USA car in Mexico

by RC, Thursday, June 17, 2021, 13:28 (122 days ago)

As a permanent resident how long can I leave my USA car in Mexico?

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USA car in Mexico

by mexicoman @, Playa Del Carmen, Thursday, June 17, 2021, 16:05 (122 days ago) @ RC

As a permanent resident how long can I leave my USA car in Mexico?

You can't. A Residente Permanente must return the US plated car to the US. Or don't,I'm sure the local police have no idea regarding that regulation. Or they do and sieze your car.

As a Residente Temporal you can keep a US plated car until the visa expires in 4 years. The TIP is good for the length of the the Residente Temporal.

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USA car in Mexico

by Talley Ho @, Playa la Ropa, Thursday, June 17, 2021, 18:02 (122 days ago) @ mexicoman

He knows what he is talking about.

IF you were to get busted, you will lose the vehicle and your residency status. Something to think about.

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USA car in Mexico

by Talley Ho @, Playa la Ropa, Thursday, June 17, 2021, 18:05 (122 days ago) @ Talley Ho

There are ways to get around it, but none are legal, and again, if you try and get busted, you'll never be welcome in this country again.

Mexico has been getting more and more computerized, and tracking vehicle crossings and personal crossings based on passport numbers. We had to make a few expensive decisions before we made our final move here and decided to play it safe. We are going to live here forever.

USA car in Mexico

by Toby@Zihua @, Friday, June 18, 2021, 20:29 (121 days ago) @ Talley Ho

But in this case, if you are technically a permanent resident but still live part time in another country (Canada for my concern), you are required to have a car plated in each country ?
Can’t you enter as permanent resident with a « tourist car » (your own from US/Canada) ?

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USA car in Mexico

by Talley Ho @, Playa la Ropa, Friday, June 18, 2021, 21:13 (121 days ago) @ Toby@Zihua

As a permanent resident of Mexico, you can't legally drive a non Mexico plated vehicle in Mexico.

As permanent residents of Mexico, and US citizens, we moved here to paradise. We drove a Guerrero plated Durango, pulling an 8 foot enclosed cargo trailer, also Guerrero plated, to the US, specifically California three years ago. We made sure that our Mexico insurance covered our liability in the US, and the trailer, and it did, with no additional charges.

During the just under 3 months it took for us to sell our entire lives, we drove the Durango through Arizona, both ways, and used it as our vehicle in California. We were NEVER stopped, questioned or other during that time, including at the border traveling in both directions.

Although it was never an issue, we made sure we had Mexican driver's licenses.

The legality of vehicles in both Mexico and the US is very clear. IF you need to use your Mexico insurance, which you really need to have, you absolutely must have exactly the correct immigration status for the vehicle that is involved in an issue. The same is true for US insurance.

It is an interesting issue and the information is readily available.

USA car in Mexico

by Padrino ⌂ @, San Diego, California USA, Saturday, June 19, 2021, 00:00 (121 days ago) @ Talley Ho

But in this case, if you are technically a permanent resident but still live part time in another country (Canada for my concern), you are required to have a car plated in each country ?

The legality of vehicles in both Mexico and the US is very clear. IF you need to use your Mexico insurance, which you really need to have, you absolutely must have exactly the correct immigration status for the vehicle that is involved in an issue. The same is true for US insurance.

It is an interesting issue and the information is readily available.

TalleyHo, pardon me if I am being dense, but it appears that you did not answer the question. If both countries have the same rules, then you should not have driven the Mexican-plated vehicle in California and Arizona, correct? Toby's question was: "But in this case, if you are technically a permanent resident but still live part time in another country (Canada for my concern), you are required to have a car plated in each country?" Shouldn't you have driven a United States-plated vehicle while you were in California and Arizona?

USA car in Mexico

by Toby@Zihua @, Saturday, June 19, 2021, 05:03 (121 days ago) @ Padrino

Thank you for both answer and additional question.
I’m trying to compare the situation to Canadian snowbirds driving their Canadian car or RV to Florida or Arizona for 6ish months every year. True that really few (none?) may have green cards so they are « tourists » in US per se.
But if I want to do the same from Canada to Mexico, would it be better to keep a temporary resident status instead of getting the permanent? Though I think that after 4 years you are automatically switched from temporary to permanent….
Or another option, having no Mexican residency status, being only a Canadian tourist driving his car, but with the 6 months limitation in this case…
In fact as of today we just don’t have a car in Zihua, we take taxi and buses. But as rentals are not easy nor cheap to get, I was wondering what my best option was.

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USA car in Mexico

by mexicoman @, Playa Del Carmen, Saturday, June 19, 2021, 07:43 (120 days ago) @ Toby@Zihua

As a tourist you can drive a US/Canadian plated vehicle but it must leave Mexico every 6 months to renew the TIP and return. As a Residente Temporal you can drive the same vehicle for the length of the visa - 4 years. After that you must apply for Residente Permanente and the car must leave Mexico.
Passing through or driving in the US with a foreign plated vehicle is not a crime. However after residing in California for 30 days the vehicle must be reregistered and insured. I'm sure there is some wiggle room if you are stopped before registering the vehicle.

