Can you Bring your Car When You Move to Mexico?

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Moving to Cancun can be one of the best decisions in your life. You might be wondering if bringing your car is allowed or what terms and conditions apply. Generally, having your own car to drive is more convenient when you move to Mexico, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to bring it with you when you move, you can always purchase a car in Mexico or use public transport and taxis. Nevertheless, if you are considering bringing your car when you move to Mexico, read on for some sound advice.

What you need to know when you bring your car when you move to Mexico:

What and How Many Vehicles are Allowed?

Each adult is allowed to bring one car when moving to Mexico. When you’re relocating with your spouse or a child who is older than 18, each of them may also bring one car. The only exception for the one-person, one-car policy is when a car is towed behind an RV. These two vehicles may be brought into Mexico by one person. However, make sure you have all proof of ownership for both of these vehicles. Permits for these cars to remain in Mexico only last as long as your stay. That is, you must take them with you when you leave Mexico. Even a trailer (which may not be considered as a vehicle) still needs proof of ownership and also needs to leave Mexico when the vehicle which towed it leaves, too. Otherwise you will be subject to import duties and taxes.

Your single-passenger vehicles including motorcycles and ATVs must be registered with the car which carried or towed them into Mexico. These motorized vehicles must also have proof of ownership and are only limited to three vehicles for each main vehicle which carried it. When the owner leaves the country, the vehicles must leave as well.

What is the “Free Zone”?

The Free Zone is an area about 22 miles or 35 km from the land borders. When your non-Mexican plated car moves within the free zone, you may do so without any vehicle import permit. The only time to obtain an import permit is when you head further south where guarded checkpoints will ask for these import permits. You should remember that these checkpoints do not allow car owners to buy these permits in those areas.

Driving outside the Free Zone

You also need other documents and pay for a temporary import permit when you drive beyond the free zone. Those with a legal work permit are allowed to bring one car which must be their own. These vehicles may stay in the country as long as the owner’s visa and subsequent extensions are valid. When you want to bring a car, which is not your own but you have permission to bring along the car, you may do so only if you are on a tourist visa.

How Long Will the Import Permit Last?

As long as your current visa is valid, your vehicle permit is also valid. If you have a temporary resident visa, your car may be used within Mexico as long as you reside here. Once you have upgraded to a permanent resident visa you can no longer bring your own vehicle into the country. You must purchase one within the border. If your immigration status changes while you are living here, you don’t need to renew your vehicle permit while your visa is valid. Remember to surrender your vehicle permit once you leave Mexico.

Do you have any other questions about your move to Mexico that you wish to be addressed? Leave a comment.

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