How Much To Legalize A Car In Mexico

Importing a car into Mexico can be a complex process, especially for those unfamiliar with the country’s regulations. Understanding the costs involved is crucial to ensure a smooth and successful legalization process. This article provides a detailed breakdown of the expenses associated with legalizing a car in Mexico, including fees, taxes, and other miscellaneous costs.

Legalizing a Car in Mexico: A Comprehensive Guide – Fees

  • Import Permit Fee: The Mexican government charges a fee for issuing an import permit, which is required for all vehicles entering the country. The cost varies depending on the vehicle’s value and year of manufacture.
  • Customs Clearance Fee: This fee is paid to the Mexican Customs Service for processing the vehicle’s entry into the country. The amount is based on the vehicle’s value and the customs classification code.
  • Vehicle Verification Fee: A verification fee is charged by the Mexican government to ensure that the vehicle meets safety and emissions standards. This fee is typically paid at a designated verification center.


  • Import Duty: Mexico imposes an import duty on all vehicles entering the country. The duty rate varies depending on the vehicle’s origin, value, and type.
  • Value-Added Tax (VAT): VAT is a consumption tax charged on the purchase of goods and services in Mexico. It is applied to the total cost of the vehicle, including the import duty.

Other Costs

  • Transportation: The cost of transporting the vehicle to Mexico can vary significantly depending on the distance and the method of transportation.
  • Insurance: It is mandatory to have vehicle insurance in Mexico. The cost of insurance depends on the vehicle’s value, age, and usage.
  • Notary Fees: Legalization requires the services of a notary public, who will prepare and notarize the necessary documents. Notary fees can vary depending on the notary’s location and the complexity of the transaction.

Estimated Costs

The total cost of legalizing a car in Mexico can vary widely depending on the specific vehicle and the circumstances of the import. However, as a general estimate, the following table provides a breakdown of the potential costs:

Fee/Tax Estimated Cost
Import Permit Fee $500 – $2,000
Customs Clearance Fee $100 – $500
Vehicle Verification Fee $50 – $150
Import Duty 10% – 25% of vehicle value
Value-Added Tax (VAT) 16% of total cost
Transportation $500 – $2,000
Insurance $500 – $1,500
Notary Fees $100 – $500


Legalizing a car in Mexico can be a costly process, with expenses ranging from government fees to taxes and other miscellaneous costs. Understanding the potential expenses is crucial for budgeting purposes and ensuring a smooth legalization process. It is advisable to consult with a reputable customs broker or legal professional for personalized guidance and to minimize any potential surprises.


  • Is it possible to avoid paying import duty on a car? No, import duty is mandatory for all vehicles entering Mexico.
  • Can I import a car that is older than 10 years old? Yes, but older vehicles may be subject to higher import duties and stricter emissions regulations.
  • How long does the legalization process take? The legalization process can take several weeks or even months, depending on the complexity of the case.
  • Do I need to be a Mexican citizen to legalize a car? No, but non-Mexican citizens must have a valid visa or residency permit.

Closing Statements with Disclaimers

The information provided in this article is for general guidance purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The costs and procedures for legalizing a car in Mexico may change over time. It is highly recommended to consult with a qualified professional for the most up-to-date and accurate information.