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USA car in Mexico

by mexicoman @, Playa Del Carmen, Saturday, June 19, 2021, 07:30 (120 days ago) @ Padrino

But in this case, if you are technically a permanent resident but still live part time in another country (Canada for my concern), you are required to have a car plated in each country ?

The legality of vehicles in both Mexico and the US is very clear. IF you need to use your Mexico insurance, which you really need to have, you absolutely must have exactly the correct immigration status for the vehicle that is involved in an issue. The same is true for US insurance.

It is an interesting issue and the information is readily available.


TalleyHo, pardon me if I am being dense, but it appears that you did not answer the question. If both countries have the same rules, then you should not have driven the Mexican-plated vehicle in California and Arizona, correct? Toby's question was: "But in this case, if you are technically a permanent resident but still live part time in another country (Canada for my concern), you are required to have a car plated in each country?" Shouldn't you have driven a United States-plated vehicle while you were in California and Arizona?

Both countries do not have the same rules.

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USA car in Mexico

by Talley Ho @, Playa la Ropa, Saturday, June 19, 2021, 10:00 (120 days ago) @ Padrino

Although we are US citizens, when we return to the US we are considered tourists because we do not have a US residence or even address.

We were in California for almost three months, legally, because we were tourists who had returned to get rid of all of their stuff, had already cancelled our drivers licenses, owned no "real" property and had cancelled our voter registration.

As Mexicoman states, every countries laws are different.

Supposedly, according to some RV websites, Canadians cannot legally drive a non Canadian vehicle into or in Canada. We know Mexico permanent residents that drive their Guerrero plated vehicle to Canada for a month or two every summer. Legal? No, but they have not been caught, at least yet.

There is a 10 year TIP available in Mexico, but the vehicle registration must say RV on it. Then no deposit is charged. The legality of driving it with permanent residency status is unclear. We got two different legal opinions on it, and one said it was legal because the TIP was obtained before the permanent residency status was granted, and the other said that as soon as the residency status was granted the TIP was invalid.

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USA car in Mexico

by mexicoman @, Playa Del Carmen, Saturday, June 19, 2021, 12:09 (120 days ago) @ Talley Ho

Although we are US citizens, when we return to the US we are considered tourists because we do not have a US residence or even address.

We were in California for almost three months, legally, because we were tourists who had returned to get rid of all of their stuff, had already cancelled our drivers licenses, owned no "real" property and had cancelled our voter registration.

As Mexicoman states, every countries laws are different.

Supposedly, according to some RV websites, Canadians cannot legally drive a non Canadian vehicle into or in Canada. We know Mexico permanent residents that drive their Guerrero plated vehicle to Canada for a month or two every summer. Legal? No, but they have not been caught, at least yet.

There is a 10 year TIP available in Mexico, but the vehicle registration must say RV on it. Then no deposit is charged. The legality of driving it with permanent residency status is unclear. We got two different legal opinions on it, and one said it was legal because the TIP was obtained before the permanent residency status was granted, and the other said that as soon as the residency status was granted the TIP was invalid.

The latter is exactly the advice I was given at INM.

USA car in Mexico

by Toby@Zihua @, Saturday, June 19, 2021, 16:03 (120 days ago) @ mexicoman

That’s also the information I could read on this site.
I guess that’s the sole legal solution to keep my Canadian car in Mexico would be to always stay on temporary resident status, up to 4 years, get back to tourist status for a while (exiting country with the car of course), then reapplying to temporary resident status… Quite some trouble…
Thanks to all.

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USA car in Mexico

by mexicoman @, Playa Del Carmen, Saturday, June 19, 2021, 16:30 (120 days ago) @ Toby@Zihua

That’s also the information I could read on this site.
I guess that’s the sole legal solution to keep my Canadian car in Mexico would be to always stay on temporary resident status, up to 4 years, get back to tourist status for a while (exiting country with the car of course), then reapplying to temporary resident status… Quite some trouble…
Thanks to all.

You can't do that. 4 years of temporary and then you are required to move on to permanent. You can't reapply for temporary. Your only option is to travel on a tourist visa and take your car out of Mexico every 6 months.

USA car in Mexico

by Padrino ⌂ @, San Diego, California USA, Saturday, June 19, 2021, 17:02 (120 days ago) @ mexicoman

You can't do that. 4 years of temporary and then you are required to move on to permanent. You can't reapply for temporary. Your only option is to travel on a tourist visa and take your car out of Mexico every 6 months.

This is all so confusing! Could someone just purchase a beater car in Mexico and not have to worry about losing their Canadian or U.S. car?

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USA car in Mexico

by Talley Ho @, Playa la Ropa, Saturday, June 19, 2021, 17:12 (120 days ago) @ Padrino

The issue is the insurance.

Yes, we all hope that nothing will happen, but if it does, the first thing the insurance company checks, AFTER the police hopefully release and not jail you, is to make sure the proper vehicle permits and visas are in place.

I will never go to jail in any country in the world.