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DRIVING VEHICLE WITH MX PLATES IN U.S.


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You will have no problems and there are no permits or fees for the car to enter the USA. You may drive it anywhere in the USA for up to a year, as long as you have liability insurance coverage for the USA. Some Mexican insurance policies can provide such a rider, so ask your agent.

Enjoy your visit up north, as we did with our Jalisco plates.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We insure our car thru Parker, and each time we renew, we opt for the optional coverage in the US/Canada. I don't think it can be done between renewals. No problems driving in the US. We did encounter something odd this past May when we crossed at the Columbia Bridge and the US Customs officer asked me if I had a Mexican DL (I did), saying if I didn't have one, I couldn't  enter the US. That has never happened and I don't think it is correct, but try arguing!

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"... asked me if I had a Mexican DL ..."

That one may be worth exploring an answer. I have a contact with the Border Control folks in Laredo and will ask them this question. I'll report back when/if I get a response.

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We are insured here for the states through Bellon, but the insurance companies here will only repair your wrecked car in MX, so keep that in mind. We drive our MX plated to the states at least once a year and no problems. Wayne got pulled over for no right on red at a new intersection that they had just changed and the lady cop just couldn't get over that she had never seen a plate like ours before, we were like what is the difference. She let us go with a warning.

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I drove thru the USA up to Canada this past summer and discovered a couple of interesting points I'll share.

My first point is that getting adequate insurance is a somewhat complicated procedure, and a little tricky.  I say adequate because on checking I didn't feel the liability coverage that was included in the add-on I already had from Qualitas was anywhere even close to the coverage I wanted. I ended up with 300,000 USD, plus 2,000 medical per person and up to 10,000 medical per accident.   I needed it for 90 days and although the premium was 120.00 with add-on fees and taxes it came to 149.00. Next point and I don't recall the detail but I needed to tick something in the online application making this the only coverage.  I asked why and it seems it would lead to double coverage (so who would pay if there were too insurers?) and potentially a denial of coverage from both, since having two companies involved was some how NOT allowed.  Next, in searching out out various providers as others have described here, I found there were very few providers, or few that seemed to know what I was wanting in terms of coverage (travel to the US and Canada).  I ended up with Seguro Gringo and a chap there called Fernando Salazar. They are online. I used him because he explained that I needed something called a "Yellow Card" to show to police in Canada if and when one was involved in an accident.  I confirmed independently it is required by law in Canada.  I also found in reading their application carefully that you had to sear that one had to have a  premanente status to qualify.  My fellow driver was not, so the agent had to re-issue the policy without a second named driver.   I did everything via internet and phone except in addition to emailing me the policy and a temporary scanned copy of the yellow card, Fernando snail mailed me the yellow card up in Canada.  I also believe I might have spotted a Seguro Gringo office just along the highway as we were leaving Mexico, although it might have been a different provider.  Perhaps one could ask Fernando if they have offices you can go into prior to departing Mexico, rather than doing it the way I did. 

Finally, although the insurance was sold to me by Seguro Gringo the actual insurance company named in the policy was National Unity Insurance Company out of San Antonio, Texas.

I as others have stated I found people and police (and immigration folks) in both Canada and the USA very friendly and helpful.   Hopefully I haven't confused anyone.

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Thanks Rick. I sent an email to CBP but they dodged the question, referring me to the Texas Dept of Public Safety and I couldn't find a number to talk to a real person.

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On 10/7/2016 at 4:49 PM, RickS said:

"... asked me if I had a Mexican DL ..."

That one may be worth exploring an answer. I have a contact with the Border Control folks in Laredo and will ask them this question. I'll report back when/if I get a response.

Here is the info you are looking for, straight from the TxDPS website. The CBP agent is incorrect.

http://dps.texas.gov/DriverLicense/reciprocity.htm

 

 

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Driving Privilege Reciprocity

Driving privilege reciprocity allows a person to use a valid, unexpired foreign license to operate a motor vehicle in Texas for up to one year or until a person becomes a Texas resident, whichever date is sooner. Once a person becomes a new Texas resident, they must apply for a Texas license within 90 days to continue to drive legally. For more information, please review the Moving to Texas page.

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US law on driving Mexican plated cars in the USA is controlled by a 1940's treaty that the USA and Mexico signed, requiring the USA to accept foreign drivers licenses, as reciprocity for having US licenses accepted in the other treaty countries.

