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Does anyone know where to find the rules for selling a US plated car in Mexico to a Mexican? I know my car ( 2000 Subaru Outback Wagon AWD ) will fall into the 10 year old on Jan.1st. and I know Subaru dealers are sprouting up all over Mexico so I just wondered how much hassel it might be, thanks Rick
 

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There is one simple rule, which you accepted when you temporarily imported your Subaru:
You CAN NOT sell your US Plated car TO A MEXICAN, OR ANYONE ELSE IN MEXICO.
OK, Now that I have your attention, I hope I'll save you a lot of legal heartache. You can't even let a Mexican drive your car without you being in the passenger seat; not even a valet. There are strict laws that you must be aware of. One of the most important is that you have agreed and posted a bond to insure that YOU will remove your car from Mexico. You have to do that and sell it in the USA, not in Mexico. WHENEVER, you leave Mexico, be sure to stop at 'Aduana' and get the import sticker removed AND get the receipt. Even if a customs agent says you don't need to, if you are returning, he is wrong and you can really end up in a mess if you can't bring the car back to remove it legally. So, insist.
If the car were manufactured in a NAFTA country, you might be able to import it permanently, but it is difficult, very expensive and a big hassle, seldom worth the trouble.
There are real horror stories that have happened to people who have violated these rules.
 

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try to return same place as your entry

There is one simple rule, which you accepted when you temporarily imported your Subaru:
You CAN NOT sell your US Plated car TO A MEXICAN, OR ANYONE ELSE IN MEXICO.
OK, Now that I have your attention, I hope I'll save you a lot of legal heartache. You can't even let a Mexican drive your car without you being in the passenger seat; not even a valet. There are strict laws that you must be aware of. One of the most important is that you have agreed and posted a bond to insure that YOU will remove your car from Mexico. You have to do that and sell it in the USA, not in Mexico. WHENEVER, you leave Mexico, be sure to stop at 'Aduana' and get the import sticker removed AND get the receipt. Even if a customs agent says you don't need to, if you are returning, he is wrong and you can really end up in a mess if you can't bring the car back to remove it legally. So, insist.
If the car were manufactured in a NAFTA country, you might be able to import it permanently, but it is difficult, very expensive and a big hassle, seldom worth the trouble.
There are real horror stories that have happened to people who have violated these rules.
point. several years ago i crossed back over into Texas at a differant bridge. next year when i tried to enter MX refused . they said i didn,t bring the car back to Texas the first trip. NOTE = i was driving the same car. it was sitting within "eyesight" of them and they refused. they made me sign the LA. title over to my wife and then let her enter with it . "go figure" !
Bottom line = don,t even think about trying to play games with mexican officials.
 

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Why are you even thinking about doing such a thing? BTW, Subaru started selling in Mexico City in 2006. Now they have a dealer in Guadalajara. They don't have parts for any Subaru manufactured before that time. When we came to Mexico driving our Subaru Legacy wagon in 2005 we were tough out of luck for a couple of weeks at a time waiting for parts to arrive from San Diego, CA. So it isn't even a good idea to come here with a Subaru made before 2006 or 2007. Hope you will rethink the whole thing.
 

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not removing a vehicle under FMT visa

There is one simple rule, which you accepted when you temporarily imported your Subaru:
You CAN NOT sell your US Plated car TO A MEXICAN, OR ANYONE ELSE IN MEXICO.
OK, Now that I have your attention, I hope I'll save you a lot of legal heartache. You can't even let a Mexican drive your car without you being in the passenger seat; not even a valet. There are strict laws that you must be aware of. One of the most important is that you have agreed and posted a bond to insure that YOU will remove your car from Mexico. You have to do that and sell it in the USA, not in Mexico. WHENEVER, you leave Mexico, be sure to stop at 'Aduana' and get the import sticker removed AND get the receipt. Even if a customs agent says you don't need to, if you are returning, he is wrong and you can really end up in a mess if you can't bring the car back to remove it legally. So, insist.
If the car were manufactured in a NAFTA country, you might be able to import it permanently, but it is difficult, very expensive and a big hassle, seldom worth the trouble.
There are real horror stories that have happened to people who have violated these rules.
I would like to leave my vehicle in storage over the summer/fall when I leave this spring to use again next winter. I will be on a FMT visa, so I guess the car will be also. What kind of horror stories can one expect if they do not remove a car within the 180 days allowed under the FMT visa? I know that the person who originally imported the car cannot import another car until the original is removed. Are there other ramifications of keeping a car in Mexico beyond the allotted time? Will the importer be able to re-enter the country WITHOUT a car, or is it recorded on the passport? I'm not looking for advice on how to break the law, just information about what happens if I do. Thank you
 

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If you drove down and flew or bused back there would be no problems. The only possible problem might be is when you drove the car back a year or two later. They "might" catch the time difference on the computer
 

