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#1 Carey

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 10:58 AM

We had a lot of discussion in 09 which is no longer accessible unfortunately due to the software breakdown on the subject of car ownership by foreigners.

Could we update and repost that information?

I know that FM-3 visa holders (and presumably FM-2ers as well) can legally keep a foreign plated car in Mexico as long as their visa is current.

I know that people on tourist visas can only keep a foreign plated car here as long as their visa is current which means that every 6 months it must be driven in and out of the country.

Questions -- Can a foreigner buy and operate a Mexican plated car -- new or used? If so, under what circumstances. I seem to remember that for awhile there the news seemed to be that you flat could not purchase a Mexican car unless you were a Mexican national.
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#2 divadiver

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 11:16 AM

My understanding is that FM-2 holders, no can't keep foreign plated car; plates should be changed to MX. I don't know the process. The downside to that is having to pay the annual tenencia.

Correct for tourist visa holders, import permit is valid for the life of their visa. The airport aduana has told one of our FMT holders that is here nearly full time that the permit is valid as long as their visa is current. That's probably not are reliable source. Might be best to go to Puerto Juarez/Punta Sam and renew the permit.

I think anyone can buy and operate Mexican plated car. You might be confused by with the importation of foreign vehicles which can only be by Mexican nationals at the US border for vehicles 10+ yrs. I think that regulation expires later this year.
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#3 Ron

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 11:31 AM

I am confused by your last statement.
I thought U.S citizens can only bring in cars older then 10yrs. And when you say it is about to expire does, are you saying that any year car can come in. Or are you saying that no more cars will be able to come in no matter what year the car is?

Ron
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#4 scubawoman

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 12:00 PM

Yes, Diva, you are correct. I bought a Mexican plated car last year and it was really simple.
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#5 Carey

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 12:39 PM

Could you edit your post to remove that question and start a new topic instead? That would be very helpful.
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#6 Jim912

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 03:56 PM

Ron,

This has been our experience and others will correct me if I'm wrong.

We have made seven road trips down to Cozumel in the last four years. You are only allowed to bring one vehicle per person into Mexico and it either has to be owned by that person or by marriage. You can't bring your brother's pickup down. You pay a fee based on the vehicle's age. Ours have cost less than $40 and it is charged to your credit card. Email me if you want more details concerning paperwork.

I drove down our 1992 Olds Cutlass and when I crossed the border I obatined a visa for the car on my tourist visa and it was good for six months. Sometime before it expired we drove to Porta Juraez cancelled the sticker and got a new one in my wife's name who has an FM-3.

We were told by several people on the island that we did not have to renew the sticker as long as Donna kept her FM-3 current.

We also made several road trips down with a 2006 Jetta and 1992 Chevrolet pickup with no problems again traveling on my tourist visa since Donna already had a vehicle in her name in Mexico. When we drove out we stopped at the border and cancelled the sticker.

Last year I drove down a replacement car,a 2006 Jetta Diesel, and we did the same thing taking it over to the mainland. We were told by the agent that we did not need to come back and renew the sticker as long as Donna kept her FM-3 current. We have several copies of the title, both passports, mexican insurance and the marriage license that we keep in the car just in case we get stopped or have an accident.

On our trips down we have seen a bunch of used cards either or 18 wheelers or being pulled by another vehicle headed into the country. Some appeared newer and some older so can't help with that question. Did see it posted somewhere.

And also can't help you with ownership of a MX plated vehicle by a foreigner. As Diva Diver reported think that the regulations are changing and maybe not for the good.
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#7 2islandbums

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 04:57 PM

Jim is right on as far as the foreign car goes. I have done this a few times myself. With two car of my own and twice with friends.
One of our cars is on a fmt as of now and the other is on a fm3. It is true you must take the car on the fmt out when you visa runs out.
No need to renew the a car attached to the fm3

As far as legalizing a car It can not be over ten years old or newer than ten years old. Must been exactly ten years old. So the only cars being brought in this year would be 2000. Try to buy ANY car that is a 2000 in the state and you will see the prices are 1000 to 1500 above 1999 or 2001 They are hard to get because Mexican want them to bring here.
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#8 Coz2wonder

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 05:23 PM

If you do not have current stickers on your vehicle, you also do not have insurance.

We have had our Ca plated truck here on an FM3, and now an FM2 for 7 years. We keep the tags current so that we can purchase international auto insurance.

