We know our readers have a lot of questions on how to import a car to Mexico. So, while importation of vehicles is not an immigration issue, but rather a customs matter, here are the basics.
The process of importation of cars into Mexico can vary depending on many factors:
The status of the importer – tourist, permanent/temporary resident, etc.
The state you live in or intend to use the car in
How long you want to import the car for
The age and model of your car
The paperwork available for the car
Permanently Import Your Car to Mexico
For permanent importation of a car, there is a legal requirement to hire a customs agent to assist with the procedure. The procedure is complicated. Requirements and custom duties will depend on the age, model and paperwork available for your car. It is not possible to switch between temporary to permanent importation in Mexico. A temporarily imported car must be exported and reimported permanently. For further information on permanent importation, consult this article by Two Expats in Mexico.
Temporary Importation of Vehicles to Mexico
For temporary importation, the procedure is simpler. This option is available to temporary residents and tourists. Importers will need to acquire a TIP (temporary import permit) before entering Mexico. The TIP is then valid for the duration of the tourist visa (max. six months) or temporary residency (four years max.)
Obtain the TIP outside Mexico before importing the car. It costs around $50, and it can be purchased online, at Mexican consulates or at the banjercito office at the border crossing. Therefore, make sure your crossing has a banjercito office if needed, because not all do. Then you must also pay a deposit – the amount will depend on the age of the car.
The TIP must be given back at a banjercito office when exporting the car before the TIP expiry date. The same importer (or their spouse as proven with official documentation) must export the car. Consult the banjecito website here.
Necessary documentation for a TIP:
Mexican insurance for the duration of the importation
FMM tourist visa or temporary residency card
Photographic driver’s license (not Mexican)
Title and vehicle registration certificate issued outside Mexico in importer’s name – original and copy.
You don’t require a TIP if you intend to drive solely in the free zone, which comprises:
Baja California peninsula
State of Quintana Roo
Areas within 25 miles of Mexican land borders
A specific area in Sonora state
Any travel outside these limits requires a TIP.
Enjoying our blog? Read our last article: How to Obtain a Mexican Work Visa via a Job Offer or New Business
For a quote or more information about working in Mexico, email Adriana Vela at email@example.com.