5 Things You Need Before Driving to Mexico

You're getting ready to take a trip to Mexico, are you ready?

Around 20 million Americans travel to Mexico every year and a large portion choose to drive. If you're driving your vehicle to Mexico be sure you are prepared for crossing the border, traveling in the interior and returning home. Be sure you have these five things before driving to Mexico.


Proper Identification

In order to enter Mexico, travelers must have a valid passport, passport card (cannot be used for air travel) or green card.

In addition, the same documents, or a WHTI-compliant document, is needed to enter or return to the United States from Mexico.

The passport application process requires that you submit an official passport photo. A good place to get one is at a local pharmacy.

All passport applicants must also submit an original copy of a state issued birth certificate. If your birth certificate was issued by a hospital, the U.S. Department of State will not accept it. Ordering a new official birth certificate directly from the state where you were born is the best option to avoid any confusion.

The passport application process takes a week to more than a month to complete, so it is best to get started well in advance of your Mexico trip.

If you are pinched for time or on short notice, you can elect to pay extra money to expedite the process.

For more information about applying for and obtaining a passport visit www.travel.state.gov.

For the latest Mexico entry requirements: Visit the Embassy of Mexico website or call the Embassy at (202) 736-1000 or any Mexican consulate in the U.S.


Vehicle Import Permit

If you plan to travel outside the free or border zone you must obtain a temporary vehicle importation permit.

Failure to do so puts you at risk of expensive fines and/or having your vehicle confiscated by Mexican customs officials. At present, the only exceptions to the requirement are travel in the Baja Peninsula, and most of the state of Sonora.

The fee for vehicle importation is $44.00 USD plus IVA (tax), which can vary based on the peso exchange rate.

You will also be required to pay a deposit to ensure the vehicle is returned to the U.S. The deposit will be refunded upon cancellation of the permit at Banjercito offices, as long as it is returned prior to the expiration date of the permit (after six-months). Deposits cost between $200 and $400 USD, depending on the age of the vehicle.

See our Vehicle Import Permit page for more detailed information

Mexpro cannot provide Vehicle Import Permits and has no affiliation with the Mexican federal agency who supplies them. Apply online now through Mexico's Banjercito Website


Mexico Tourist Insurance for Your Vehicle

U.S. automobile liability insurance coverage is not valid in Mexico.

In addition, most collision and comprehensive insurance is not valid there.

The U.S. State Department strongly recommends you purchase a full coverage insurance policy that will cover the cost of bail, in the event of an at-fault vehicle accident in Mexico.

Mexpro suggests you use only A-rated Mexico insurers. While there may be some cheaper options available, it's best to use a trustworthy insurance provider you can count on to take care of your vehicle and occupants should you need to file a claim.


Mexico Visa Card

A Mexico Tourist card, or FMT, is needed if you plan to visit Mexico for longer than 72 hours or travel outside the free border zone.

The FMT is only available to holders of U.S. and Canadian passports, in place of a visa. It is available at Mexican consulates, border crossings, and tourism offices and is a government form stating the intent of your visit is tourism.

A Mexico Tourist Visa is required if staying longer than 180 days in Mexico.


Driver's License

American citizens planning on driving to Mexico should carry a valid driver's license at all times.

U.S. driver's licenses are recognized in Mexico. In addition, your Mexico Insurance policy is invalid if you do not have a valid, non-Mexican, driver's license.