How to Bring Your Car Into Mexico
June 4, 2008
So, you want to bring your car into Mexico. Here's How ! Every foreigner is allowed to enter Mexico with a vehicle, which is not Mexican plated (e.g. US or Canadian), as long as you have the following: 1) Mexican Insurance, 2) FMT (Tourist Visa), FM2 or FM3, registration/ownership in your name, and 3) a credit card or cash to cover a bond for the vehicle. The Mexican government will charge your credit card for approx. $40 (costs subject to change), or you have to put up the cash for a percentage of what the car is worth, and the type of car it is. Note: (Much more paper work to do it this way.) The government will then provide you with a temporary importation permit, and a sticker for the windshield. Remember to turn this registration and sticker into customs when leaving Mexico with your vehicle. If you enter Mexico by vehicle on a Tourist Visa (FMT), you must drive the vehicle that you entered with back out of Mexico. It is illegal to leave the vehicle in Mexico that you entered with unless you obtain an FM2 or FM3 while you're here. According to Mexican custom officials, you are not allowed to have more than one foreign plated car registered in Mexico per person (A husband and wife could bring two cars in for example if the names on the title were in both names or one in his name and one in her name only.) Not everyone follows the rules of course, but your illegal car could be confiscated. Also, it is illegal to sell your foreign plated vehicle in Mexico. The only legal way to do this is to legalize it in Mexico (e.g. get Mexican plates for it), which is a complicated process and may not be possible at all. If you do sell your vehicle here you will be fined the next time you enter Mexico with another vehicle. Also, if the vehicle you've sold here is in an accident 2 years down the road, and the person you sold it to walks away, you can be held liable for damages caused in that accident. If your car is stolen, and reported to the police, and to your insurance company, and even if you have gotten a return from your insurance company, you may still be fined once you return to Mexico with another vehicle. I recommend you do not mention the stolen vehicle when entering Mexico with a replacement vehicle. If they do notice, you will have to pay the fine if you want to bring the new vehicle in. You can petition the government later for the fine and get your money back, but you will have to put up the money to begin with. You are no doubt wondering, "Why would I have to pay a fine?" Well, it's actually quite simple. In the past couple of years the Mexican government has found out that a number of imported vehicles had actually been reported stolen in the States and Canada, but really had not been stolen. The cars were then driven to Mexico, the owners would then fly back to the USA or Canada and collect the proceeds from their insurance companies for their car being stolen. Then, they return to Mexico and either sell the car or drive it in Mexico and just never exit Mexico with it. Cars With a lien If your car has a lien on it you must get a Notarized letter from the lien holder which authorizes you to bring the car into Mexico. Bring the title in your name and your proof of Mexican Insurance. INSURANCE: Liability insurance to cover the other car is required. Check the rates at several places as the rates vary considerably. You can also buy your policy on line and print it out before leaving home. www.MexicanInsuranceStore.com California License # OC24601 3819 Saint Austell Way Perris, CA 92571 Tel: 888-800-9988 951-657-4220 Fax: 626-638-3255 Right at the border inside the building where you get your permission to enter Mexico is of course the most expensive place to buy car insurance. Also you may want to check the rates for six months or a year especially if you plan on being in Mexico again within the policy period. Sometimes for just a few dollars more you can double the covered period. Once you live here you can find very competitive rates in our area. I just paid approximately $150.00 USD for a year's coverage of liability only. Be sure you policy has bail bond protection. In serious accident without this coverage you might spend the night in a Mexican jail until they can sort out just who should pay damages to whom. Crossing the Laredo Bridge at Night This is a NOT A GOOD IDEA What If I'm already in Mexico on a tourist permit and I decide to stay and get an FM3 residency permit ? Must I drive to the border to re-register my vehicle? I already have my car windshield sticker where I registered it as I entered Mexico on my FMT (Tourist Permit)? The simple answer is "No" . Your car permit is good as is as long as your personal legal status in Mexico is valid. So there you have it.