Nationalizing a Vehicle in México
We were just cruising along waiting for our car to reach 10 years of age so that we could nationalize it, when the Méxican federal government changed the rules effective July 1, 2011. Now a vehicle must be 8 years old (we believe that they are also doing 9 years now for transition) instead of the 10 that we all knew and loved.
The first action you need to take to nationalize your vehicle is to determine if it is a NAFTA vehicle. México will only nationalize a vehicle manufactured or assembled in Canada, United States or México. To determine this you need to "look up" your VIN number. I went to one of the free web sites and typed in the VIN. According to our VIN number our vehicle was manufactured in Canada. Interesting, our vehicle was manufactured in Canada, purchased in the US and it will now be titled in México – quite an international ride.
Now it’s time to get a broker involved. We enlisted the aid of Girl Friday (Yesenia Lope) to help from this point on. We decided that because this was a one-time event that we really didn’t want to screw up, having someone that spoke the language would be of great benefit. This turned out to be a brilliant decision; we do that occasionally, because no one at Aduana or the Broker with which we had contact spoke any English at all.
The first item that the broker/Aduana wanted was a copy of our valid vehicle permit. We had entered the country three years ago and got our permit just prior to leaving Colorado for Mérida. Well, that won’t work to nationalize a vehicle. To do the deed you must have a current permit.
Apparently the new law also calls for immigrants to renew their permit annually. Aduana Progreso doesn’t issue vehicle permits so we had the choice of Matamoros or Chetumal to get a new permit. Not being total masochists, off we went for a day trip to Chetumal. We renewed our permit without a hitch; paying the $300 USD deposit that is now required. The deposit will be refunded if you either renew or cancel the permit before it expires. We used a credit card and Aduana calculated the pesos that would be refunded if we played by the rules. So new permit in hand, we returned to Mérida ready for the next step.
[Word of caution here – Some say that if you have the old permit you’re grandfathered and that you don’t need to renew each year – this may be true, maybe not, I can’t say. But, I do know that once you get a new permit you’re locked in to yearly renewals. They make a point of reminding you of this at the border. Aduana even circles the expiration date on the new permit as a reminder. If you don’t renew on time you will forfeit the deposit! So once you make this step you are committed to nationalizing your car or renewing annually at a border city].
Working with the estimated cost of $27,500 mx, we e-mailed, scanned copies of the new permit, our US title, US registration, Bill of Sale, the ever required recent utility bill, and FM2 to Yesenia; who then took them to the broker in early September. In early October we got a quote from the Broker of $25,500 mx (about $1,900 US). This is the total cost, broker and Aduana. This had to be paid at Banamex (this is a totally separate story).
So, on October 3 we scanned and e-mail a copy of the Banamex receipt. They then asked for a photo of the weight tag on the driver’s door post. The picture was taken and e-mailed. Sure glad that we’re not using snail mail for this process.
In the middle of October we received two letters from the Broker; a Carta de Encomienda y Manifestacion de valor en Aduana and a Manifestacion de valor en Aduana y Declaracion de Propiedad. Both documents had the same information, just in different formats. They both quoted the Aduana value of our vehicle to be $5,152 USD. This is based upon an MSRP of $16,980 USD. I don’t pretend to understand the formula, but that value produced the number that had been quoted so we signed at the bottom.
The next and final step of this process was a trip to Progreso so that Aduana could visually inspect the vehicle and verify that the documents we signed was true. OK, so maybe they did a little more than that. The Broker, Agencia Aduanal Cervera S.A de C. V., took the vehicle to the inspection; a process that took three hours. First they X-rayed the entire vehicle. Then they ran the drug-sniffing dogs through it. Finally, Aduana workers physically looked in every nook, crevice and cranny, removing contents from the glove compartment, side pockets and center console. Fortunately, their searches proved to be very boring – they found absolutely nothing untoward.
The last step was Aduana giving us our Pedimento (Bill of Lading) and, very important here, a copy of the now removed permit. When you nationalize a vehicle you do not get a Méxican title, you simply attach the Pedimento to your original title. But, you need to get a copy of your permit that they removed. You need this to show the police at roadblocks since you no longer have a sticker, but are still displaying foreign plates. There is no time limit for getting your Méxican placas but, I understand, that SSP gets cranky if you take more than two weeks to do this.
Success! So we now have a Méxican vehicle. All-in-all it was not a terrible process. We were told that we should receive the refund of our $300 US deposit within 30 days.
Next step and next story – On to SSP for registration and placas