and a Few Rules
17 July 2012
The following information
applies only to mainland México. The rules for Baja are different.
Vehicle permits are not required in Baja. Foreign license plates
must be kept current in Baja.
of your car's permit:
temporary import permit (TIP) which you got at the border is valid so long as your visa is valid
-- with renewals for as long as you wish. Look here to see the
actual law that says your registration permit is valid so long as your
visa is valid.
Article 106 It also
tells you who can drive your car.
If you brought your vehicle into
México after 11 June 2011, you were required to post a bond.
To preserve that bond, Aduana
regulations require that you
notify Aduana of any change in your visa status such as annual
renewals or upgrades. If you entered before that date, you are
not required to notify Aduana. HOWEVER there have been reports of
people being harassed by the police because they had not updated
thier status. All this is discussed in detail below.
If you entered México with an FMM and while in country converted to
an FM3/2, you may be required to return to the border to get a new permit before the
180-day permit expires. There seems to be some confusion on
this -- some INM offices are sending people to the border, others
are issuing update letters and notifying
to preserve the bond..
BTW. You often hear people refer to
the vehicle permit as being "tired" to their visa. This is not the
case. The permit notes the kind of visa you had when the permit
was issued. That is the extent of the connection between the two
documents, except for the matter of the bond discussed below.
asks that everyone turn in the permit when driving out of México
even though you are planning to return. It is optional, but it
is a very good idea because if something happens to your car that you
cannot return it to México, you will have a problem getting the
dead car off the books.
Be very sure to get a receipt showing that you turned in the permit, and
bring it with you when you return in case the computer doesn't show that
you turned it in.
I have read so many sad stories from folks
who did not turn in the registration and then found themselves with a
BIG problem because they could not return the car. If you find
yourself unable to return with the car,
look here for
There is a procedure for temporary exits
without turning in your permit. It's called Partial Return (Retorno
Parcial). Read about it
If you have posted a bond
guaranteeing the removal of your vehicle, you must notify Aduana
of any change in your visa status (renewal,
upgrade, etc.) in order to preserve your bond.
This notification must be in the Aduana
office 15 days or more before the expiration date of your visa.
To be sure of meeting this vague deadline, you should plan to renew your
visa at the earliest time, which is 30 days before the expiration
date. As soon as you get your new visa card, file the vehicle
papers with Aduana. There are present reports of delays in the
transmission of data from Aduana to Banjercito where the records
actually reside. Hence the admonition to visit Aduana as early
You must notify your local or area Aduana
in person. Furthermore, it must be done
at an Aduana office that is equipped to process the information.
Unfortunately, not all Aduana offices are set up to deal with
vehicle matters. Since not all offices are set up to process car papers,
it would seem wise to locate a participating office before the
actual time of need. For some folks, this may mean considerable
travel. This sure makes having a 'Mexican' car look even more
If there is no Aduana office convenient to you, you can mail the
documents to the Aduana headquarters in DF at
this address. Because of the tight time constraints and the
typical slowness of the Mexican postal service, you probably should
use an express carrier. Mailing to the national office is a
desperation effort with no promise that it will work in a timely
manner. In other words -- not recommended.
Administración General de Aduanas
Administración Central de Planeación Aduanera
Av. Hidalgo No. 77, Módulo IV, primer piso
Col. Guerrero, Delegación Cuauhtemoc
Postal 06300, México, D.F.
Aduana will give you a letter documenting the current registration date and confirming that your car permit is still valid. If your vehicle status is questions by the police, this letter and a copy of Article 106 will answer their questions. Even if you are not required to notify Aduana because you brought your vehicle before 11 June 2011, it is still a good idea to get the update letter because there have been reports of police not understanding the fine points of the law. I have read a number of reports from people who were hassled over this.
The documents required are a copy
of your visa card and a copy of the temporary importation permit.
You will be asked to fill out this form which you can
get from the Aduana office or print this photocopy and fill out before you go
to the office. You can fill it out by hand using black ink and box
lettering. There is no charge.
Some Aduana offices are still
accepting this old letter form:
Por medio de la
presente me permito informarle a used que El Instituto
Nacional de Migración de este país me ha concedido
prorroga en mi calidad migratoria por el tiempo de __*__
días para permanecer en México, con vencimiento del día
[*= number of days of
your FM3 renewal – usually 365]
[**= expiration date of your renewal]
Lo que estoy avisando a esta
autoridad para los efectos del Articulo 106, fracción IV,
inciso a de la Ley Aduanera, con respecto a la
importación temporal de mi vehículo:
Modelo: ___________________ [Model
No de serie_________________ [VIN]
Efectuada por la Aduana de _______________________ [where
you got the permit]
Amparo del Permiso de Importación Temporal No. _______
Fecha de Entrada del vehículo: _______________
[date of entry with vehicle]
Fecha de Vencimiento del Permiso:
___________ [expiration date of permit]
Para que pueda prolongarse el plazo del vehículo
mientras dure mi calidad migratoria.
FM2 and your
The car rules under an FM2 are different from an FM3.
means a person who lives on his own
funds. It does not mean renter although it looks like it might.)
There are several other classes of FM2; none of them allows you to have
or drive a
foreign-plated car. Note that you are prohibited from even driving
a foreign vehicle.
This same prohibition applies to those
who are inmigrados.
At this time, it is unclear how this
restriction will function under the new rules expected "soon"
when FM2 and FM3 will be merged into a new classification to be called
Traffic laws are a state matter, so they may not be
exactly the same in every state. Almost all states publish the
laws online. Do a Google search
for reglamento de circulación
or reglamento de vialidad transito y transporte for your state.
in México: Automobile
labiality insurance is required in some, but not all states, nevertheless it is VERY important to have it. I
have devoted a separate page to this vital subject at
Insurance and registration back in the old country:
car in México must have the license plates that were
issued with your registration that you had when you arrived in
México. (Or new plates if you change your registration.) From that time on, México has no interest in whether you
keep that out-of-country registration up to date. Likewise they
don't care what you do with your non-Mexican insurance. They are
only interested in your plates for identification. Your
"registration" in México is the permit you were issued at the
you need to drive back to the old country from time to time, you can
probably save a goodly sum by letting registration lapse and canceling
you return to the old country to live, all insurance companies will
charge you a penalty for being uninsured for some period of time. Before
you leave, talk with your insurance agent. He may be able to offer
you a non-operating or storage policy that will keep you on the rolls for
only a few dollars per year. Some of these holding policies also
allow for short term re-activations when you want to return north for a
There are some states (NY, FL, perhaps
others) that will suspend your driver's license if you do not maintain
insurance on your car. This can cause you great problems if you
want to drive in the USA at any time. (Unless you get a Mexican
driver's license; it is recognized in the USA just as your USA license
is OK in México. In those states you need to arrange
non-operating registration and insurance to save you driver's license.
Or you need to register your car in another state with easier rules.