Mexico Vehicle Importation Permit Expiration & Returns
Importation Permits are commonly dismissed and forgotten after crossing the border. In order to save some money, a lot of folks will let them expire, after all their vehicle is going to remain in Mexico. However, there can be serious repercussions for allowing one’s importation permit to expire.
There are three main things to be concerned with when letting your importation permit expire: Mexico laws, the contract agreement you have made with Mexico when obtaining an importation permit and your rights as a tourist to bring additional vehicles into Mexico.
Mexico Laws: There are several laws that govern the proper use of a Temporary Vehicle Importation Permit. According to the Aduanas (Customs) Government page not only are you obligated to return the vehicle to have the Importation Permit Renewed, you are also obligated to keep it registered. Failure to do so can result in several legal repercussions. Or as the warning states on the Aduanas page "Si el retorno del vehículo no se hace en tiempo, se sugiere no conducirlo, ya que el mismo se encontrará de manera ilegal en el país y podrá ser sujeto de sanciones y embargo del vehículo, por lo que deberá tramitar el Retorno seguro."
Translated it states: "If the return of the vehicle is not done in the allotted time frame, it is advised not to drive the vehicle as it is now considered to be in the country illegally and will be subject to sanctions and confiscation, as a result you will also need to arrange the safe return of the vehicle.” http://www.aduanas.sat.gob.mx/aduana_mexico/2008/vehiculos/141_11220.html
Contractual Agreement: Along with laws there are also several contractual agreements in the Terms and Conditions of the Importation Permit Agreement. Plainly stated, the contract instructs that the vehicle must be returned to a port of entry to have the Temporary Import Permit renewed or canceled. Although a tourist may not realize it, there is a “Promise to Return the Vehicle” affidavit found in the application that must be signed by the importer of the vehicle in order for Aduanas to accept the application and issue the Temporary Import Permit. The affidavit as it reads means that the importer promises to return the vehicle, in order that the permit may be canceled or renewed before the expiration date. The above is referenced from the Banjercito User Manual for Importation permits pg.20 sec.6.5. http://www.banjercito.com.mx/PDF/Manual_iitv.pdf
Bringing Additional Vehicles to Mexico: Not renewing or failure to cancel the importation permit with Aduanas will go against the individual and prevent them from ever bringing another vehicle into Mexico. Selling the vehicle will not help lift this restriction for the importer since the permit is issued to the individual, therefore they will be held responsible regardless of who has possession of the vehicle.
If it seems that all of these laws purposely make it difficult for people to get away with not paying the fees and fines for keeping a foreign plated vehicle in Mexico, you would be correct. The laws are meant to keep foreign plated vehicles plated and registered in the country of origin. The only legal way to avoid these fees is to import the vehicle to Mexico and get Mexican plates on it. Any other method of keeping your vehicle in Mexico will lead to a wide spectrum of problems for the person who originally imported the vehicle.