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All about driving In Mexico

Gaceta Consular

Whether you are visiting family or friends, or just want to drive through the beautiful countryside, it is important for you to remember the following steps when crossing the border between the United States and Mexico.

If your travel is within the border Zone or Free Trade Zone (including the Baja California Peninsula and the Sonora Free Trade Zone) there are no procedures to comply with. However, if you pass these zones, the following procedures will apply:


Step 1

Obtain the original and one photocopy of the following documents:

(1) The appropriate immigration form.

(2) The vehicle State Registration Certificate, or a document that certifies the legal ownership of the vehicle.

(3) The Leasing Contract if the vehicle is leased or rented. These must be in the name of the person importing the car. If the vehicle belongs to a company, present the documents that certify the employee works for the company.

(4) A Valid Drivers License, issued outside Mexico.

(5) An International Credit Card, also issued outside Mexico (American Express, Diner's Club, Visa or Mastercard), in the name of the owner of the vehicle. If you do not posess an international credit card, you will be asked to post a bond, payable to the Federal Treasury, issued by an authorized bonding company in Mexico.

As an alternative to posting a bond, you may make a cash deposit at Banco del Ej&eacutercito in an amount equal to the value of your vehicle according to the "Table of vehicle values for bonding companies." (See table below)


Amount of Bond in US Dollars

The Rates for Bonding vary by year and Class of vehicle. The nearest Mexican Consulate or Embassy can provide the current data.

1. Large and Luxury Vehicles.
2. Pick up trucks and Vans.
3. Medium and Compact Vehicles.
4. European, Sports Vehicles and Vintage Autos.


Step 2

Once you have the originals and photocopies of these documents, present them to the Vehicular Control Module located in Customs to process the importation permit. All documents and the credit card must be in the name of the owner, who must also be in the vehicle when crossing the border.

Step 3

Your international credit card will be charged an amount in national currency equivalent to US$12 to the Banco del Ej&eacutercito. Once again, If you do not have an international credit card, the Banco del Ej&eacutercito will accept a cash deposit in an amount equal to the value of your vehicle shown in the previous table.
Your deposit plus any interest it may earn will be returned to you when you leave Mexico. You may choose to obtain a bond through an authorized Mexican bonding company at the border crossing. The authorized bonding companies will require a refundable deposit equal to the value of the vehicle, according to the table shown opposite. The bonding company will also access taxes and processing costs for this service.

Step 4

Upon your departure from Mexico, and if the vehicle is not going to be driven back into Mexico, the permit for temporary importation must be cancelled at Customs.

Thats all there is to it. Follow these simple steps and you will have no problems. Please note that if your car is found in Mexico beyond the authorized time, or without the appropriate documents, it will be immediately confiscated.

For more Information, please contact the nearest Consulate of Mexico. The following article is reproduced with the kind permission of
the Consul General in Austin Texas.
It first appeared in their :

September 1996 - Austin, Texas - Year IV, Number 25

Published or Updated on: June 1, 1998 by Gaceta Consular © 1996
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