Insurance, Transportation

Driving Out of Mexico with Your Foreign-Plated Vehicle

You need to export your vehicle from Mexico before its permit expires. Learn about dealing with the Temporary Import Permit (TIP) when you leave Mexico

Road Border Crossing between Mexico and the USA

If you enter Mexico as a tourist or temporary resident and bring your own car with you, you might have acquired a TIP (Temporary Import Permit) that is exclusively associated with your vehicle’s unique identification numbers.

Canceling your Temporary Import Permit (TIP)

The TIP is issued to demonstrate that your vehicle’s presence in Mexico is legal. The TIP is administered by Banjercito and is valid for a long as your tourist permit (a maximum of 180 days), or for as long as you hold a current Residente Temporal visa (maximum 4 years).

TIP stickers are being phased out in lieu of electronic TIPs, but if your car has a sticker you must surrender this to Mexican Customs (Aduana) which proves that you exported the vehicle, unless you plan to re-enter Mexico with the same vehicle while the TIP is still valid, in which case you can apply for the Retorno Parcial procedure at the border and use this to exit and re-enter with the same car while its TIP remains valid.  If you do not have a sticker, you must stop at the customs house at the border to cancel the electronic TIP to prove you exported the vehicle.

Forgetting to cancel your TIP

A number of people have written to us asking what they should do if they forget to surrender the TIP when they drive out Mexico to the USA or Belize and don’t plan to return. If you don’t surrender the TIP for cancellation at the border, or don’t apply the Retorno Parcial procedure, as far as the Mexican authorities are concerned you still have that car in Mexico. There are two ways to cancel your TIP if you left Mexico without surrendering it:

Go back to the Mexican border

You’ll need to return to the Mexican border (it does not have to be the same crossing through which you entered Mexico) with the same car and its TIP intact, and surrender the permit to Banjercito to get your permit cancelled.

Visit a Mexican Consulate to apply for the cancellation

Mexico has consulates in states across the US, Canada and in Belize, but not all consulates offer a TIP cancellation service. Contact your nearest consulate to ask them if they currently offer the service—you can find a list of Mexican Consulates abroad on Mexperience.

Bringing you foreign-plated car to Mexico

To learn more about driving to Mexico with your vehicle, read our guide to bringing your own car to Mexico and remember that you’ll need to insure your vehicle while it’s here – see auto insurance for your car in Mexico for further details.

* If you visit the Baja California peninsula, the state of Sonora, or don’t take your vehicle beyond the border ‘free zone’ then you don’t need a TIP for your car.  See the link above about bringing you car to Mexico for more details.

Learn more about driving in Mexico

Mexperience offers articles with insights to help you prepare for your road trip and drive confidently in Mexico.