What’s Needed to Buy a Car in Mexico

Regardless of how you’re here, a tourist or a temporary or permanent resident, you can buy a national vehicle in your name to get around. While there are many who say you cannot, the truth is you can in most states. Like each consular office asks for different paperwork, states in Mexico also differ when it comes to non-Mexican residents registering a vehicle in their name.

The key to doing so is having the correct identification.

Aside from your passport, the most important (and local) piece of identification you will need to have to register the vehicle is a CURP, something that as a tourist (or even temporary resident) you won’t likely have. It takes about one week to get the number after dropping off your request at INM.

Living Mexico: CURP What it is and how to get one

In the meantime, while you’re out car shopping, here is what you will need when you find something you want to buy:

  • The original sales slip for the car or the owner’s manual with the original sale documentation sticker. This proves that the car is not stolen.
  • Ensure the car’s VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) matches the VIN listed on the official sale slip.
  • If you’re buying new, Mexico cars do not have a title issued by the state. Instead, the original bill of sale or “factura” acts as title for the car. An original factura will be printed on dealership paper with an official Hacienda logo in the lower left corner. There, you will also find the dealership’s RFC number.
  • When buying used,check the back of the factura for handwritten proof of any prior sales or transfers of the vehicle.
  • The bill of sale will look something like this:

Cedo los derechos que ampara la presente factura a favor de (buyer’s name) por asi convenir a mis intereses: ” (Printed Name of Seller), Address, Date of Sale, and Seller’s signature.

It means: I grant the rights stated on the invoice to the (buyer’s name) because it is in my best interest to do so.

  • Vehicles newer than 2000 should also have a Constancia de Inscripcion Vehicular card  from Registro Nacional de Vehiculos that proves it has been officially registered in Mexico. This too, helps prove their not stolen. It costs about $500 peso to get one.
  • It’s also a good idea to check if the tenencia (taxes) have been paid on the vehicle. You can do that, and also see if it’s stolen, with the license plate and VIN (NIV in Spanish) here at Tenencias y Control Vehicular

When you find a vehicle that you want to buy, it’s time to change ownership. To do that, you will need to head to hacienda with the following:

  • original bill of sale
  • your identification (passport, visa)
  • comprabante domicil (a household bill such as Telmex, Telcel, Aguakan or CFE proving your address)
  • Your  CURP
  • the Constancia de Inscripcion Vehicular card
  • the last five tenencia receipts (the owner should have them. if not, take him/her to hacienda with you to get them because they are mandatory and the missing receipts cost money — make the car owner pay for them)

When you go to hacienda, you will need the original and at least one copy of everything, so be prepared!


I hope this helps get you up and running with a new set of wheels in your new home!