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You may not leave your car behind in Mexico with only an FMT tourist permit. That is one of the conditions of your 'importada temporal', which is only valid as long as your immigration status is legal. Once you leave Mexico, your FMT becomes void and is actually collected if you fly out, making the car in the country illegally. If stolen, used in a crime, injured property or a person, you would remain liable and the vehicle subject to permanent confiscation.
The Mexican computer system has become much more capable and, this year, all of the agents have been replaced with university educated, stricter border employees. What would you say, if asked, "Where is your car?" the next time you tried to enter Mexico?
To leave the country without your vehicle, you must have an FM2 or FM3 visa. Then, you can come and go at will.
If you were caught, as in Spark's scenario, you would be subject to heavy fines and possible confiscation.
 

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You may not leave your car behind in Mexico with only an FMT tourist permit. That is one of the conditions of your 'importada temporal', which is only valid as long as your immigration status is legal. Once you leave Mexico, your FMT becomes void and is actually collected if you fly out, making the car in the country illegally. If stolen, used in a crime, injured property or a person, you would remain liable and the vehicle subject to permanent confiscation.
The Mexican computer system has become much more capable and, this year, all of the agents have been replaced with university educated, stricter border employees. What would you say, if asked, "Where is your car?" the next time you tried to enter Mexico?
To leave the country without your vehicle, you must have an FM2 or FM3 visa. Then, you can come and go at will.
If you were caught, as in Spark's scenario, you would be subject to heavy fines and possible confiscation.
gotchya....do I understand that the vehicle is now registered on your passport when you enter with a vehicle?
 

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Your 'importada temporal' is tied to your immigration document and your passport number.
Enforcement is getting more strict since the replacement of the border officials earlier this year.
 

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Selling Car

As earlier notes said, you can't sell US plated car in Mexico.
I have seen cars for sale in the Atencion (English paper in San Miguel) where deal was to go to the border and buy in the US.
I know the rules but in one case, I actually overstayed the 180 days. I went to the border and explained that was late, they did cancel visa/car and reissued with out an issue but not sure that is common.
Rather than leave in Mexico, a number of our friends drive the one day to Harlingen Texas and leave in long term parking at the airport. This has double value as Southwest flies to Harlingen and costs typically half or better than airports in the bajio. Costs are reasonable but you need to ensure you don't have a battery problem on return.
 

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Different regions/Different situations?

Regarding selling cars in Baja and other border regions:

I recognize that the majority members of this board do not live in Baja or other border regions, so don't jump on me for giving bad information.

However...

We don't post bonds and aduana pays no attention to our vehicles upon entering or leaving Baja Norte. The only time I have even had my FM-3 inspected was when passing into Baja Sur. At no time in Baja Norte or northern Sonora have I been even asked about my vehicle.

My estimate is that a good 20% of the cars driven here are by Mexicans with US plates. My understanding is that if they have the registration/pink slip signed over to them, and if they are ever asked, that is sufficient.

Mechanics take our vehicles for test drives, and may have them for a few days while work is being done... no one every questions them. I anticipate huge problems in case of an accident... but we do let the mechanics test drive cars, etc.

I have asked a Mexican who makes regular business of buying US plated cars and selling them in Mexico to give me more specific information... I will post if he responds with usable information.

Obviously, for anyone who is unsure, best to follow the exact rules rather than end up as one of the horror stories. Just because one area "looks the other way" does not mean problems won't arise... so I don't recommend anyone take any chances. And... all it takes of for one problem for everyone's attitude to change. But I know for a fact that we don't post any bonds and people sign over CA plated vehicles in Baja frequently. They sign over the pink slip and accept the cash and wave good bye!
 

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NOTE TO ALL: The posting by BajaExPat indicates a special situation that exists in the free zones of 'la frontera' and does not apply to the interior of Mexico. The sale of cars by simply signing over the registration and not registering the car in a Mexican state is illegal, although evidently tolerated. In any case, those cars cannot be driven into the interior of Mexico without returning to Aduana and Bancercito to obtain an 'importada temporal' and posting a bond with a major credit card in the name of the owner/driver of the vehicle.
 

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years ago cars on the mexican frontier had their own plates. and i also heard they didn,t need no fancy act of sale as long as the car was confined to the border area. a car thiefs paradise.
 

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There are indeed differences

NOTE TO ALL: The posting by BajaExPat indicates a special situation that exists in the free zones of 'la frontera' and does not apply to the interior of Mexico. The sale of cars by simply signing over the registration and not registering the car in a Mexican state is illegal, although evidently tolerated. In any case, those cars cannot be driven into the interior of Mexico without returning to Aduana and Bancercito to obtain an 'importada temporal' and posting a bond with a major credit card in the name of the owner/driver of the vehicle.
The presumption of course is that we are always talking about a vehicle 10 years or older and we sell the vehicle to a Mexican.

