Prior Permit Products


Basic information


Outline of the system

The import licensing system (prior permit) in Mexico rests on the premise that imports into the country are exempt from this requirement except for those products that are subject to prior import licensing (prior permit) by decision of the Ministry of the Economy (SE). In Mexico, the import licensing procedure (prior permit and) is based on the Foreign Trade Law and its Implementing Regulations as well as the SE's decision issuing general rules and criteria in respect of foreign trade.

The products subject to Mexico's import licensing system, identified by tariff heading, are published in the ministerial decisions issued by the SE and published in the Diario Oficial de la Federación (DOF), the national Official Journal of the Government of Mexico.

The import licensing system, administered by the SE, is subject to the opinions and recommendations of the Foreign Trade Commission (COCEX), which acts as a consultative body to all entities of the Federal Public Administration in matters concerning trade policy formulation and may hold consultations with the interested parties.

In order to ensure that the regulation containing the import licensing requirement properly identifies the regulatory impact, and the social benefits and costs that its implementation would generate, all import licences are subject to the regulatory improvement process in the National Commission on Regulatory Improvement (CONAMER). CONAMER conducts an ex ante analysis of the regulation that is to be issued with a view to ensuring the quality thereof, and the process is backed up by a public consultation, which gives it considerable value added.

Import licensing procedures are applied in an impartial, transparent and expeditious manner, and are administered fairly.


Product coverage

Used pneumatic tyres; worn clothing and other worn articles; diamonds, unsorted; diamonds, industrial, unworked; diamonds, non-industrial, unworked; Road tractors for semi-trailers; motor vehicles for the transport of ten or more persons; motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons; motor vehicles for the transport of goods; concrete-mixer lorries; chassis for motor vehicles; Gasoline, diesel oils, other hydrocarbons and petroleum products.

Nature of licensing



If Automatic, administrative purpose



If Non-Automatic, description of the notified Non-Automatic Licensing regime


Products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports

The non-automatic licensing (prior permit) regime is used by the Mexican Government to regulate trade in specific products, to protect consumers, public health and the environment, and to regulate trade in products in accordance with the provisions of the international treaties and agreements to which Mexico is a party.


Questions for products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports

Information regarding the import licensing system, time periods for application, administrative procedures and the formalities for filing applications applicable to each procedure, are published by the SE in the DOF. See Answers 6.1-6.11.


The system applies to products originating from which country?

The import licensing system is applied to products from all countries on a most-favoured-nation basis, except where licences are administered in accordance with preferential agreements.


Expected duration of licensing procedure

Eligibility of applicants


Is there a system of registration of persons or firms permitted to engage in importation?


What persons or firms are eligible to apply for a licence?

Any natural or legal person established in Mexico may apply for an import licence (prior permit) provided they meet the relevant requirements.


Is there a registration fee?


Is there a published list of authorized importers?

Contact point for information on eligibility



Secretaría de Economía (Ministry of the Economy), Dirección General de Comercio Exterior (Directorate-General of Foreign Trade)



Insurgentes Sur No. 1940, Penthouse



+52 55 52 29 65 99




Contact officer

Mrs Luz María Ortega Acosta, Director, Foreign Trade Instruments

Submission of an application


Administrative body(ies) for submission of an application

(i) Ventanilla Digital Mexicana de Comercio Exterior (Mexican Digital Window for Foreign Trade)
(ii) Ministry of the Economy
(iii) Public services counter of the federal office corresponding to the domicile of the production facility.

Documentation requirements


What information is required in applications?

Applicants for import licences (prior permit) must include the following information in their application:
- general data concerning the applicant (for natural persons, the Single Population Registration Code (CURP) and complete name, and for legal persons, the business name and federal taxpayers' registration), telephone, email, and domicile of the applicant;
- information concerning the product (new or used), the regime (definitive or temporary import or export), general data on the goods to be imported or exported (including tariff heading, quantity, value in dollars, country of origin);
- data concerning the legal representative or the person authorized to submit the application, domicile, date, place, name and signature of the applicant;
- the form includes a section in which any prior procedure may be mentioned if appropriate, as well as an annex in which the applicant may enter a list of headings, descriptions, values, quantities and codes.


What documents is the importer required to supply with the application?

The following documents must be attached:
- for legal persons: articles of association and amendments thereto, and the relevant powers of attorney;
- natural persons: original and simple and legible copy of valid official identification, proof of domicile;
- for both of the above: legible copy of the federal taxpayers' registration (RFC) and RFC code, and specific documents for each one of the products subject to the regulations.

