Red Tape

Car Papers?

We are living in Zamora at the moment and will need to renew our vehicle's six month permiso by the end of March. Our personal tourist visas will have been extended by virtue of visits home by plane, but we wonder if you have any advice on how to extend or renew the car's permiso without having to drive to the border. We are quite close to Guadalajara or could go to D.F.

If we drove out of Mexico a month after our car permiso expires, what penalties could we expect? Would one border crossing be better than another to avoid penalties?

Can one cross out of Mexico at a different city than the original crossing and still make a "hot turn-around" in order to receive a new 6-month car permiso? Some friends of our have heard a vicious rumor that they must go back across the same border crossing where they entered Mexico. We say this is baloney, what say you? This car thing is a pain.

Pat & Gaby

CARL replies: Unfortunately, I do not recommend letting your car papers lapse. If you do, you are subject to severe penalties... I'm not exactly sure, but it might include confiscation of the vehicle. In other words, don't let it happen....

Although you are technically allowed only one stay per year of up to 180 days, in practice many people do "quick turn arounds" at the border. As for entering from one border point and leaving via another... yes, no problem. Just be sure to stop and cancel your car permit before you leave Mexico. This is normally done at a checkpoint about 20 -25 km south of the border.

What are your longer terms plans? It has gotten much easier to attain FM3 status, which allows you to keep the vehicle (and yourselves) in Mexico for 5 years.

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