How to Import a Car to Mexico

Title: How to Import a Car to Mexico: A Comprehensive Guide


Importing a car to Mexico can be a complex process, but with the right knowledge and preparation, it can be a smooth and rewarding experience. Whether you are relocating to Mexico or simply want to explore the country with your own vehicle, this guide will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to successfully import a car to Mexico.

Step 1: Verify the eligibility of your vehicle for importation

Before proceeding with the importation process, it is crucial to ensure that your vehicle meets the necessary criteria set by Mexican authorities. Verify that your car is not on the list of prohibited models and that it complies with Mexican emissions and safety standards. Additionally, ensure that you possess the vehicle’s original title, registration, and purchase invoice.

Step 2: Hire a licensed customs broker

To navigate the complexities of Mexican customs, it is highly recommended to hire a licensed customs broker. An experienced broker will guide you through the paperwork, liaise with Mexican authorities, and assist in paying the necessary fees and duties.

Step 3: Gather required documentation

Before initiating the importation process, gather the following documents:

1. Original title and registration
2. Purchase invoice
3. Valid driver’s license
4. Proof of Mexican residency (temporary or permanent)
5. Proof of Mexican auto insurance
6. Federal taxpayer identification card (RFC)
7. A recent utility bill to verify your Mexican address
8. Letter of authorization from the vehicle’s owner (if applicable)

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Step 4: Obtain a Temporary Import Permit (TIP)

To legally drive your imported vehicle in Mexico, you will need to obtain a Temporary Import Permit (TIP). This permit allows you to legally drive your vehicle in Mexico for a specified period, usually up to six months. The TIP can be obtained either online or at the border if you are driving into Mexico. The customs broker can assist you in obtaining this permit.

Step 5: Pay import duties and taxes

To import a car to Mexico, you will be required to pay import duties, value-added tax (VAT), and the Tenencia (annual vehicle tax). The amount varies based on the vehicle’s value, age, and engine size. Your customs broker will calculate the exact amount due and guide you through the payment process.

Step 6: Pass vehicle inspections

To ensure compliance with Mexican safety and emissions standards, your imported vehicle must undergo a series of inspections. These inspections will be conducted by the Mexican Department of Transportation (SCT) or authorized inspection centers. Once your vehicle passes these inspections, you will receive the necessary certifications.

Step 7: Register and obtain Mexican license plates

After successfully importing your vehicle, register it with the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and obtain Mexican license plates. Be prepared to present the required documents and pay registration and plate fees.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

1. Can I import a used car to Mexico?
Yes, used cars can be imported to Mexico; however, they must meet certain age and emissions requirements.

2. Can I import a car to Mexico without a temporary residence?
No, you must have temporary or permanent Mexican residency to import a car.

3. Can I import a car to Mexico without a customs broker?
While it is possible, hiring a licensed customs broker is highly recommended to navigate the complex procedures and ensure compliance.

4. Can I import a car to Mexico and keep my foreign plates?
No, once your vehicle is imported, it must be registered with the local DMV, and Mexican license plates must be obtained.

5. Can I drive my imported car in Mexico while waiting for the TIP?
No, driving without a valid TIP is illegal. Wait until you have obtained the TIP to drive your imported vehicle.

6. Can I import a car temporarily for vacation purposes?
Yes, you can obtain a TIP for a temporary importation period of up to six months for vacation purposes.

7. Can I import a salvaged or rebuilt car to Mexico?
Importing salvaged or rebuilt cars to Mexico is generally not allowed, as they do not meet Mexican safety standards.


Importing a car to Mexico requires careful planning, attention to detail, and compliance with Mexican laws and regulations. By following the steps outlined in this guide and seeking the assistance of a licensed customs broker, you can successfully navigate the importation process. Remember to gather all necessary documentation, obtain a Temporary Import Permit, pay the required duties and taxes, and complete the necessary inspections and registration to enjoy your imported vehicle legally in Mexico.

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