Take Your Vehicle to Mexico

Vehicle

A lot of people have asked me, “Barbie, can we take our vehicle to Mexico?”

The answer is a

simple, “YES!

YOU CAN.”

Assuming you have your proper, up to date visa, it’s really quite easy to take your car with you.

When you get to the border, you

simply register your Vehicle.

This gives you permission to use your vehicle in Mexico.  Here is what you will need:

  • Proof of ownership
  • Title
  • Registration
  • If you are still making payments on the vehicle – you need a notarized letter from the lein-holder (financial institution) granting you permission to bring that specific vehicle into Mexico.
  • Driver’s license
  • A Visa or MasterCard credit card or check/debit card in the name of the person registering the vehicle.  The charge will be approximately $30US.  The alternative to putting this charge on your card is to post a refundable cash bond of around $400, depending on the age of your vehicle.  I suggest using the good old credit card for the $30.
  • Passport (click for more information)
  • Your visa/permit

That’s all there is to it!

And while not required, it’s highly recommended that you purchase Mexican Auto insurance the instant you enter Mexico with your vehicle. Luckily that’s also incredibly easy. In fact, you can pre-purchase online or stop at one of the many little buildings offering insurance before crossing the border.

Also if you’re concerned about safety or wondering how safe it is to drive around Mexico, read this article. You’ll be surprised — plus there’s a video tour at the end that I shot in our car while we were driving in and around Mazatlan, one of the hottest retirement havens in the world.

Ever since the economy started tanking, it seems like more and more people are writing me and telling me they are checking out Mexico as a way to make their dollars stretch.

What about you?

Are you ready?

Do you need more information?

Is there a question I can answer for you?

Just ask me!  If you don’t see the “make a comment” section below, click on Read Full Article and scroll down. Share your thoughts and concerns with me. I will always reply to you personally.

Barbie and Dick, vehicleRemember, I am here to help you make all the right decisions. I’m always here to help.

Sincerely,

Barbie Parks
Webmaster, Author, and Retiree! :)

Vehicle article by Barbie.

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33 Responses to Take Your Vehicle to Mexico

  1. MARK PALMER

    January 11, 2010 at 8:10 am

    Barbie,
    What with all the drug/gang problems in Mexico and USA, how safe is it and does it happen much around the retirement resorts area?
    mark

    Hi Mark, please get busy and read the free articles I have on my site – you’ll feel much better about heading to Mexico. Barbie

  2. Greg Chitwood

    January 11, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    After the 180 days in Mexico , how long do you have to return to the states for? Can you keep your residence in Mexico when you spend this time in the U.S.

  3. Dana Vischer

    January 13, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    Barbie,
    When moving to Mexico what do epats do about renewing a drivers license? How do they go about renewing the annual auto license? If you make a trek back to the US to visit you want everything current.

    Dana

  4. Brandi Dauzat

    January 16, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    Hi Barbie,

    I just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to write these newsletters each month. They are very helpful and you always include useful tips.

    Thanks again,
    Brandi Dauzat

  5. Dana Vischer

    February 1, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Barbie,
    We plan on driving from Seattle to the Lake Chapala area in the fall. We will cross at Nogales AZ, I know you do the drive to Mazatlan, what can we expect to pay using the toll roads? When driving down where do you stop for the night and any heads up on hotels/motels?
    Thanks for the info.
    Dana

  6. Barbie

    Barbie

    February 10, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    Hi Dana, The tolls will be around $60 each way – well worth it. Get familiar with Mexican money and it’s convenient and quick if you have the correct change – there are several “pay” stations. Convenient stop-overs are the San Carlos/Guaymas area, and C. Obregon is also a good place – depends on how long you want to drive. Motels vary in price – I hesitate to suggest one over the other. The total distance is about 725 miles. Yes, possible to make in one day, but wouldn’t suggest it – that would mean driving in the dark in Mexico. My book, Retire In Luxury, tells all about why that’s not a good idea.

    Have fun!
    Barbie

  7. Barbie

    Barbie

    February 10, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Hi Brandi, Thanks for writing :) Barbie

  8. Barbie

    Barbie

    February 10, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    Dear Dana:

    You will have to return to the states to renew a U.S. driver’s license.

