This is a follow-up to Buy/Register car in Mexico.

The advice given in the answer to that question was to get a Mexico license, which I think was the correct advice, however we have been delayed in that so now need an alternative solution.

We have been in Mexico now for over 6 months, and the registration on our California plated vehicle is about to expire (and therefore also our insurance). The CA DMV will not let us register the car as we are not resident in CA.

We began the Mex driver license process not long after our residency was signed-off and we got our ID cards (which was mid-January, about 2 months after we arrived). Although we have started the process, we keep getting run around and being told different things, and the process is dragging. It didn't help that we had to move from one city to another (still in Baja Norte) and they made us start the process all over again!

So we are back to having to find a solution for a vehicle.

As a legal Resident (RT) in Mexico can we, with our NZ driver licenses and residency cards, purchase, register, and insure a car to drive in Mexico and occasionally in the US? Alternatively, are we allowed to drive someone else's Mexican car (registered and insured by them)?

I would prefer answers around the legality of it, as I have read many blogs and ex-pat type forums where some have said they've done it and others said they couldn't, but haven't had much luck finding if it's actually legal/allowed.

  • Hello, Midavalo. Have you been able to solve this problem?
    – Suncatcher
    Commented Jan 20, 2019 at 6:21

2 Answers 2


I haven't read/seen a source for this yet, but a lawyer friend of a friend has told us the following:

  1. I cannot own/register a car in Mexico without a Mexico driver license.
  2. I can drive a Mexican owned/registered car without a Mexico driver license (as long as I have a valid license from another country), and the owner's vehicle insurance will cover us

We have also been told that we can drive the Mexico plated car in the US as long as there is an insurance policy to cover the car for use in the US.


There are 'expediters' in MX who can assist you with registration of the car in other US states, including providing you with a mailing address in that state with notice forwarding to your address in MX. Ask around the expat community.

  • 1
    I have discussed this with a few people here, including some that offer this service for expats. I have been unable to use these services so far as I am not a US citizen - they require US Passport in order to register in some other state (such as South Dakota). I will continue to ask around, however this doesn't really answer my question about whether I'm allowed to drive a Mexican car.
    – Midavalo
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 3:23

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