Friday, March 29, 2013

Updates to Rules for Foreign Plated Cars

Yucalandia recently posted this article, which gives an excellent summary of how the new immigration rules apply to those of you that have Foreign Plated Vehicles in Mexico.

Long story short: If you have Permanent Residency, your vehicle needs to leave. If you have have Temporary Residency, your vehicle can stay.

If your vehicle needs to go, be sure to click the link as they give an exhaustive list of how to get your vehicle out legally if it needs to go.

If you decide to buy a foreign plated vehicle, remember: THE VEHICLE CANNOT BE SOLD TO YOU IN MEXICO. IT WILL NOT BE LEGAL. PERIOD. The vehicle must be taken outside of the country of Mexico (Belize is the closest border for us), sold, and re-imported by the new owner.

As an aside, have I talked you out of bringing your car here yet? Save yourself the headache; just buy one here. (...says the Gringa with 2 foreign plated vehicles scheduled for export in May.)

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Amber Pierce-Schulz is the Broker/Owner of Mayan Riviera Properties, specializing in Puerto Morelos Real Estate and Puerto Morelos Vacation Rentals. We are members of AMPI and Federally Certified Realtors.


  1. What if you have your FM2 and a vehicle from the States here in Quintana Roo that was never processed to be permanently legal in MX ... and choose to do nothing but continue to drive? Asking because I know many people have done this, and they simply do not drive outside of QR to avoid checks on their vehicles... Thanks!

  2. If you have a working FM2, your vehicle is not legal.

    If you have a non-working FM2: When it is up for renewal, you will need to apply for a Temporary Resident Visa to keep your car here legally. If you apply for the Permanent Resident Visa, your car will no longer be legal.

    Any time that you drive your car illegally it is subject to permanent confiscation -- no questions asked. Your insurance policy may also be void, depending on the terms of your policy --- making liability if in an accident an issue as well.

  3. We come into Mexico every year for 5 months on a tourist visa which is for 180 days. Next Fall I intend to bring our car in and leave it here (it is a 10 year old car). So I am not exactly sure what all that info means. Will my car be legal to drive in other states beside Quintana Roo each year when we come in on a tourist visa even though the sticker on the car will have expired 6 months after I brought in the car?
    I renew my insurance every year on a yearly basis, so will my car be covered when we are back in Canada and the car is here? Or should I be checking with my insurance company?
    Hope you will be able to answer all these questions.
    Thank you in advance

  4. If you bring in a car on a tourist visa, you have 180 days to drive your car in Mexico (providing that you have your tourist visa authorized for 180 days) before taking it out of the country on that same visa.

    You cannot "leave it here".

    Must come in and out on the same tourist visa, in a maximum time span of 180 days.

    If you want to leave it here, you need to acquire a temporary resident visa during your first trip. You would start this process at your local Mexican Consulate BEFORE you travel to Mexico.

  5. ANonymous - it can be confiscated by the Federales. There have been 3 (or 4?) such confiscations in Mazatlan recently - all folks with brand new permanent status cards.

  6. I've read a few areas about Quintana Roo now being a "free zone". What exactly does this mean? Can you leave a foreign plated car in a "Free zone" and travel back and forth on just a tourist visa? We only plan to spend 3 to 4 months at a time down there which is doable with a tourist visa, but we need to figure out if there is some way to keep a car there. I'm thinking not. Thanks for any help.