    If you’re considering driving to Mexico from the States, I have some good news for you: Your American driver’s license is valid in Mexico! This is just part of the process of entering Mainland Mexico…

    At the border you will need to get a temporary car-importation permit. It’s relatively easy. All you need is a valid driver’s license, your current, original car registration registered in your name, a copy of the original car title, and a valid international major credit card.

    Sincerely,
    Barbie

  9. Barbie

    Barbie

    February 10, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    Hi – You will need to apply for your permit again – anytime you want. Yes, you can keep your residence in Mexico.

    Barbie

  10. Myranda O'Byrne

    March 23, 2010 at 7:11 am

    I will be staying 4 months in Manzanillo (winter, 2010-2011) and want to buy a Mexican car, register and insure it, use it and then leave it in storage until the next winter. What do I need to know? How can I find reliable cars for sale? Where is there a good, reliable mechanic to check car over in Manzanillo? How do I insure it and what would it cost? I will be travelling with the regular tourist visa that one gets on the plane (180 days). (note: I am disabled and must have a car to get around, can’t use the buses, can’t walk too far. We rented a car but it cost about $1000 CDN per month and I am trying to find a cheaper alternative.)
    Thanks very much for your help – Myranda

  11. Tom Shelto

    April 13, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    Hi Barbie,
    Just found your website, love it, I live in CT and have a 2nd home in Puerto Aventuras and want to bring a car down to Mexico and leave it there. I understand that I get a sticker when I enter Mexico for the length of my visa (180 days) and can renew it. But what happens when my US registration expires, and because in CT it can’t be renewed until it goes though emissions. Can I still get my sticker renewed if my us registration expires.
    Thank you very much
    Tommy

  12. Thomas Gibson

    April 16, 2010 at 6:14 am

    I have just recently moved to Mexico, and brought my car. Now I have just run into a snag. I do not have a US address to re-register the vehicle, or insurance. I do not plan on returning any time soon. I do not wish to give up my vehicle (because I like it and it will cost me quite a boot), and it does not meet the requirements to import. Has anyone encountered this issue, and is there anything I can do to resolve and continue to keep my car?

  13. Barbie

    Barbie

    April 17, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Have you read my newsletter on my http://www.retireinluxury.com site, about having a mailing address in the U.S.? Such as http://www.usa2me.com, http://www.mbe.com, http://www.usabox.com, etc., etc. That’s all it takes. Barbie

  14. Barbie

    Barbie

    April 17, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    Hi Thomas, This is the same solution as receiving bills, etc. Sounds as though you need a ligitimate address in the U.S. The info is in my book, Retire In Luxury. Have you heard of places like USA2ME.com and ampc.com and pakmail.com ? Check them out.

  15. Paul

    April 24, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    Hi Barbie,
    Just found your website, love it, I live in CT and have a 2nd home in Puerto Aventuras and want to bring a car down to Mexico and leave it there. I understand that I get a sticker when I enter Mexico for the length of my visa (180 days) and can renew it. But what happens when my US registration expires, and because in CT it can’t be renewed until it goes though emissions. Can I still get my sticker renewed if my us registration expires.
    Thank you very much
    Tommy

  16. Karen

    April 25, 2010 at 1:22 am

    Barbie,
    When moving to Mexico what do epats do about renewing a drivers license? How do they go about renewing the annual auto license? If you make a trek back to the US to visit you want everything current.

    Dana

  17. Nick

    April 25, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Dear Dana:

    You will have to return to the states to renew a U.S. driver’s license.

    If you’re considering driving to Mexico from the States, I have some good news for you: Your American driver’s license is valid in Mexico! This is just part of the process of entering Mainland Mexico…

    At the border you will need to get a temporary car-importation permit. It’s relatively easy. All you need is a valid driver’s license, your current, original car registration registered in your name, a copy of the original car title, and a valid international major credit card.

    Sincerely,
    Barbie

  18. Simon

    April 25, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    I have just recently moved to Mexico, and brought my car. Now I have just run into a snag. I do not have a US address to re-register the vehicle, or insurance. I do not plan on returning any time soon. I do not wish to give up my vehicle (because I like it and it will cost me quite a boot), and it does not meet the requirements to import. Has anyone encountered this issue, and is there anything I can do to resolve and continue to keep my car?

