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Mexico Vehicle Permits

Home >> Mexico Information >> Vehicle Permits
Mexico has very strict rules regarding the entry of foreign motor vehicles. Travellers are allowed to bring only one vehicle into the country at a time. Those travelling with a recreational vehicle are not entitled to tow a second vehicle, unless it is registered in the name of an accompanying traveller. It is the owner's responsibility to obtain a Temporary Vehicle Importation Permit (solicitud de importación temporal de vehículos) at the customs office at the U.S.-Mexico border or, in some cases, within 30 km of the authorized border zone (zona fronteriza). Travellers should ensure that they obtain a permit upon entry and cancel this permit before exiting Mexico. Watch for signs indicating customs checkpoints and Banjercito Bank locations (where permits can be issued and cancelled). Do not proceed to the interior of Mexico without having obtained the proper permit. Travellers without a vehicle importation permit may be incarcerated, fined and/or have their vehicles seized at immigration/customs checkpoints.

What do I need to apply for a Mexico Vehice Permit
When applying for the Temporary Importation Permit, present the original plus two(2) copies of all documents. Originals will be returned. While in Mexico, other persons are allowed to drive the car only if the permit holder is in the car with them. The fee for the Temporary Importation Permit is US$34 plus local tax, which is not refundable. In addition to the fee, tourists are required to leave a guarantee in any of the following forms:
• Valid proof of citizenship (passport or birth certificate).
• The appropriate immigration form (tourist card).
• 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.
• 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 outside Mexico.
• Make sure you have Mexican Auto Insurance, from a reputable company like Mexbound.com.
• An international credit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diner's Club). The credit card must be in the name of whoever is listed on the vehicle registration
• Go through the "Declarations Lane" and stop at the customs office when crossing the border. Look for a "Modulo de Control Vehicular". All documents and the credit card name must be in the same name as the person driving the vehicle across the border.

Requirements for a temporary vehicle importation permit are the same for both regular vehicles and recreational vehicles. Travellers should contact the Embassy or Consulate to verify the latest regulations regarding recreational vehicles. Large trucks require an additional permit.

In addition to immigration requirements, in order to secure the aforementioned permit, those bringing the vehicle into Mexico, must show the title or registration of the vehicle under the name of the importer of said vehicle. If the vehicle is a rented vehicle, the importer must show the rental contract under his/her name. If the vehicle is owned by a corporation, the importer must show proof of his/her employment with such corporation (a letter from the corporation authorizing the employee to drive the vehicle into Mexico would be acceptable). If the car is owned by a relative, the person driving the car must have documentation to prove the relationship, such as marriage or birth certificates. Motorcycles, cars and trucks weighing less than 3.5 tons may be imported temporarily. RV's are also allowed regardless of their weight

 

Cost of a Mexican Vehicle Permit
There are two forms of payment for a temporary importation permit:

First way to pay
Through a cash security deposit plus a US$24.20 non-refundable processing fee.

Vehicle's Model Year   Cash Deposit
1999-2006 U.S. $400.00
1994-1998 U.S. $300.00
1993 and older U.S. $200.00

The security deposit will be refunded in cash at the Banjercito office when leaving Mexico, if the vehicle is leaving the country within the authorized period. If an importer takes the vehicle to the Banjercito office after the permit has expired, the security deposit will not be refunded. In this case, the importer will only be allowed to drive the vehicle out of the country.

Banjercito Hours of Operation

California Border Points Arizona Border Points Texas Border Points
• Mexicali - All 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
• Agua 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.
• Ciudad Acuña - All week, 24 hrs.
• Ciudad Juarez - All week, 24 hrs.
• Ciudad Miguel Alemán - 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.

Second Way to Pay
Through the importer’s personal credit card (Visa, Master Card or American Express). A one-time only processing fee of US$24.20 will be charged to the credit card. The entire importer’s personal information will be recorded (including PPT number and Visa details). In the event that the vehicle is not returned to the U.S. and/or Banjercito does not record the departure of said vehicle, no fine will be assessed but, the importer will no longer be able to request another permit for any other vehicle ever. The latter also applies to those who import their vehicles through a security deposit.
Importers will also be required to sign a letter (available in Spanish and English), in which they commit themselves to drive their vehicle out of Mexico within the authorized period. The letter also describes the applicable sanctions for any overstay.

Carry this permit with you at all times! It is valid for periods up to six months. The vehicle may be driven across the border multiple times during the authorized period of the permit. Other persons may drive the car as long as the owner is in the vehicle. If any authority stops the importer and the permit for the vehicle has expired, the applicable penalty will be permanent seizure of the vehicle, plus fines, which may range from $200 to $500 US.

