​​​Selling, Scrapping, Donating Car 

You may not sell nor donate a foreign plated vehicle in Mexico.

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 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. There is no way to legally nationalize a vehicle that is already in Mexico. 

At the moment you may import 2012 and 2013. Starting November. it changes to 2013 and 2014 because those are the years that pay a 10% import duty based on value set by Aduana (Customs). Older vehicles may be nationalized buy you pay 50% on value set by Aduana. In addition, all vehicles when nationalized, pay a tax of 16%.

You can import a new vehicle but the U.S. dealer will not provide warranty for Mexico. You may import a new vehicle, model years 2021 or 2022, before November, this year. Starting in November you may import a 2022 vehicle. The vehicle must be purchased from an authorized dealer and with an odometer reading of less than 3,000 Km or 1,864 miles. The dealership must be willing to give you the certificate of origin and your name and address in Mexico must appear on the invoice.

For new and used vehicles the first digit of the VIN must start with 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5. The only exception is for classic vehicles, 30 years or older. They can be from any country of origin.

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 illegal. For those obtaining EdoMex plates for their foreign-plated vehicle the process is also 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 Guanajuato, Nayarit, Jalisco and most others, one needs a CURP number to register a vehicle and that is only available once one becomes a Temporary or Permanent 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 and Guanajuato also have an additional 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.) 
  • 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 or a trust and on proper letterhead of the company or trust. 

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 citizen or permanent or temporary residents abroad by the legal authority of that country. 

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 person with a valid FMM tourist card or Temporary Resident, that person's spouse even if a Permanent Resident or a Mexican national may 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 for the Green Angels who patrol Mexican toll roads. They provide free mechanical assistance; emergency communication; aid in case of accident; advice and route information including maps; etc.

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 each 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) 

A car permit (TIP) is not required in the "Free Zone" which is North and South Baja and along all the US / Mexico border up to approx. 16 to 20 miles in to Mexico. It also includes the part of Sonora west of HWY 15 to Guaymas and a portion east of HWY 15, north of highway 2. Also, there is no need for a TIP in Quintana Roo but you need to drive your vehicle there which requires a car permit. However, in areas not requiring a TIP, you must have a valid FMM tourist card; otherwise, your car is not legal as you are not legal and your insurance is void. For those entering as a tourist your TIP is normally 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. 

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. Vehicle permits are digital and windshield stickers are no longer 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. I advise getting your TIP at the border. if you get it on line, and for any reason your car does not enter Mexico, Aduana considers your car as being in Mexico. It is very difficult to resolve. 

Above is the new car permit (TIP). Windshield stickers have been 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.

With a pre-approved Temporary Resident visa from a consulate, when entering Mexico, you obtain a FMM and a TIP. Each is good for 30 days. Within those 30 days of entering Mexico, you must start your visa process at your local Inmigracion office. Once TR visa is issued, please go to Aduana for your TIP. If you do not start your visa process within 30 days, it will mean you must start over at a consulate and you and your vehicle are illegal. If you process your temporary resident visa and do not go to Aduana, your car is legal but you have lost your deposit. Aduana, is 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 do the same when renewing a Temporary Resident 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. 

If you entered Mexico with a pre-approved Permanent Resident visa, you will be issued a 30-day TIP. Your vehicle must be out of Mexico within 30 days. After that time, your car is illegal; your insurance is not in effect and you risk having your car confiscated. 

Driving Record When Moving Back to Canada / US

If you are moving back to Canada or the US from Mexico and your driver's license has expired, you may have a major issue. You probably have a Mexican state driver's license. If so, in Canada / US, upon your return, your auto insurance company often asks for your driving record in Mexico. If it is not available, your insurance cost may be based on your being a new driver.

In Mexico a driving record usually requires an RFC, a tax ID number. RFC's are only issued to 
Temporary / Permanent Residents and citizens.

Please obtain your driving record, prior to leaving Mexico. If there are any issues such as a faulty RFC, it is impossible to correct from outside of Mexico.

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. It must meet US Federal EPA and DOT emissions and safety standards. 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. There are also safety standard requirements. If you imported your vehicle by land, you should have declared the vehicle for import and handled the paperwork at the border. It is illegal to sell an imported vehicle that has not been formally entered, and it is subject to seizure. When filing an entry with CBP for your vehicle, you must be able to demonstrate to CBP that you own the vehicle and it conforms to U.S. emissions and safety standards. You have to submit proof of ownership such as a certificate of title, bill of sale, or manufacturer statement of origin to a CBP Officer at the port.

​​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 available in San Miguel de Allende for those with a foreign plated vehicle who want to drive in the state of Guanajuato, San Luis Potosi, Queretaro and parts of Morelia. Your vehicle must be 2010 or older. Country where made nor your visa status are 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. There is no need to leave your house as I will come to you. 

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.

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. 

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

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

You may only request a TIP 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​​


Insurance is required when driving in Mexico. Your policy in Canada or the U.S. will not cover you in Mexico. I am able to provide this insurance from a very reliable provider. 

Calculating Tolls

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

Vehicles with a salvaged title are normally 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 load capacity greater than 7716 pounds. 

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 those on Guanajuato state the Retorno Seguro is available by going to the SAT office in Celaya. 


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​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