This situation is not a "special situation" that only exists in "la frontera." This is for the entire state of Baja California Norte, which certainly is a Mexican state, and is a normal situation.

There certainly is nothing illegal about signing over the registration to your vehicle and accepting payment for it in Baja California Norte. It is the recommended practice, not merely "tolerated." How else would you do it?

Presuming you sell to a Mexican, they are responsible to nationalize the car themselves, and there is no reason for the seller to do anything beyond signing off the registration. They will probably want a copy of your driver's license as well to verify identity. If they are going to nationalize or import the car immediately, they could request you go to the office of the private company that handles such matters, but it is not mandatory.

If you have some obligation to your home state DMV, comply. Otherwise they just cancel the registration and the matter disappears.

Once the vehicle is nationalized... as most Mexicans would certainly do, and they obtain BCN plates and registration, the car can be driven anywhere they want, in any state of Mexico. And if they drive the car out of BCN without nationalizing it, the responsibility is theirs, not the seller's.

We must be cautious and not get into problems, but we also need not complicate things beyond what is necessary and not presume that they do things the same in Jalisco as they do in Baja or Oaxaca... anymore than they are the same in California as they are in South Dakota.

I mention South Dakota because some here who have found a simple way to register and insure their cars in that state for a fraction of the cost in many other states. South Dakota seems to welcome the additional income and does not require proof of residency. So there are indeed differences.
 

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...years ago cars on the mexican frontier had their own plates. and i also heard they didn,t need no fancy act of sale as long as the car was confined to the border area. a car thiefs paradise.
I can't say anything about a "fancy act of sale" in year's past, but "frontier" plates still exist today. Today... the method of purchase and registering a vehicle in Baja California Norte is still the same... but you can, if you want, get the frontier plates. The registration still must be current, and the plates are as official as regular, "national" plates. Today, I don't think the car thieves prosper (because of the plates) since there is a special police department (Transito Police) whose job it is to pull over cars with Mexican plates and verify current, paid registrations... and they are very aggressive! (They are not involved in any way with looking at vehicles with US plates or other infractions.)

The frontier plates are not quite as noticeable to us because they look very similar to the regular plates in Baja California Norte. There is a crescent on the lower edge of the plate with different color designations. I don't know about other border states. You can obtain a "trip permit" if you have a need to travel outside of the frontier... but I can only imagine the number of times you would get pulled over and your permit checked.

This points out that there can be a difference in "importing" and "nationalizing" a vehicle. If the vehicle is only imported, and is intended to be used only in the frontier, those plates can be obtained and they WERE cheaper.

Recently, obtaining the frontier plates from the state has risen in cost to where some just decide to nationalize the vehicle, and locals suspect the state wants to eventually do away with the cheaper option. Of course, the state makes more money on the "national" plates.

The national government is taking steps to protect and promote the sale of new vehicles. And now that financing is becoming more available, more Mexicans are buying new cars... even middle-class Mexicans. Plus, retarding the importation of older cars to Mexico, also helps the environment.

I am not 100% sure, but I am told and believe if you purchase a new vehicle from a Mexican new car dealership, national plates are included at no additional cost to the purchaser.
:clap2:
 

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I can only suggest that Mexican law be consulted in this matter. It certainly is a special case and does not apply in the interior of Mexico. Baja does act somewhat autonomously to the rest of Mexico, as most are aware. Lately, it appears that nationalization of a vehicle has become more expensive and less practical. Perhaps it is still done in Baja because of its remoteness from the rest of Mexico and the plentiful supply of used cars on the market, as is also the case in the zona frontera.
 

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Another import no no

Many many locations will allow you to import and plate your temp imported car.
IF you ever have any intentions of returning to the U.S with the same car be aware. You can be fined up to $5,000 dollars for exporting a car to Mexico without first obtaining inspection documents from the U.S. Customs Department. This process involves taking your car to the U.S. Customs office and having it inspected for theft. You then have to wait 72 hours for the process search. Then you can go to Mexico. If you are legally residing in Mexico and decide to import it permanently you then can and use it to return to the U.S..

This document is not required by Mexico, it is only necessary when returning with an exported car from the U.S. and re-entering the U.S....IF you are the original importer of the vehicle to Mexico. Mouthfull....

Now if you import the car to Mexico and are a resident without the US customs inspection it can be driven to the U.S. as long as its sold to another party, you cannot return with the car.
Many people plate their cars to avoid crimes as a result as being identified as a extranjero with foreign plates.
 

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Please give us a source for your information, which appears to be very contrary to the way things are done these days. You may be confusing 'nationalization' with 'importada temporal' and also to the way things were once done in the past, or in the free zone.
If we don't get an clarification, I'll delete some of these erroneous posts to avoid confusing folks.
 
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