I own a Mexican plated car though I am a US Citizen (I live in Mexico). I want to drive to houston TX

Are there any restriction I need to know about? Are the police going to keep stopping me? Or is this a normal thing to see around the states?

Thanks for any responses.

  • 2
    I suppose you know about inland Border Patrol checkpoints. As someone with a Spanish name driving a car with Mexican plates, you may meet some skepticism when you state that you are a US citizen, so having your US passport or other documentation of your US citizenship is probably a good idea. – phoog Mar 11 at 14:31
  • Are you asking about driving to Houston, and thereafter returning to Mexico (as a tourist, or to visit temporarily), or are you asking about moving to and living in Texas? You use the word "drive," but responders seem to assume to you mean "move." – DavidSupportsMonica Mar 11 at 15:49

Allthough it may differ a bit in different jurisdictions, the general rule is that for drivers licence and plates your main place of residence is what counts.

When moving to Texas you are generally required to exchange your

  • drivers licence within 90 days
  • plates within 30 days

So, as a resident of Mexico (i.e. not a resident of Texas), it might be considered strange if you were driving with a texan driver's licence and plates unless you fullfill one of the exception to these general rules.

Since Mexico doesn't seem to required an exchange of a foreign driver's licence while it is still valid, the combination of a non Mexican driver's licence and Mexican plates will probably be known to the Texas police.


  • 1
    With reference to the first clause of the first sentence, one of the jurisdictions where this differs somewhat is the United Kingdom, where the rules are (in my opinion) truly weird. I would also add that in the US as far as I understand it it's unexceptional for people who keep a vehicle somewhere other than their principle place of residence to register the vehicle where it resides. So a Texan who lives in Texas and owns a vehicle that is kept primarily in Mexico would be expected to have a Texas license and Mexican plates. – phoog Mar 11 at 14:24

You should be fine. I live in New Mexico and I see both Mexican and Canadian license plates on the road all the time. One thing to consider is if your drivers license is in Spanish you may have to get an international driving license in English, but since Spanish is common in the Southwest and Texas you might be OK.

Have a safe trip.

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