Aug 5, 2009, 1:28 PM
Post #5 of 9
Yes, it was relatively easy for us to nationalize our cars several years ago under two different vehicle “amnesties”that were declared a few years apart. The amnesties are declared every few years so that “chocolates” may be legalized here. A chocolate is a foreign plated car that is owned by a Mexican and is being driven illegally in México. Although our cars were here legally with temporary vehicle import permits for both of them, they were eligible for nationalization under both amnesties.
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The third car that my wife temporarily imported was nationalized irregularly by a relative with high government contacts. It had Mexican plates on it a week after crossing the border, and there was no computer record of my wife importing it. Don't ask for details, our relative and his contacts don't want anyone to know about it. We have connections that count.
The vehicle amnesties are not declared on a regular schedule, there may be another in 5 or 10 years, and there may never be another. They almost always become a political issue. The automobile manufacturers and dealers always oppose them. The amnesty back in 2000 became an issue in the Presidential election that year. All the presidential candidates were in favor of it except Vicente Fox. He opposed it until the last few weeks of the campaign. When he endorsed it in the final weeks, we knew that no matter who won the election, we would be able to nationalize the first car. It was the only car we had here at that time.
The second car we had imported here did not meet the qualifications set out, because it had not been in México soon enough to be eligible to nationalize, it had to be here by November, 2000, we didn't bring it to México until January of 2001.
It was quite a pleasant surprise when just two or three years later another amnesty was declared, and we were able to nationalize the second car. The second amnesty was not widely publicized and many people did not know about it. My wife heard about it in a rumor, and she went to the Transito office here in Cuernavaca and verified that there was an amnesty at that time.
The cost was not high for either amnesty, there were no import taxes to be paid for either car. All we had to provide was the original titles with a seal on it, and the original temporary import permits. There may have been a small fee, but if there was, it was so small that I don't remember it and I am not going to dig through my records looking for it now.
We have never been hassled by a Mexican cop anywhere claiming false violations when trying to extract a bribe since we got Mexican license plates on our cars. We sold one of them when my suegra gifted her daughter, my wife, with a new van in 2006. It was manufactured here and of course, it has Mexican license plates too. It was easy and legal to sell our first van here as it had Mexican registration and plates.
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