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Buckstop

Dec 7, 2016, 10:34 PM

Post #1 of 20 (7377 views)

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Can a Mexican Who Owns a Car with U.S. Plates Import It by Driving Across the Border from Belize?

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My Mexican wife’s family has been storing a mid-90s Pathfinder for a gringo friend who was forced to abandon it in Mexico years ago, when he came down with cancer and was rushed back to the states for treatment. Now he’s finally returning to Mexico and wants to sign the title over to my brother-in-law, a 21-year-old student. It’s in great condition, but it's been sitting on blocks for four years while the kid rides the bus.

The car has U.S. plates. The gringo owner bought it in Mexico from another gringo, and later discovered it had never been imported properly. As far as we can tell, it doesn’t even have an expired temporary import permit and it was just snuck into Mexico.
We (Mexican citizens and U.S. visitors, but we might be able to enlist a foreign resident, if that would hep) were planning to drive the car over the Belize border and bring it back into Mexico legally for permanent importation. Now that I’m doing some homework, I’m realizing that it might not be that simple.

If the car is signed over to a Mexican in Belize, can the Mexican import it? Is there a better way?

If anyone can point us in the right direction, it would be greatly appreciated.



YucaLandia


Dec 8, 2016, 5:58 AM

Post #2 of 20 (7370 views)

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Re: [Buckstop] Can a Mexican Who Owns a Car with U.S. Plates Import It by Driving Across the Border

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Hi Buckstop,
Since the car has no TIP permit, and since you are planning to drive it to Belize, I would guess that the vehicle is in Q. Roo.

If that is true, note that Q.Roo has the same special (free zone) status as Baja California, where foreigners are allowed to bring in a foreign plated vehicles without a TIP. That would explain why the vehicle was never imported, temporarily nor permanently.

Note that to use this program in Q. Roo, the foreigner must maintain current plates & registration back with their home state~province.

Since it likely does not have current plates & registration, then it's illegal, and would need a 5 business day Retorno Seguro permit to drive it to the border.

At the border, you would need to have the title signed over to you, and Aduana generally expects to see a Carta de Poder giving you all rights and responsibilities for the car (or some such language).

If you have a Residente Temporal visa or Visitante visa, you could get your own TIP, that can be renewed for a total of 4 years.

Unfortunately, permanent importation is not an option at the Belize border crossing.

See more details here:
https://yucalandia.com/...ing-a-car-in-mexico/

Happy Trails,
steve
-
Read-on MacDuff
E-visit at http://yucalandia.com

(This post was edited by RickS on Dec 8, 2016, 9:43 AM)


rvgringo

Dec 8, 2016, 9:04 AM

Post #3 of 20 (7344 views)

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Re: [YucaLandia] Can a Mexican Who Owns a Car with U.S. Plates Import It by Driving Across the Borde

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Buckstop wants to sign the car over to his brother-in-law, who is probably a Mexican. If so, the US vehicle cannot be sold to a Mexican citizen, nor can the Mexican drive it without the US owner aboard the vehicle. The car should be taken to the USA on a Seguro Retorno, as suggested, and the possibility of importation, after formal exportation from the USA by a broker, investigated carefully. Sadly, the cost of the trip and the details will exceed the book value of the vehicle. So, maybe it would be wise to think of other options.


RickS


Dec 8, 2016, 9:25 AM

Post #4 of 20 (7341 views)

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Re: [Buckstop] Can a Mexican Who Owns a Car with U.S. Plates Import It by Driving Across the Border

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To wade through some of the (pertinent) things that Yucalandia touched on....

Since the car (no temporary import permit [TIP], no current US license/registration) is in Mexico illegally, the ONLY way to legally deal with this vehicle is for the current owner to get a Retorno Seguro 'letter' from SAT in Mexico City. This process is more laborious than it used to be and can take, with luck, 3-6 weeks of wait time.... upon which the vehicle must be removed from Mexico within 5-6 business days.

You said, "The gringo owner bought it in Mexico from another gringo...." My question is "in whose name is the current US title"? If the current 'owner' only has a 'signed-over' title from the original gringo owner, getting a TIP may be hard/impossible for anybody as a requirement of a TIP is that the requester show a title or registration IN HIS\HER name.


