Temporary Import Permit (TIP) and other important information for vehicles driving to Mexico.

Keep in hand the following information if you are driving to Mexico!

Temporary Import Permits (TIP)

Image of a Temporary import permit

  • Are controlled by Aduana (Customs) and are needed if you travel outside of Baja (not required for Baja North or South) or outside the border zones (generally further than 16 miles from the border) or outside the permit-free zones of Sonora. Also, no need for a TIP in Quintana Roo but you need to get your vehicle there which normally requires a car permit. For those entering as a tourist, the normal permit is for 180 days.
  • For those entering as a pre-approved Temporary Resident from a Mexican consulate, vehicle permits are to be issued for 30 days. Within 30 days of entering Mexico, one must start your visa process at your local INM. Your next step as a pre-approved Temporary Resident is to extend your car permit (TIP). Once you start your process in Mexico, Immigration issues you a page indicating you have done so. That page has on it a NUT number starting with six “0’s”. Along with that page, you will need original and copies of your passport, title or registration, and page from which windshield car permit was removed. You also need to complete a letter usually provided by Aduana. Take these to nearest Aduana (Customs) and request a TIP extension. For those in the San Miguel area, you would go to Aduana at the Queretaro airport. Then repeat the trip when visa is issued. I can arrange a bilingual person to go with you. Failure to do so will mean your vehicle is illegal and your deposit forfeited. It is the same process when renewing a TR visa. Your TIP is to be extended for the duration of your visa so both have the same expiration date.


  • You can apply for the permit within 10 to 60 days before your entry to Mexico.
  • Once the payment is accepted, the permit is sent to your home within a maximum of 10 business days.
  • Permission is not allowed for a vehicle that is not in your name or on behalf of your spouse, children, parents or siblings.
  • It is not permissible to apply for a permit for a vehicle that exceeds 3.5 tons (7,716.17 pounds) of carrying capacity.
  • In case you are a foreigner, before starting the permit process you must go this Immigration site to process your pre-migratory authorization. The vehicle’s permit will be granted for the same days authorized in said pre-authorization. In addition, upon entering Mexican territory, he/she must present himself/herself to the immigration authorities, in order to have the pre-migratory authorization changed to the definitive immigration form that allows him to enter Mexico.
  • In case the information you enter is false, you can be sanctioned by the Mexican authorities.           Picture of a highway in Mexico                               

The applicant must invariably be of age, (18 years of age), in accordance with Mexican law, prior to the time the permit is processed.
The holder of the credit or debit card through which he will make the payment of the temporary importation procedure must belong to the applicant himself.
You will not be able to carry out the procedure by this means if you have a work or student visa, since it is necessary to validate that your visa is in force and has at least one continuous year of seniority. Therefore, you must go directly to the Consulates of Mexico where you have Banjercito presence or directly at the border to obtain the permit of your vehicle.
By provision of the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit, it is reported that as of June 11, 2011, all users who carry out the Temporary Import of Vehicles must leave a deposit as follows:

Model Veh. Amount of the equivalent guarantee in local currency
2007 and later 400 dollars
2001 to 2006 $ 300
2000 and earlier $ 200
This security deposit will be obligatory and your payment will be made through a charge to your credit or debit card. In this case, the security deposit will be constituted in its equivalent in pesos at the exchange rate of the day on which the transaction takes place and its repayment will be made on the banking business day following the day on which the definitive return is made, provided Is made before the expiration of the permit, through a deposit to the same card, at the exchange rate of the date on which said final return is made.

It is important to inform you that if you do not return your vehicle in time, according to the maximum date of return established in the card of internment, or the date of expiration established in the temporary import permit as appropriate  The amount of your deposit will be transferred In full and definitively to the Treasury of the Federation, on the day after the maximum date of return or expiration. In accordance with the established in the applicable legal provisions.

Recreational vehicles such as motorhomes will often receive a 10-year TIP. These vehicles can be paid for in cash or charge card. If the latter, you are best to have the same card active when you leave to obtain a credit without hassles. Here you may order your TIP on-line and check your TIP status.


You can not sell a foreign plated car in Mexico. For a Temporary Resident, it is recommended you turn in your car permit when you drive out of Mexico. If you were unable to return the same vehicle to Mexico (due to total loss, for example), as you will have a difficult time to have the vehicle removed from the Mexican database. They would consider the vehicle as still being in Mexico and you would forfeit your guarantee deposit and be prohibited from bringing in another vehicle.

Units that can be Imported Along with the Vehicle:

Together with the temporary importation of the vehicle you can temporarily import a boat up to four and a half meters (14.7 feet) long including the trailer for transport, recreational vehicles, motorcycles, tri-motorcycles, ATVs or watercraft up to a maximum of three units, for which you must prove ownership of the units transported and they must be registered on the same TIP as the vehicle. When the vehicle leaves the motorcycle, boat, trailer etc which are tied to the main vehicle’s TIP must leave or typically you are sent back to get all “vehicles” on the TIP.

In the case of motorcycles or tri-motorcycles entering Mexico on their own and having foreign plates, they must apply for a temporary import permit (TIP) and comply with all the requirements of a TIP.

  • Can you sell a foreign plated car in Mexico? NO
  • Can a foreign plated car be donated to Aduana? NO
  • If a car is unable to be driven can it be left in Mexico? NO, it must be towed to the border.

Buying A Car in Mexico

This has some obstacles.  Not to discourage but to inform. All comments are based on experiences with clients. There is no CarFax or similar websites available to the public (only to auto dealers at considerable expense) to check a vehicle’s history. What is the actual distance the vehicle was driven? Was it stolen? Was it in an accident and possibly totaled and restored? Was it used as a taxi or used in some other commercial application? Is the emissions test current? Are the annual fees current? Previously most places such as small car parts stores, Wal-Mart, Mega (now La Comer) rarely sold multi-grade oil and oil changes consisted of 40 and 50 grade oil which may be detrimental to a car’s motor. Even today it is common on store shelves. Also, how many of the miles/km driven were on cobblestone? Was the vehicle maintained? “Rentas” is the name of the office for plates and registration.


Can you register your vehicle in your state in Mexico as a tourist if you are not a Temporary or Permanent Resident? In the state of Jalisco one needs an RFC tax number to register a vehicle and the RFC is only available once one becomes a TR or PR resident. In all states, you are to have a Mexican state driver’s license when you own a Mexican state registered vehicle. 

Is the car registered in another state? if so, the plates and tarjeta de circulacion should be returned to that state and the Baja de Vehiculo issued before you can register locally. And, to do so the emission’s test must be current and all past annual fees paid. If plates are not returned one may be able to turn in the plates from another state locally but each state has its’ own requirements; however, your vehicle will continue to be registered in the state from where it was registered and the annual fee (refrendo) and emissions fines will keep accruing. Some states such as D.F. also have a high annual fee called “tenencia” that keeps accruing. In all, we’ve seen whereby the total fees owing is as high as 20,000 pesos. When a vehicle is registered in another state, you must have your vehicle physically inspected and a stolen report issued before the local office called Rentas will register your newly bought vehicle and your state issues state plates. There will be fees and a tax to complete this process.

Mexican Auto Insurance

Your US/Canadian vehicle insurance is not valid in Mexico. By law, Mexican authorities require all visitors to get a Mexican auto Insurance policy. Full coverage policy for the lowest price please visit our website and get a free quote!

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