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Legalizing vehicles in Mexico

Currently it is possible to legalize some vehicles brought into Mexico. We have outlined a few of the benefits, procedures and costs here to simplify your decision-making process and determine whether this is for you and what questions you need to ask.
What cars can be legalized?

At the moment, the only cars that can be legalized are vehicles that are exactly 10 years old and that were made in one of the NAFTA countries. There is talk of expanding the options later. Pickups and other types of vehicles have different restrictions and options. This applies mainly to regular cars.

How long does it take?

Approximately 2 – 3 weeks.

What papers do I need?

For the transaction you need the original title and will sign it over to the buyer, you may also be asked for the vehicles certificate of origin though it is unlikely that you have one or that you will be asked. You will also need to bring a Mexican with you that will buy the car and in turn sell it back to you technically, unless you are a Mexican citizen. If you have an FM3 then you can do it this way. The buyer, then you will need to provide ID (passport, voter’s card (Mexican), CURP and a utility bill) in the next step which is at the motor vehicle branch. Have your Mexican friend consult his/her accountant to see if there is any tax implication for buying and then selling the vehicle.

Do I need to take the car out of the country?

Not necessarily. Local customs agencies, depending where you live (we work with one locally) can obtain the paperwork and permanent entry permit (import permit) on your behalf.

What is the cost?

A very rough estimate is around $15,000 pesos for legalization, the fee, the permit, the customs agency’s service, etc. After that, there is the purchase tax to pay at the motor vehicle office, plus the license plates (around $1,000 pesos altogether) and thereafter, an annual tax if applicable plus verification (air care) fees if applicable in your state plus insurance.

Consult an expert to see if your vehicle is eligible and to assess whether this is the best option for you.

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