"Mexico" Mike - Ex-media spokesman, Mexico Tourism Ministry. Named Mexico expert by NY Times, Wall Street Journal, TX Monthly, Guardian (UK), Mexico City News, Atención (San Miguel de Allende).
A tourist permit is not a visa, but most people refer to the FMM (it used to be an FMT) tourist permit as a visa, so I will call the tourist permit a visa too. But remember, an FMM (old FMT) is a tourist permit, not an immigration visa. If you neglected to turn your FMM immigration tourist permit (visa) or permit into Mexican immigration (Migracíon not customs or aduana) before leaving Mexico, you will have trouble getting a new immigration permit (visa) when you return to Mexico. I know. I got caught. I paid fines. So have lots of people.
Car permit regulations have changed many times in the past few years, but the procedure to cancel them is the same. If you don't cancel your car permit before it comes due, you will forfeit the bond you put down with your credit card - AND you still cannot drive a vehicle back to Mexico until you prove that you took yours out of the country.
Please do not write me and ask me to solve your problem for you unless you are willing to pay for my knowledge and time. I will not answer any questions about lost car permits for free anymore. I did this for years and now I need to take care of my family instead of strangers.
I have been abused by ungrateful gringos one time too many. Yeah, I used to help everyone without charge, but when people started taking their frustrations out on me, I quit. This information was hard to get and is a bargain at the price.The fee is in my web store. Link is above. Of all the people who have asked me to help them for free, the people with car permit problems have been the most ungrateful. It is not my fault you did not turn in your permit, sold your car in Mexico or gave it away.
If you didn't turn in your Mexican car permit to Hacienda or Banjercito (NOT immigration), then you will not be able to drive into Mexico again unless you straighten things out. Period.
Fines for failure to surrender your immigration papers (FMM) are steep -- about $1149 MXP (Pesos) for the first month (around $100 USD) and it goes up on a graduated scale from there (very roughly $600 MXP a month). Migracíon (Mexican immigration) has a pretty accurate computer. They caught me for not turning the FMT's in since 1996. Fortunately, Migracíon let me slide on all but the most recent -- a year old. The polite Mexican immigration official only wanted $2,000 -- US dollars -- from me.
Don't panic. Keep reading. I had to go back two times to find one Mexican immigration official who was willing to negotiate. For about $312, I got cleared. I know this because when I got my next Mexican FMM tourist card, the immigration official saw that the previous ones had been canceled.
The only solution is to pay the fine.
Hacienda (the Mexican treasury department) keeps even better track of your Mexican car permits. From a confidential source, I found out that their records are tied to your name, date of birth, immigration information and vehicle VIN. So basically, you are screwed if you try to bring another car in, unless you are lucky. Anyone who tells you that you can cancel them at a Mexican consulate is years out-of-date.
So, if you have the same vehicle and want to drive it to Mexico again, or ever drive another vehicle to Mexico, take the original vehicle back to the border and cancel your car permit.
If your car was wrecked or stolen, read on. I have seen Mexican-Americans fluent in Spanish (sometimes with a calcomonia or sticker on a piece of windshield from a wrecked car) argue with the officials at the border about canceling the permit. I always saw them leave without a resolution.
If you cannot drive back to the Mexican border or the car was stolen or sold in the USA, I can supply you with a working email for Hacienda that has some English-speaking operators. There is a procedure to take care of a lost Mexican vehicle permit, but it takes time - about six months. I charge a minuscule amount for this service. If your peace of mind is not worth that much to you, please don't write me. I have gotten irate emails from gringos who didn't turn in their permits and act like it is my fault. It's not. Knowledge is my product.
Befor you order - be aware that you may not like the answer, but I will give you the right answer. There are a lot of wrong answers on the Internet.
If you sold the car in Mexico, don't order the report as there is no way you will get your car permit canceled. You broke the law. If you had your car stolen for the insurance, ditto. If your car was legitimately stolen and you got a police report, there should be no problem canceling your car permit - but there often is. You won't know until you come back to the border and try to get a new permit, or order the report and ask the Hacienda officials about your record. It is up to you.
Please do not email me and ask for the information without paying.