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Mexico - Importing a Car

Bringing your car from your country of origin into Mexico City can be quite complicated, and there are many provisions that apply, depending on the country where the car was made and the country where the car is coming from. You will need to get a vehicle import permit, and you will have to purchase Mexican car insurance.

You will need the following documents:
Passport and immigration form (original and two copies)
Original document certifying ownership of the car (plus two copies)
It is best if you purchase a Mexican car insurance beforehand
Valid driver's license

Once inside Mexico, you are not allowed to sell the car, and to ensure this, a cash deposit, which amount will depend on the make and model of your car (it is usually a large sum of money, which could equal the actual value of the car). You will also have to pay a fee of about $20.00 USD to get the permit. You may also obtain a bond through a Mexican bonding company at the border. These companies also require a large deposit, close to the value of the vehicle. You must carry the vehicle import permit with you at all times. It is valid for six months.

In the case of embassies and their employees, there is a special procedure which enables them to import cars, and they are issued a distinctive car plate.
Cars are considered vintage (antique) if they are from 1973 or older. In this case, you need a permission from:

  • Secofi
    (Secretaria de Comercio y  Fomento Industrial)
    Insurgentes Sur Avenue
    Mexico DF

You need to fill in the formats they provide and pay $204 pesos (around $20 USD) for the formats. You will have to choose a customs agent beforehand (get some recommendations from the company you will work for or from a friend), and write his name on the format. If you do not provide the name of a customs agent to handle the import of your car, the Secofi will assign one, but they may not be as fast or efficient as you would wish.

You will need to provide the following documents:
- Bill of sale (invoice)
- Four pictures of the car: front, rear, right side, and left side
Once they approve the import, you will have to pay around $1000 pesos ($100 USD).
Secofi will provide a written approval which you will have to send to the customs agent, along with a power of attorney for the import procedures. Depending on the car you are importing, you may pay tax of 20-30% of the vehicles value (advalorem), plus another 15% of IVA (value added tax). The fee of the Mexican customs agent will be approximately $350 USD. Remember you will also have to pay the fees charged by the customs agent in the country where the car is coming from.

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