Last Update 17 January 2012
For registration and license plates for foreign cars, México is divided into two parts:
1. In both Baja states, you are not required to have a temporary import permit, but your foreign registration and plates must be kept current.
2. In the rest of México (often call the main land), you must have a temporary import permit, but your foreign registration and plates do not have to be kept current -- expired plates are OK.
While living in México with expired plates is OK, these old plates will make driving back into the USA a real problem. If you plan to drive NoB from time to time, you will need current registration and plates. This may be easier said than done if your old state requires periodic safety or emissions tests, as most states do now. Having to return each year for this chore may be too demanding in both time and money.
There is a solution. South Dakota allows non-residents to title and register cars, trucks and RVs without ever having to set foot in the state -- all done by mail. And they do not have required testing. You will need a mailing address in the USA to which they will send your new title, registration card and plates.
General instructions are here.
You can apply in any county in the state, but Clay county has made the process very easy.
Clay County Treasurer
211 W. Main St., Ste. 201
Vermillion, SD 57069
Phone (605) 677-7123
You will need to send:
Look at the form before you call. There are some items on the form that you may have to ask about.... such as "Type of Owner" and "Customer Type", etc.
You must list a USA address where the plates and title will be sent. You should receive the plates in a few days. The new title will take a couple of weeks as it has to come from the State not the County.
Renewal information is on the Clay County webpage. In the left sidebar, click on Treasure's Office and scroll down.