US Customs and Border Control document this:
" Motorists visiting the United States as tourists from countries that have ratified the Convention on International Road Traffic of 1949 may drive in the U.S. for one year with their own national license plates (registration tags) on their own national license plates (registration tags) on their cars and with their own personal drivers' licenses. "

https://www.cbp.gov/trade/basic-import-export/importing-car 

Since the US CBP officially says "with their own personal drivers' licenses" ,     US Treaty requirements sure seem to say** 

we are allowed to drive a Mexican plated car in the USA for up to a year on our "own personal drivers' license".


**as US Border Patrol agents are likely not educated or trained on the 1949 treaty ?? 

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I believe that only citizens of foreign countries are allowed to drive foreign plated cars into the US. Otherwise, with the peso like it is, there would be a lot of new cars bought in Mexico and driven to the US. Don't get stopped by a state hwy patrol, using a US driver's license. Will he just give a ticket, or impound? :D

 

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59 minutes ago, Mostlylost said:

Hud please qoute your source for not being able to drive foreign plated vehicle in USA.  

Importing it is very different than using it for vacation. 

If I show a US driver's license, in the US, I am not on vacation from Mexico. Your US driver's license has your current address (and MUST be corrected within 2 weeks of a move). Think about that. If you are living in another country, then that address is where you live and your US address is incorrect, so your DL is invalid, no?

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To me, the easiest way around any problem is to show a US passport(or Canadian) upon entry to the US, and if you have a Mexican plated car, then you need a Mexican driver's license. That DL shows you are a resident and living in Mexico, not currently living in the US. Everyone is happy. When you show a US driver's license, that shows that you are currently living in the US( because it is current and your address has to be correct), and therein lies the problem with the Mexican plated car. When you are not in your car NOB, you can use your other DL for ID, etc. Seems simple to me. Do what you like.

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I'm still confused. Why would I volunteer my drivers lincense to? Imigration has no legal right to see it as they have no jurisdiction over state laws (which issue and regulate drivers licenses)  A local or state police officer could ask to see my lucense (with due cause) but has no jurisdiction over the federal regulation that allows a foreign plated vehicle to be driven in the US temporarily. Nor does that policeman have the ability to enforce US cystoms law.

I sti

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Hud:  You are very, very wrong.  What you state may reflect what you wish to be true, but it is not.  Many people live in multiple places, which is no business of any traffic officer.  There is no requirement that your license match your registration.  If you had it your way, there could be not international tourism using rental car businesses everywhere in the world.

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  • 1 month later...

It seems that US Border agents are getting crazier and more power-hungry. We crossed last night at Columbia (one US passport, one Canadian with a green card for US, residente permanente in US with a Mexican-plated, properly nationalized vehicle from the US, with all papers.) The border agent says that we cannot bring a Mexico-plated vehicle into the US unless we are Mexican nationals since we do not pay US road tax on the vehicle. Discussing the issue with him was fruitless and he said he marked our computer info as "Non-conforming vehicle." I'll work on contacting US CPB but, in the meantime, has anyone encountered such a thing and anyone have any suggestions?

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1 hour ago, jrod said:

He said this was my "one warning". I will call US CBP next week. We've been doing this for 10 years and never heard this argument before, nor can I find any info related to this.

Jrod, I sent you a contact person and phone number in Laredo via private message.

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18 hours ago, jrod said:

It seems that US Border agents are getting crazier and more power-hungry. We crossed last night at Columbia (one US passport, one Canadian with a green card for US, residente permanente in US with a Mexican-plated, properly nationalized vehicle from the US, with all papers.) The border agent says that we cannot bring a Mexico-plated vehicle into the US unless we are Mexican nationals since we do not pay US road tax on the vehicle. Discussing the issue with him was fruitless and he said he marked our computer info as "Non-conforming vehicle." I'll work on contacting US CPB but, in the meantime, has anyone encountered such a thing and anyone have any suggestions?

I had been informed the CBP officials in the booths cannot add coments like the one you mention [they have no authorized access to your file to do that]. Only CBP agents in secondary inspection can add any comments like this to your file and only when a supervisor approves them and they have proof of the rules that are broken. The ones in the booths can enter comments like you where sent to secondary inspection for further inspection and the time and  date you crossed etc.. 

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