Car Permit Update

By Carl Franz

If you’ll be driving to Mexico, read this!

Mexico Proposes -- Delays -- Implements -- Then SUSPENDS New Redtape For Tourists With Vehicles

December 3, 1999

Last minute clarification: One day after the new regs went into effect, the President of Mexico personally intervened, and suspended changes to the car bonding procedure. Nonetheless, I suggest that you read the material below and pass on the news to others. Many people cancelled their plans to drive to Mexico because of the threat of new and higher vehicle bonds. They need to be told that the welcome mat is once again being rolled out at the Mexican border.

Nov 1, 1999

Several fruitless attempts to stop the illegal importation of foreign-licensed vehicles has driven the Mexican government to desperate measures. With as many as two million chocolates (illegally imported cars and trucks) on the road, Mexico suddenly announced that new regulations requiring cash bonds of up to $800 for tourist vehicles would be implemented on November 1, 1999.

Although the proposed regulation is aimed squarely at Mexican-Americans who drive cars and pickups into Mexico and then leave them there with family members -- or sell them “under the table”, this so-called “cash bond” requirement would be imposed on any tourist driving south of the border zone.

A storm of protest in both Mexico and the U.S. appears to have (temporarily) convinced bureaucrats to back off. At last word, the regulations will be delayed, and the cash bond requirement modified so that it can be posted with a credit card.

Nonetheless, even proposing such a regulation has already added to the negative image and confusion that surround driving to Mexico. In fact, the only obvious result of past attempts to control chocolates with red tape has been to deter RV’ers and overland tourists from driving into Mexico.

I’ll be following this issue closely in the Mexican press and on the internet. Check back here for updates or follow the ongoing discussion on Mexico Connect’s General Forum at .

28 November 1999 UPDATE: “Paisanos” Revolt Against Car Bond Proposal

As I reported earlier, on December 1, Mexico may require tourists who drive beyond the border zone to post cash or credit card bonds of up to $800. (For details, please review my previous notebook entries.) Not surprisingly, this new requirement has brought protests from every corner of North America, including boycotts of Mexican products by leading Mexican-American organizations.

A few days ago, Mexico’s National Association of Hotels and Motels asked the country’s northern states to join them in demanding that both the car bonding measure and the newly implemented 150 peso tourist card fee be cancelled. A spokesman for the powerful Hotel Association said that sacrificing the $7 billion dollar a year tourist sector to protect Mexico’s automobile industry hardly makes sense. In the state of Nuevo Leon, hotels are already reporting a 60% decrease in bookings because of the 150 peso tourist card fee. The impact of an additional car bond would undoubtedly be disastrous.

Will the Mexican government come to its senses and back off? Stay tuned....

November 29, 1999

Mexico Implements New Vehicle Bonding Regulations on Wednesday, 1 December 1999

Unless there is a last-minute reprieve, the Mexican government appears determined to impose new car bonding regulations on tourists and foreign residents. If you plan to drive to Mexico, be sure to read our reports on this important redtape development.

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