Are you driving a Mexican plated car? If you are, then you need to check out this guide on how to legalize a Mexican car in the USA.
- Regulations that apply to the legalization of a Mexican car in the US
- The Process of legalizing a Mexican car in the US
- A word of Caution
Thousands of immigrants, and a good number of citizens too, cross the Mexican border into the US every year. Some of these people drive into the US.
With a relatively huge number of cars being driven into the US and others imported from Mexico, it’s no surprise to find yourself driving a Mexican plated car in the US.
Whether driven into the US for personal use or imported with a business objective, a Mexican car is allowed in the country for a period of one year only.
Unless you register the Mexican car, it is considered to be in the US illegally after one year.
It is, therefore, important that you know exactly how to legalize a Mexican car in the USA to avoid being caught on the wrong side of the law.
Essentially, legalizing a car in the US means registering your Mexican car with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
The procedural requirements and fees for legalizing a Mexican car vary from state to state. But in all states, you must prove that when the car came to the US, an entry was filed with the Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
CBP is mandated with ensuring that every car entering the US meets the set standards. Any car that doesn’t meet the required standards is denied entry into the country or destroyed at the point of entry.
DMV can’t register a Mexican car without proof that an entry for the car was filed with the CBP and proof the car meets all US emission and safety standards. In some states, your car will need a smog inspection before it is eligible for registration.
You are required to register your Mexican car with your local state DMV. In addition to proving that you have been cleared by the CBP and complied with all safety and emissions standards, you also need to provide an acceptable proof of ownership.
The DMV accepts a range of documents as proof of ownership including; certificate of title, manufacturers certificate of origin, manufacturer’s invoice, new vehicle information statement and military registration.
If you sneaked a Mexican car into the US, you will have to contact the CBP because the DMV can’t register a foreign car without the right documentation.
Simply explain to the CBP that you drove your car into the US through the entry points but you now need help getting your car registered.
Once your car has been cleared by customs and you have paid all the applicable duties and taxes, you will receive the Entire Summary form from the CBP. You will be required to present this documents along with other car documents to the DMV for registration.
According to both the environment protection agency and the department of transportation, although a non-compliant Mexican car may be accepted under certain conditions, it may never become compliant.
The modifications required may be so costly that trying to achieve compliance becomes an impractical option.