Importing vehicles to Mexico

A reader writes:

Hi Folks,

I’m heading down to Alamos soon and I’m thinking of buying a truck up here in Port Townsend and selling it in Alamos so I can drive back north with Lulu when we leave in late spring.

I need to bring tools for repairs on our home and a bunch of cooking stuff, bocce ball sets, etc for the big fund raising barbecue on 2/21.

From what I gather only 10 year old vehicles can be imported. Not 9 or 11 year old. Just 10.

The guys I worked with last year were drooling over my truck, but it’s a 2001.

Anyhow, I’d love to hear about any experience or info about importing and selling a vehicle in Mexico, from the paperwork to actually getting the truck sold, if it’s even possible.

Thanks, and come on down to Alamos for the barbecue and our Mardi Gras celebration! Janet at the Hotel Colonia is from New Orleans and hosts a big Mardi Gras party and parade every year. It’s great fun.  Gringos and Mexicans get all decked out in outrageous costumes, cruise around the town on flatbeds, jeeps, and carriages throwing bead necklaces that Janet imports; and then we all head back to the Colonial for a big party.

Under the non-profit Amigos organization, the gringo community has used events like this for over a decade to raise enough funds to keep over 300 local kids in school all the way through college. This year we’re also raising money for the flood victims from the flash flood this fall. Norbert brought 9″ of rain in 9 hours and a wall of water, boulders, and dead cars blasted through town in the middle of the night, washing away whole families and leaving 6′ of mud behind. The community really rose to it though as the gringos opened their homes and hotels to families, flew dozens of rescue flights into the local airport, and re-clothed entire neighborhoods.

The town is almost totally back on its feet now, so this year is a special celebration.

Come on down!


About Kelly Nowicki

5 Responses to “Importing vehicles to Mexico”

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  1. Carl says:

    Throwing a party for a good cause is a great idea. If you have more information (perhaps a link) for Amigos, please let us know.

  2. rfin says:

    I think I just found the answer. it looks like only Mexican citizens can import vehicles, if I’ve read this right.

  3. Carl says:

    Rob… the site you found (New Mexico Border Authority) has some excellent information on border requirements for travel to Mexico. I wasn’t aware, either, that only Mexican citizens can import vehicles to Mexico (foreigners who hold FM2 and FM3 visas can import personal vehicles). I’ll add this link to other categories as it can be quite useful for anyone who has questions about red tape requirements at the border.


  4. Carl…I just inquired about selling the van you used to own to a Mexican. No Way. Copmmercial vehicles cannot be sold away from the border i am told.

  5. David Eidell says:

    Oh My Gosh,
    The conflicting opinions I just read are not correct. I was unfortunate enough to have to go through the proceedure at length and up one side and down the other (In Lazaro Cardenas)

    1) Passenger vehicles up TO ten years in age can be imported but the importation process can only be done at an SHCP SAT module where you get car permits at the border. If you try to do it at any other Hacienda SHCP SAT module they will just shrug and look confused.

    2) Pickup trucks of any age can be imported by the owner.

    3) The cost of importing a a Twenty-Six year old pickup is eight-hundred dollars.

    Once you fork over the loot you will be given a receipt that allows you to drive to your place of residence and that’s it! Getting a STATE issue license plate is the hard part. I waited three-years for Michoacan to “open up” the licensing of recently imported vehicles and guess what — I’m still waiting.

    A PS:
    Many surplus line insurance brokers here in the USA can issue you a policy based on your driver license, and the policy covers liability and property damage to any vehicle you drive in Mexico, even those with Mexican plates.

    A PPS: Any “gloves” that roadside inspection points have with regard to foreigners driving a foreign plate vehicle vanish when placas nacional go on the vehicle. This is not a serious issue but I believe that you should be apprised of the entire enchilada.


    -El Codo-