A lot of talk has been brewing online about the dangers of crossing the Mexican border with someone elses car. While its generally best to drive a car that is registered to you, its usually okay as long as the registered owner is at least in the vehicle. As it turns out, thats only the case when the driver has a U.S. drivers license. If the person who is operating the vehicle is a Mexican citizen, a lot of major trouble can ensue. This may sound like an idle threat, but the fact of the matter is that people have been detained and held at the border for this very reason. Learn more about this troubling situation by checking out the information below.
Think Youre Covered? Not so Fast
Mexican Insurance Store’s, Mexican Auto Insurance policies will cover a Mexican citizen driving alone if they are residents of the U.S., have a valid U.S. resident or green card and have a valid U.S. driver’s license while driving a U.S.or Canadian plated vehicle. If these requirements are not met, the coverage will usually be void.
Any U.S. or Canadian National may cross into Baja with a U.S. or Canadian plated vehicle. However, if a Mexican citizen crosses into Mexico from the U.S. driving a U.S. or Canadian plated vehicle and there is no U.S. or Canada citizen in the vehicle, there is some chance that Mexico customs officials will observe this and send the Mexican citizen to an additional inspection area. Upon checking documentation, if the Mexican citizen does not present the proper U.S. documentation, the vehicle may be permanently confiscated by Mexican customs with very little chance of recovery. In addition, the Mexico authorities may demand a huge fine of up to 80% of the vehicle’s market value.
The vehicle is viewed as “contraband” (goods entered illegally), it will be confiscated just like they would confiscate any other type of contraband. Being that it is illegal to bring contraband into the country, the guilty party will have to pay a very large fine.
A story recently surfaced online about a nanny who was held at the border for driving her employers vehicle. The nanny, who was a Mexican national, had the owners explicit permission to be driving his vehicle. In fact, the owner had insisted that she use the car on the weekends in order to go back and forth with ease. The vehicles owner figured that she would be good to go as long as she had her paperwork proving that she had his permission. He had the affidavit notarized; he also gave her photocopies of his own drivers license just to be safe.
Trouble Rears its Head
Despite having all of that paperwork, the nanny also had U.S. car insurance and Mexico insurance by Mexican Insurance Store, the federal border police took exception to the fact that she was operating someone elses car. They saw that she was a Mexican national and decided to stop her. Her employers vehicle was immediately impounded; even worst was the fact that she was detained, threatened and harassed. Her employer was only able to get her out and get his car back by paying a substantial fine.
This troubling story highlights the fact that strange things do unfold at the border. Even if a cars owner gives a Mexican citizen clear permission to operate his vehicle, she could run into major trouble at the border. If youre the type of person who always makes sure to buy Mexican car insurance, youd probably like to know how you can avoid this unfortunate situation. Based on what happened to that nanny, its clear that the registered owner has to be present, at minimum if a Mexico National is driving the vehicle. To be extra safe, the person who is driving a vehicle with U.S. plates should not be a Mexican citizen when crossing the border. Its clear that corruption still happens at the border as well; the best possible way to steer clear of it is by being as careful as possible about whos driving.