Importing a Vehicle
Find out how to import a car to Mexico on a temporary or permanent basis, and the documents required when bringing a car for personal use in Mexico...
Cars may be imported into Mexico either on a temporary or permanent basis. The procedure involves the following organizations:
- Mexican Customs (Aduanas)
- Mexican Military Bank (Banjército), which is in charge of issuing temporary vehicle import permits
- National Institute of Immigration (Instituto Nacional de Migración - INM)
- Tax Administration Office (Servicio de Administración Tributaria - SAT), for permanent imports
Importing a Car on a Temporary Basis
A vehicle may be imported into Mexico for as long as the owner's immigration visa is valid. For anyone with a tourist visa (including those nationalities who are exempt from obtaining a tourist visa), a car can be imported temporarily for up to 180 days.
After 180 days, the temporary import permit must be renewed at a CIITEV Module at the border.
Temporary Import Applications
Permits to import a car temporarily (importación temporal de vehículos) can be obtained in one of the following ways:
- At a CIITEV office run by Banjército, which can be found at checkpoints near all entry points into Mexico. It is essential that all necessary driver and car documents are provided
- At some Mexican consulates within the United States. An application can be made up to six months prior to entering Mexico with the vehicle
- Online. An application for a permit may be made from ten to 60 days before entry into Mexico with a vehicle. Required documents may be scanned and the permit fee paid for by credit card. The permit is sent with the aim of arriving within nine days
- Find out more details of the process
The following documents are required:
- Official identification, such as a passport
- Document issued by the Instituto Nacional de Migración detailing the applicant's status within Mexico, temporary or permanent resident visa
- Vehicle registration documents
- If the vehicle is rented, a rental contract no older than three months
The car may still be imported temporarily if it is owned by a spouse, parent or child of the driver. In this case proof of relation must be provided, such as a birth or marriage certificate. Along with paper documents, the permit also includes a windscreen sticker, which must not be removed until leaving Mexico, and then only by a CIITEV official.
- Find out more from Mexican Customs
- Tel: 01800 463 6728 / 1 877 448 8728 (from the United States and Canada)
Vehicles with a temporary import permit can only be driven by the owner, their spouse or child, or if the owner, spouse or child are present in the vehicle. The vehicle may not be sold, given away or left behind when leaving Mexico.
A deposit must be paid for all cars entering Mexico, which is refunded on leaving. The amount paid depends on the age of the car.
To get the deposit back and to leave Mexico legally, the vehicle must be inspected by a CIITEV official at any exit point of the country. The paper receipt for the import permit and the vehicle are checked, and if all paperwork is in order, an official removes the windscreen sticker.
New cars may be imported from the United States, Canada and countries of the European Union. However, the importing process must be handled by a legal customs agent (agente aduanal). Customs agents are affiliated with either the CLAA or CAAAREM - Customs Agency Confederations. Both institutions may be contacted for more information and directories of customs agents (both websites in Spanish).
- CLAA (Confederación Latinoamericana de Agentes Aduanales),
- CAAAREM (Confederación de Asociaciones de Agentes Aduanales de la República Mexicana)
Taxes and costs vary depending on the type and age of the vehicle.
- Further information about costs can be found on the Customs website (in Spanish)
Importing a Used Car
The regulations pertaining to the import of used cars varies depending on the age of the car, and whether the car is being imported into the border regions of northern Mexico only. Vehicles that are 8 to 9 years old can be imported permanently from a NAFTA country, and duties are high; vehicles that are ten years old pay lower import duties. There are some exceptions for cars that are 5 to 9 years old in some areas of Mexico; however, it is advisable to contact an import agent when importing a used car permanently, as the procedure can be complicated.
- Find out more about importing used vehicles (website in Spanish)
- Paisano: Government organization which provides information on import-export.