(This post was edited by RickS on Dec 8, 2016, 9:44 AM)


Buckstop

Dec 8, 2016, 10:03 AM

Post #5 of 20 (7335 views)

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Re: [RickS] Can a Mexican Who Owns a Car with U.S. Plates Import It by Driving Across the Border

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Thanks for the info everyone. It looks like the best we can hope for is a TIP. I'll clarify a couple of points, although I don't imagine it will change anything.

Yes, we would like to gift the car to a Mexican citizen. The car is in Yucatan, not Q. Roo. I'm pretty sure the current owner has registered the vehicle in the U.S. at some point and has a title in his own name.


rvgringo

Dec 8, 2016, 10:33 AM

Post #6 of 20 (7330 views)

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Re: [Buckstop] Can a Mexican Who Owns a Car with U.S. Plates Import It by Driving Across the Border

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You cannot sell, or give, a foreign car to a Mexican citizen; or anyone else, for that matter, while it is in Mexico. Even if you manage to get an Importada Temporal, it is illegal to do so and the owner/importer must remove the car from Mexico.
So; that raises the question of the possibility of selling the car in Belize, as an option to driving it to the USA.


Buckstop

Dec 8, 2016, 10:38 AM

Post #7 of 20 (7329 views)

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Re: [rvgringo] Can a Mexican Who Owns a Car with U.S. Plates Import It by Driving Across the Border

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Thanks, RVgringo.

I don't think we're driving the car to the USA. But we could drive to Belize (or Guatemala) with the Mexican citizen and sell the car to him there (or in the free zone). I don't suppose that would work? Would it?


rvgringo

Dec 8, 2016, 10:54 AM

Post #8 of 20 (7325 views)

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Re: [Buckstop] Can a Mexican Who Owns a Car with U.S. Plates Import It by Driving Across the Border

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If you can sell it to him legally in Belize or Guatemala, would he be able to turn around and import it into Mexico? It would still be expensive; more than the value of the vehicle. You are in a Catch-22 situation. If the legal owner is dead. Maybe the car should just be “abandoned“ and let the “finder“ do with it what he will, so long as there is no paper trail that would create a problem for you.....like fraud...deportation, etc.
If any legal owner is still alive and in Mexico, regardless of the vehicle‘s current, or expired registration, it is still an illegal vehicle, which would be traced by its VIN to that legal owner in the event that it were involved in an accident causing injury or death; even serious infrastructure damage. That legal owner/importer would be responsible, no matter who was driving, or who was at fault in the accident.
Therefore, the Retorno Seguro remains as the only probable safe & legal solution unless it can be safely abandoned....walking far away and being sure there remains no connection to you; actual or implied.


Buckstop

Dec 8, 2016, 11:16 AM

Post #9 of 20 (7323 views)

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Re: [rvgringo] Can a Mexican Who Owns a Car with U.S. Plates Import It by Driving Across the Border

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Thanks rvgringo.

Well the legal owner is alive and in Mexico. I'm sure that when he reads this he'll be thinking about getting the TIP. Until he does, there's no record in Mexico tying him to the vehicle or it's VIN, so it would seem that he could safely "abandon" the vehicle.

Would it be possible for a Mexican citizen who found the car abandoned, say at his home, to get title and registration? I've tried searching Google in Spanish and the best I've come up with is this page from Yahoo Respuestas. If anyone can link to more detailed information, particularly if it's specific to Yucatan, that would be great.


rvgringo

Dec 8, 2016, 12:19 PM

Post #10 of 20 (7309 views)

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Re: [Buckstop] Can a Mexican Who Owns a Car with U.S. Plates Import It by Driving Across the Border

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No, the finder of the car could not get a title or factura for the car. I know that you want an answer that satisfies the owner‘s predicament, but I doubt that one exists. The car is not legally in Mexico, outside one of the free zones, and may not be driven. It must leave Mexico with a Retorno Seguro issued from Mexico City. The only solution I see is for the legal owner to take a chance on exiting to Belize or Guatemala and getting an Importada Temporal on re-entering Mexico. It will give him 180 days to get the car to the USA, without the need for a Retorno Seguro, at his convenience. Dispose of it there and give the kid the money to buy something in Mexico; a legal car. Actually, he could hire an expat tourist or Residente Temporal visa holder to drive the car out, with an appropriate notarized letter of permission and insurance.
Sadly, the owner cannot have it his way, no matter how much he may want it otherwise. The law is the law, and he knew it when he drove the Pathfinder into Mexico.


