RV/Travel Trailer Mexico Vehicle Import Permit
If you plan to drive your RV or travel trailer beyond the Mexico "Free Zone" you will need to purchase a Mexico Vehicle Import Permit.
*Please note: A Temporary Importation Permit (TIP) can ONLY be obtained through Mexico's Banjercito government agency. Mexpro has no affiliation, authority or connections with this organization.
Do I Need a Temporary Importation Permit for My RV?
You DO NOT need a vehicle import permit if you are ONLY driving your RV in the Mexico Free Zone, also called the Liberated Zone, Perimeter Zone or Free Trade Zone.
The free zone extends from Mexican international land borders, inland, about 12 miles or 20 kilometers. The entire Baja California peninsula and a large portion of Sonora are also part of the free zone. The Mexican government gave these areas special customs exemptions to improve tourism.
If you do not have an importation permit and are traveling outside the free zone, you could be sent back to the border, incarcerated, fined, and/or have your vehicle confiscated at an immigration/customs checkpoint in the interior of Mexico.
Sonora Only Permit
The Sonora Free Zone includes that portion of Sonora west of the 15 highway and north of KM 98. If traveling outside this area, you will need a TIP. If you plan to only drive in the Mexican state of Sonora, you can obtain a Sonora Only Vehicle Import Permit.
How Do You Get a TIP?
The temporary vehicle import permit can be obtained from Banjercito, the official Mexican issuing agency. The permit may be purchased:
- Online at the Banjercito website,
- At the border,
- Or at select Mexican consulates in the U.S.
You can purchase the permit online between 10 and 60 days prior to travel into Mexico, or up to six months in advance at Mexican consulates offering permits.
*Despite any advice, official or unofficial, to the contrary, vehicle permits cannot be obtained at checkpoints in the interior of Mexico.
Documents Needed to Apply
It is recommended that you carry three black and white copies of each of these documents. Mexico considers color copies to be attempts at forgeries.
- Passport, passport card or green card.
- If you are not a Mexican citizen, a Mexican immigration permit — such as a tourist (FMM), business or immigrant permit/visa.
- A non-Mexican driver's license with photo.
- RV Title and registration certificate.
- If the RV or travel trailer is financed or leased you must have a notarized letter of permission from the lien holder or lending institution to bring the RV into Mexico. You cannot get a TIP for an RV that is not owned by you or a member of your immediate family. You cannot get a TIP for a rented RV.
- An International Credit Card (American Express, Mastercard, Visa) in the name of the driver of the RV (importer).
- If the title of the RV is in the name of a spouse, child, or parents – a marriage license or birth certificate must be presented.
- Proof of Mexico RV Insurance.
Buying an RV Import Permit Online
Purchasing a permit online saves time at the border and is recommended by Banjercito. The new online application process is much easier and your permit is immediately emailed to you after purchase. Apply online on the Banjercito Website.
Purchasing Online, How it Works
- The permit may be purchased between 10 and 60 days before you enter Mexico.
- After you purchase the permit, it will be sent to you via email.
- Use the emailed permit to validate at interior checkpoints in Mexico using your cell phone.
- Print a copy of the permit and the receipt. Carry it with you in the event there is no Internet to validate using your email, and/or the officer does not have the ability to scan your online permit.
You MUST CANCEL your permit at a Banjercito location at the Mexican border upon your return to the U.S.
Since you bought your FMM (tourist permit) online, you still need to stop at the border and get it stamped for it to be valid. Bring the receipt you were emailed for proof of payment.
Purchasing Your TIP in Person
You can also buy a permit at the following Mexican Consulates in the U.S.:
- Arizona: Phoenix
- California: Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Sacramento
- Colorado: Denver
- Illinois: Chicago
- New Mexico: Albuquerque
- Texas: Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston
Temporary RV Import Fee
The fee for importation of a vehicle is about $51.00 USD including IVA (tax), however, if you process online, the fee is about $45.00 USD including IVA. The price can vary depending on the peso exchange rate and will likely increase from time to time.
Duration of Permit
Temporary importation permits for motor homes can be issued for up to 10 years, but they MUST be registered as a motorhome in order to qualify.
If the motorhome is towing another vehicle, the vehicle must have its own TIP, subject to the regular vehicle TIP restrictions and payments. The duration of the motorhome's TIP will be ten years, and the maximum time for the towed vehicle's TIP is 180 days.
If the motorhome is towing a trailer (like for ATVs, jet skis, boats, and the like), the motorhome/RV TIP will be valid for 180 days.
Towed vehicles designed to be driven on the road (for example, an auto or motorcycle), require their own TIP. This TIP is subject to the restrictions and costs of all vehicle TIPs. In this case, the towed vehicle’s TIP will be for 180 days and the motorhome’s will be ten years.
If the motorhome is pulling a trailer with recreational vehicles on it (i.e. jet skis, boat, ATV/UTV, etc.), the towed items will be included on the RV TIP. Therefore, the RV/motorhome TIP will be valid for 180 days. Also, you will need proof of ownership for each of the towed items and these will need to exit at the same time the RV does. This is verified by the Banjercito agent at the time you turn in your TIP when exiting Mexico.
You will need Mexican insurance for your towed vehicle, as well as your RV.
Once you have a vehicle import permit you may drive your vehicle across the border multiple times during the valid length of your permit.
If you think you might sell your RV in the U.S. or Canada, you should cancel your TIP upon exiting Mexico. It is extremely difficult to cancel a TIP away from the Mexican border. If you do not cancel your RV TIP, you will not be able to get another one.
Returning / Canceling the TIP
Banjercito verifies your vehicle has left the country when you cancel your permit. You MUST CANCEL AND SURRENDER YOUR VEHICLE IMPORT PERMIT UPON YOUR FINAL REENTRY INTO THE U.S. If you do not, you will not be allowed to drive into Mexico in the future.
You do not have to exit Mexico from the same port as you entered to cancel your permit. It can be canceled at many Banjercito locations along the border, although not all are able to cancel permits.
Learn more about canceling your import permit on our blog.
Other Persons Driving your RV
If the documentation shows the vehicle is registered in the name of a spouse, the importation can be done as long as the marriage certificate (and a copy) is presented.
The owner’s adult spouse, children, parents, and siblings are permitted to drive the temporarily imported RV in Mexico, without the owner present, as long as they are not permanent residents of Mexico, and have a non-Mexican driver's license. Carry documentation verifying your relationship to the owner.
Other persons may drive the vehicle as long as the owner is in the vehicle and they have a non-Mexican driver's license.
Travelers should avoid individuals outside vehicle permit offices offering to obtain the permits without waiting in line, even if they appear to be government officials. There have been reports of fraudulent or counterfeit permits being issued adjacent to the vehicle import permit office in Nuevo Laredo and other border areas.
Driving beyond the free zone without the proper permit may result in fines, incarceration, and/or vehicle seizure at immigration/customs checkpoints within the interior of Mexico.