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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkNews from Around Banderas Bay | October 2005 

Car Legalization Program Gets Final Green Light
email this pageprint this pageemail usPVNN - Guadalajara Reporter

On October 19th, the Mexican Treasury Department (Hacienda) announced the reglas de operacion (rules of operation) that will govern the program to legalize imported cars between 10 and 15 years old. The announcement comes almost two months after Mexican President Vicente Fox issued a decree that allows the owners of an estimated 500,000 imported vehicles circulating in Mexico to exchange their US or Canadian license plates for Mexican plates.

All vehicles with load capacities up to 4,536 kilograms and a passenger maximum of 15, including trailers and mobile homes, are eligible for legalization, as long as they were manufactured in either Canada, the United States or Mexico between 1990 and 1995.

The program is a form of amnesty. Authorities do not care whether the vehicles were smuggled into Mexico, nor if they were kept here after their six-month temporary importation permits expired. The new regulations also allow vehicles of this age to be imported at the border, using the same mechanism.

As of November 1, all those entering Mexico by car will be able process their six-month temporary car importation papers online before getting to the border. This procedure, which involves on-line payment by credit or debit card, can be completed at the Banjercito web site

Processing temporary importation papers online may be done up to six months prior to entering the country, according to Banjercito. Both non-Mexicans (tourists and FM3s) and Mexican citizens can use the payment method. Banjercito's web site, however, is in Spanish only.

Customs chiefs have encouraged Mexicans living in the United States who return home at holidays periods to use the service, to avoid delays at the border. Temporary importation papers may also be processed and paid for at Mexican consulates in the US.

How to Legalize Your Car:

Anyone wishing to legalize one of these vehicles must apply through an accredited Mexican customs broker (agente aduanal). Most agentes aduanales are located at the city's International Airport. They are also found at all ports of entry at the US border. To start off the procedure, applicants must present originals and copies of the following documents to the customs broker of their choice:

The vehicle registration document

Proof of address of titleholder in Mexico

An official ID (e.g. passport) of the titleholder

The temporary importation permit issued by Mexican Customs at border entry points (not essential but preferable, say customs brokers)

If someone other than the named owner of the car is applying, the registration document must be endorsed over to that person.

Monica Medina of Megatrans Customs Brokers at the Guadalajara Airport said the value of the used car will be based on a list drawn up by Mexico's Economy Secretariat, which in turn is based on US Blue Book values. Medina said that once taxes and fees are taken into account, the procedure will cost approximately 20 percent of the value of the vehicle.

Once Mexican Customs have completed the importation paperwork and the vehicle has been noted in Mexico's Public Vehicle Register, owners will receive a sticker for their windshields, and will then need to go to any office of the State Finance Secretariat (Sefin) to get Mexican license plates. Sefin has several offices in Guadalajara, as well as other municipalities, including Chapala and Puerto Vallarta.

Here, they will again need to show an ID, the vehicle registration document, proof of address, as well as additional papers confirming the importation has been concluded, which will be provided by their customs broker. The fee for Mexican license plates is $675 pesos.

For information on accredited customs brokers in Guadalajara, call Megatrans at (333) 688-5030 or (333) 688-6071. Other accredited agentes aduanales include Central de Aduanas at (333) 688-6022 or (333) 688-5503, Grupo Aduanal Galvan at (333) 688-5442 and Grupo World Trade Services at (333) 688-5771.

The Jalisco Finance Secretariat provides two numbers for information on its role in the vehicle legalization process. From Guadalajara call (333) 668-1757 or (333) 668-1700. If calling from within Mexico, but outside of the Guadalajara metropolitan area, dial toll-free 01-800-715-1582. Customs brokers told the Guadalajara Reporter that they expected minor modifications to the reglas de operacion to be announced later this week, but that they would start accepting applications in Guadalajara next week.

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