Can you drive your Mexican car into the US?

Posted By on July 1, 2015

Living in another country often brings with it many questions. One commonly asked question is if people living in Mexico can drive their vehicle into the US.

The answer is yes you can, and the process to do so is not that complicated. According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), visitors and nonresidents can import a personal vehicle duty-free for up to one year.  Both Mexican and US vehicles can be driven into the US, even if the US vehicle has been Mexican nationalized.

US border and customs agency

As long as the vehicle is driven across the border by the owner and it meets US safety and emission standards, you can drive it into the US. You can visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website for more information.

According to a US customs agent, US-made vehicles entering the US will need to complete an EPA Form 3250-1 and a DOT Form HS-7. Both of these forms certify that the vehicle has not been tampered with or had any modifications done to the safety equipment, US mandated pollution control or otherUS mandated features of the car.

Once you’ve completed the forms, they need to be submitted to CBP as you enter the US side of the border crossing. An agent will review your forms and inspect your vehicle.

Once approved, you will need to complete the US portion of the CBP Form 7501, which you will take with you to the auto registration office. The US border officer explained the process is generally quite fast and the best part, it’s free.

There are no import fees for a US citizen to import the same vehicle they previously exported to Mexico.

For more details you can visit the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website. There are also special requirement for importing a non-US version or non-conforming vehicle into the US.

You can contact both agencies directly:

The EPA form 35201 can be obtained from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPAwebsite.  You can also contact theEPA imports department at (734) 214-4100 or email them at imports@epa.gov. For additional information on importing a vehicle see www.EPA.gov.

The DOT form HS-7 can be downloaded from the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) website or by calling the Auto Safety Hotline at 1-800-424-9393.  The DOT number for vehicle imports is 202-366-5291.

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