Immigration & Visas, Transportation

FAQs: Importing a Foreign-plated Vehicle to Mexico

These are the most frequently-asked questions we receive about importing foreign-plated cars and other vehicles to Mexico—updated regularly

Road Trip Planning

This article contains a list of the most frequently asked questions and answers regarding matters related to importing your vehicle to Mexico

Importing foreign-plated vehicles to Mexico

This section contains key questions and answers related to bringing a foreign-plated car or other vehicle to Mexico, with links to detailed information and helpful assistance services.

How can I import my foreign-plated vehicle to Mexico?

This is a simple question with complex answers. You can find guidance on the Mexperience on the following articles:

Do I need auto insurance valid in Mexico to acquire a permit?

You will need to show evidence of having a valid temporary insurance policy when you apply for a TIP.  Even if you are driving in one of the ‘free zones’ and don’t require a TIP, we recommend you have adequate auto insurance for your car or other vehicle when you cross the border into Mexico.

I didn’t surrender my car’s TIP (Temporary Import Permit) at the border. How can I tell the Mexican government I have exported my car?

You should always surrender your TIP, unless you plan to come back to Mexico in short order while the TIP remains current (not expired).

If you didn’t surrender your TIP, you will probably need to drive the same car back to a border crossing (it does not have to be the same one you entered through) and surrender it.

Some —but not many— Mexican consulates offer a ‘TIP Cancellation’ service. Contact your nearest Mexican consulate to ask if they do, or which one nearest to you does. There are fees, penalties, and paperwork involved: it’s always best to surrender your TIP at the border.

Get an Auto Insurance Quote

Mexperience is pleased to refer our readers to MexPro auto insurance, which offers comprehensive coverages valid in Mexico using English-language policies backed by a fully-licensed US insurance broker.  Their insurances cover third party liability, provide legal assistance, and you can opt for medical and roadside assistance to be included.

Get a quote now: In just a few minutes, you can get a quote, review your policy details, and arrange auto insurance for your road trip in Mexico

Quote for Auto Insurance

We plan to drive our foreign-plated car across the border, but return a week later and/or we make regular crossings back-and-forth across the land border with our car.
Do we have to surrender the TIP and get a new one each time we return?

You can drive your car across the border between Mexico and the USA continuously so long as the TIP remains current (not passed its expiry date).

NB: If you enter through the USA and drive out to Belize or Guatemala, we recommend you surrender your TIP on the southern Mexican border and get a new one when you return to Mexico.

I drove my car into Mexico, and am using a FMM visitor’s visa for my stay here.  Do I have to leave with my car, or can I fly out of Mexico using my FMM?

Your car will remain legal in Mexico for so long as your Temporary Import Permit (TIP) remains current (not expired).

You can leave Mexico (e.g. fly out) using your visitor permit to exit the country, and get a new visitor permit when you return.  However, the expiry date on your TIP will not change and you must drive the car out of Mexico before the TIP expires.

If you don’t drive the car out of Mexico before the expiry date, the vehicle will become illegal in Mexico and:

  • a) the insurance coverage will become invalid;
  • b) your car may be confiscated and impounded; and
  • c) you will lose the deposit you paid to Banjercito.

Learn more about driving in Mexico

Mexperience offers guides and articles to help you prepare and drive confidently in Mexico

Get an Auto Insurance Quote

Mexperience is pleased to refer our readers to MexPro auto insurance, which offers comprehensive coverages valid in Mexico using English-language policies backed by a fully-licensed US insurance broker.  Their insurances cover third party liability, provide legal assistance, and you can opt for medical and roadside assistance to be included.

Get a quote now: In just a few minutes, you can get a quote, review your policy details, and arrange auto insurance for your road trip in Mexico

Quote for Auto Insurance