Guide to entering Mexico with your foreign vehicle
Summary of process
- Buy Mexican Insurance
- Purchase Tourist Card
- Obtain Temporary Import Approval (if Required)
*A carnet is not required to enter Mexico
There are many insurance companies online that can provide insurance for both US and foreign owned vehicles.
Most insurance companies will ask for the following:
- Proof of ownership (Vehicle Registration certificate)
- Vin Number
- Driving licence Number*
*Note an International driving permit is not required in Mexico
Third party liability, full comprehensive insurance & road side assistance can be purchased from any of the following:
- Baja Bound – http://www.bajabound.com/ provide insurance through ACE & EDI
- Sanborns – http://www.sanbornsinsurance.com/
- Mex Insure – http://www.mexinsurance.com/
- And many others……
*note it is recommended that you have a minimum of $300,000 of third part liability.
If you are traveling to Mexico as a tourist, you must obtain an FMT tourist permit. The FMT allows you to visit or make multiple trips to Mexico for a maximum period of six months (180 days). The Mexican Immigration official issuing the FMT has sole discretion in determining your length of stay and may ask you the expected duration of your trip. As a tourist, you are not authorized to conduct any type of business activity in Mexico.
The tourist card costs roughly $25 and can be purchased at the border.
Temporary Import Permit
The rules differ depending on where you plan to drive in Mexico; some zones (1&2) no permit while travelling to Senora or mainland Mexico. Outside of zones 1&2 will require a temporary import permit.
- Border Zone – within 25KM of the border (No Permit Required)
- The whole of Baja or Puerto Penasco (No Permit Required)
- Senora – (Senora only Permit Required)
- Mainland Mexico outside the above (Temporary import Permit Required)
Obtaining the Permits
Permits can be purchased at Banjercito offices. You will need the following:
- Your vehicle registration – The vehicle registration must be in the driver’s name
- A lease contract if the vehicle is leased or a rental contract if it is rented
- A Mexican tourist card or visa for travel in Mexico
This is the location of the Banjercito in Otay near the airport (The office has been moved from Tijuana in the last year) GPS 32.545750, -116.940556
Below is a map of the states with Banjercito offices. More information can be found here:
Or online (the permit is sent by post and may take up to 7 business days).
- You may request your permit 7 to 60 days prior to entering Mexico by vehicle.
- Once the payment has been accepted, they will send the permit to your address within 7 business days.
- Once you have received your permit, you must send a copy of the documents you provided during the application process in one of the following ways:
- Sending the scanned documents by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Through courier service to the following address: Av. Industria Militar 1055, Col. Lomas de Sotelo, Del. Miguel Hidalgo, México, D.F., CP. 11200.
- Delivering them in person to any Banjercito office.
- You may ONLY request a permit for a vehicle that is registered to your name or that of your spouse, your children, or your parents.
- You may NOT request a permit for a vehicle weighing more than 3.5 metric tons (7,716 lbs).
The cost of the permit is linked to the age of the vehicle:
Cost of Permits:
The permit costs just under $50 USD. You will also have to provide the refundable deposit detailed below. You can pay by credit card or cash.
Vehicle Year Cost USD
2007 & Later $400
2001 – 2006 $300
2000 & Earlier $200
Don’t forget to go to the Banjercito office for your deposit refund!!