Window of submission of an application


How far in advance of importation must application for a licence be made?

It is up to the interested parties to familiarize themselves with the tariff and non-tariff regulations applicable to the goods they are importing or exporting before they carry out their foreign trade operations.


Are there any limitations as to the period of the year during which application for licence can be made? If so, explain

The Government has not set any time-limit for the submission of applications for a licence. It is up to the persons in question to submit their applications at such time as their schedule of foreign trade operations requires them to do so.

Issuing the license


Can a licence be granted immediately on request?

It is up to the interested parties to familiarize themselves with the tariff and non-tariff regulations applicable to the goods they are importing or exporting before they carry out their foreign trade operations.


Can licences be obtained within a shorter time-limit or for goods arriving at the port without a licence

According to the time-frame set forth in the decision on regulations for each licence, the interested parties receive their approved licences once that have met the corresponding requirements, regardless of whether or not the goods have arrived at the port without a licence.


Which administrative body is responsible for approving application of licences?

Ministry of the Economy (SE)


Must the applications be passed on to other organs for visa, note or approval?


Are there any other conditions attached to the issue of a licence?

The issue of import licences is not subject to any quantitative condition or restriction.

Fees and other administrative charges


Is there any licensing fee or administrative charge?

Import licensing procedures are free: there is no administrative charge or licensing fee.


What is the amount of the fee or charge?


Is there any deposit or advance payment required associated with the issue of licences?

There are no deposit or advance payment requirements associated with a licence approval.


Amount or rate?


Is it refundable?


What is the period of retention?


What is the purpose of this requirement?

Refusal of an application


Under what circumstances may an application for a licence be refused other than failure to meet the ordinary criteria?

Applications for import licences must meet all of the criteria and requirements for submission. If an import licence application is not duly substantiated or is incomplete, it will be refused. The interested party may resubmit the application once the causes of the refusal have been rectified.


Are the reasons for any refusal given to applicants?

It is accepted once all of the inconsistencies – of which the applicant is informed in advance in a resolution issued by the SE via the Single Window – have been remedied.


Have applicants a right of appeal in the event of refusal to issue a licence?

Under Articles 85 and 86 of the Federal Law on Administrative Procedures, applicants may submit an appeal for review


If so, to what bodies and under what procedures?

Applicants may submit an appeal for review to the SE within a period of 15 days from the day following the entry into effect of the notification of the resolution in question. The document of appeal must be submitted to the SE, and the appeal will be heard by the supervisory authority.

In their document of appeal, the applicants must provide the following information:
- the administrative body to which it is addressed;
- the name of the appellant and of the injured third party where applicable, and an address for notifications;
- the measure being appealed and the date on which the appellant was notified or learned of the measure;
- the grievances;
- where applicable, a copy of the challenged decision or measure and of the corresponding notification. In the case of measures for which there has been no decision within the time-limit and which are therefore deemed to have been refused, either the written request for initiation of the procedure or the document on which there was no decision must be attached; and
- the evidence they are supplying that has an immediate and direct bearing on the challenged decision or measure, by attaching the documents available, including those certifying their standing if they are acting on behalf of another party or of legal persons.



Are there any limitations as to the period of year during which importation may be made?


What documents are required upon actual importation?

Once the import licence has been approved, the SE automatically sends all of the information regarding the approved import licence to Customs, and the applicant may use the licence immediately, without being required to submit further information.


Are there any other administrative procedures, apart from import licensing and similar administrative procedures, required prior to importation?

The importation of goods subject to an import licence (prior permit) is not subject to any administrative procedures other than the import licensing procedures described above.

Conditions of licensing


What is the period of validity of a licence? Can the validity be extended? How?

All import licences (prior permit) approved by the SE through a resolution carry a period of validity, which takes full effect as from the time of their approval. The validity of import licences may be extended provided that the criteria on which the approval of the original was based are still valid, that part of the quantity originally approved is still outstanding, and that the import licence has not expired.

The maximum period of validity for non-automatic import licences (prior permit) is one year.

The import licence that has been approved for a certain good may be extended at the request of the interested party, provided that the criteria on which the original approval was based are still valid, that part of the quantity originally approved is still outstanding, and that the licence has not expired. The request for extension must be submitted to the Single Window for foreign trade, and the time-limit for replying is 13 working days.


Is there any penalty for the non-utilization of a licence or a portion of a licence?

