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MEXLAW > Immigration  > Avoid Vehicle Seizure and Fines by Legalizing Your Vehicle in Mexico

Avoid Vehicle Seizure and Fines by Legalizing Your Vehicle in Mexico

Legalizing your vehicle in Mexico can be a complicated process with changing rules and requirements of different Aduana (Customs) authorities and the so-called gray areas of the laws. MEXLAW will provide you with valuable information to help you make the decision whether or not to keep your foreign vehicle in Mexico. Many foreigners are unaware of the importation laws when they arrive. We can help you determine what type of import suits your needs and avoid unnecessary expenses in the future.


Temporary Importation is a limited time permit. Once it expires, you must return your vehicle to your home country or take it out of Mexico. Failure to do so will result in the loss of your deposit, and your vehicle will be in the country illegally.

The validity of this permit will depend on the immigration form with which you entered Mexican territory. The permit correlates to the expiry date of your immigration status. If you have a temporary permit about to expire and you have gained Temporary Residence, you may request a renewal from the customs authorities, as the vehicle permit expiry date much match the expiry on your migratory form. If your permit has expired, you must request a Safe Return Permit to avoid fines and seizure of the vehicle.

These permits are issued by the Banco Nacional del Ejército, Fuerza Aérea y Armada (Banjercito), Customs Import Control and Temporary Internment of Temporary Vehicles (CIITEV) or the Mexican Consulates. Once you have paid for the permit, you must leave a deposit as a guarantee you will return the car to the border before the permit expires. Having a temporary importation permit will allow you to keep your plates and foreign insurance and avoid import taxes, but it is strictly prohibited to sell, give away, rent or alienate the vehicle in Mexico.


If you plan to live in Mexico or leave your vehicle in Mexico indefinitely and use it without worrying about the validity of your permit, permanent import is the best option for you. The primary objective is to legalize your vehicle so that it can remain indefinitely in Mexican territory without risk of seizure or fines. Once your vehicle is legalized, you can apply for Mexican license plates and purchase insurance for your vehicle.

To carry out legal importation, it is necessary to comply with a series of requirements that depend on the year and model of the vehicle. In some cases, it will be required to obtain an import permit issued by the Ministry of Economy before requesting a definitive permanent importation.

The import application will be fundamental to carrying out this process and will determine the taxes and contributions for legalization. The customs agent is authorized to make the final importation.

Contact MEXLAW’s experienced legal team to proceed with your vehicle importation or request legal advice and ensure your vehicle has legal status in Mexico. Contact@mexlaw.ca.