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Can you buy a motorcycle in Mexico on a temporary resident permit?

There is a lot of information about bringing your car into Mexico and renting cars, buying a car and changing plates available on the internet, but about buying a motorcycle there is not so much. Since I recently bought a motorcycle in Mexico I though I write something about that. 

All articles int he website are about my own experience in the countries I have visited. So it is like a life preview in a situation. This sentence also holds the disclaimer. For in the United Staes of Mexico, there is not one state that has the same rules and laws, except for the federal ones.

There are so many exceptions that what you experience in for example Quintana Roo, where I live at the moment, is not the same experience as what applies in another state.

But here in Quintana Roo, as a temporary resident it is possible to buy a motorcycle or a car but you can only register it IF you have a CURP number.

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My experience on buying a motorcycle in the state of Quintana Roo

There also is a tax you have to pay in the first quarter of the year that is quite substantial if you buy something with a value higher than 220K Pesos. If you buy a vehicle under the 220K it is zero or 500 pesos. There are categories. But more about that later, let me take you step by step through my experience of buying my motorcycle.

I went to see the dealer on Januari 19th 2021. That date is important for laws, if they change they change per januari first of a year. So I bought a motorcycle under the new rules for 2021.

I shopped at a dealer that claims to sell solutions in a land that creates problems. For officially you cannot buy a motorcycle on a temporary resident permit. You have to apply for a CURP number first.

If you are a permanent resident it is no problem at all, but the State of Quintana Roo has special rules that apply for temporary residents when it comes to road usage. A divers license for example is much more expensive for a temporary resident and has a clue of only 1 year. I know, stupid, but I am sure there is a logic behind it that is more sophisticated than just money. Although with the taxes and discounts to the taxes that only apply for permanent residents one has to doubt about that also.

Solutions, that is where I should continue my story. There is a solution for every problem, in Mexico there is too.

So I bought the motorcycle, I have a CURP, and I gave the dealer all my paperwork to get me plates. In another state, so I do not have to pay the vehicle usage taxes and pay a lot less. And a mean A LOT!

Within a week I ride a motorcycle officially registered in the Motorcycle Database of the Federal Government.

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Here is how to register a motorcycle in Mexico

Make sure you have done some research and know the process of buying and registering a motorcycle (or car)

You come up with all the paperwork for the plates, that might differ from person to person at the desk,   but on the website of the government I find this list:

  • Proof of ownership. ( a bill of purchase with all the specifications of the bike, if it is second hand you get the bill of the previous owner signed in the back)
  • Proof of address (water or electricity bill, this does not have to be in your name, if it is not they might ask for a signed document of the house owner stating you live there, if you live in that house officially registered at INM you can give photocopies of the letter if they ask for more proof, usually just a bill will do)
  • Original and Photocopies of your pasport and Temporary Resident Card (back and front)
  • Photocopy of your CURP number (read: How to get a CURP number)
  • Copy of your (Mexican) drivers license

Please note: In some States you need proof of insurance.

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How to register a Motorcycle in Quintana Roo?

If you want to do this all by yourself prepare for long waiting lines, be there early in the morning and bring a lot of patience. You have to pay the plates (308MXN price 2021 Quintana Roo) and the Circulation Card (106 MXN price 2021 Quintana Roo).

Step two is to pay for the ownership taxes, this is a form of road tax. For vehicles with a value up 50k pesos there is no tax. For vehicles in the price range from 50k to 221k Pesos there is a 500 Pesos tax and for higher it gets more expensive, the next category pays over 5000 Pesos tax, and so on.

There will be a listing at the office or it will be on the payments slip they provide you with.

You register the vehicle at the Instituto de Control Vehicular or any dependance of this office.

If you hate lines and long waiting hours just talk to your dealer, or your insurance person, they will know how to do it for you, just make sure not to overpay.

Mexico street safety

A few things to know about owning a motorcycle in Mexico

  • You need insurance if you want to travel outside the city or on federal highways, I was told that the legal amount of coverage should be at least 3 million pesos for third party liability. Insurance is based on vehicle value and offers also legal assistance. Make sure to read the fine print. Some insurances do not allow you to call or talk to the police when you have an accident, you have to call them first and let their legal aid handle all that. They will be on site with you.
  • It is illegal to alter government documents, a license plate is an official document. You cannot drill holes in it or put stickers on it or make any changes to it.
  • You can register a vehicle in another state, you do not need to register it in the state where you purchased it.
  • You cannot travel with a vehicle outside State borders without a license plate and a tarjeta de circulacíon.
  • The dealer will give you a document to use to vehicle without plates for the duration of 30 days within state borders

For renewal of your plates you visit this website. It allows you to create a payment order with which you go to the bank to pay before you collect your new documents.

Read: How to get a Drivers license on a temporary Resident Permit in Quintana Roo