Temporary Vehicle Importation Permits

2011 August 2011 Freda Rumford Living in Mexico

By Freda Rumford from the August 2011 Edition

The customs laws pertaining to the importation of personal vehicles into Mexico are currently undergoing a dramatic change. At this time, it appears that those vehicles already in Mexico and covered by the owners FM3 are not affected until such time as such vehicles leave the country temporarily and then return! Upon re-entry they will be liable for the new importation charges. (Unless the old sticker has not been handed in.)

As outlined in last months Sun, the fees for importation have increased substantially. They range from US$200 to US$400, here we issue a warning for Canadian travellers, although the currency exchange for the Canadian dollar is higher at the moment this writer was charged CAN$452 when returning to Mexico with a new car very recently. Protests fell upon deaf ears, so be prepared. That this rate is currently fluctuating is really not much help as it changes almost by the nano-second.

It seems to be misunderstood that persons with an FM2 may not own or drive a foreign plated car unless the registered FM3 owner is in the car. It may be worth re-considering which visa suits your needs the best. As for the most part, unless considering applying for citizenship and FM3 allows all of the same privileges as those of the FM2 without the restrictions, this is the one that should be primarily considered.

At the end of this article, the previous law for vehicle is included and although it is under reconstruction will give a good outline of all current rules. In all cases pertaining to law in Mexico, it is subject to instantaneous change with little warning and nothing contained in this article should be considered cast in stone.

Those people whom have Mexican/American citizenship are under a very sharp sword. They are limited to entering the country with their foreign plated car just once a year, As they are supposed to take it out at six months this can cause real aggravation. One lady attempting a re-entry was refused permission and then told that if she wished to have the car in Mexico all year she would be better to renounce her Mexican citizenship and take an FM3. It is known that others in similar situation have had more than one entry each year, so obviously she encountered the agent with empire building in the making.

The new laws state that when the registered owner of the new import renews their FM3, each year, they must also go to the local Aduenales (customs office) to have the car importation extended. In most cases this will be a matter of form, but if extension is denied for whatever reason, the car must exit and re-enter. THIS DOES NOT APPLY TO CARS IN THE COUNTRY PRIOR TO JUNE 2011, which entered Mexico under the previous system. Do note however, that this can change and without much warning

*(We at the Manzanillo Sun will try to keep abreast of any changes and alert everyone as quickly as possible.)

When the new FM3 cards were issued we were told that they may not have to be renewed each year, with the car situation as it is at the moment, this is not the case. Make sure to renew in good time so that all can be covered in good time.

When paying for the importation car tax upon re – entering Mexico, to use the credit card is still the best way to go. If you come and go throughout the year, refunds can be made more easily than when paying with cash. The initial fee will just turn over it is not required to pay the entry fee more than once if extension is given.

In actual fact, this time upon re- entering Mexico with all of the required duplicates (they do need to see all original documents too) it was much easier than in the past.


Vehicle Year Model:…….Amount to be paid in Mexican


2007 and later………………USD $400

2001 until 2006…………….USD $300

2000 and earlier……………USD $200

*Peso amounts are based on applicable exchange rate

This deposit is compulsory and can be paid by credit card, debit card, or cash (in US Dollars only).

Article 106

Importations of vehicles into Mexico are not permitted with the exception of those designed for personal use only.

1. For up to one month: towed trailers, semi trailers, towed platform beds designed
for transportation of shipping containers

2. For six month duration

a) Foreign visitors personal transportation to be used only by them or their employees.
b) Goods intended for personal use only

c) Diplomatic vehicles for use of employees of Commissions and Consul offices, or for use of Mexican civil servants in certain capacities and imported with tax exemptions.

d) Samples and sample books for presentation of goods to be imported, providing they meet rules and requirements of customs laws.

e) For Mexican individuals who work and have permanent residence abroad. Their vehicle importation is limited to one entry per year. Whilst this vehicle has restricted entry and may remain for only six months it may be driven by any family member who also has permanent residence abroad.

3) For one year.

a) Transportation vehicles for International Conventions or Congresses

b) Vehicle donated for sports events, Universities or
Charitable Organisations who are authorised by law to receive them.

c) Vehicles and Equipment for the purpose of cinematography and only imported for one year duration.

d) Vehicles and Equipment designed for Diplomatic purposes with reciprocal arrangements by International Treaty.

e) Various Merchandise qualified as diplomatic property under the same qualification as above.

4) For the term of the visa validity

a) Vehicles which are the property of visitors and imported temporarily into the country for personal use only. This is confined to one vehicle only per individual. Anyone may drive the vehicle providing that the registered owner is in the vehicle at the same time.

b) (this clause is indecipherable.)

5) For ten (10) years.
a) Containers

b) Airplanes and helicopters destined for use by the Airlines for passengers within Mexico when registered with Ministry. This must be renewed every February.

c) Boats destined for passenger transport, commercial fishing boats, Naval vessels. Recreational yachts or sailboats of more than 4 metres in length, including registered boat trailers.

d) Motor Homes, mobile homes or trailers either towed or transported on flat bed trucks for personal use by foreign owner and his immediate family only. No Mexican nationals.

e) Railroad cars destined for importation of goods by Internationally registered carriers. These will be allowed multiple entries into the country. Also vehicles for the maintenance of these transporters & railroad carriers will be allowed multiple entries. All must have correct and up to date papers for continued use and transportation into and within the country.

All of the above must be returned to the country of origin upon cessation of being required in Mexico by the registered owner or upon the registered owners personal visa expiration or conclusion.

***The above is designed to be a guideline only as the actual wording on the document is very difficult to translate with accuracy. The original Article 106, in Spanish, should be referred

to for necessary legalities should they arise.


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