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Q

I just recently moved to McAllen, TX. I have a working visa for 3 years and I need to bring my cars with me from Mexico. Can I buy auto insurance? What are the regulations in this case? What do I need? How can I drive my car in TX without breaking the law?


A

In order to operate your vehicle in US, you must abide by the state laws of any States in which you live or pass through. Typically each state will require you to have a current Mexican driver's license, current Mexican license plates, and current vehicle registration at first. If the vehicle is not registered in your name, you should carry a letter from the owner authorizing you to use it.

Mexican citizens, who already have a visa and are planning to travel to the United States beyond the border area and/or for longer than 30 days, must obtain an I-94 permit at the port-of-entry from a Customs and Border Protection officer. The permit may be issued for a maximum term of 6 months and for multiple trips to the U.S. The issuing Customs and Border Protection officer will determine the exact conditions of the permit. The I-94 permit must be returned to a border port-of-entry upon or before its termination and the visitor's return to Mexico.

Check with the US Customs and Border Patrol for complete information about entering the United States and I-94 permits especially since you will be staying in the United States for over 6 months.

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A valid Mexican driver's license may allow you to drive within the United States for a certain amount of time but typically insurance companies within the US will require you to obtain a valid license from a State within a short period of time of starting up an auto insurance policy and may also require the vehicles to be registered in the State as well if that is possible.

The Texas Department of Public Safety states that those residing in TX have 30 days after entry into the state to secure a Texas driver license. You should contact the TX DPS to find out for certain if this applies to you and if so how to obtain a TX license and register your vehicle there if it is needed according to state laws.

The TX driver's handbook states when a nonresident owner or operator establishes residency in Texas or enters into gainful employment, his vehicle may be operated for 30 days thereafter, after which time the vehicle must be currently registered in Texas. To register his vehicle one must obtain a new Texas vehicle inspection certificate and verification of the vehicle identification number by a state-approved vehicle inspection station prior to registration.

The vehicle owner will then be provided the necessary form for processing the vehicle registration. Evidence of financial responsibility for the vehicle being registered must be presented at the time of registration. A new Texas resident must register every vehicle that he owns before applying for a Texas driver license.

As a Mexican National with a work visa you will need to check with the TX DPS to see what if these are these are the same steps you will need to take to legally drive and insure your vehicle in Texas or if there are different regulations for your situation.


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