendos.”

Aduana Manual de Operación para la Importación Temporal de Vehículos y Motocicletas: “Articulo 17: Fracciónes 17.1 & 17.4