  19. Eric

    April 25, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    Barbie,
    We plan on driving from Seattle to the Lake Chapala area in the fall. We will cross at Nogales AZ, I know you do the drive to Mazatlan, what can we expect to pay using the toll roads? When driving down where do you stop for the night and any heads up on hotels/motels?
    Thanks for the info.
    Dana

  20. Sam

    April 25, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    Dear Dana:

    You will have to return to the states to renew a U.S. driver’s license.

    If you’re considering driving to Mexico from the States, I have some good news for you: Your American driver’s license is valid in Mexico! This is just part of the process of entering Mainland Mexico…

    At the border you will need to get a temporary car-importation permit. It’s relatively easy. All you need is a valid driver’s license, your current, original car registration registered in your name, a copy of the original car title, and a valid international major credit card.

    Sincerely,
    Barbie

  21. Tony

    April 26, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    Hi Thomas, This is the same solution as receiving bills, etc. Sounds as though you need a ligitimate address in the U.S. The info is in my book, Retire In Luxury. Have you heard of places like USA2ME.com and ampc.com and pakmail.com ? Check them out.

  22. Bill

    April 27, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    I have just recently moved to Mexico, and brought my car. Now I have just run into a snag. I do not have a US address to re-register the vehicle, or insurance. I do not plan on returning any time soon. I do not wish to give up my vehicle (because I like it and it will cost me quite a boot), and it does not meet the requirements to import. Has anyone encountered this issue, and is there anything I can do to resolve and continue to keep my car?

  23. Bruce

    May 19, 2010 at 11:04 am

    Dear Dana:

    You will have to return to the states to renew a U.S. driver’s license.

    If you’re considering driving to Mexico from the States, I have some good news for you: Your American driver’s license is valid in Mexico! This is just part of the process of entering Mainland Mexico…

    At the border you will need to get a temporary car-importation permit. It’s relatively easy. All you need is a valid driver’s license, your current, original car registration registered in your name, a copy of the original car title, and a valid international major credit card.

    Sincerely,
    Barbie

  24. joanne

    June 19, 2010 at 4:53 am

    Hi
    I am interested in Merida, Mexico for retirement.
    Do you have any information you could pass on to me.
    Thanks Joanne

  25. Thomas Gibson

    June 27, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    A lot of you may already know this, but I just discovered something new and very helpful for those who have your vehicle in Mexico on a permit. I went to the local Adwana in Queretaro to inquire about extending my permit there as opposed to going back to the border. I discovered more than expected. The first answer is yes! I was told you don’t have to drive to the border, and any Adwana can renew your permit. That saves 24 hours of driving for me. In addition, I was told they can match my permit length to my Visa length, so instead of 6 months, it now expires in one year. That applies for a FM3 or FM2. Of course, I can not speak for all Adwana locations, I only went to Queretaro.

  26. David Reitz

    July 21, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    I am desperate to find hotels in Mexico that allow dogs. I have a 17 lb. west highland terrier and am unable to find hotels that allow pets. I am driving from Nogales, AZ to Lake Chapala on August 23, 2010. Can you be of any assistance. I would prefer to drive to Ciudad Obregon and stop the first day, then Mazaltan and stop on day 2, then drive straight to Chapala on day 3.

  27. Barbie

    Barbie

    July 23, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    I suggest going to http://www.pettravel.com – you may come up with some places to stay, but, wouldn’t your westy be happier with a friend at home? Barbie

  28. Eddy

    July 5, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Does it matter if your name is first on the title or not?
    My wife is going to take our car to mexico to visit her family, and both of our names are on the title, but my name is first, will that matter?

  29. Barbie

    Barbie

    July 8, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    As long as your wife’s name is on the title – should be fine.

  30. JoAnne Varley

    January 9, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    Am moving to Mexico soon,planning to apply for FM2 visa.I want to take my car , which is not payed for.What are all the required docs?

  31. Barbie

    Barbie

    January 15, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    Hi JoAnne, check my article at http://moneysavingmexico.com/category/vehicle-information/
    Best to you, Barbie

  32. Lela

    November 23, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    I will immediately grab your rss feed as I can not find your e-mail
    subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Kindly let me know so that I could subscribe. Thanks.

  33. Barbie

    Barbie

    November 30, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    At the top of the page, click “Newsletters” that takes you to where you subscribe. Barbie

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