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Re-Importing a Previously Exported Vehicle


RickS
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(Sorry, but this is going to be quite long, but....)


I recently re-imported back into the US a vehicle that had been officially Exported from the US, Nationalized in Mexico at the border and plated in Jalisco. I did a lot of research to determine just what all I would have to do, both in Mexico (nothing!), at the border w/Customs and back in my home state MVD.  While I can't tell you that this is what works in all cases, it is my experience. As a side note, I was purchasing the vehicle in Mexico that had been Imported there by another person.

I first went on the Customs and Border Protection Agency's (CBP) website to see what they said about "Importing vehicles" and found a section relating to 'Re-Importing a Previously Exported Vehicle'. I found that my vehicle met the requirements (see link) as it had not been modified once Exported and still met US requirements. I then called a couple of border crossing Ports (Laredo, where the vehicle had been exported from, and Eagle Pass where I hoped to return it as it is a much smaller Port and I like crossing there) and spoke with personnel there. FIRST PROBLEM: conflicting information ranging from 'you can't do that', to 'well you will have to have a lot of paperwork ready in triplicate, to 'only the owner who had it exported (not me!) can do that' and 'yes, just fill out CBP Form 3311 and cross in the Commercial (truck) lane at the border'.

Having this conflicting information, I went to the horses mouth..... CBP Export and Import Director in Washington DC (Thanks to a friend, playaboy, who is know at Lakeside, I had her name and telephone number from a last year Post by him). She said what I was told about Form 3311 is the right story. I asked her 'how can I, based on my experience on the phone with different clerks, be assured that when I get there I can be processed?'.  She said she would have a Supervisor in the Laredo Field Office call me. He did later that day, confirming that I could proceed AND he gave me his personal phone # to call at the border just in case I had a problem. This refutes a common saying that 'all government people are lazy and won't help you do anything'!

So, comfortable that I could get the car re-Imported, I went next to my local MVD in Colorado to see what it would take to get the Jalisco plated car titled in Colorado. Another stumbling block: the people there did NOT like what had been done to the original Nevada Title during the Exporting and Importing process... it had the EXPORT stamp on the face of the title and the back of the title had been signed 'strangely' by the Mexican Import Broker and owner, AND Jalisco had placed a hologram on the back. {Note: this does not seem to be consistent among Nationalizations as a friends original US title was not signed/marked or otherwise written on when Nationalized... which would have been better!). The only solution, my MVD folks said, was to get a Duplicate/clean title from Nevada and then they could give me a Colorado title (after seeing the Form 3311 signed by CBP). Of course the owner was/is in Mexico and getting a duplicate title out of Nevada to Ajijic would at best take a lot of weeks and cost for Fed-X. So, I went onto the Nevada MVD website and printed out both a Power of Attorney form and a Request for Duplicate Title form. I then had the owner sign these forms for me (he understood why this was necessary). The last thing I did was go with the owner to a Mexican attorney and get a Power of Attorney to drive "his Jalisco plated car" to the border..... just some insurance in case a rogue cop decided to hassle me along the way. Then I got Mexican Insurance and a rider for the US coverage.

As I mentioned, one doesn't have to do anything in Mexico but just drive the car out. When I reached the Eagle Pass border, I went into the Commercial lane as directed to do. There, I told my story as directed to do by CBP Supervisor on the phone the week before.... "I am here to Re-Import this vehicle for personal use back into the US". I interacted with 3 different CBP officers and ALL were most courteous and friendly and helpful. The first one asked questions (like a normal border crossing) and had his K9 dog do his/her thing. Clean. He then directed me to drive forward to the large X-ray machine, park and go sit down. My vehicle passed that test and that agent also cheerfully directed me to drive to the 'loading docks' and final office. There, the vehicle was again checked VERY thoroughly, including checking to make sure the vehicle had the appropriate EPA stickers in the door jamb and engine compartment, seat belts etc etc. Then he took my Form 3311 and the Nevada title (which had the EXPORTED stamp on it) into the office to presumably check computer records, change the status and sign the Form 3311 for me. And that was that!  After only about 30 minutes and some very nice agents, I was sent packing with my funky Nevada title and a signed Form 3311 into Eagle Pass with a re-imported vehicle.... all be it with Jalisco plates. BTW, as one leaves any border area, and a few miles in, there is another CBP inspection stop. Always. I was expecting some mention/question about my Jalisco plates but NADA... not a mention. Carry on.

So at this point, I am home and have sent off the request for Duplicate Nevada Title. In a couple of weeks I should have that back where I can go with it, and my Power of Attorney to sign it, and get Colorado title and plates.... ending my rather complicated but uneventful quest to get an Exported/Nationalized vehicle back into the US with me the owner.

 If you are so inclined, see this link:  scroll down to "Re-Importing a Previously Exported Vehicle".
https://www.cbp.gov/trade/basic-import-export/importing-car

 

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  • 4 years later...

Hi,

I need to do this now. I bought a car that was imported here to Mexico. I want to bring it back to the states. I have no title in my name and it is not registered in my name. Can I still do this ? The seller did not give me th right documents, but I have the original title from Texas and the importation documents . Please help! 

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2 hours ago, Cccc said:

Hi,

I need to do this now. I bought a car that was imported here to Mexico. I want to bring it back to the states. I have no title in my name and it is not registered in my name. Can I still do this ? The seller did not give me th right documents, but I have the original title from Texas and the importation documents . Please help! 

You might take a minute to re-read RickS's detailed post.  He explained the necessary steps for doing exactly what you want to do, and provided the form number you need to fill in. 

https://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/assets/documents/2020-Mar/CBP Form 3311.pdf

 

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