DRIVING INTO MEXICO?
DOCUMENTS YOU WILL NEED:
drive your car into MAINLAND Mexico,
you'll need a temporary
car-importation permit, which is granted after you provide a
strictly required list of documents (see below). The permit can be
obtained either through Banco Del Ejército (Banjercito)
officials, who have a desk, booth, or office at the Mexican Customs
(Aduana) building after you cross the border into Mexico. Or, you can
obtain the permit before you travel through Sanborn's Insurance or
the American Automobile Association (AAA), each of which maintains
border offices in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. These
companies may charge a fee for this service, but it will be worth it
to avoid the uncertain prospect of traveling all the way to the
border without proper documents for crossing. However, even if you
go through Sanborn's or AAA, your credentials may
be reviewed again by Mexican officials at the border--you must take
them all with you since they are still subject to questions of
following requirements for border crossing were accurate at press
valid driver's license, issued outside of Mexico.
original car registration and a copy of the original car title.
If the registration or title is in more than one name and not all
the named people are traveling with you, then a notarized letter
from the absent person(s) authorizing use of the vehicle for the
trip is required; have it ready just in case. The car registration
and your credit card (see below) must be in the same name.
valid international major credit card. With a credit card, you are
only required to pay a $11.50 car-importation fee. The credit card
must be in the same name as the car registration. If you do not have
a major credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Diners
Club) you will have to post a bond or make a deposit equal to the
value of the vehicle. Check cards are not accepted.
immigration documentation. This will either be your
tourist permit (FMT), or the original immigration booklet, FM2 or
FM3, if you hold this more permanent status.
signed declaration promising to return to your country of origin
with the vehicle. This
form (Carta Promesa de Retorno) is provided by AAA or Sanborn's
before you go or by Banjercito officials at the border. There's no
charge. The form does not stipulate that you must return through the
same border entry you came through on your way south.
Importation Application. Upon signing this form, you are stating that you
are only temporarily importing the car for your personal use, and
will not be selling the vehicle. This is to help regulate the entry
and restrict the resale of unauthorized cars and trucks. Vehicles in
the U.S. are much less expensive, and for years were brought into
Mexico for resale.
you receive your documentation at the border (rather than through
Sanborn's or AAA), Mexican border officials will make two copies of
everything and charge you for the copies. For up-to-the-minute
information, a great source is the customs office in Nuevo Leon
(Modulo de Importacion Temporal de Automoviles, Aduana Nuevo Leon) tel.
reminder: Someone else may drive the car, but the person (or
relative of the person) whose name appears on the car-importation
permit must always be in
the car at the same time. (If stopped by police, a non-registered
family member driver driving without the registered driver, must be
prepared to prove familial relationship to the registered driver--no
joke.) Violation of this rule makes the car subject to impoundment
and the driver subject to imprisonment and/or a fine. You can only
drive a car with foreign license plates if you have an international
(non-Mexican) driver's license.