If you are only driving in the border zone (62.5 miles inland) or the Baja California Peninsula, you don’t need to import your vehicle.
When traveling inland, further than the 62.5 miles, you will need a “Temporary Importation Vehicle Permit”. In order to get one you will need your vehicle’s registration or title; a valid United States or Canadian driver’s license and proof of citizenship (passport, birth certificate or resident alien card)
Visit the nearest BANJERCITO branch (this is a bank that will handle your importation needs). They are always located at the border ports of entry; fill out all the forms, such as: Application form, a promissory agreement for vehicle return, and FM-T card (this is a tourist card form). After filling all the forms you will have to pay a vehicle security deposit by credit card or through a bond.
When driving back to the U.S. you have to stop by BANJERCITO to return your temporary importation permit and your FM-T (if this is not for multiple entries, if so, then you have to return it when it expires) and to receive back your vehicle security deposit.
Check BANJERCITO webpage for further information, there you can pre-process your temporary vehicle importation as well: www.banjercito.com.mx
Permanent Vehicle Importation to the border zone
As we previously mentioned, the border zone covers 62.5 miles south of the border and the Baja California Peninsula.
If you are a border resident and want to permanently import your vehicle; this vehicle must be intended to remain in the border zone and can be driven on the mainland of Mexico for only 6 months within a period of 12 months. In order to get this 6 months permit you have to follow the same steps for a temporary importation.
The requirements for a permanent importation are the following:
1. VIN number (vehicle ID) should be for a car manufactured or assembled in the U.S, Canada or Mexico.
2. Used vehicles whose model is between five to nine years old.
3. You can only import 2 vehicles a year for personal use purposes.
The best way to do is through a customs agent.
Registering your car in Mexico (Border Zone)
Once you finished with the importation process, you then have to register your vehicle. There are different requirements depending on the car type but here are the basics:
- Invoice (Factura) that shows you have title
- Import documents (Pedimento de Importacion)
- Valid Mexican driver’s license (for the state you are importing your vehicle)
- The vehicle.
The office where you can register your vehicle is the Secretaria de Planeacion y Finanzas (Ministry of Planning and Finances). They are usually located in the city hall.