New Temporary Car Import Permits Make it Easier to Drive in Mexico
Mexico Phasing Out Holographic Temporary Car Import Permits
As of January 1, 2020, Mexico began phasing out the holographic windshield sticker that was previously used to show proof of purchase of a car Temporary Import Permit (TIP), or, the Permiso de Importación Temporal de Vehículos, for vehicles traveling into mainland Mexico. The new TIPs are digital, sent to your email that you save on your phone, making the process much simpler. This new process was initially implemented for those that purchase their TIPs online and now includes all TIP purchases.
TIPs are required for all foreign-plated vehicles traveling outside the free zone in Mexico. You will need a TIP unless you are traveling in the states of Baja California, Baja California Sur, Quintana Roo, the northwest portion of Sonora (the area west of the 15D and north of Guayamas), and within 25 kilometers of the borders.
Purchasing a TIP Online
When you purchase your Temporary Import Permit online, you will need to print all the documentation yourself and take it with you to Mexico. Keep a printed copy of the permit with you to protect against any electronic failure (such as no connection).
Purchasing a TIP at the Border
When you get your TIP at the border, Banjercito will give you your receipts and a copy of the TIP. It will also be sent to your email. You can get your TIP at most border crossings (be sure you are crossing where there is a Banjercito). Click to find Banjercito border locations in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas.
How it Works
Officers should have a cell phone application they will use to scan the TIP and verify its validity. They are checking TIPs at the various locations in the interior of Mexico, per usual. Our sources tell us that law enforcement is currently only verifying paperwork. To our knowledge, the barcodes are not yet being scanned, though this is the intent with this new procedure.
Don't Forget Your FMM
Even when you purchase your TIP online, you must still have a valid FMM (Forma Migratoria Múltiple), the tourist permit that allows you to be in Mexico legally. You can purchase an FMM online or at the immigration (INM) office at the border. If you purchase your FMM online, you will still need to stop at the border to have your FMM stamped, thus making everything valid. Remember to bring your receipt for your FMM purchase to show that you paid, or you may be asked to pay again. Always keep your receipts.
When buying your FMM and TIP at the border, it will be two separate transactions—one at immigration (INM), and the other at Aduana/Banjercito. Get your FMM first, as you will need it to get your TIP.
One issue that has been arising is that you may be stopped more frequently, as you will not have a sticker on your windshield. However, all reports appear to be that upon being shown the new TIP, either on the phone or the paper copy, the officers have accepted them. So be aware that this could happen and please remain polite. Sometimes it takes a while for everyone to get up to speed on new procedures.
Mexico is becoming more and more electronically connected. And so you can expect more changes in the future, which hopefully will continue to make Mexico travel easier!