Mexican or N.A. Plates for Your Vehicle?




A lot of people, whether they’re moving to Mexico or simply visiting, will want to take their vehicle with them. By vehicle I mean:  automobile, truck (pickup), motor home, trailer, etc.

The process really is quite easy. Assuming you have your FM3 Visa (180 day plus stay – up to a year –  with limitless renewals) or your FMT Visa (more than 72-hour stay and no more than 180 days) you will be able to take your vehicle across the border and stay for the same length as your visa permits..



  • You will pay a permit fee to bring your vehicle into Mexico – and you will renew your permit when needed, i.e. when your FM3 expires.
  • You will not be able to legally sell that car in Mexico – the permit you receive is temporary, for a specific time period, and you must have that permit to exit Mexico with that vehicle, within your time period.
  • Your Mexican auto insurance will be less than it would be for a comparable Mexico-licensed vehicle.
  • If your N.A. driver’s license has expired, your Mexican Auto insurance will probably not be honored.(U.S. auto insurance is not recognized by the Mexican Government.)
  • There are rigid restrictions on who may drive your vehicle.
  • You can easily reenter the United States and Canada – as long as the plates have not expired, and you have N.A. insurance.
  • You may attract the attention of certain officials hoping for mordita. (They figure you’re an easy mark.)



  • Anyone may drive the vehicle.
  • You can sell the vehicle in Mexico.
  • You can enter the U.S. and Canada – and purchase auto insurance – unless you have an official U.S. residence…then you are not legally allowed to drive the vehicle into the U.S.
  • There is an annual registration fee and there are taxes.  The older the car is, the smaller the taxes.
  • Insurance is more than it would be with N.A. plates.
  • You cannot import the vehicle into N.A.

One person (of legal age), can import one vehicle into Mexico from the U.S.

Your spouse or of-age child can each do the same.

You must have proof of ownership or you must have a letter of permission from the owner (such as a bank whom you are still making payments to), or the owner must be present.

If you are driving an Recreational Vehicle (RV),  (a motor home – not a pickup camper) and towing a car, they can both be registered (for a 10-year period) in one name.  You need proof of ownership for both.

Up to three single-passenger vehicles (equal to the number of people traveling inside the carrying vehicle) such as ATV’s, motorcycles, dune buggies, may be transported or towed and registered by the of-age passengers/driver.  Proof of ownership required.

When you leave Mexico, register the return of your vehicle when crossing the border.  If you don’t, and you attempt to cross into Mexico again, with a vehicle – can’t do it – you’re allowed one vehicle per person – and according to their records, the other vehicle was not exported from Mexico.  You may be in trouble for having a vehicle in Mexico with an expired permit.  Everything is kept in a computer – they will know.  One per – that’s it.  At that time of leaving Mexico, the authorities will remove the permit for your vehicle that was placed on your windshield – do not do this yourself.  If you have any problem, contact a U.S. Consulate.

Also read my related articles:   “Take You Car To Mexico”, “Mexican Law for Vehicles” , “Drive or Buy a Car in Mexico”,  “Drive into Mexico – With Your Own Car and an American Driver’s License”

Inside Mazatlan Airport

All about taking your vehicle to Mexico, by Barbie

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