The meeting this Wednesday in Nuevo Vallarta about immigration and how vehicles and FM3s and other visas are related stirred up a rather large dustup.
Here are some brief clarifications to the original blog, based on information from the powerpoint and Q & A that was just sent out by the Embassy following the meeting:
* First, according to the Question and Answer session information from the meeting: “For a permanent importation according to this year’s NAFTA regulations the vehicle must be at least 6 years old (please contact your customs authorities).”
Earlier it was reported that the opposite was true. So, your vehicle must be six years or older, and cannot have the letter "J" as the first letter of your VIN number (because it was manufactured in Japan and not eligible for importation).
* Second, although several people reported that the new vehicle rules require that you get your vehicle imported within 60 days of getting your renewed FM3, the published Q & A does not have any time frame information included. So we're still researching how long we have to get our truck imported. Or get it out of the country. We did read that there will not be a 'grace period'. But not how long we have to resolve it legally. Stay tuned.
* Third, the question of “where” you can import your vehicle was answered this way: “ You must always contact a registered customs agent for any permanent importation at the northern border or maritime terminal if the vehicle came by sea into Manzanillo or Cancun.”
Reading all the documents so far, it sounds like we would have to drive our truck back to our point of origin when we first arrived in Mexico (Nogales, for us), have our current import sticker legally removed (the one that is currently attached to our FM3). Then we would have to start the importation process.
From the documents we've received, it definitely sounds like no foreign-plated cars will be allowed in Mexico for longer than 180-days without being imported, and importation has to happen at the border.
You can still get the 10-year importation for boats and RV's.
Perhaps the customs regulations will evolve to allow us to import without going back to the border since so many gringo vehicles will be impacted. Unfortunately, Michael and I are about to receive our new resident visa card and might have to drive the truck out just because we're renewing at the beginning of the process, before anyone knows quite how it will shake down.
We'll continue to update as we work on our specific case. Love to hear from anyone who is even earlier in the process than us.