Importing A Car Into Mexico

Dear Owners,

Following is a well done and informative essay that Perla Del Mar owner, Ken Palmer, has offered to share with us in relation to importing a vehicle into Mexico.  While the undertaking of importation seems rather elementary and straight forward to we who sit in our artificially heated living rooms in mid Sept., it can become a fusion of complications when you arrive in your Mexican paradise and approach Mx. authorities with what you believe they should clearly be able to understand.

Ken Palmer’s adventure is unquestionably a worthwhile read.  Below is his summation of the actual experience of challenging the exercise of importation and his charitable offer to share that encounter with we who may have similar objectives.

Alternatively remember that an FM3 is kept current by jumping through the required hoops each year at immigration and that it then seems with it in hand, we foreigners are able to keep a foreign plated vehicle in Mx. without problems.  What Ken Palmer did was to import a 10 yr. old vehicle (supposedly a slam dunk) and make it a Mexican vehicle that could then be adorned with Mexican, Colima, real down home, licence plates.

If this piques your interest, please read on:

Hi Mark

In response to your call for information on importing a car to Mexico the biggest issue is not having a TITLE document that the USA use for proof of ownership. It is almost impossible to import a Canadian car because of this. Most the importer offices will not give you the time of day if you do not have TITLE docs. I was fortunate enough to have the time and presistance to finally convince an importer that Canadians do not have Title but Registration.

Someone said that in the future it may be wise to have the Mexican Consulate in Calgary or elsewhere in Canada supply a document stating that our registration is the the same as TITLE.  This possibly could save a lot of time and frustration.  However I would still recommend using my guy as your import agent since he is now familiar with the procedure. It took him several hours and upwards of 30 phone calls to get the task done.  Because of the time factor, plan on spending the night in Nogales.  Holiday Inn is great.

Import office are not open on the weekends as the forms are sent to government offices who, get this, are not open on weekends.  You then have to cross where the trucks go through not where cars enter.  It is about 100 yards before the car crossing.  It opens at 8:30 in the morning. Get there early as vehicles start to line up.  30 minutes should be early enough.

The fee is about $1000.00 USD.  I tried to convince the import offices to just give me the nessecary documents to get the car imported as I knew that our registration was proof of ownership.  Luckly they did not as it was later explained to me that if the Mexican Customs person rejected my forms that the money is not refunded.  The import offices are independent dealers who only receive a fee for the paperwork.  The largest portion of the $1000.00 goes to the Mexican Government.  Imagine trying to get that back.

The contact in Nogales is:

Libra Auto Sales

Contact name:  Sergio

He speaks good English and was very honest.  His place is very small, a 20 foot trailer with a few cars to sell,  but do not let that bother you. I meet his family while I was there since the process took hours.  I did not get my papers till 8:30 PM and started the process at 8:00 AM.  I meet Sergio at about 1:00PM and by 4:00PM he had made the arrangment and delivered the documents to me at the hotel.  Visa is the best way to pay

Sergio is the owner. A real nice person.

When it comes to getting a license for your car in ZLO that is another process. But again one that time and persistance will get you through.  Just imagine the DMV offices of the 60’s.  When someone wants to do this I will help show them the procedure.  Not difficult if you know what has to be done.  The process will take 2 -3 weeks.

Hope this information is helpful.

See you ZLO

The ‘ABSOLUTE BEST’  Real Estate Team
Re/Max Landan Real Estate
102-279 Midpark Way SE
Calgary, Alberta  T2X 1S7

OFFICE: 403-256-3888   FAX: 403-476-5128

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