Moving to Mexico involves a lot of organization, and there are many elements that you will need to plan carefully, including bringing your car with you. Having your own car will provide you more time to explore the beauty of Mexico but it not essential. You might be better served to purchase a car in Mexico and sell your car back home, or travel on public transport and taxis.
For those of you who are thinking of moving to Mexico with your car, here are some pointers you will need to consider:
Driving with your non-Mexican car in the “Free Zone”
If your car has a non-Mexican license plate, it can still pass through the border and even drive within the “Free Zone”. This area covers around 22 miles (35 km) from the land borders and while you drive in this zone, you do not need any extra paperwork. For instance, driving within the free zone will not oblige you to get a permit, but once you decide to move further south, you will have to secure your car’s permit. There are many checkpoints but these checkpoints do not sell permits so you better be ready with it once you head south.
Outside the “Free Zone” when moving to Mexico
People entering Mexico may bring one car per adult, which requires a special permit. This permission lasts as long as your visa and any subsequent extensions are valid. You will need a temporary import permit when you drive beyond Mexico’s “Free Zone”. If you are a tourist, you are allowed to bring one car even if it’s not your own, while if you are entering on a residents visa, the car must be registered in your name.
Within the Permitted Time Frame
How long does an import permit last? It is valid as long as your current visa is valid. Your car is allowed to be within Mexico for the duration of your stay only. Changing your immigration status while you are in Mexico will not require you to apply for a new car permit, but once you decide to go back to your country, you have to surrender your car permit. If ever you want to reenter the country, you must purchase a new vehicle permit if you need one. It is also worth noting that once you become a permanent resident after moving to Mexico, you will no longer be able to bring your car into the country and you will need to get any foreign licensed cars that you own registered in Mexico, which can be quite costly and time consuming.
Rules and Regulations
Each person is only allowed to import one car into Mexico. If you want to bring more than one car and you have a spouse or a child who is above 18 years old moving with you, you may bring additional vehicle according to the number of eligible individuals. Towing a car behind an RV means the two vehicles may enter the country. The proof of ownership is required for both of the vehicles. If you leave the country, these vehicles must also go out the border with you. The same applies for a trailer. You still have to provide proof of ownership and it must also leave the country with you.
Single-passenger motorized vehicles like ATVs and motorcycles may be registered with the vehicle which towed or carried them into Mexico. Only three single-passenger vehicles are permitted per main vehicle. You must also provide proof of ownership for these extra vehicles and you must take them with you when you leave.