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USA Export Requirements for Personal Vehicles

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USA Export Requirements for Personal Vehicles

Post by Playaboy on Tue Jan 13, 2015 6:24 pm

I just received a email from CBP with the updated Census requirements for exporting a car to Mexico.  It can be downloaded here.

Flyer Exporting Vehicles to Mexico

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Re: USA Export Requirements for Personal Vehicles

Post by Playaboy on Thu Feb 26, 2015 5:54 pm

If you don’t like what you are about to read, don’t shoot me I am just the messenger.  Below is contact information for you to direct your questions.
With all the discussions on web boards about car importing, brokers, facilitators, bad paperwork, and outright rip-offs, I tried to get to the real “legal” bottom of this mess.  I think I have had some success in getting information.  Six months ago I started discussions with executives at the Dept of Commerce, Homeland Security, CBP and Mexico Desk Officer, International Trade Administration.  
This is about USA laws and regulations, not Mexico’s.  I focused on the “export” issue.  The following are email discussions getting to the point.  
This was my initial official request for an “Advisory Opinion”.
.  

Issue

Do all vehicles imported into Mexico have to be formally exported from the USA?  Are there exceptions to the law posted at the CBP web page; http://www.cbp.gov/trade/basic-import-export/export-docs/motor-vehicle

Background

There are approximately one million Americans living in Mexico.  These expats residents of Mexico have to learn to abide by a completely new set of laws, regulations and customs in their new home.  As Americans, we still are subject to USA laws too.

Mexico requires foreigners to obtain permits to drive their foreign plated vehicles in the country.  These permits are usually issued for a period up to six months.  Because of a loophole in the Mexican customs laws, certain residency visas available in the past to Americans allowed them to keep their US plated car in Mexico beyond the expiration date on the permit.  Many expats were able to drive their cars with expired USA plates for years.

In 2013, Mexico implemented a massive overhaul of their Immigration laws.  Because of these changes, many American residents of Mexico lost the loophole allowing them to drive their cars.  They were to remove the vehicles from Mexico or if eligible to import/nationalize the vehicles.  Many of expat residents were caught off guard by these changes.  People were not sure what to do.
Facilitators, seeing an opportunity, have appeared out of the woodwork offering all kinds of solutions.  "100's of US-plated cars - previously taken into Mexico on a supposedly temporary basis, are being converted into a Permanently Imported Mexican vehicles via a “paper-only” process without ever going back to the USA border for formal export.  Other solutions have lead to many expats being ripped off for substantial amounts of money.
 



Question

When does one have to comply with CFR 192?  What are the consequences of not complying?  If someone has imported their car into Mexico and has not exported the car from the USA, can they come forward and retroactively comply?


This is the response from executives at CBP in DC.


In many cases, it sounds like these individuals should have formally exported the vehicles from the U.S. (i.e., they did not submit Electronic Export Information (EEI) via the Automated Export System (AES) (unless exempt i.e. valued under $2500) and did not present the title/ownership documentation to CBP prior to export).  Some of these vehicles have been in Mexico for years, but a loophole in Mexican law allowed the expats to drive the vehicles without being registered there.  Due to recent changes in Mexican law, the vehicles must now be registered in Mexico.  An individual residing in Mexico temporarily, such as on a work or student visa should contact the Mexican Embassy or the appropriate Mexican authorities to obtain their import and/or vehicle registration requirements.  

After further discussing this with our attorneys, we have the following responses to the questions---

1)    When is a vehicle exported?  
Pursuant to CBP regulations 19 CFR 192.2, the vehicle and required documentation must be presented whenever a person “attempt[s] to export a used self-propelled vehicle.”  “Export” is defined in 19 CFR 192.1 for Part 192 purposes as “the transportation of merchandise out of the U.S. for the purpose of being entered into the commerce of a foreign country.”  We generally do not consider Part 192 to apply when someone drives their vehicle foreign for a short period of time and returns to the U.S.  It appears that some of the vehicles in question were “previously taken into Mexico on a temporary basis.”  However, it also appears that many expats were able to drive their cars with expired U.S. plates for years.  If a vehicle is driven in Mexico for years, then we would not consider that to be temporary (unless subject to a work or student visa) in nature and, therefore, we would consider that to be an export under Part 192.  

Regarding the Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR) (requires the EEI filing via the AES), goods are considered exported when they are sent or transported out of a country.  See 15 CFR 30.1.  However, temporary exports are generally exempted from filing EEI if they are exported from and returned to the United States in less than one year (12 months) from the date of export.  See 15 CFR 30.37(q).

2)    Can U.S. expats who legally imported vehicles into Mexico in the past come forward now to fulfill the export requirements (submit EEI and present the title or other ownership documentation)? Individuals may choose to contact the closest port of export to inquire about explaining their situation and processing the vehicle for export.  However, penalties may apply depending on the circumstances. The violations occurred when the exporter failed to comply with Part 192 and/or failed to submit the EEI if it was NOT deemed a temporary export.  The regulations in Part 192 provide for a $500 penalty against an exporter who has exported a vehicle without complying with the regulations.  Under the mitigation guidelines, this penalty may be mitigated to between $50 and $250 for personal exportations.  For FTR violations, things are a bit trickier.  Under the FTR, a $10,000 penalty can be assessed for failure to file EEI.  Under the mitigation guidelines, these penalties can be mitigated to between $750 and $2,500.  

When the individuals contact the port to inquire about processing the vehicle for export, they may use my name or Tammy Golden as a reference if there are any questions raised about penalties and so forth.  Every situation may vary so we can’t use one answer to fit all situations.  We can review the circumstances of the case and assist the field with facilitating the decision if there are problems.  

Let me know if this helps or if you have further questions.

Carla D’Onofrio, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Program Manager, 202-344-1196

Tammy Golden, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Program Manager, 202-344-3804



To quote from Tammy “CBP regulations are CBP regulations and need to be followed.  The 12 month period Carla mentioned is under Census regulations and it is CBP’s responsibility to enforce Census regulations among others too”.  The CBP agency expects all (including personal cars for personal use) used vehicles that are out of the USA for a period of more than 12 months to be presented to a “port of export” (Border) for processing a formal export.  

This is the official USA CBP position.  If you have any questions contact the people above.

This does not have anything to do with Mexico importing laws and regulations.

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Re: USA Export Requirements for Personal Vehicles

Post by gringal on Fri Feb 27, 2015 10:46 am

If you happen to wander over to TOB today and look under the "vehicle importation" thread, you will find a long exposition from Sonia re the "campesino" program.  Mainecoons opened up the thread  for the occasion.

There are facts aplenty, so it's worth reading.
For one thing, it expounds on how the program was intended to provide help to the poorer segment in Mexico and apparently does many good things.  As in IMSS and Seguro Popular, they are not allowed to legally exclude expat participation in the program.

So, it's apparently up to the individual to sort out their own ethical attitudes about what can be done as opposed  to what should be done.........as in many other matters.

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Re: USA Export Requirements for Personal Vehicles

Post by Playaboy on Mon Mar 16, 2015 10:17 pm

Here is a brand new email address for all your USA CBP questions about your cars.  This is besides the names and phone numbers in my post above.


cbpvehicleexports@cbp.dhs.gov

Please share what you learn.

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Re: USA Export Requirements for Personal Vehicles

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