Email This Post Email This Post Print This Post Print This Post

Buy and car in Mexico or bring one from the US or Canada?

Many people wonder if buying a car in Mexico is a good option or whether to bring a vehicle from home. The answer is depends on your own situation but here are a few matters to consider to help you make your decision.

Buying a car in Mexico can be a daunting venture for some. The process of selection is not so different than at home. Some people opt for a new vehicle, others for a used vehicle. As there are not typically the same levels of inspection, it is best to buy a car from someone you know or through a recommendation. When negotiating the price, have a Mexican act on your behalf.

The paperwork to process and license a new vehicle involves having a Mexican driver’s license, taking the required documents (FM3,¬† CURP, utility bill, original bill of sale, etc.) and the vehicle itself to the local motor vehicles office (ask a Mexican to help the first time) and then you will be issued a circulation card (tarjeta de circulaci√≥n), usually a plastified card with the car’s details on it, a set of two license plates and likely stickers for the car that need to go in a specific place. You will also pay the tax for buying the car. All in the cost there might be around $1,200 pesos though each case and state are different. Once licensed, you can then insure the car with any insurance company. Most of them are good.

In Mexico, you need to pay an annual tax for the right to drive the vehicle. That tax (tenencia) can be as much as $7,000 pesos per year and is assessed according to a table of the vehicle’s value as determined by the government. A vehicle that is a couple of years old and worth around $100,000 pesos might be assessed an annual fee of perhaps $4,000 pesos.

An important note: As with any paperwork or procedure in Mexico, always keep copies of everything, no matter how insignificant it may seem. Keep it in pristine condition without ever bending or folding or soiling papers. It seems you’ll be asked for it somewhere down the line.

When you decide to sell the vehicle, you can sell it to any Mexican or a foreigner with an FM3 or FM2. Upon selling the vehicle, meet the buyer at the motor vehicle office, no matter what other arrangement they wish to make with you, and have them do a change of ownership (cambio de propietario) and you cancel the license plates (baja de placas) or transfer your plates to the next vehicle you are buying if doing all in one session. The cleanest legal way is for you to cancel the plates and just start anew with the new vehicle. Don’t let them say they will do it on your behalf. The avoids anyone doing anything with the vehicle that might come back to haunt you. Once the transaction is complete, inform your insurance company and cancel or change your policy.

In some states, there is a verification system, a sort of air care, to check for pollutants. Some of these states have now started instituting a policy that you need to verify foreign vehicles though most have not yet. Check for the latest regulations in each state if driving out of state. For example, there is a state that doesn’t require verification, however Mexico City does. Therefore, to drive through Mexico City, they may require that you have the car verified if you are driving through the city at certain hours of the day.

If you have a car in a state that requires verification, you need to have it done prior to renewing the annual tax (tenencia).

Now, as for bringing in a foreign vehicle, there are other types of considerations, not the least of which is the logistics, expense and risk of bringing the vehicle into and through Mexico. For those that have taken those matters into consideration, here are afew other deciding factors.

The cost of insurance is about the same whether bringing a vehicle in or insuring it in Mexico. To bring in a vehicle, buy your insurance online or in one of the border towns, then make sure to renew it on time every year and cancel your policy at home until you return the vehicle and need it again.

You bring the vehicle in either on a tourist visa, in which case the vehicle needs to leave the country before 6 months or if you get an FM3 during that time, you can keep the vehicle in the country as long as the FM3 is valid.

Check with the customs agencies to see what paperwork you need to bring the vehicle in but typically you must have the original bill of sale (insurance papers mean nothing at the border), your ID, FM3, valid driver’s license, and the name on the title of the car must coincide exactly with your passport, FM3 and ID name. If the car is registered to two people, check before you take it across the border as to the best course of action. Same for vehicles registered to a company.

If you are using the vehicle to move your household belongings to Mexico, more than just what you would normally take on a trip, you need a special permit for that and only Mexican citizens or FM3/FM2 holders can do that. Tourists cannot.

Be sure to have everything out of the vehicle that is not yours or that you cannot account for and be sure you check with customs to see what is allowed and in what quantities.

When driving any vehicle in Mexico, exercise common sense and observe the laws and speed limits, even if other don’t. Don’t drink and drive. Make sure you know if right turns are permitted on a red light, etc. Each state and some cities have different driving laws or different interpretations of the laws.

Once you have your Fm3 and bring in the vehicle on the FM3 or get the FM3 within 6 months of your arrival, the vehicle can stay. You may get pulled over from time to time and asked for your papers. Police will not typically know the law of permanence for temporary imports and insist that your vehicle now has an expired entry permit. You can download the following and keep it in your vehicle to show that the permit does not need to be renewed but it may take some explaining.

Length of stay

Documents to prove ownership

Documents to prove legal stay in Mexico

Several years down the road when you want to bring another, newer vehicle in, you must take the existing vehicle out of the country. A foreigner can only have one foreign vehicle in the country at a time.

You can possibly legalize the vehicle without leaving the country. You would have an agency legalize it into the name of a Mexican then the Mexican would “sell” you back the vehicle. Currently only vehicles made in the NAFTA countries and that are exactly 10 years old can be legalized.

The only other way to get the vehicle off your FM3 is if it is crashed and written off (acquired) by an insurance company. In that case, you need to go through a process with customs, the tax office and immigration to get it off the books. With either of the last two scenarios, you forfeit the bond you paid when bringing the vehicle into the country.

In the event that you bring a vehicle in, keep in mind that only the owner and immediate relatives can drive the vehicle. Another non-relative may drive the vehicle if the owner is also in the car at the time.

If you ever lend your vehicle to others, make sure they have valid documentation (valid driver’s license, ID, valid tourist card or FM3 or in the case of Mexicans, their voter’s card) and understand that the owner can sometimes be responsible for an accident even if not present at the time of the accident. In short, you cannot lend your vehicle to a Mexican or foreign family friend if you are not going to be in the car.

Another consideration is that it is a good idea to get notarized copies, from a Mexican notary public, of all your travel and proof of ownership documents, including your ID, FM3, etc. and keep the notarized copies in the vehicle and your originals safely tucked away. If you travel with your original driver’s license or Mexican driver’s license if in Mexico beyond 6 months, then leave the notarized copy in a safe place.

If you own a Mexican corporation as some people do in order to buy property, you may opt for the Mexican vehicle rather than bringing one in as you can deduct the expenses (consult a Mexican tax expert) of the vehicle.

Important note: IdeaCOM facilitates tips about legal and other matters as a service to our clients. Content provided here is for information and convenience purposes only and is not to be considered legal or other advice or an endorsement of products or services of any of the links. Details, costs and fees mentioned, links and veracity of content of external sites and companies are subject to change without notice and can be changed without our knowledge. For pricing, costs and information about third-party services, please contact those companies directly. For legal advice or help with any other matters, as well as for a quote related to your service or case, please contact one of our experts and make an appointment to discuss your personal or corporate matters on an individual case-by-case basis. For a complete list of our FAQs, tips and information, please consult our site map.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


Fatal error: Call to undefined function wp_related_posts() in /homepages/23/d187487723/htdocs/ideacom/wp-content/themes/green-apples/single.php on line 29