(This post was edited by rvgringo on Dec 8, 2016, 12:22 PM)


Buckstop

Dec 8, 2016, 12:23 PM

Post #11 of 20 (7307 views)

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Re: [rvgringo] Can a Mexican Who Owns a Car with U.S. Plates Import It by Driving Across the Border

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Thanks again for your help rvgringo


RickS


Dec 8, 2016, 12:33 PM

Post #12 of 20 (7306 views)

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Re: [Buckstop] Can a Mexican Who Owns a Car with U.S. Plates Import It by Driving Across the Border

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(NOTE: written while other Posts were being written. Still relevant)


The issue is not who can buy the vehicle and where, but:

+ The car cannot be driven legally in Mexico without a Retorno Seguro to first get it to 'some' border and thus out of Mexico
+ Whomever ends up having ownership, in order to acquire a new TIP and thus be legally able to have it in Mexico again, they MUST have a title and/or registration documentation IN THEIR NAME to get the TIP (and also fork over a $200-$300 deposit for said)

Can you possibly make it to the Belize border in the vehicle without a Retorno Seguro? Maybe. Are you willing to risk not being caught doing that and therefore possibly having the vehicle confiscated by Mexican authorities? Your decision.

Then if you/he makes it to Belize, how do you get a TIP to get back in legally WITHOUT having previously acquired a foreign title in your/his name?

There is a way to accomplish all that you wish to do but it will take some time (at least a month or two) and a US mail-forwarding address. One can legally acquire a South Dakota title and plates for the vehicle.... have them sent to you via a US-address forwarding program. Once you have that title/plates, then get the vehicle to Belize (either with a Retorno Seguro legally or without illegally) and then using the new SD title and plates get a new TIP. That TIP would have to be issued to someone with either a Tourist Card or a Residente Temporal visa. It would be valid for 180 days (at the discretion of the Mexican Agent at the border). If the 'owner' is Temporal, then the TIP can be renewed annually with the Temporal visa UNTIL that Temporal is required to go "Permanente", at which time the vehicle must be removed from Mexico.

I do not know for sure, but believe that a Mexican citizen cannot have/drive/get a TIP on a foreign plated vehicle in this manner.


(This post was edited by RickS on Dec 8, 2016, 12:36 PM)


Buckstop

Dec 8, 2016, 12:44 PM

Post #13 of 20 (7302 views)

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Re: [RickS] Can a Mexican Who Owns a Car with U.S. Plates Import It by Driving Across the Border

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Thanks Rick.

The owner of the vehicle, with title, is prepared to drive it to Belize and back. I don't know if he would risk it without a Retorno Seguro or not. The greater question is on how to make it legal for a Mexican to own and drive with local plates. We'd might even consider paying aduanas slightly more than the vehicle is worth, just because we like the car and don't really know what else to do with it.


rvgringo

Dec 8, 2016, 12:45 PM

Post #14 of 20 (7302 views)

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Re: [RickS] Can a Mexican Who Owns a Car with U.S. Plates Import It by Driving Across the Border

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In Reply To


I do not know for sure, but believe that a Mexican citizen cannot have/drive/get a TIP on a foreign plated vehicle in this manner.

No, he cannot.



(This post was edited by rvgringo on Dec 8, 2016, 12:48 PM)


RickS


Dec 8, 2016, 1:00 PM

Post #15 of 20 (7296 views)

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Re: [Buckstop] Can a Mexican Who Owns a Car with U.S. Plates Import It by Driving Across the Border

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"The greater question is on how to make it legal for a Mexican to own and drive with local plates."

The only way to accomplish this is to formally Import the vehicle into Mexico (not just a temporary importation) and THAT has to be done at the US border..... by a registered Broker, and that does not seem to be in the cards for this vehicle.

