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Temporary Import of a Foreign Plated Vehicle in Mexico


There are few important things you need to understand if you are driving your vehicle into Mexico and plan to stay awhile.

A foreign plated car in Mexico will require a temporary import permit. The permit will be valid for 180 days (the same as your tourist visa) If you are arriving in Mexico on a Temporary Resident Visa your car’s permit will be as valid as long as your Temporary Resident Visa is valid. Your vehicle will be credited with an official document issued by Immigration.

Once you enter Mexico you will pay a processing fee, approximately $44 USD, if you are traveling with only your personal baggage in the car, choose the lane directed for ¨Nothing to declare¨

The migratory requirements are the same on land as they are if arriving by air.

The entry point officials will have the final approval on whether you and your vehicle may enter Mexico. You will pay a deposit for your permit, which will be refunded if the vehicle leaves Mexico by the permit’s expiration date.

Amount of Deposit for Temporary Import of Vehicles:

Year and model of the vehicle amount of the deposit equivalent in domestic currency

  • 2007 and later     $400 USD DOLLARS
  • 2001 until 2006   $300 USD DOLLARS
  • 2000 and prior     $200 USD DOLLARS

Note:  You may want to purchase a temporary import visa online through the Banjército website from 2 months to 7 days prior to entering Mexican territory if you are arriving during the busy season.


Temporary Resident Visa

When entering with a pre-approved Temporary Resident Visa, your vehicle permit will be issued for only 30 days. When you arrive in Mexico you will start your visa process at INM, next you take your original and copy of passport, the INM issued NUT number and your car entry permit to the Aduana and apply for an extension of your Temporary Import Permit (TIP). The TIP will be extended for the duration of your visa and have the same expiration date. If you do not complete this process your vehicle is considered illegal, you will lose your deposit, and the vehicle may be confiscated.

You can not sell your foreign plated car in Mexico; you are required to turn in the TIP as you leave Mexico. Otherwise, you will forfeit your deposit, and you will have issues bringing another vehicle into Mexico.

Permanent Resident Visa

If you arrive in Mexico with a Permanent Resident Visa, you are required to permanently import your vehicle; this can be an expensive and lengthy process. You will be assessed an annual tax on the vehicle, depending on the make and year of the vehicle, in many cases, it is best to sell your vehicle back home and buy a new vehicle in Mexico.

You must purchase auto insurance; it is mandatory for all drivers in Mexico, the advantage of having Mexican plates on your car is a lower rate of insurance and you are less likely to be stopped by the police. Expats living in Mexico claim they are stopped by the police more often when their vehicle had foreign plates.

Once you have your permit, always keep the documents in the car, If you are stopped by the police they will request the permit documentation.