The interested parties may utilize an import licence in full or in part without any penalty for the non-utilization of the licence or a portion of the licence.


Are licences transferable between importers? If so, are any limitations or conditions attached to such transfer?

The SE approves import licences for applicants that fulfil the stipulated requirements and criteria. Consequently, they are personal and non-transferable between importers, since they can be requested by any natural or legal person without restriction.

Foreign Exchange


Is foreign exchange automatically provided by the banking authorities for goods to be imported?

There is no relationship between the import licensing system and the foreign exchange system.


Is a licence required as a condition to obtaining foreign exchange?


Is foreign exchange always available to cover licences issued?


What formalities must be fulfilled for obtaining the foreign exchange?

The following questions are only for products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports (whether applicable globally or to a limited number of countries or whether established bilaterally or unilaterally)


Where is information on allocation and formalities for licences published? Is the overall amount published? The amount allocated to goods from each country? The maximum amount allocated to each importer? How to request any exceptions or derogations from the licensing requirement?

To ensure that the information is made available for consultation nationwide by any interested party, both in printed and electronic form, it is posted on the DOF website ( .

This allows the governments of other countries and their trade representatives (chambers of commerce) to access publications on the import licensing system in Mexico immediately.


Is the size of the quota determined: on yearly, six-monthly or quarterly basis? Are there cases where the size of quota is determined on a yearly basis but licences are issued for imports on a six-monthly or quarterly basis? In the latter case, is it necessary for importers to apply for a fresh licence on a six-monthly or quarterly basis?

Not applicable.


Are licences allocated for certain goods partly or only to domestic producers of like goods? What steps are taken to ensure that licences allocated are actually used for imports? Are unused allocations added to quotas for a succeeding period? Are names of importers to whom licences have been allocated made known to governments and export promotion bodies of exporting countries upon request? If not, for what reason? (Indicate products to which replies relate)

Import licences approved by the SE are allocated to all natural or legal persons that need to carry out foreign trade operations. It should be noted that the SE approves all import licences for natural or legal persons that fulfil the administrative requirements for engaging in foreign trade operations

The elements used to ensure that approved import licences are effectively used for the importation of the products indicated in the SE's resolution are:
- import or export customs procedures;
- description of the goods;
- condition of the goods (new or used);
- tariff heading;
- quantity to be imported or exported;
- unit of measurement;
- value of the invoice in dollars;
- country or countries of provenance or destination.

The authorized quantities for each of the import licences that have not been utilized under the authorization that was granted cannot be cumulated for future licence applications.

Publicly available information on importers to which an import licence has been granted by the Mexican Government can be consulted by the general public or by other governments and export promotion bodies in the exporting countries through the transparency portal (


From the time of announcing the opening of quotas, as indicated in I above, what is the period of time allowed for the submission of applications for licences?

The due date is established as of the time of publication in the DOF of a ministerial decision providing for the allocation of an import licence. It is important to note that licence applications may be filed immediately upon entry into force of the corresponding provision.


What are the minimum and maximum lengths of time for processing applications?

Generally speaking, the time it takes to grant licences varies according to the type of licence, and ranges from 1 to 15 working days.


How much time remains, at a minimum, between the granting of licences and the date of opening of the period of importation?

Recipients of import licences may use them immediately upon issuance by the SE.


Is consideration of licence applications effected by a single administrative organ? Or must the application be passed on to other organs for visa, note or approval? If so, which? Does the importer have to approach more than one administrative organ?

All import licences administered by the SE are granted by a single administrative body, in this case the SE itself, so that the applicant only has to deal with a single focal point to obtain the licence in question.


If the demand for licences cannot be fully satisfied, on what basis is the allocation to applicants made? First come, first served? Past performance? Is there a maximum amount to be allocated per applicant and if so, on what basis is it determined? What provision is made for new importers? Are applications examined simultaneously or on receipt?

Applications are examined in the chronological order in which they are submitted. They are analysed, and approved in accordance with the criteria established in the regulations applicable to each product for which an import licence is required. It is important to note that there is no maximum limit on the amount to be allocated per applicant.


In the case of bilateral quotas or export restraint arrangements where export permits are issued by exporting countries, are import licences also required? If so, are licences issued automatically?

Not applicable.


In cases where imports are allocated on the basis of export permits only, how is the importing country informed of the effect given by the exporting countries to the understanding between the two countries?

Not applicable.


Are there products for which licences are issued on condition that goods should be exported and not sold in the domestic market?

Not applicable.