Unless somebody knows something different, how do you insure your vehicles?
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#9 Ron

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 06:24 PM

I was under the impression that you can only get international insurance on Mexican plated cars to drive into the U.S.
I did not think that you can get international insurance to drive a U.S. plated car in the U.S.

I might be wrong about this but I believe that is what I have read

Ron
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#10 Coz2wonder

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 06:33 PM

I posted on CMC about auto and heath insurance. It's an important read.

So, if you are driving an foreign plated car here, and either purchased boarder insurance, (only for short term) or if you fall into the category like us, no intentions of changing our plates to Mx (to much trouble) you only have one recourse, that is keeping your plates and registration current in your home state, and purchase international insurance.

You can only purchase international auto insurance if your plates and registration is current.

Otherwise, I have no idea how you purchase auto insurance for an expired vehicle in Mexico.

BTW, I have been stopped, and have had to show my registration, and insurance on the island (about 4 times now).
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#11 divadiver

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 10:56 PM

Okay, I think I confused the matter with this response:

You might be confused by with the importation of foreign vehicles which can only be by Mexican nationals at the US border for vehicles 10+ yrs. I think that regulation expires later this year.

In this statement, I was referring to permanent importation. Foreigners can temporarily import one vehicle. This is with the temporary import permit, which is current with your FM-3 or no-inmigrante visa according Article 106.

The regulation allowing permanent importation of a foreign vehicle is only permitted for Mexican nationals. That's is the regulation that expires this year on 12/31/2010.
http://www.noroeste....s.php?id=436764
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#12 2islandbums

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 10:58 PM

What the international insurance companies ask for is a policy number. It does not have to be for that car. If you have other cars in the states and they are insured you can use that policy number.
I have had to use my Mexican insurance and have had no problems.
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#13 Coz2wonder

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 01:02 PM

So, if I understand you correctly, you have an insurance policy in the states, for other vehicles that you own.

But, it does NOT cover the car you have here. But, you gave that policy number for international insurance, which has nothing to do with the car you are using here.

Either I just don't understand what you are saying, or I do understand, and it is a policy I do not feel comfortable with.
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#14 2islandbums

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 06:04 PM

Yes your are right they want to know if you have insurance in the states.
I give them a policy number and they except it, then they issue my insurance for here

Just as a matter of point you do understand your insurance from the states does not work at all here,right?

I have seen many US cars here with expired plates I would like to know what they are doing also

Just to add one more thing to he mix. I know a person from Canada that reinstates his insurance for one day and renews his plates then lets the one day police run out. Thus having only Mx insurance.

These are just a few things I have seen done. As I always says sometimes do what makes you feel most comfortable.
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#15 Ron

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 06:50 PM

From what I have gathered from different sites is the following? I am not saying it is right or wrong but only relaying what I have read.

In Mexico you do not need to have your plates reg current and your plates can be expired. When you bring your car into Mexico under your fm3 your plates are tied to your fm3 so in effect your fm3 is the reg. A U.S. reg is not valid in Mexico anyway.
Their are Mexican insurance companies that will insure you without having your car reg current, at least from what I have read that is what I gather.
There are states in the U.S. where you cannot keep your plates on your car without insurance, and if you do not have insurance you have to hand in your plates or have your license revoked. New York is one of these states.
Getting back to the topic. So if you can get insurance and your plates are tied to your fm3 then it should not matter if the reg is current. Again this is what I have picked up from several posts on different sites.

There are states that will let you register the car and insurance is not required. So you can register your car drive into Mexico with Mexican insurance then cancel your U.S. insurance and have your reg and plates kept current.

Ron
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#16 Coz2wonder

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 07:13 PM

thanks for more information. Once you provided a little more information, in reality it does make sense, because your US insurance is worthless here, but your international coverage is what's important.

However, (you had to know that was coming)if your plates, and registration are not current, how would you establish that you have insurance to apply for international insurance.

Thank you both (2islandbums, and Ron) for your comments.

As to the original question on purchasing a new or used Mexican plated car (you can buy anything you want) but to my knowledge thd law has not changed, and you still must have either an FM3 or 2 to register the car.

If you can't register it, forget it.

But, laws change here all the time, so perhaps this will change as well.
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#17 Jim912

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 09:56 PM

Ron,

To help with you questions. In Louisiana you are required to have insurance on a vehicle. When I drove our Jetta down in 2008 I had the insurance cancelled a week after I was on the island. I obtained Mexican insurance from an online agent before entering Mexico and had both English and Spanish versions in the car.

