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Drive In, Fly Out Not Permitted with Tourist Visa


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If you drive a vehicle into Mexico on a tourist visa, Mexico expects you to take your car back with you when you leave. Otherwise, you may be suspected of trying to scam an American insurance company by claiming it was stolen. It's called car dumping, and it's happening frequently enough that immigration will prevent you from flying out of the country on that visa, leaving your car behind. This is only true if you are the owner of the vehicle, of course, as opposed to your partner.

In at least one case, immigration at Guadalajara's airport has taken pity on an unsuspecting gringa who returned to the US temporarily for a job. They had her sign a new tourist visa stating she had flown in rather than driiven. That way she can fly back in, cancel that visa, and then drive her vehicle back across the border when she's ready.

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The vehicle's temporary import permit expires when the person flies out. The car is illegal to drive. An alternate easy legal way around this is to fly out, let the vehicle permit expire,. Fly back to Mexico and get a Retorno Seguro (Safe Return) permit from SAT when she wants to drive out. The Retorno Seguro permits give anyone driving the car 5 days to take it out of the country.

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That would only work if the person is planning to be in Mexico long enough for the vehicle permit to expire (usually 180 days). In this case, the person had been planning to drive back to Texas in a month or so. So, that wouldn't have worked

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This is getting strict.

During the past 10 years I have flown out many, many times on vacations to other countries and often routing through the U.S. Of course I am not going to be driving my car.

I am so glad I bought a Mexican car in 2012.

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That would only work if the person is planning to be in Mexico long enough for the vehicle permit to expire (usually 180 days). In this case, the person had been planning to drive back to Texas in a month or so. So, that wouldn't have worked

It works. Drive in. Stay a month or so. Fly out. At the Mexican airport of departure, you have to turn in your Visitante permit. INM cancels the Visitante permit. Since the Visitante permit is cancelled at that point, the car's Temporary Import Permit expires simultaneously the same day as flying out. She later flies back into Mexico, enters Mexico on a new Visitante permit, gets a 5 day Retorno Seguro (Secure Return) permit, and then anyone can drive it out with the Retorno Seguro permit.

Yes, it is not permitted to drive in on a TIP and fly out,, because the car becomes illegal to drive when she flies out. The Retorno Seguro is a fully legal work-around.

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Story is suspect to me as usually immigration at the airport has not in the past had access to vehicle records and many walk or take the bus in and fly out but as I do not know all the facts, cannot really comment on the issue.

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It works. Drive in. Stay a month or so. Fly out. At the Mexican airport of departure, you have to turn in your Visitante permit. INM cancels the Visitante permit. Since the Visitante permit is cancelled at that point, the car's Temporary Import Permit expires simultaneously the same day as flying out. She later flies back into Mexico, enters Mexico on a new Visitante permit, gets a 5 day Retorno Seguro (Secure Return) permit, and then anyone can drive it out with the Retorno Seguro permit.

Yes, it is not permitted to drive in on a TIP and fly out,, because the car becomes illegal to drive when she flies out. The Retorno Seguro is a fully legal work-around.

I hate to burst your bubble but the car permit is not tie up to your Visante permit.

For the past 2 years I drove to Laredo and took the plane out to the US and returned to Mexico and drove my car out of Mexico and got my refund within 3 days.

when I walked to the wicket in Laredo and have my passport stamped and my Tourist Visa returned, they could not care or less if you drove, walk or whatever. As long your car permit is not expired IE less than 180 days you are ok.

You still insured and your car still legal, I got stopped by the Federalies with no problem and went through road block again with no problem. Unless they changed the rules last week that is the way it is.

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Story is suspect to me as usually immigration at the airport has not in the past had access to vehicle records and many walk or take the bus in and fly out but as I do not know all the facts, cannot really comment on the issue.

You are correct Spencer. The left hand do not talk to the right hand.

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I hate to burst your bubble but the car permit is not tie up to your Visante permit.

For the past 2 years I drove to Laredo and took the plane out to the US and returned to Mexico and drove my car out of Mexico and got my refund within 3 days.

when I walked to the wicket in Laredo and have my passport stamped and my Tourist Visa returned, they could not care or less if you drove, walk or whatever. As long your car permit is not expired IE less than 180 days you are ok.

You still insured and your car still legal, I got stopped by the Federalies with no problem and went through road block again with no problem. Unless they changed the rules last week that is the way it is.

No bubble to burst.

