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U.S. Citizen Driving Mexican Vehicle into U.S.?

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You would have to show a drivers license that works in the US.  Is my Jalisco or other Mexican state license excepted up north when driving a Mexican plated car? I don't know. But that could be a problem too. I have always had to keep both my WA State and Jalisco drivers licenses active, as I have a residence and car on both sides of the border.

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Your Mexican driver's license is just as good in the USA as your USA license is good in Mexico. It is called 'reciprocity'.  I tends to frustrate some cops, who may never have had much experience with foreign plated cars or drivers, since they cannot "run the plates" or check your license. Too bad for them; good for you.  Just be friendly and tell them how much you love being retired in Mexico, and being able to drive up north to see your friends and relatives.

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I have a WA State plated car in Seattle and keep a small condo unit there for my visits north of the border (I always fly between MX and the US). It is my understanding that I have to have a WA State license because I maintain a small Seattle Condo unit and own and drive a WA plated car when up north

I also was told that because I have a Mexican home and car and have a Mexican green card called Residente Permanente that I am required to have a Mexican drivers license when driving said car in Mexico.

I "aint" no attorney" and could be wrong, but I have always been told that under these circumstances, I need a drivers license for both countries.

I suppose it would be different if I only had one car that I maintained primarily in one of these two countries. And would only occasionally take it to the other country for short visits.

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Pete:  I think you are over licensed, but you sure have all the bases covered at the same time.

The 30 day rule for the USA would apply if you drove your Mexican car to WA.  Either license will do in either place under reciprocity agreements.

There is no need, for those owning multiple homes, to have multiple cars, licenses or wives, for that matter.  Yet, some do.  Most of us just can't afford such a lifestyle.  🌮

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Canadians suffer a restriction on not being able to drive a foreign plated car in Canada, under most circumstances.

I suffer similarly, here on the Texas/Mexico border. As we are also RP in Mexico, we cannot drive into Mexico, with Texas plates, to visit our dentist.  That arched bridge gets steeper every year, and walking it is particularly difficult in hot weather. We son't give up our status, just in case......

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3 minutes ago, RVGRINGO said:

Canadians suffer a restriction on not being able to drive a foreign plated car in Canada, under most circumstances.

I suffer similarly, here on the Texas/Mexico border. As we are also RP in Mexico, we cannot drive into Mexico, with Texas plates, to visit our dentist.  That arched bridge gets steeper every year, and walking it is particularly difficult in hot weather. We son't give up our status, just in case......

Yeah, I've been pondering that myself. Could we possibly drive in the border zone where no TIP is required using our Texas license and not saying a word about being RP? Is parking easy in NP?

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We would need Mexican insurance, which would probably be suddenly invalid in an accident or theft, as we would have to present a passport, which would trigger our true status.  I don't think it is worth the risk.  Parking has always been a problem in Nuevo Progresso, and might even be found further away from our dentist, than the parking lot on the USA side.

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It’s seems like you can easily enter the US with your Mexican plated car for up to a year. Does anyone know the logistics of wanting to go back and forth long term? For example, if I spend 6 months in the US and 6 months in Mexico each year, can I drive back and forth no problem for many years? 

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I suspect, but don't know, that that would be perfectly acceptable. The law says one can stay up to a year and then must remove the vehicle. I doubt very seriously a law would put a 'number' on how many times that could be done.  And looking at it in another manner, no one is checking the vehicle as one doesn't actually have to 'sign up' or get a sticker or anything at the border when entering.

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I am considering buying a Toyota diesel truck in Guadalajara that doesn't meet US emission standards. I assume I can drive it in the US, but would never be able to import it and get it inspected. Anyone know if my assumptions are correct?

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All you can possibly get on this subject from online folks who have never done this is probably.... conjecture.

I have once driven a Jalisco plated diesel truck into the US. I was not asked about emissions. I seriously doubt that Customs and Border patrol agents concern themselves.... or even know.... whether emissions on your vehicle meet US standards.  But then this is an opinion as I have not read the US law about foreign vehicles entering temporarily.

You are definitely correct that you cannot formally/permanently import into the US any vehicle that does not meet EPA, CARB and DOT standards as of the date the vehicle was manufactured.

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On 8/27/2019 at 6:47 PM, RickS said:

I suspect, but don't know, that that would be perfectly acceptable. The law says one can stay up to a year and then must remove the vehicle. I doubt very seriously a law would put a 'number' on how many times that could be done.  And looking at it in another manner, no one is checking the vehicle as one doesn't actually have to 'sign up' or get a sticker or anything at the border when entering.

