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Mexican Plating Foreign Plated Vehicles

 Jalisco Auto PlatesPlease note that nationalization, regularizing and importing are all the same thing; the same process and words are used interchangeably.

Under certain conditions you can Mexican plate your foreign plated vehicle.

  • If it is 2008 or older and is a NAFTA made car; VIN # starting with 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5. (Note: It is possible to put Mexican plates on a foreign plated vehicle with expired registration.)
  • However, I do not advise just driving up to the border on your own and expecting to get this done. There is a lot of paperwork that is required and you need a Broker lined up and there is quite a cost. There have been many horror stories of people arriving at the border and either not being able to find their Broker or spending many days/nights waiting for their paperwork to process while racking up hotel costs.
  •  If you are going to Mexican plate your vehicle, we strongly suggest you use someone who specializes in doing this, and who comes highly recommended. (You do have to be careful who you use locally as unfortunately there have been a few bad actors doing this. Fortunately not a lot of them are left as they are being chased by the aduana and ministerio público. But, the bottom line is you want someone who has a 100% track record in regards to legal and legitimate pedimentos (the official document of nationalization) and the Jalisco validation and plating.) 
  •  We have one and one source lakeside that we recommend (Jayme Littlejohn and Tim Welch of LegalizeCars) as they have Mexican plated over a hundred vehicles and have an extremely good track record and relationship with aduana at the border; and most important, they only work with brokers who are also registered aduana agents. Thus, they are bonded by the federal government. Best of all, they offer a Discount to Focus on Mexico Alumni and Members of our Best Doctors Group Health Plan.

What is the Process:

  •  You contact (Jayme Littlejohn and Tim Welch of LegalizeCars) and give them your vehicle information. They contact their broker to work out the cost for importation for your Import carvehicle. They deal with three different brokers at the border. NOTE: A recent change is the car must be stamped from the U.S. or Canada showing it is leaving the country as part of the procedure. Please discuss with LegalizeCars.
  • Each car is a different price determined by make, model and year.  The majority of cars run between $2,500 - $3,500 USD for the pedimento. (Focus clients get a $100 USD discount)
  • This cost covers the fee for the Customs Broker and SAT (Servicio de Administración Tributaria), the aduana and LegalizeCars (Jayme Littlejohn and Tim Welch)
  • The above amount is paid up front in pesos or in dollars. Payment may be in cash or wired to their Mexican peso or USA dollar accounts.
  • Additional expenses include the cost for the Emissions Verification (approx. $300 pesos), gas/tolls round trip (varies depending on vehicle), and the actual cost of the Jalisco Verification and Plates (varies between $3000 - $7000 pesos depending on the year and value of the car) – determined by State of Jalisco. (Jayme Littlejohn and Tim Welch of LegalizeCars) advises you where to go to get the Emissions Verification and you pay that directly. In addition (Jayme Littlejohn and Tim Welch of LegalizeCars) will upfront the costs for gas/tolls and the Jalisco Verification and Plates and have you reimburse them when they deliver the car.
  • They sign a standard form legal contract with you that spells everything out and includes a Power of Attorney allowing them to drive your vehicle to the border.
  • You will need to notify your insurance agent that you will be getting a pedimento and putting Mexican plates on your vehicle. They will then manage your insurance for foreign plated changing to Mexican plated.
  • (Jayme Littlejohn and Tim Welch of LegalizeCars) do all the paperwork to get the car nationalized.
  • The tricky part is that it is an unknown how long (5 days - 3 weeks) it may take for the pedimento to be issued.  
  • They also have the TIP (Temporary Import Permit) cancelled so it is no longer in the system.
  • Once papers are released, they drive your car to the border and present the car within 72 hours of the pedimento coming out, after which time the car is validated and ultimately is ‘Mexican’.
  • Then (Jayme Littlejohn and Tim Welch of LegalizeCars) go through the process for the State of Jalisco validation and plating (the ‘process’ is included in their price to you up front). Note: You reimburse them the cost for the State of Jalisco validation and plating as stated above.
  • As you can see, this is quite a process; hence why you need someone qualified to look after it.
  • This is a Godsend for people who are changing their visa status to Permanente as they are then no longer able to keep a foreign plated vehicle in Mexico. So that leaves them with the option of taking their vehicle north of the border and selling it there, or taking it to the border and getting Mexican plates. Either way, (Jayme Littlejohn and Tim Welch of LegalizeCars) can assist you.

Finally, please note that anyone can nationalize their vehicle. You just need to have a Temporal or Permanente Visa. 


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