The INM visitors database information is not uploaded over to the Aduana TIP database, but your Aduana TIP is still linked to your visitors permit. Aduana simply does not know that you flew out. Even though Aduana does not know, that does not make it legal. As long as you drive out before Aduana's database expiration date, then they don't catch it. If instead, you have an accident (after flying out and flying back) while driving the illegal car inside Mexico, you can be arrested and fined, the car can be permanently confiscated, and your insurance company may decide to deny coverage on the accident damages because you are driving an illegal car. Just because someone does not get caught breaking the law, does not make it legal. You managed to not get caught.

Do the same people who advocate intentionally breaking Mexican laws and breaking Mexican regulations, also applaud Mexican aliens breaking Canadian or US laws? Do we like reading stories of Mexicans aliens in Canada or the USA giving written public advice on the internet, to other foreigners, on how to beat the Canadian or US laws and systems?

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No bubble to burst.

The INM visitors database information is not uploaded over to the Aduana TIP database, but your Aduana TIP is still linked to your visitors permit. Aduana simply does not know that you flew out. Even though Aduana does not know, that does not make it legal. As long as you drive out before Aduana's database expiration date, then they don't catch it. If instead, you have an accident (after flying out and flying back) while driving the illegal car inside Mexico, you can be arrested and fined, the car can be permanently confiscated, and your insurance company may decide to deny coverage on the accident damages because you are driving an illegal car. Just because someone does not get caught breaking the law, does not make it legal. You managed to not get caught.

Do the same people who advocate intentionally breaking Mexican laws and breaking Mexican regulations, also applaud Mexican aliens breaking Canadian or US laws? Do we like reading stories of Mexicans aliens in Canada or the USA giving written public advice on the internet, to other foreigners, on how to beat the Canadian or US laws and systems?

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I dont think I broke any laws what so ever snowyco, I was informed that as long that your car is out of the Country before your permit expires, 180 there is no problem. Why would your car be illegal when you have a valid Permit. As far as insurance, I have checked and no problem with that either. Plus when you are on the Toll Highway you are double insured.

Do you have any link to support what you are telling me because I could not find anything. Thanks

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No bubble to burst.

The INM visitors database information is not uploaded over to the Aduana TIP database, but your Aduana TIP is still linked to your visitors permit. Aduana simply does not know that you flew out. Even though Aduana does not know, that does not make it legal. As long as you drive out before Aduana's database expiration date, then they don't catch it. If instead, you have an accident (after flying out and flying back) while driving the illegal car inside Mexico, you can be arrested and fined, the car can be permanently confiscated, and your insurance company may decide to deny coverage on the accident damages because you are driving an illegal car. Just because someone does not get caught breaking the law, does not make it legal. You managed to not get caught.

Do the same people who advocate intentionally breaking Mexican laws and breaking Mexican regulations, also applaud Mexican aliens breaking Canadian or US laws? Do we like reading stories of Mexicans aliens in Canada or the USA giving written public advice on the internet, to other foreigners, on how to beat the Canadian or US laws and systems?

I dont think I broke any laws what so ever snowyco, I was informed that as long that your car is out of the Country before your permit expires, 180 there is no problem. Why would your car be illegal when you have a valid Permit. As far as insurance, I have checked and no problem with that either. Plus when you are on the Toll Highway you are double insured.

Do you have any link to support what you are telling me because I could not find anything. Thanks

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I dont think I broke any laws what so ever snowyco, I was informed that as long that your car is out of the Country before your permit expires, 180 there is no problem. Why would your car be illegal when you have a valid Permit. As far as insurance, I have checked and no problem with that either. Plus when you are on the Toll Highway you are double insured.

Do you have any link to support what you are telling me because I could not find anything. Thanks

The law is clear-cut on this: you have broken the law when doing this. Fortunately, you had no accidents, and the police, Aduana, and Military did not catch you.

Read all of Articulo 17 of the official SAT Manual on Temporary Import Permit Vehicles: SAT Manual de Operación para la Importación Temporal de Vehículos y Motocicletas: “Articulo 17: Fracciónes 17.1 & 17.4

The same information has been published for over a decade in the Ley Aduanera, Articulo 106, Fracc. IV. , If reading Spanish is an issue, both Yucalandia.com and Rollybrook.com have had both Spanish and English versions of this online for the past 7 years. Yucalandia.com has both the SAT Manual: Article 17 and the Aduana Law: Article 106 Fracc. IV at http://yucalandia.com/driving-in-mexico-issues-fun/importing-driving-a-car-in-mexico/#IMPORTANT%20RULES%20FOR%20OPERATING%20FOREIGN%20PLATED%20CARS%20IN%20MEXICO

in their Importing & Driving a Car in Mexico article.

