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US Cars that would be legal in Mexico

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Is there a list of US car models that can be purchased in the US yet be "legal" when the owners move to Mexico and take the car with them?

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Any car legally registered in the USA can be driven in Mexico by US tourists or temporary residents.  Not by permanent residents.

So, if by “legal“ you mean exportable from the USA and then importable into Mexico, you would have to have a vehicle produced in a NAFTA country and of a certain age; always a moving target, but about 10 years old. You would need to consult with, and use, a customs broker for the export - importation process, if the car qualified, and be willing to pay the price for the process and the import duty, then go through the registration inspectiona and plating process in the capital of your Mexican state.  No, there is no list that I know of, and it would be quite difficult to keep such a list current from month to month.

Frankly, if you intend to reside in Mexico, it is so much easier to own and drive a vehicle purchased in, and registered in the state where you reside in Mexico.  The choices are many, and purchasing is quite easy. In addition, there are no fees or deposit when crossing the border, either way, with a car registered and plated in Mexico.  US plated cars also attract the notice of greedy traffic authorities, and others.

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In addition to RV’s excellent reply......  a NAFTA vehicle will have the VIN# starting with either a 1,2,3,4 or 5. Otherwise any ‘model’ can come. There may be some restriction on diesel trucks over 1 ton. Fees to Import a US vehicle into Mexico will be ‘north of $2,500’. 

If one is a tourist or a Mexican Residente Temporal, there is a permit (TIP) that must be obtained for the vehicle. It is good “for as long as the owner’s visa is good”... 6 months for a tourist and for up to 4 years for a Temporal if renewed annually. As RV suggests, a Residente Permanente cannot have a foreign plated vehicle in Mexico. A TIP costs less than $50 but a refundable deposit of between $200-$400 will be assessed (cash or credit card).... refundable when the vehicle is taken out of Mexico.

 

 

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5 hours ago, RickS said:

In addition to RV’s excellent reply......  a NAFTA vehicle will have the VIN# starting with either a 1,2,3,4 or 5. Otherwise any ‘model’ can come. There may be some restriction on diesel trucks over 1 ton. Fees to Import a US vehicle into Mexico will be ‘north of $2,500’. 

If one is a tourist or a Mexican Residente Temporal, there is a permit (TIP) that must be obtained for the vehicle. It is good “for as long as the owner’s visa is good”... 6 months for a tourist and for up to 4 years for a Temporal if renewed annually. As RV suggests, a Residente Permanente cannot have a foreign plated vehicle in Mexico. A TIP costs less than $50 but a refundable deposit of between $200-$400 will be assessed (cash or credit card).... refundable when the vehicle is taken out of Mexico.

 

 

On a Residente Temporal vsa/card the mandatory first year and renewals are available for 1, 2 or 3 years, not yearly.

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10 hours ago, RickS said:

In addition to RV’s excellent reply......  a NAFTA vehicle will have the VIN# starting with either a 1,2,3,4 or 5. Otherwise any ‘model’ can come. There may be some restriction on diesel trucks over 1 ton. Fees to Import a US vehicle into Mexico will be ‘north of $2,500’. 

If one is a tourist or a Mexican Residente Temporal, there is a permit (TIP) that must be obtained for the vehicle. It is good “for as long as the owner’s visa is good”... 6 months for a tourist and for up to 4 years for a Temporal if renewed annually. As RV suggests, a Residente Permanente cannot have a foreign plated vehicle in Mexico. A TIP costs less than $50 but a refundable deposit of between $200-$400 will be assessed (cash or credit card).... refundable when the vehicle is taken out of Mexico.

 

 

So a "NAFTA" car can be brought to Mexico and "legalized" if the owner decides to obtain a permanente visa?

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Only if it is eligible by specific age at the time of importation, and has been legally exported from the USA, and is not a prohibited model, such as a dual wheeled pick-up too heavy, commercial type vehicle, etc.

If you are going to be Residente Permanente, why in the world would you want a US vehicle, which might not be able to get full insurance coverage, and would likely contain parts different from similar models in Mexico, etc., etc. 

You might be surprise to find that a very large percentage of “US Automobiles“ were actually built in Mexico; mine was, as are many of the Freightliner anc other “US Trucks“ that you see on the roads every day.  Canada, also a NAFTA country, is also a large source of “US Vehicles“.  Virtually all brands are available in Mexico, including some very pricey European makes.  Whatever you seek, you will find.

If you are simply concerned with the logistics of the move, please state your concerns and many of us will be able to address them and offer solutions.  Many of us have been in similar solutions, even through the transitions to new rules and procedures with US vehicles, and have also purchased both new and used vehicles in Mexico.

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Here is an “article” that pretty much discusses the ins and outs of Importing into Mexico.  It was written in 2017 so one would need to adjust the ‘dates’ by a year.  

Disclaimer:  I take no responsibility for its accuracy.... but it seems to correspond with my understanding of the rules.

http://www.expatsinmonterrey.com/single-post/2016/04/14/FAQ´s-Importing-cars-in-to-México

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4 hours ago, RickS said:

Here is an “article” that pretty much discusses the ins and outs of Importing into Mexico.  It was written in 2017 so one would need to adjust the ‘dates’ by a year.  

Disclaimer:  I take no responsibility for its accuracy.... but it seems to correspond with my understanding of the rules.

http://www.expatsinmonterrey.com/single-post/2016/04/14/FAQ´s-Importing-cars-in-to-México

Wow,  thanks for sharing. Great detailed information 

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Thanks everyone for your points and thoughts. I have become convinced it makes the most sense to sell the US car in the US and purchase a new car in Mexico when we move there!

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