Before this insurance expired my wife took out a policy with a local company whose office is on Juarez between 30th. and 65th. So now if we have an accident we can call someone local. This may or may not help but makes us feel better.

When I returned home I received a letter from the Dept. of Motor Vehicles regarding my cancelled insurance. I went to their office and explained as well as signed a form that the vehicle had been taken out of the country. The first time I did this in 2006 no problem. The second time, 2008, they wanted to see insurance on the vehicle. So I gave them a copy of my Mexican insurance. They wanted the plate back but since it wasn't in the country I signed another form. No problem.

Once on the island I scrapped off the vehicle inspection sticker. Although the Mexican police can't legally write you a ticket for having an expired inspection on a foreign vehicle it gives them a reason to stop or question you at a checkpoint. Did the same thing with the expiration sticker on the license plate.

Hope this answers some of your questions.

Jim
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#18 Charles

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 01:15 AM

I hope the state of Florida has improved over their previous habit of suspending drivers licenses when you cancel an insurance policy. I don't know how other states are or if Florida has improved or held a monopoly on stupidity. Two times when I sold cars, the title was transferred out of my name, once the the license plate was transferred to the new car, once the old plate was turned into DVM as required. In both cases I cancelled the insurance policy on the cars which I no longer owned. Both times State Farm notified the State, they had no cross referencing of titles and the State of Florida suspended my drivers license. People that often dealt with sleaze bag insurance agencies paying monthly to show proof of insurance for tag renewal, had no problems when they cancelled the policy before the second month was due and drove uninsured for the next 11 months.

State Farm after 20 years of multiple policies with no claims, made certain my license was suspended as Florida DMV was totally incompetent. After moving to Mexico, sold the last car, owned no car, I happened to discover when I returned home to pick up more things and to renew my license early, I happened to be on the last day of the grace period to refute the suspension. I don't know if any other states operate like this. I can't imagine what Florida might have done if I left the country with the car as in both cases, the car title was transferred out of my name before I terminated the insurance.

Make sure you aren't putting your drivers license at any risk.
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#19 Carey

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 09:07 AM

I have a current FL driver's license. And I've renewed it by mail since I moved here. It is not attached to any vehicle. You don't have to own a car in order to have a driver's license you know.

I have a NC plated car that is long out of registration and we insure it with a Mexican insurer. Liability only.
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#20 Charles

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 11:42 AM

I have a current FL driver's license. It is not attached to any vehicle. You don't have to own a car in order to have a driver's license you know.


In order to try to force compliance with the regulations to have insurance, Florida used to suspend drivers licenses when insurance was cancelled. They did this twice to me when I sold cars. Obviously I am not going to continue buying insurance on a car I no longer own. I don't know the competency level of Florida today or the regulations and functionality of other States. It seemed real obvious that the State would cross check the title before suspending a license. Since they burned me the first time when I sold a dead car and transferred the insurance to another car. When I sold my last car before moving to Mexico (haven't owned a car since) I returned the Florida plate as required to DMV and sure sent it by certified mail, return receipt. When I wanted to renew my drivers license early as I had less than a year left, imagine my surprise when I discovered that Florida had suspended my drivers license, three months after I sold the car, transferred the title out of my name and had proof of receipt that DMV had received my returned license plate.

Since by good fortune I happened to go on the last day of a grace period when a sworn statement that I no longer owned the vehicle was sufficient, without the proof that I carried that the plate had been received by DMV sent from Arizona. Had I come the following day, the regulations might have been a nightmare can of worms. I would have been driving a car with a fully suspended license, would have been required to take the written test, had a fully licensed driver with me (would not have been allowed to drive away and might or might not have been ticketed) and return the following day to take the driving test.

Since I had problems twice with Florida, both times when the title was transferred out of my name, I was always paranoid about the idea of bringing a car in on an FM3. If I had brought down a car, it would have never returned to the States. I wondered what potential problems could arise in a person's home State when they no longer renewed their plates, stopped insuring the vehicle in the States, but the title remained in their names.

It always struck me as odd that Mexico would allow foreigners to keep foreign plated vehicles (with long expired tags) without collecting some form of tax. They sure seem to impose every other tax, often in discriminatory fashion.
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