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The law is clear-cut on this: you have broken the law when doing this. Fortunately, you had no accidents, and the police, Aduana, and Military did not catch you.

Read all of Articulo 17 of the official SAT Manual on Temporary Import Permit Vehicles: SAT Manual de Operación para la Importación Temporal de Vehículos y Motocicletas: “Articulo 17: Fracciónes 17.1 & 17.4

The same information has been published for over a decade in the Ley Aduanera, Articulo 106, Fracc. IV. , If reading Spanish is an issue, both Yucalandia.com and Rollybrook.com have had both Spanish and English versions of this online for the past 7 years. Yucalandia.com has both the SAT Manual: Article 17 and the Aduana Law: Article 106 Fracc. IV at http://yucalandia.com/driving-in-mexico-issues-fun/importing-driving-a-car-in-mexico/#IMPORTANT%20RULES%20FOR%20OPERATING%20FOREIGN%20PLATED%20CARS%20IN%20MEXICO

in their Importing & Driving a Car in Mexico article.

Thanks the link and positive comments.....

So I guest the best way to go around this is go FM2 if read corretly. There is also of different situation that could occured to some people that have to fly out as an Emergency. That is very bizarre as you are planning to take your car back NOB before the Permit expires. Than again those are the rules and like NOB some of the rules do not make sense.

Thanks for the information again

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Has anyone heard or can verify the latest rumor, that Mexico is going to not allow to re-enter Mexico anyone or any vehicle that has entered and exited Mexico on a tourist card ? There will be a waiting period of 180 days before anyone or any vehicle can re-enter the country on a tourist card. How about Canadians/Americans that like to come to Mexico for vacation a couple of times a year. Under this proposed rule they would not be admitted the second time, unless 180 days had gone by?

If this is true, a lot of people are going to have to change there plans big time. Can anyone confirm or deny this rumor?

Cheers

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Has anyone heard or can verify the latest rumor, that Mexico is going to not allow to re-enter Mexico anyone or any vehicle that has entered and exited Mexico on a tourist card ? There will be a waiting period of 180 days before anyone or any vehicle can re-enter the country on a tourist card. How about Canadians/Americans that like to come to Mexico for vacation a couple of times a year. Under this proposed rule they would not be admitted the second time, unless 180 days had gone by?

If this is true, a lot of people are going to have to change there plans big time. Can anyone confirm or deny this rumor?

Cheers

As you say, it's a RUMOR! Although I cannot refute the RUMOR, I doubt very seriously that Mexico would do anything to harm tourists from coming to their country as many times as they want. Fly in to Cancun for a week; later fly to Puerto Vallarta for a couple of weeks; drive back in to have some dental work done. In all cases spending big bucks in the country.

No, I doubt this is a new law.... just an old RUMOR with new wings.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I thought I had all my ducks in a row and now I am not sure!

We plan on driving our van down and spending a week in ajijic on a tourist visa. We then plan on flying back to the states, leaving the car there in ajijic. Then in a month driving our other car full of the kids and dog back down to stay. We have talked with the consulate here and will have the temp fm3 and my fm2 visas at that time.

She didn't mention any issues with this.. Am I freaking out over nothing?

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You are correct. You cannot leave a vehicle behind in Mexico if you only have a tourist permit.

By the way, FM2/3 terminology is obsolete. Uner the new law and rules, you will have a Residente Temporal visa. Once you have that, you can leave your vehicle in Mexico when you travel by air.

I am sure that you know that only one vehicle per person is allowed, and that at the end of 4 years, you will become Residente Permanente (under current rules) and not be able to keep foreign vehicles in Mexico; so plan ahead to own Mexican purchased vehicles before that day arrives; unless they change the rules again.

Planning ahead has been difficult lately. :017:

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Oy!

We are trying so hard to do this all the right way.. not an easy task.

Bob will have the Perm residence, as will the kids

I only get the temp for 2 years (to make sure we stay married they said LOL I thought 5 kids and 23 years later.... LOL)

I put in a call to the consulate here.. Ill update you guys as to what they are saying as of today, NOb .....

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You should note that Mexican consulates are notorious for having incomplete and erroneous information. They are the equivalent of the State Department and are not often up to the minute on details from INM and/or Aduana. You can only deal with the consulate nearest to you, but it is common knowledge that any three consulates will have three different responses. Beware, especially now, as everything is in flux. You may read that as SNAFU.

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