AMLO’s Fast Track to Nationalize “Chocolate” Vehicles in 12 Mexican States

In today’s article, I’m going to tell you about the presidential decree in Mexico that created an affordable fast track to permanently import vehicles from the U.S. and Canada into 12 Mexican States.

In case you were wondering, there are 31 federal states + Mexico city which is also considered a federal entity.

Permanently importing a used vehicle, also know as nationalizing it, into Mexico is not the easiest thing to do. The requirements are very strict in terms of the type and age of the vehicle.

For example, In most of Mexico, the vehicle will have to be either 8 or 9 years old prior to the year of import. That is a very narrow window. Also by law, the process must be handled by a licensed customs broker on the Mexico side. You will have to add their fee on top of the import taxes and additional fees.

Because of the bureaucracy and the costs involved in permanently importing a vehicle, many people elect to take their chances and just drive their foreign-plated car around Mexico without legally importing it. These cars are known as “chocolate” cars (autos chocolate).

It is estimated that there are around 18 million “chocolate” cars on the roads in Mexico.

The Decree That Created a Fast Track

The president of Mexico, commonly called AMLO, decided to address the issue and released a decree on January 19, 2022 that created an affordable fast track to nationalize these vehicles in 10 Mexican states. Subsequent rule changes increased this to 12 states – and here they are:

Baja California

Baja California Sur

Chihuahua

Coahuila

Durango

Michoacán

Nayarit

Nuevo León

Sinaloa

Sonora

Tamaulipas

Zacatecas

If you are not a lawful resident of one of those states, you will have to follow the standard procedures to import a foreign plated vehicle. I’ll do a separate article covering those requirements.

But even if you are a resident of one of those states, it still might not be able to register your vehicle. There are quite a few very specific requirements and here they are:

Requirements

  • The vehicle was manufactured or assembled in Mexico, the United States and Canada. The way to know is to look at the vehicle identification number – the VIN number. It must begin with one of the following numbers: 1,4, or 5 – United States; 2 Canada; or 3 Mexico.
  • The vehicle must be at least 5 years old prior to the year of the naturalization. I know that sounds odd, so if you are nationalizing it in 2022, it must have been manufactured in 2016 or earlier.
  • You cannot permanently import a luxury vehicle, sports car, armored vehicle or a vehicle designed to carry more than 10 people including the driver.

As far as the luxury vehicles and sports cars are concerned, they made a specific list of the ones that are prohibited and here it is:

Additional requirements:

  • The vehicle must be in good condition mechanically
  • The vehicle must have been brought into Mexico prior to October 19, 2021
  • The vehicle must be able to legally be driven on the roads in the country of origin and Mexico.

The decree does allow for the import of cargo vehicles with a total weight, including cargo capacity, of 5 tons or less.

How Many Cars Can I Nationalize?

You can only nationalize one vehicle under this decree.

How Much Does It Cost?

The total cost is $2,500 MXN. That’s it. There are no additional taxes or fees. And unlike with the standard nationalization process, you do not need to hire a customs broker to get it done.

What Are the Steps to Get It Done?

You will need to make an appointment online at the following link: https://www.regularizaauto.sspc.gob.mx/

Like many online appointment government portals in Mexico, this one was down when I tried to use to make this video. This is very common. If you can’t get it to work, go down to the place where you would normally register a car in your jurisdiction and try to make one in person.

If the portal is working,  you will need your CURP (alphanumeric population identifier), VIN number, zip code, email address and phone number to make the appointment.

At the appointment, you will be required to present the following:

  1. Document showing ownership – car title
  2. The vehicle you want to nationalize
  3. Official identification
  4. Proof of address, no older than 3 months
  5. Completed and signed form called el formato manifiesto: HERE IT IS
  6. Proof of an appointment to register the vehicle for the government program called REPUVE (this is normally done where the car is registered). Then you will get one of these stickers for your car later. REPUVE helps fight auto theft.
  7. Proof of payment of $2500 MXN to SAT

How do you pay SAT? You will need to go their portal and fill out an online payment form following the instructions contained in the following PDF:

SAT PAYMENT INSTRUCTIONS (PDF)

Well, heads up, in order to do that you will need not only your CURP, but your RFC. That is an alphanumeric tax identifier that I have talked about in several articles and videos.

If you don’t remember what your RFC is, or you need to apply for one, you can follow my videos on the subject.

Well, there you have it. That’s how you can get our car nationalized in the 12 authorized states. You might be asking yourself why they didn’t just change the import laws in the whole country. Honestly, I have no idea. It sure would have made things easier if they had though.


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