IMPORTANT: Make sure you have Mexican
Auto Insurance when driving into Mexico - the
Mexican government (and police) do not recognize policies written by
American Insurance companies, even if that policy has "Mexican"
Here are a couple of steps you need to take when you decide to drive
across the border into Mexico. If you abide by these rules, you'll be
making sure you can legally take your trip to Mexico by car. This
information was last checked in May, 2010.
If your travel is within the Border Zone
(usually up to 20 kilometers south of the U.S.-Mexico Border) or the Free
Trade Zone (including the Baja California
Peninsula and the Sonora Free Trade Zone)
there are no procedures to comply with. However, if you wish to pass
these zones, the following procedures will apply. You must secure a
permit by following the next few steps.
One: Collect your documents
Bring the original plus two(2) copies of the following documents:
- Valid proof of foreign citizenship
(passport, birth certificate or voter registration card ).
- The appropriate immigration form
(tourist card). learn about visa options
Note: Note: When entering Mexican
territory, you must first apply for a tourist visa at the National
Institute of Migration. Your vehicle permit will be issued for a period
equal to that of your tourist visa.
- The valid vehicle registration
certificate, or a document, such as the original title that certifies
the legal ownership of the vehicle. It must be in the driver's name.
- Credit contract from the financing
institution or an invoice letter with a validity not older then 3
months (if the vehicle is not paid off).
- The leasing contract (if the vehicle
is leased or rented) which must be in the name of the person importing
the car. If the vehicle belongs to a company, present the document that
certifies the employee works for the company.
- A valid driver's license, issued
- An international credit card, also
issued outside Mexico (Visa, MasterCard or American Express), in the
name of the driver of the vehicle.
Two: Go to the Customs Office at the border
To acquire a permit drive your vehicle (including RV's) to a Mexican
customs office at the border: at the border crossing, go through the Declarations
Lane. Look for the "Modulo de Control Vehicular"
where you will present your documents.
All documents and the credit card must be in the name of the owner, who
must also be in the vehicle when crossing the border.
The process will be much simpler if you use a credit card to post the
required "return guarantee" bond. If you do not have a credit card (or
a Visa/Mastercard check card) you must get your temporary permit at the
border module by leaving a guarantee deposit, total amount is based on
the model year of the vehicle, see below.
ALTERNATIVE PROCESS: You may also opt
to pay this fee and obtain the certificate in advance at certain
authorized Consulates of Mexico
for US$36.00, currently listed as the following--
ARIZONA: Phoenix; CALIFORNIA: Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Bernadino;
COLORADO: Denver; ILLINOIS: Chicago; NEW MEXICO: Albuquerque; TEXAS:
Dallas, Houston, Austin, Fort Worth
Please check with the specific Consular office to make sure the they do
have the necessary Banjercito Module/Desk. The filing of the documents
at these locations needs to be done well in advance of your plans to
drive into Mexico.
Three: Pay the certificate fee and bond deposit
Pay the certificate fee (not returnable). At the border, your
international credit card will be charged an amount in national
currency equivalent to US$27.00 to the Banco Nacional
Pay the "guarantee return of the vehicle to USA territory" bond via
credit card, according to the schedule below.
be issued your documents, which completes the process for acquiring the
certificate. Keep in mind the full process is not completed until you
return the certificate upon heading back into the United States, see
|2000 to present
|From 1995 to 1999
|Models older than 1995
Paying In Cash
If you wish to pay with cash, please take into account that you will be
charged a deposit amount in addition to the service fee for the
issuance of the Temporary Import Permit. This deposit will be
reimbursed to you when returning the vehicle to the country of origin,
as long as this is done within the time period established in the
This option is only valid at the border. The service fee is 29.70 USD
plus the return guarantee. The amount of the return guarantee is
determined according to the vehicle’s date of manufacture (see above).