If you wish to authorize another person to drive your car, record the authorization with Mexican officials when you enter Mexico, even if you expect to be a passenger when the other person drives. Do not, under any circumstances, allow an unauthorized person to drive the vehicle when the owner is not in it. We caution American citizens not to loan their vehicles to Mexican citizens resident in Mexico (even when driving in the Border Zone). Your vehicle would be subject to seizure by Mexican authorities and such person would have to pay a fine amounting to a substantial percentage of the vehicle’s value. If confiscated, your vehicle will NOT be returned.
Importers may obtain permit extensions for their vehicles only when the vehicle has to be repaired or it has been involved in an accident, and the permit's expiration date is near. In such a case, the person that brought the vehicle into Mexico may take the vehicle to the garage of their preference and inform the nearest Mexican Customs office, where they will receive information on how to request an extension from Banjercito. An invoice from the garage will be required, and such an invoice must include the garage Taxpayer ID number printed on it.
If any person bringing a vehicle into Mexico encounters any problems, or if they were treated improperly, they may submit a complaint at any office of SECODAM (Mexico's Department of the Comptroller) located at all border crossings, or they can call toll free from the US or Canada to 1 888 594-3372, or within Mexico to 01 800 001-4800.

How to cancel a Mexico Vehicle Permit
Upon your departure from Mexico, and if the vehicle will not be driven back into Mexico, the permit for temporary importation must be canceled at Mexican Customs. If these steps are carefully followed, there should be no problem bringing your car to Mexico. Remember, if your car is found in Mexico beyond the authorized time or without the proper documents, it will be immediately confiscated. Also, the sale, abandonment, or use of the vehicle for financial gain will result in its confiscation. Travelers are advised to consult with the nearest Mexican Consulate in the U.S. for additional detailed information prior to departing the U.S. To have the refundable cash deposit returned upon departure, visitors must have the Temporary Importation Permit cancelled by the Banjercito Bank and then present it at the Mexican customs office. Both are located at the border. If a bond was purchased from the Insurgentes or Mexicana companies, the deposit can also be recovered at the Banjercito Bank. Otherwise, the bond deposit must be recovered directly from the issuing company. Tourists and their vehicles are not allowed to remain in Mexico beyond the return date indicated on the Temporary Importation Permit, usually up to six months. Since requirements may vary for those who have obtained temporary residence in Mexico, it is recommended that the precise requirements be verified with Mexican customs authorities. In case of an accident or theft of the vehicle, a police report should immediately be obtained and presented to the nearest customs office, no later than two days after the occurrence.

Important Safeguards:
• Return within allowed time. Your permit is only good for 6 months; the authorized period cannot be extended. Instead, importer must return to the Banjercito office at the border and get a new permit on the spot providing that your immigration documents are current.
• When Mexican Legal Permanent Residents cancel their permit upon departure, they must wait 180 days before applying for a new one.
• Avoid fines and penalties by canceling your permit before its expiration date.
• You must cancel your permit at any Mexican border crossing Customs House, upon leaving Mexico before the expiration date.
• Do not apply for your temporary import permit outside of the customs installations; only Banjercito and customs have authority to issue temporary permits.
• Don't be taken by surprise; you can lose your vehicle if you don't follow all procedures correctly.
• The introduction of stolen vehicles into Mexico and presentation of falsified documents is a crime and it will be prosecuted.

It is illegal to sell your vehicle in Mexico. If you do, or if you stay beyond the date indicated on the Temporary Importation Permit, the vehicle may be impounded and become the property of the Mexican Ministry of Revenue. You could be subject to a fine and deportation.

Mexico Auto Insurance
U.S. and Canadian automobile insurance is not valid in Mexico and you must obtain a separate auto insurance at the Mexican border before crossing into Mexico, including if you are driving a rented vehicle. Full coverage is recommended, including coverage for legal assistance. You can purchase and print Mexico Insurance online from Mexbound.com, Be aware that many local drivers do not have any form of car insurance. Foreigners involved in traffic accidents may face serious legal problems, including imprisonment. They will be taken into custody until it can be determined who is responsible for the accident and until all penalties are paid. Depending on the extent of injuries or damages, drivers may face criminal charges. Motor vehicle insurance is considered invalid in Mexico if the driver is found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or if the driver has no valid driver's licence.

Driving Restrictions in Mexico City
There are time restrictions on driving in Mexico City and in parts of the state of Mexico in order to reduce air pollution. Based on the last digit of your licence plate number, there will be at least one day each week when you are not allowed to drive. This applies equally to permanent, temporary, and foreign plates. There is no specific provision regarding plates with letters only. These regulations are strictly enforced. Offenders face heavy fines and temporary confiscation of their vehicle. Information is available in Spanish Click Here

Monday: No driving if licence plate ends with 5 or 6.
Tuesday: No driving if licence plate ends with 7 or 8.
Wednesday: No driving if licence plate ends with 3 or 4.
Thursday: No driving if licence plate ends with 1 or 2.
Friday: No driving if licence plate ends with 9 or 0.
Saturday and Sunday: All vehicles may be driven.

For additional information concerning Mexican driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax, mandatory insurance, etc., please contact the Mexican Ministry of Tourism (SECTUR)

Secretaría de Turismo (SECTUR)
Av. Presidente Masaryk 172, Col.
Chapultepec Morales, 11587 México DF, Mexico
Tel: (55) 3002 6300. Fax: (55) 3002 6371.
Website: www.sectur.gob.mx