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  1. Default Miami to San Diego with a twist

    I am a non-US resident planning to ship my car (foreign plated) from abroad into Miami late summer then drive to San Diego. So far so good. I then plan to leave the car in SD with relatives, return within 12 months , drive across the border into Mexico and re-enter USA, thereby conforming with the 12m max stay regs for temporay car import (as I understand them). My question - is this legal, feasible and repeatable on an indefinite basis?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Clearly

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    You are asking the wrong people. You need to contact the nearest United States and Mexican consulates and explain to them exactly what you're planning to do and ask them whether what you're planning is legal or advisable. Taking and acting on anonymous advice from a website is a sure fire way to get into trouble. I will tell you that I am dubious about your prospects both because you are admittedly trying to circumvent American law and because it can be difficult for U.S. citizens to cross into Mexico in U.S. registered cars without the requisite paperwork and insurance coverage issued by a Mexican underwriter.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default unlikely

    I completely agree with Buck that this is the sort of question that you need to get an official legal opinion on, not just random advice from the internet.

    Having said that, I'd say the odds of your plan working are slim. If you were traveling on the Visa Waiver Program and you briefly leave the US by heading into Mexico or Canada, your "clock" keeps ticking and you do not get a new 90 days once you reenter the US. I would think that the laws for dealing with a car in your situation would be similar, and you would not get a new 12 months just for leaving the US by driving across the Mexican border. Not to mention, I have to imagine you'd be dealing with a whole other set of paperwork to legally drive a non-north american car into Mexcio.

  4. Default Miami to San Diego with a twist

    My thanks to both contributors. The American consulate is is unable to give me a definitive yes or no (!), other than to comment that as a non-US citizen driving a non-US reg car with the vehicle leaving US territory within 12 months of entry, a re-entry of the same vehicle whether the next day, week or year does not appear to infringe any current legislation (ie the clock is reset). Perhaps more relevant is the sheer hassle of a Mexican border crossing!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default guessing is not your friend

    I will say that the lack of a clear answer at this point is not helpful or something that you should assume is a positive.

    The fact is, once you leave the US, it will be the Border and Customs pure decision on whether you are allowed to return. If they believe that you are in violation, they and and will refuse your attempt to reenter the US, leaving you stuck in Mexico with your car.

    I will also say that it is entirely possible that when you first arrive in the US with the car, if you do not have a plan to ship your car out within 12 months, they may deny your temporary permit, and force you to ship the car back immediately at your expense or allow you to bring it in, but force you to pay importation taxes as if it is was coming here perminantly.

    The fact is with something like this, firm answers are the only ones that matter. That means you may have to spend a lot of time working through red tape until you find someone who knows for sure, but that is really your only option.

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