Mexico-Border Crossing Information
While many people may know Mexico best for its beach destinations of Cabo San Lucas, Cozumel, or Cancun, it has much more to offer. Gorgeous beaches in Baja California and the Pacific coast, the spectacular canyons of Barranca del Cobre, the reawakening ghost town of Real de Catorce in the Northern Central Highlands, thriving colonial era cities like Zacatecas, San Miguel Allende, ruins from Monte Alban, Palenque, Yaxchilan, and Tulum, culture and arts in Oaxaca and San Cristobal de la Casas, you could spend months traveling Mexico and leave knowing there's still much more to see. Read more about border crossing here.
- Population: 109 million
- Capital: Mexico City, one of the world's most populous cities
- Fun fact: Mexico is a newly industrialized country
Border Crossing Information
- Vehicle Certificate of Title (commonly call a "title" which is proof of car ownership)
- Vehicle Registration
- Valid Drivers License
- Proof of insurance that is valid in Mexico
- An affidavit from any lien holders authorizing temporary importation (if you have a loan or lease on your vehicle)
- You will need photocopies of all these documents to hand over to the Mexican consulate, which you can pay for at the border. Making multiple copies of your documents is a good idea, see more tips under Planning your Trip.
- FMT: $22 American
- Vehicle Import Permit $30´Permiso de Importancion Temporal de Vehiculos´
- Deposit on valid credit card to ensure the car leaves the country or bond payment (see below)
Make sure to keep all papers and receipts associated with these transactions as they are all necessary to leave Mexico.
Overview: Temporary Vehicle Import Permit
Vehicle import permits can be purchased at the border, or beforehand at a consulate or online.
Getting your Vehicle Import Permit Online
Temporary vehicle import permits can be obtained on the internet at Banjercito's website. After submitting the required information to the website, you will receive a pass code. After 24 hours and within 15 days of obtaining the pass code, visit any Banjercito location to obtain the permit document.
Getting your Vehicle Import Permit at a Mexican Consulate
Additionally, temporary vehicle import permits can be obtained for $35 American at Mexican consulates in the following cities in the United States: Albuquerque, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Francisco, Phoenix, and Chicago. Temporary vehicle import permits may be obtained at a Mexican consulate up to 6 months prior to the trip. When obtaining the permit at a Mexican consulate, you may choose the date when the permit goes into effect.
Getting your Vehicle Import Permit at the Border
Permits can also purchased after crossing the border into Mexico. Using the above necessary documents you can obtain your FMT and vehicle import permits at the Aduana (Mexican Customs). All necessary payment of fees for this process occur at the Banjercito, located within the Aduana or immigration building.
No permits are necessary as long as the car remains within the border zone (within 18 miles of the border). Otherwise, the vehicle requires a temporary vehicle import permit (permiso de importación temporal de vehículosas) and any individuals traveling with the car need tourist permits or FMT.
If the title or car registration has any names listed on it of persons who are not traveling with you, you will need to bring a notarized letter from those persons authorizing the trip. If any lien holder is listed such as a bank or leasing agency, you will also need an notarized letter from that bank or leasing agency authorizing the trip into Mexico. This can make bringing a leased or loaned vehicle into Mexico difficult.
You will need photocopies of all these documents to hand over to the Mexican consulate, which you can pay for at the border. Making multiple copies of your documents is a good idea, see more tips unde planning your trip.If your vehicle is leased or you purchased your car with a loan, you will need to get an affidavit from the bank or company you got your loan or lease from. For example, if you have a leased vehicle from Volkswagen, you will have "Volkswagen Credit" listed as an owner on your title. Without having permission from "Volkswagen Credit" you will not be allowed to enter.
If you plan to drive a rental car into Mexico, you need to ask the rental company if you are allowed to bring the car into Mexico. Rental companies that do allow you to drive into Mexico often require you to buy Mexican car insurance through them at a premium.
To drive legally anywhere in Mexico, you need to purchase insurance from a Mexican insurance agency. If you do not have proof of Mexican insurance, you may be held in jail until all claims are settled. Insurance can be arranged in advance, or purchased at the border. If you are staying for more than a month or two it is usually less expensive to purchase a full year of insurance. See the Your Vehicle page for more information.
If you do not have a credit card you will need to post a bond for the value of your vehicle. For newer cars, this will be around $400 USD.
To drive legally anywhere in Mexico, you need to purchase insurance from a Mexican insurance agency. If you do not have proof of Mexican insurance, you may be held in jail until all claims are settled. Insurance can be arranged in advance, or purchased at the border. If you are staying for more than a month or two it is usually less expensive to purchase a full year of insurance. See the planning your trip for more information.
Border Wait Times
Check out border wait times on the US Customs and Border Protection website.
- Vehicle Title
- Mexican Vehicle Import Permit
- Receipts ´Recibo Bancario de Pago de Contrabuciones, Productos y Aprovechamientos Federales´
- Mexican tourist permit 'FMT'
Bajercito hours (in Mexico) M-F 8am-10 pm Sat 8am-5 pm Sun 9am-4pm
Canceling the Mexican Vehicle Import Permit and Tourist Permit:
After processing some information using your Vehicle Import Papers at the border, the aduana officer will inspect your car to make sure the VIN numbers on the car and documents match. The windshield vehicle import sticker will be removed, and the aduana officer should give you a receipt proving you canceled your vehicle import permission.
Returning the temporary vehicle import permit outside of Mexico
If the temporary vehicle import license is not returned at the border, it must be sent along with the following documents to the address below:
- Original temporary import license.
- Copy of migratory form issued by the Mexican Ministry of the Interior or Mexican Consulate or Immigration Officers at the border.
- Transit tag (hologram) that was adhered to windshield of vehicle.
- Copy of a valid driver’s license or password (Please write your address, name and sign the document)
- Original statement signed by owner requesting the cancellation of the permit. And detailing why the temporary vehicle import licence was not returned at the border.
- Notarized letter confirming that the vehicle is outside Mexico.
To: Administracion Central de Informatica, Contabilidad y Glosa Secretaria de Hacienda y Credito Publico Av. Hidalgo No 77, Modulo IV, 1er nivel Col. Guerrero Mexico, DF CP 06300
Tel: 011 52 55 5802 2069; FAX 011 52 55 5802 1293
AT'N LIC PEDRO G. JIMENEZ JIMENEZ Information from Consulado General en Mexico
People's experiences vary depending on crowds at the border, corrupt or honest border officials, and rules can also change. People's individual experiences are included in the Mexico-Additional Border Crossing Information page .
Camping and Hotels
You will find many options for RV and tent camping in Mexico. If you plan to do a lot of camping, especially if you have an RV, you may find the Traveler's Guide to Mexican Camping book useful. Most of the tourist destinations will have a selection of RV campgrounds with hookups.
Compiled here is are roadtripper reviewed hotels and campsites in Mexico.