Legalization of American cars: All you need to know
If you want to bring your car to Mexico permanently, it is important to know that the process to follow is not as simple as some think, there is a strict criterion for the nationalization of vehicles. In this article we will explain everything you need to know about the Legalization of American cars before taking the car to Mexico.
- Entry of a vehicle into Mexico temporarily or permanently? Let's clarify the scenarios
- Who can permanently legalize an American car in Mexico?
- Legalization of American cars: types of vehicles allowed
- How the legalization of American cars takes place: Permanent transfer
- How to get a customs broker to legalize American cars?
- How much does it cost to legalize an American car in Mexico?
Entry of a vehicle into Mexico temporarily or permanently? Let's clarify the scenarios
The handling you need to carry out to bring your car to Mexico will be very different if you want to do it for a certain time or if you have to transfer your car permanently.
- Permanent transfer: If you intend to live in Mexico (you will be a permanent resident) and want to take your car with you, you must make an application to legalize your American car in that country, otherwise it will become a chocolate machineas cars that have an irregular or illegal status in Mexico are colloquially known.
- Temporary transfer: If you have to travel to Mexico in a vehicle with a foreign license plate and drive outside the Free Zones, you must apply for a Temporary Import Permit (TIP) and your car must leave Mexico before this document expires.
What is the Temporary Import Permit (TIP)?
The Temporary Import Permit or TIP is a document that allows the entry and use of a vehicle with a foreign license plate in Mexico for a certain period of time.
If you intend to drive your vehicle beyond the 25km border zone (there are checkpoints) or anywhere outside a free zone (Baja California Peninsula, a defined area in the state of Sonora and the state of Quintana Roo ), You must have a valid TIP to avoid fines and vehicle confiscation.
Learn more about Temporary Import Permits (TIPs) for vehicles with a foreign license plate in Mexico in our article "Permit to travel to Mexico in an American car".
How much does the DMV cost for the change of ownership?
Who can permanently legalize an American car in Mexico?
The legalization of an American car, imported from the United States or Canada, can be done as a person or as a company.
Both natural and legal persons are authorized to carry out the definitive importation of a used car within a period of 12 months, without having to register in the Register of Importers. In case you need to import two or more cars within this time period, they must do so register in the Register of importers.
Legalization of American cars: types of vehicles allowed
Only cars, vans, trucks and SUVs manufactured in North America (Mexico, United States and Canada) can be registered in Mexico. If the first digit of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) begins with 1 - 5, it means it was manufactured in North America.
Depending on the area of Mexico where you need to perform the procedure, there may be differences in terms of the requirements the car must meet in order to legalize.
North / Northwest border states
Along 20 km of border, in the states of Coahuila, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, Chihuahua, Sonora, the rules are a little more relaxed to meet the needs of American commuting expats. The entire Baja California peninsula also counts in this category. The truck, car, van or SUV must be between 5 and 10 years of age.
the rest of the country
All states within 20km of the border (except the Baja California peninsula) have different laws for permanently importing a car into Mexico. The rest of the country, except for the states listed above, only allows cars, trucks, SUVs, or vans between the ages of 8 or 9.
In some cases you will not be able to permanently import a car into Mexico, for example:
- If it is not in good physical and mechanical condition or does not meet environmental protection requirements
- If you have limited circulation in your home country
- If the vehicle was reported stolen
How to sell an untitled car
How the legalization of American cars takes place: Permanent transfer
In Mexico, permanent residents cannot drive cars with a foreign license plate. Mexican federal law states that after 180 days of "indefinite period", it is illegal to drive a car with a US license plate if you are a permanent resident of Mexico. If the car has not been legalized in the country, it could be confiscated.
Steps for the legalization of American cars in Mexico
To carry out the legalization of American cars, follow these steps:
1. Find a customs broker or freight forwarder to help you with the car import process. Ask for an estimate of the total costs to avoid surprises, also ask for the payment method they will accept and the estimated time to complete the entire process.
Import costs should include all charges, most of which is 16% VAT (sales tax) based on the value of the vehicle and then brokerage fees and some government taxes. Confirm with the agent that these are the total costs and that no additional charges will apply later.
They will ask you:
- Your official ID
- The title of the vehicle
- A letter of authorization to make the definitive transfer of the vehicle
2. Empty the car completely. Leave nothing but the spare tire and the jack. Everything else has to be out of the car or corridors and the authorities will refuse to do the job.
3. The customs broker you hired must complete all steps in the process:
- Obtain a certificate of the physical and mechanical condition of the vehicle and compliance with environmental protection requirements.
- Verify the origin of a used vehicle supplier company.
- Verify that the vehicle identification number is correct based on the title of the property.
- Submit title to U.S. Customs for import approval. This step could take anywhere from two days to a week.
- Make the request to import the car
- Pay the corresponding fees
- Deliver the paid final import request.
4. Present the car and petition to one of the following customs:
- Juarez city Chihuahua
- Reynosa tamaulipas
- Matamoros, Tamaulipas
- Messicali, Tijuana
- Nogales, Sonora
- New Laredo, Tamaulipas
- Black stones, Coahuila
- Tijuana Baja California
- Veracruz, Veracruz
5. Receive the import request with its attachments and register your car in the Public Vehicle Register.
How can I get a NYC or IDNYC non-driver ID?
How to get a customs broker to legalize American cars?
As we mentioned, The first thing you should do is find a customs broker to help you get your management done. We recommend that you ask your circle of acquaintances and relatives, perhaps they could recommend a trusted agent. If you are unable to get information, you can also check the following places:
- On the page of the Tax Administration Service (SAT) you will find the data of the customs agents of Mexico.
- The Latin American Confederation of Customs Agents (CLAA) offers a list of customs agents specializing in the used and American car industry.
- The Confederation of Customs Agent Associations (CAAAREM) informs about various Associations of authorized agents.
How much does it cost to legalize an American car in Mexico?
The import cost includes a tax of 10% of the value of the vehicle, in addition to the payment of other taxes related to the entry of the vehicle into Mexico. You may also be required to pay rent and license plates, if determined by your state.
Note: the ownership tax is no longer federal but state
You must be ready to take on other expenses, such as: services of a mechanic for car overhaul, charges of the customs broker, management of documents such as the gas emission control certificate, payment of other taxes such as ISAN, DTA, ISTUV, customs processing fee, etc.
If you want to discover other articles similar to Legalization of American cars: All you need to know, you can visit the Last News category.
DISCLAIMER: By reading this, you agree to the following: you understand that this is an expression of opinions and not professional advice. You are solely responsible for the use of any content and hold harmless ©INFOCARSUSA.COM and all members and affiliates from any event or claim. The information provided on the site may contain errors, both grammatical and contextual and/or information, and we recommend that you conduct your own research through the means you deem appropriate to satisfy your search intention. If you purchase something through a link, you should assume that we have an affiliate relationship with the company providing the product or services you purchase, and we will be compensated in some way. We recommend that you conduct your own independent research before purchasing anything.