Feb 28, 2008, 6:32 PM
Post #25 of 34
It is commonly stated on these MexConnect fora that a vehicle permit is valid as long as the associated FM3 is valid. I have had a completely different and thoroughly practical experience that indicates that might not be the case. Actually I have had this experience twice now.
I have a valid FM3 visa, but no where in the visa is there an expiration date.
I have twice gone to the Mexican vehicle permit issuing office in Empalme, Sonora, to get a vehicle permit for my US-plated vehicle because I needed to take it outside the Sonora Free Zone.
Both times the officials there got all verklemmt because my FM3 visa does not have an expiration date in it. And, as they stated: "We can only issue a permit up to the time your visa expires." Both times they formed a small committee there in the office to determine which of the two dates stamped and legible in the visa to use: the date the visa was issued in San Francisco, or the date when I first crossed into Mexico. One is March 7, 2007 and the other one is April 20, 2007. Both times they chose to use the earlier date because, as they stated, the vehicle permit would expire at a date earlier than any possible expiration date in the visa, had one ever been placed on the visa.
So, they are apparently of the opinion that the vehicle permit will expire when the FM3 visa expires.
One could argue that if I renew the FM3 visa before it expires, as I intend to do, it won't expire and so the vehicle permit won't expire either. I don't think I want to try to explain that technicality to a Mexican policeman any time soon.
What if, when I renew the FM3, they again fail to put an expiration date on it?
The vehicle permit has a specific expiration date. No where does it say that date is superceded by a valid FM3 visa. Someone on this forum may be able to refer us to an online document of some sort that explains all this, in Spanish, a copy of which we can keep in the glove compartment as we travel about Mexico, and whip it out and instruct the Mexican official in the details of this matter, but I don't think I want to pull that manoeuver on a Mexican policeman either.
The only thing that speaks logically to me that the vehicle permit's expiration date can or should be superceded by the expiration date of a valid FM3 visa is this: since you can only get these permits at an international border (a border with Mexico), with the exception of Empalme (the only exception I know of), the Mexicans probably would not expect the rest of you living in Jalisco and other areas very far from any border, to get back to a border every year to renew your vehicle permit.
Since I cross the US/Mexican border, on the ground, in my vehicle, several times per year, it is not a big deal for me to get a new permit. (I have to get a new one if I relinquish the old one every time I cross. Which we are advised to do.) For those of you not so close to a border, I guess you have to have faith your permits will be OK even if the "fecha de vencimiento" has come and gone.
Since my FM3 visa has no expiration date in it, I don't want to be in the position of trying to convince that Mexican policeman that my FM3 is valid...forget about the vehicle permit.