Border Crossings in Central America with expired home country license plate/insurance

9 posts / 0 new
Last post
#1 Tue, 11/08/2011 - 17:10

Border Crossings in Central America with expired home country license plate/insurance

Hello everybody,

we have a question regarding the expiration of our home country insurance in November 2011.

We bought a car in Canada and had it insured for one year in British Columbia. This insurance expires at the end of November 2011. The date is shown on the rear license plate and on the registration papers. We are currently in Mexico and will enter Belize soon.

We are not sure if this will cause any problems when crossing the borders of the following countries:

- El Salvador

- Honduras

- Nicaragua

- Costa Rica

We know that we have to get local insurance when crossing the borders of some countries.

If anybody has any information about one of the countries or any experience and/or advise, please contact us as soon as possible.

Thank you so much in advance!


Wed, 11/09/2011 - 05:59

Ours expired last year and we

Ours expired last year and we are in Argentina and passed all the boarders No problem. just rip off the sticker and clean it up. if they don't see it they won't ask about it..

thats our experience so good luck.



Wed, 11/09/2011 - 08:30

same for US plated cars

We had an '08' sticker on our car for all of 2009 and no one said a peep all the way from Costa Rica to Argentina (granted, it was US plated car so we didn't have any such date on our registration) but they seem to not care as long as you have valid insurance for the country you're in. 

Wed, 11/09/2011 - 19:52

We drove from Canada all

We drove from Canada all through Latin America with our canadian registered car, and when our registration expired (about six months into our two year dive) we left the expired stickers on the plate, we didn't have any trouble when we were driving throughout 2008-2010. I'm not sure that the officials knew what the stickers signified, (and our response should we have had to explain would have been some bs about the purchase date of the car or our lucky marriage numbers ect...)

We did however, use photoshop to change the expiry dates on our registration paper and printed out a good quality colour copy on heavy paper stock and were never questioned about it. This would seem a little shady to our north American sensibilities but there is no way to renew your registration outside of Canada and this was how we delt with it.

Send me an email - [email protected] if you need some help.

Good luck.


Thu, 11/10/2011 - 16:56

Thank you all very much for

Thank you all very much for your feedback, we appreciate it. Tom, I will contact you in case there are more questions! Thanx!

Sun, 11/13/2011 - 16:40

Crossing to Belize

Hey there guys,

I am in Merida Mexico now and expect to be leaving in a couple weeks into Belize (visiting Tulum first) to complete the Central America leg.  Would be great to meet other roadtrippers along the way if you guys are around....if so, let me know, and hope your trip is going great!!


Mon, 11/14/2011 - 04:03

hi mark, when you going to

hi mark, when you going to get your blog up want to check out your progress


Tue, 11/15/2011 - 12:13


Been thinking about this issue, since we have been seeing a lot of europeans in the western national parks, and the few we talked to, said their plates are expired in europe, but obviously USA cops have no way to check. Presume the same thing would be for US plates in South America. But the question is if you will get into trouble with your state DMV for letting your registration expire, or when you come back with the car to the US. In most states you get into trouble for driving with expired tags, and in MD the law says you have to return your plates when you cancel your insurance, or registration is expired, and insurance wants to know that your car is registered. Not sure if having a lapse for say 6 months in registration, and then registering online right before crossing back would warrant any fines.

Wed, 11/16/2011 - 08:16


We had our car registered in California, and when it was out of the country we had a 'Planned Non-Operation' registration - so our registration never exactly expired, but we weren't allowed to drive it in the US (or ostensibly anywhere else, but no one could check outside of the US).  When we got back to the US we switch from the Planned Non-Operation back to regular registration.  We didn't need to return our plates so we didn't have to deal with that.  I think in the US it depends stateby state on the rules, so I would check with your specific state.