Thanks Rick. My goal is to buy a camper van or some kind of van down in Mexico this fall and return back for Christmas. Might be difficult to officially switch the plates over, especially since a lot of the colectivo vans and camper vans I’m looking at are not sold in the US (even though they are legit Nissan and Toyota vans) but if I can easily go back and forth without exceeding a year, that sounds like the way to go (and more reason to always return to Mexico hehe :) ). What’s the scoop to know for have the right insurance or paperwork at the border?

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You can go back and forth as many times as you want. The vehicle must exit the US before it is there for a year continuously.  They don't add up the days each time you enter and exit.

As to any state's rules. Each state has a rule on how long one of their  "residents" can drive a vehicle not registered in that state. Same is true with a  drivers licenses. If you move to Texas for example you must change your  car registration to Texas and your drivers license within a certain period of time. Doesn't matter if your vehicle has plates from Jalisco or Arizona .If you do not meet the  definition of resident ie renting an apartment for more than 30 days, buying a house etc than  you can drive your vehicle in that state without problems. 

I have a jalisco car at a relative's  house in Arkansas for over a year. They drove it to the border after 11 months and re-entered the same day.  No problem. No government agency has ever contacted me. Car has been stopped for speeding and nothing happened. 

I have entered and exited with a different vehicle (while that car remains in Texas) with no questions asked.  

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I’ll be working for a Mexican company with a US registered branch. They will bring me a Mexican plated cargo van to work with in Texas. I’m a US citizen and a new Texas DL holder. I’m worry about to drive and work with this vehicle. 

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I suspect that you should be worried.

You could bring your own Mexican vehicle into the USA for up to one year. But, the van will not be yours.  It is unlikely that you would escape being stopped frequently, by local, state and federal agents at every turn, and every checkpoint.

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Yeah a car would be one thing but a van with Mexican plates tooling around the border area is sure to attract plenty of (unwanted) attention.

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5 hours ago, pappysmarket said:

Yeah a car would be one thing but a van with Mexican plates tooling around the border area is sure to attract plenty of (unwanted) attention.

The border area thrives on cross border trade by Mexicans. Some of them drive vans like my Jalisco plated E-150. The only time I have been stopped tooling around there is when I was speeding. My Mexican driver's license got me off of a true violation. Had I used my Texas license I would have been toast.

The Rio Grande Valley is truly an international playground for those with the pesos, especially when they go to South Padre Island and rent rooms.

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The Rio Grande Valley is not part of Mexico but it's also not really part of the US. It truly does feel like it's own country. The HEB store in Donna is definitely Texas but the town plaza, right out the front door, looks exactly like plazas everywhere in small town Mexico. Thanks for your observations of driving a Mex-plated van. Guess times have changed. Please don't continue to advertise SPI, too many people have already discovered it. Yesterday in that HEB, my wife and I were the only pink people in there. Spanish was the only language being spoken until it was our turn to check out when they easily switched to English. Interesting place to be.

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Yes and no. More Spanish spoken here but no beautiful view of Banderas Bay like we had there. SPI is only an hour and 15 minutes away and those beaches are as nice as any in Mexico, certainly better than in PV which tend to have quick drop offs. Obviously higher prices for most things like HOA fees and property taxes but the place we are in is much like a Fracc you would find Lakeside but with better security, wider and nicer streets and a 9 hole golf course that is free for unlimited play plus tennis courts and, naturally, shuffleboard courts. $162/Mo. covers it all. Traffic can be heavy but nothing like the last time we were in Ajijic. PV traffic is likewise much lighter than Lakeside. Most but not all locals are bilingual and anywhere outside of our community feels much more like Mexico than the US. Since our medical insurance cost would have tripled if we remained in Mexico the decision to return came fairly easily if not readily. We're having fun exploring the area and since we both tend to look forward, not backward, life is pretty good. I don't miss being on the BOD for our condo building in PV, a very thankless job that I swore I would never get into but got talked into it, LOL. I understand there are several residents in here who previously lived Lakeside also and am planning to meet them.

https://www.myalamocountryclub.com/

Don't believe the weather part of the website, not accurate.

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Well said.  Yes, the weather, here in Alamo, is delightful in the winter, but we do have to put up with high humidity in the summer months.  Nevertheless, there are now at least six of us here from Mexico, at last count, and a couple more recent arrivals in nearby Donna. I know that we all miss being in Mexico, but we do enjoy the 'flavor' here, and the border is just minutes away. Nuevo Progresso is just as active as ever with its abundance of dentists, restaurants, street vendors and other shops.

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