Renewing/Extending a Temporary Import Permit for a Vehicle in Mérida/Progreso

Now that my immigration status is squared away for the next three years, it was time to do the same for my truck with customs (Aduana). I could not find any current information on doing this in Mérida/Progreso. One thing I had really hoped was that I could do the renewal/extension at the Mérida airport, but information a couple of years old said you couldn’t then. I really didn’t have time to waste today so going to Progreso felt like the safest bet. Finding opening hours was difficult, but once I ascertained that I was looking for the hours of operation for SAT Aduana Progreso, I knew what to Google and came up with a page that had them opening at 9AM.

Going to Progreso was going to be a pain since there are detours around the Periférico bridge that goes over the Progreso highway. I didn’t want to give myself a ton of extra time as I’m on a super tight schedule this week, but I also wanted to get there and back as soon as I could. So I left around 8:20 and arrived at the very end of the pier at precisely 9AM!

The detour going north was no big deal — take the service road to the first roundabout and turn around to take the service road in the other direction. I knew the best way to get through Progreso and to the entrance to the pier. So with traffic being surprisingly light, I made record time. At the entrance to the pier I only had to give them my driver’s license for ID (they do not accept a passport).

When I went last year, the customs lady made two packets out of all the paperwork I had brought and gave me one for my records. So I replicated that packet exactly today and had three copies just in case. The packet had:

  1. A letter to Customs asking them to renew/extend my temporary car import permit to match the date on my new residency card. This letter also has a list of the attachments to my request and my contact information. The customs lady today was the same as last year and like last year she told me my letter was perfect. So if anyone wants a TIP renewal letter for customs, I have a template for sale for 5USD. Contact me for more details;
  2. A copy of the official permit page that originally had the windshield holograma stuck on it;
  3. A copy of my passport ID page;
  4. A copy of my letter from immigration granting me my visa renewal (for good measure, I added to that the letter confirming my appointment for fingerprints as proof that there is no way I could have met Aduana deadlines had they asked me to wait until I have my new card);
  5. Proof of residency (I brought internet, water, and power and they wanted the power bill).

There, I was asked to fill out a form as a cover letter, which just needed my name and address. The customs lady filled out the rest, including the purpose for the packet.

That was it! She told me to come back this Thursday for my “resolution,” which I expect to be like last year, a letter confirming that my renewal/extension is in the queue and how to check the progress of it over the next few months. I really don’t have time this week for a second visit to Aduana, but needs must!

Like last year, I did the whole process in Spanish, but unlike last year, the last thing the lady said to me was, “Please come back Thursday.” Yes, like that. In English. So reports that Aduana on the pier in Progreso do not speak English and are unhelpful are false. Arrive with your paperwork in order, make an effort with the local language, and I’m sure you’ll have as easy and pleasant an experience as I did.

The drive home wasn’t quite as simple. The detour at the Periférico bridge was messier and I ended up zig zagging through my maze of a neighbourhood rather than trying to get back to Calle 60. I arrived without any wrong turns — a huge victory!

Once I know that the renewal/extension is granted, I’ll renew my truck insurance for another year and get the quote for the muffler and AC work since I’ll know for sure that I’ll have my truck here for three more years. About this time in 2020, I’ll be contacting an attorney specialising in vehicle temporary import permits to determine the best and most convenient way to get Moya out of Mexico legally that doesn’t involve driving her all the way back to Canada. Bringing a vehicle in Mexico is a huge pain and I wish I’d had the budget last year to have things shipped here while I flew and bought a new vehicle in Mexico, but things were what they were. I’ll figure it out when the time comes because I always figure “it” out when the time comes!

Waiting

I got up at the crack of dawn this morning to finish a small job before going to INM. I would still have another big job to finish in the afternoon, but having one off my to-do list would make the afternoon seem less daunting. I got to INM at about 8:50 and was 16th in line for when they would open at 9:00. The people ahead of me were processed and funnelled in spurts and then it was finally my turn.

As I suspected, I was there to make an appointment to have my fingerprints taken rather than actually having the fingerprints taken.

As an aside, I was asked on my Facebook why they need new fingerprints. All I can say is that when I processed security clearances for the Canadian government, prints had to be retaken on occasion to make sure they were current. There is a myth that fingerprints don’t change, but they can if there’s sufficient damage done to a finger, and I’m proof of that. I had a very bad hand accident in 2004 that completely changed the print on my right ring finger. So I don’t think INM is being inordinately fussy and a request for current photographs is also no unreasonable.

What I did not expect this morning is that I would have to wait a month for that appointment! And from that appointment, it’s about another two to four weeks to get the card. That shouldn’t be a big deal, but it is because I cannot get my more than 500CAD refund until I actually get the card, and that’s a process I’m told could take weeks as well.

Now, if you’re much older than me and well off, please PayPal me 7518MXN before telling me, “Oh, it’s just pocket change” or “You shouldn’t be here if 500CAD is a lot to you” or other things that I’ve heard recently and over the years when I get a huge shock like this. I’m more than a bit sick of it. Yes, I earn more than enough to live here. Yes, I have an emergency fund (500CAD is a huge chunk of that emergency fund so what do I do in the meantime if there’s another emergency?). Yes, I am sick and tired of people who have never lived paycheque-to-paycheque telling me how I should feel about huge chunks of money disappearing from my cash flow, especially when it’s absolutely not something I could have accounted for.

Okay, rant over. *wry grin*

Rather than return home straightaway, I took a tiny bit of a detour to Paseo de Montejo to go to the bank. Then, I slipped into the Starbucks next door for an iced coffee, a huge treat at their prices, but this store always charges me for an equivalent-sized black coffee so it’s less of a splurge than at other places that have charged me for a fancy drink. I sat on a bench for a bit and watched the world go by. At one point, a car pulled up to the curb and the girl in the passenger seat opened her door… into a small fence around a tree. The thud was unmistakable and it was almost funny to see her slap her forehead in what appears to be the universal sign for “I’m an idiot!” There was a sizeable dent in the door. Yikes. 🙁

I then got on a bus by the Hyatt and was home quickly. My power bill was waiting for me and despite my having run AC in my bedroom at about 26C most nights for this billing period, my bill was only one measly peso higher than the last bill (just under 22CAD total for the bill!). So I’ll keep doing that. The drone of the AC is really good white noise and the temperature is comfortable enough that I’ve been getting really solid nights like I didn’t think were ever going to be possible in this house.

So with my power bill being consistently around 300 pesos, that means that at the current exchange rate, my utilities here (power, water, and internet), not counting propane, are only 79CAD. I paid 2CAD more than that just for internet at Haven. So that’s how I can justify the odd 36-peso trip to Starbucks!