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Return to US with expired US plate but valid TIP


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My car is legal on a TIP, however, my US state plate, Nebraska, is expired.  I would like to take it for a road trip up the west coast of the US.  I no longer have any place of residency in the US so can't get a new plate in Nebraska.

Does the Mexican TIP make it legal to drive in the US?

Will I have issues crossing the border to the US?

Once/if I can get it into the US will I run into issues with US police?

I know folks in the Ajijic area used to get new South Dakota plates without residing there.  Is that still possible thru any US state so that I can visit the US in my car?

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The vehicle is currently illegal to drive in the US, unless

- you may be able to get a temporary tag at the border when you enter the USA, (?)
- you can definitely just order (by mail) South Dakota title, registration, & tags.,  but you have to have some US address (family, friends, etc) for them to send the plates to.

The ladies in the Clay County Treasurers' office in SD are wonderful to work with.   You mail them your old Nebraska title,  and send forms that apply for a new title,  that apply for registration & tags, ... and swear that you do not live in a State that is contiguous with SD.

They legally provide the title, registration, & tags services, specifically for people who are traveling, and have no fixed US permanent address.

No emissions requirements ...  easy peas, but it can take them 3 weeks or so (?) if you do it all through the mail.

This website has the details, and pdf files of the forms you'd need:


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You should turn in your temporary import sticker at the border and get a receipt, in order to get your deposit refunded.  If you were to lose your car, or trade it, up north, you could not bring a replacement into Mexico.....ever.  Besides, it is the law. The sticker has no value in the USA, except to an illegal Mexican who might want to steal your car for a quick trip back to Mexico. That has happened; believe it or not.

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The problem with the OP getting a South Dakota title and plates is..... he said he no longer has a place of residence in the US.  South Dakota will not, to my knowledge and I get all my titles/plates there, mail to anywhere out of the country. Now they WILL send to a mail-forwarding address that is in the US and the recipient will sooner or later get the title/plates but that may not be an option for the OP.

If the OP does go this route, I would definitely drive to the border with the expired Nebraska plates and like RVGringo suggest, turn in/cancel the TIP and THEN put the SD plates on. Some may say this (driving with expired US plates in Mexico) is asking for at least a mordida problem but I personally would rather have that situation than driving with a TIP that says Nebraska when my car plates say South Dakota. YMMV

P.S. Getting the plates/registration out of SD (Clay County for sure) takes very little time at all. It is the Title that comes out of the State Revenue Office that takes 'forever' these days. But the OP only needs the plates and a registration card, even to get another TIP coming back into Mexico. The title will show up 'sooner or later'.

P.P.S.  If one crosses in Texas, I 'think' that, after crossing, one can drive directly to a Texas DMV office, tell them you are trying to transit out of Texas with an expired non-Texas plate, and they will give one a temporary plate. I have done this once before (and I'm STILL on their mailing list!) and had to tell them my exact route and time-table  driving through Texas. This may also be available in other states but I just don't have that knowledge.


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Your Importada Temporal ( TIP) is not specific to your license plates. It is specific to your VIN and the registered owner‘s name and passport & INM status.  So, you can change registrations & plates at will, as we did over the course of more than 13 years;  FL, TX, and SD.  No problems at all.

Note: No Mexican official or document recognizes the term, “TIP“, an English acronym invented by someone on this board, and it stuck.  Perhaps we should call it, “IT“, for Importada Temporal; but that would be just as useless in officialdom.

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