There are specific fees, identifications and permits required when traveling across the Mexico/US border. Following the guidelines below should help make your trip simple and enjoyable.
Mexican Entry Requirements for U.S. Citizens
You may visit border locations such as Palomas or Ciudad Juarez without obtaining a Mexican tourist permit. If you plan to travel beyond 18 miles (30 kilometers) into Mexico or if you plan to conduct business in Mexico, you must obtain a permit from an office of the Instituto Nacional de Migracion (Mexican National Immigration Institute) located at all border ports except Antelope Wells. You must present the following documents to obtain the permit:
- Birth certificate and driver's license, or
- U.S. passport.
For nationalities other than U.S., please visit a Mexican Consulate or Embassy before traveling to Mexico.
If you are traveling to the interior of Mexico as a tourist, you must obtain an FMM (formally known as a FMT) tourist permit. The FMM allows you to visit or make multiple trips to Mexico for a maximum period of 180 days. The Mexican Immigration official issuing the FMM has sole discretion in determining your length of stay and may ask you the expected duration of your trip. As a tourist, you are not authorized to conduct any type of business activity in Mexico.
An FMN business permit is required in order for you to conduct any business activity, including attending business conferences, conducting meetings, or visiting maquiladoras. The FMN allows you to remain in Mexico or to make multiple trips for a period of up to 180 days. The FMN is required within the border zone (within 18 miles of the border) as well as for business travel to the interior of Mexico.
The FMM and FMN permits cost (approximately US$22) which must be paid at a Mexican bank prior to your return to the United States. Payment may be made at Banorte Bank or Banjercito branches at the Mexican border ports (except Antelope Wells) or at many other Mexican banks identified on the permit. The FMM or FMN documents must be stamped as "PAID" by the Mexican bank and returned to any Mexican Immigration office when your return to the U.S. Also be sure that Mexican Immigration places an exit or "salida" stamp in your passport whenever you turn in the FMM or FMN
Taking Your Vehicle to Mexico
You may visit Mexico in your vehicle without any permit as long as you remain within the border zone (within 18 miles of the border), including Palomas, Ciudad Juarez or other border communities. If you will plan to travel further into Mexico, you must obtain a temporary vehicle import permit. The temporary vehicle import permit will be valid for 6 months. You may obtain a temporary vehicle permit from Banjercito, the official Mexican issuing agency.
Fee for Temporary Vehicle Import Permits
US$29.70, at Banjercito locations along the border including Santa Teresa/San Jeronimo and Columbus/Palomas
US$49.50, at Banjercito locations in Mexican Consulates or online.
Be sure to make at least 3 copies of each document for presentation to the Mexican officials!
- If you are a Mexican Citizen one of the following documents proving your nationality: passport, proof of work authorization in the U.S., resident alien card, or naturalization certificate.
- If you are not a Mexican citizen, a Mexican immigration permit-such as a tourist, business or immigrant permit and passport or birth certificate.
- Title or registration verifying ownership of the vehicle. A bill of sale is not valid proof.
- Certificate of canceled import permit for any prior temporary import permits.
- For leased, rental or company owned vehicles, you must obtain a letter from the actual owner authorizing you to take the vehicle into Mexico.
Obtaining a Permit at a Mexican Consulate
You may also obtain a temporary vehicle import permit at Mexican consulates in the following cities: Albuquerque, Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, Houston, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Phoenix, Denver and Chicago.
Temporary vehicle import permits may be obtained at a Mexican consulate up to 6 months prior to your trip to Mexico. When you obtain the permit at a Mexican consulate, you may choose the date when the permit goes into effect.
Obtaining a Permit via the Internet
You may apply for a temporary vehicle import permit on the internet at Banjercito's website. You can choose to pre-register on the internet and pick up your permit from Banjercito when you arrive at the border or you may receive the permit by express shipment to your location in the U.S.
Temporary Import Deposit
Regardless of where you obtain your temporary vehicle import permit, the Mexican government requires a deposit in order to guarantee that your vehicle is returned to the U.S. The deposit may be paid in cash or secured with a credit card. The cash deposit amount varies in amount from $200 to $400 depending upon the age of the vehicle and is refunded when the vehicle is returned to any Banjercito border location so that the permit can be cancelled.
Accepted credit cards for securing the deposit are MasterCard, Visa, and American Express. Your card will be imprinted by a Mexican official but the deposit amount will not be charged to your card unless the vehicle is not returned to Banjercito upon the completion of your trip for permit cancellation.
You do not have to exit Mexico from the same port as you entered to cancel your permit. Your temporary vehicle import permit can be cancelled at any Banjercito location along the border. You may make multiple trips to Mexico for the term of the permit. However, you MUST surrender the permit to Banjercito on or before the date of its expiration.
Mexican Automobile Insurance
Temporary Mexican automobile insurance is required in order to obtain a temporary vehicle import permit.