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Travelling To Mexico By Land 

Mexicans and foreigners who wish to visit Mexico by car, and enter beyond the border strip, must pass through screening by Customs and the National Migration Institute. Mexico’s border strip along the border with the United States, Guatemala and Belize extends 21 kilometres inside Mexican territory. It includes the entire territory of the states of Baja California and Quintana Roo.

Foreigners who enter Mexico by land must meet the migratory requirements and comply with the migratory formalities that correspond to the category under which they are requesting entrance (visitors, temporary residents or permanent residents). Admission is subject to approval by the migratory authorities at the point of entry.

Foreigners who travel by car to Mexico must pay the fee for ‘visitor without permission to conduct remunerative activities’ at a cost of $20 USD or 295.00 Mexican pesos, and must comply with customs procedures.

As they pass through customs foreigners may use the lane for “nothing to declare” if the goods they are carrying do not exceed their personal luggage allowance. However, if travelling with additional items whose value exceeds $75.00 USD, foreigners must pass through the “self-declaration” lane.


In order to bring a foreign vehicle into Mexico, it is necessary to obtain a temporary import permit. The validity of this permit will correspond to the foreigner’s authorized length of stay, and can be processed:

  1. By internet at the Banjército website from 60 to 7 days prior to entering Mexican territory.
  2. Directly at the border module.

Requirements for a foreigner to obtain a permit directly at the border are as follows:

  1. Original and a photocopy of the passport
  2. Original and a photocopy of the driver’s licence issued outside Mexico
  3. Document issued by the migratory authorities proving that the foreigner holds a migratory category acceptable for conducting the procedure.
  4. Original and a photocopy of the bill of sale, deed to property or vehicle registration issued by a foreign authority in the applicant’s name
  5. In the case of leased automobiles, the leasing contract and authorization from the leasing company to import the vehicle.
  6. If the vehicle has not been completely paid for, the credit contract or invoice dated within the past 3 months, in the name of the applicant.
  7. When the vehicle belongs to a corporation, a document attesting to the labor relationship with the applicant and authorization for the applicant to conduct the import process.
  8. Where applicable, proof of the return of previously imported vehicles.
  9. Sign a declaration under oath, in which the foreigner pledges to return the vehicle within the authorized period and not commit acts or omissions that constitute infractions or offences resulting from improper use or purpose of the vehicle.
  10. Pay the equivalent of $44.00 USD + IVA (tax) for the procedure. This fee may be paid in cash or by credit card issued outside Mexico, in the name of the importer.
  11. Pay a deposit to guarantee the fiscal credits that could be incurred by failure to return the vehicle or by committing an infraction as defined by the applicable laws. The amount of the deposit corresponds to the model year of the automobile:
  • 2007 and later models      $400.00 USD
  • 2001 to 2006                  $300.00 USD
  • 2000 and earlier              $200.00 USD


A temporarily imported vehicle cannot be sold in Mexico, and must invariably be removed once again from Mexican territory. This return is carried out by presenting the vehicle to Banjércitopersonnel operating the CIITEV modules at exit customs points to obtain the return receipt, which must be kept.

Should the foreigner fail to follow the above return procedure, the vehicle must be presented at the border module to cancel the import permit.

If the vehicle return is not processed within the authorized period, the deposit will be cashed and the amount transferred to the Federal Treasury by the second banking day following the date of expiration of the temporary import permit, at the latest.

If the import permit is expired and the vehicle continues to circulate within Mexico, it may be impounded and the owner or driver fined.

Temporary import permits cannot be returned from abroad through Mexican Consulates.

Foreigners with a vehicle that has yet to be returned may not apply for a new import permit.

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