I think it is time to face the fact that, in the manner to which you desire (and legally), this cannot be done. If 'wishing it could' would help, I'd be glad to 'wish that' for you, but.....


Buckstop

Dec 8, 2016, 1:10 PM

Post #16 of 20 (7293 views)

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Re: [RickS] Can a Mexican Who Owns a Car with U.S. Plates Import It by Driving Across the Border

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Thanks again guys. I can see that this isn't going to work out. I'm considering sending someone (I'm not in Mexico now) to Banjercito to inquire about options but imagine that you would advise that it's not worth the trouble, as they won't be able to offer a solution.


playaboy

Dec 9, 2016, 5:56 AM

Post #17 of 20 (7261 views)

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Re: [Buckstop] Can a Mexican Who Owns a Car with U.S. Plates Import It by Driving Across the Border

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Over the years, I have tried to import US and Canadian titled cars at the Mexico/Belize border. Aduana will not process those cars. In addition, a 1990's Nissan is not eligible for import at this time.

You can find a non-Mexican that lives in QROO and sell the car to them where it can be legally driven.

The legal owner can get a TIP for the car at the Belize border. I wouldn't worry about a returno seguro. That has become a nightmare to process. Just drive to QROO and then down 307. Any TIP checkpoints are looking for people driving the other way.

Have you spoken with any brokers in Progreso?


(This post was edited by playaboy on Dec 9, 2016, 6:15 AM)


rvgringo

Dec 9, 2016, 9:12 AM

Post #18 of 20 (7244 views)

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Re: [playaboy] Can a Mexican Who Owns a Car with U.S. Plates Import It by Driving Across the Border

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In all of this discussion, we never even mentioned the fact that a Pathfinder of that age is probably a Japanese manufactured vehicle, with a VIN starting with “J“. If so, it can never be permanently imported to Mexico. It is a Catch-22 situation; in Mexico now and illegal. Needs to be driven out, but the Retorno Seguro system is SNAFU. So....What to do?
We had a 1999 NIssan Pathfinder LE, which we loved, when we became Residente Permanente & it became illegal because of our status. Neither we, nor any Mexican citizen could drive our Pathfinder. We stashed it in our garage, as we had 3 garages and also had a Jalisco plated smart car to drive. Two years later, when health forced our move to the USA, we did get a Seguro Retorno, which was locally available then, and loaded the Pathfinder for our trip north. It was uneventful, using Rt. 15D from Guadalajara to Nogales, with only one checkpoint where we were waved through. We traded for a newer car and got only $2000 for our Pathfinder, with only 87,000 miles, full leather and lots of bells & whistles.....damn! Should have kept it! Oh well :(
Perhaps it is time for you, or the owner, or a hired expat, or an expat who would take your signed title, and letter of permission to drive, and solve the problem for you by taking it out of Mexico.


jreboll

Dec 9, 2016, 10:26 AM

Post #19 of 20 (7241 views)

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Re: [rvgringo] Can a Mexican Who Owns a Car with U.S. Plates Import It by Driving Across the Border

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There are certain similarities to a situation I had. I lent a friend some money and took his car as collateral. I never saw him again. On a trip to Baja I left it with a friend there. He had a ranch and used it only on his ranch where he rode around taking care of his sheep. Perhaps you could find someone you could give it to to use or to dismantle for parts


RickS


Dec 9, 2016, 11:37 AM

Post #20 of 20 (7233 views)

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Re: [Buckstop] Can a Mexican Who Owns a Car with U.S. Plates Import It by Driving Across the Border

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Good news from another Mexico Forum Board....

"Recent changes have been made where we can now submit retorno seguro applications here in Jalisco and at least be able to drop off things personally and check on them personally. Their system is still a bit rusty but it is better than messaging documents to Mexico City."

While this came from an Attorney in Jalisco, it is probably true in the Yucatan also. Maybe a visit to SAT in your area will confirm. This would make the Retorno Sequro process a bit less cumbersome for your friends vehicle IF he chooses to take that route.


(This post was edited by RickS on Dec 9, 2016, 11:40 AM)
 
 
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