Regarding load capacity and importation of
a) The maximum load capacity for a temporary vehicle import is 3.5
tons, not including the weight of the vehicle.
b) You may tow with your vehicle one to three motorcycles, beach cars
or dune buggies, or four-wheel motorcycles or ATVs, equivalent to the
number of people traveling inside the vehicle. You must be able to
provide proof of ownership for the vehicles being transported and they
must be returned along with the towing or transporting vehicle.
Four: Returning the certificate
Upon your departure from Mexico back to the U.S., and if the vehicle is
not going to be driven back into Mexico, the permit for temporary
importation must be cancelled at Customs.
The original bond posted for the return guarantee will be returned to
you at this time. That's all there is to it. Follow these simple steps
and you shouldn't have any problems.
However, please remember, if your car is
found in Mexico beyond the authorized time, or without the appropriate
documents, it will be immediately confiscated. You will also forfit the
To Commonly Asked Questions
1) The temporary
authorization for the importation of vehicles is valid for any type of
vehicle weighing under three tons for periods up to six months (180
2) The temporarily imported
vehicle may be driven across the border multiple times during the
3) Always carry with you the
importation permit when driving your car in Mexico. Do not leave this
document in the vehicle; it is indispensible in the case of damage,
theft, or accident.
4) The sale, abandonment, or
use of the vehicle for financial gain will result in its confiscation.
5) The vehicle temporarily
imported by the owner may be driven in Mexico by the spouse or adult
children, as long as they have the same immigration status. Other
persons may drive the vehicle as long as the owner is in the vehicle.
of Operation for the Banco del Ejercito banking
module at the following border points:
Arizona Border Points
Prieta......All week, 24 hrs.
Naco......All week, 8:00 am to midnight
Nogales......All week, 24 hrs.
San Luis Rio Colorado......All week, 24 hrs.
Sonoyta......All week, 24 hrs.
California Border Points
week, 24 hrs.
Otay Mesa......10:00 am to 6:00 pm
Tecate......All week, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm
Tijuana......Mon-Fri, 8:00am to 10:00 pm, Sat, 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, Sun,
12:00 noon to 4:00 pm
Texas Border Points
Acuna......All week, 24 hrs.
Ciudad Juarez......All week, 24 hrs.
Ciudad Miguel Aleman......All week, 24 hrs.
Columbia......Mon-Fri, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
General Rodrigo M. Quevedo......All week, 24 hrs.
Matamoros......All week, 24 hrs.
Nuevo Laredo......All week, 24 hrs.
Ojinaga......Mon-Fri, 7:30 am to 9:00 pm, Sat, 7:30 am to 4:00 pm, Sun,
8:00 am to 4:00 pm
Piedras Negras......All week, 24 hrs.
Reynosa......All week, 24 hrs.
The state of Sonora operates a program known as "Sonora Only". Designed
for visitors staying in the state of Sonora, the program eliminates the
need for a credit card and waives the $11.50 fee. In addition to normal
proof of citizenship documents (needed by all visitors to Mexico's
interior) "Sonora Only" visitors need only present a valid
drivers license and proof of ownership or legal possession by the
driver. Legal possession can be proven with one or more
of the following documents:
- Vehicle registration (in the name of the
driver) or original title
- Lease contract (for leased vehicles)
- Proof of labor relationship between driver
and car owners (for company-owned vehicles)
- Notarized permission from the leasing
company or bank (if money is still owed on the car) giving owner
permission to take the vehicle to Mexico.
Permits are valid for 180 days and may be obtained at the check point
at Kilometer 21, south of Nogales on Highway 15. If you are entering
from another border crossing, please call 1-800-4-SONORA. Permits
must be returned to this check point within the allotted six-month
U.S. & Canadian auto insurance is not valid
in Mexico. While Mexican auto insurance is not mandatory, it is highly
If you are in an accident or other vehicle-related problems and you do
not have insurance, you may be arrested and your vehicle impounded
until the authorities can figure out the situation. It is possible that
your current insurance company might have a separate plan available for
international coverage. Here are some insurance companies which allow
you to buy insurance over the phone, fax or Internet.
the Mexonline.com Directory of Insurance Agencies
information about traveling into Mexico
of the Mexican