Moving Information
Getting A Vehicle Permit
Packing Properly
Items You May Not Bring
Duty Free Items
The Crossing Process
Understanding Border Regulations
Mexico Customs Regulations
US Customs Regulations
Lift Vans
Insurance Coverage
Getting A Vehicle Permit
Driving To Laredo Moving & Storage
Driving To Our Brokers Warehouse
Driving To Lake Chapala
Diving To Laredo
Driving From Nogales
Travel Signs In Mexico
General Information

Getting A Vehicle Permit At The Border

Driving To Mexico

What you need before you can get your car into Mexico

If you are planning to drive to Mexico, you need to know what the requirements are for getting you and your vehicle (including RV's) into the country. Here are the details.

First, if you intend to restrict your travel within the border Zone (within 15 miles of the U.S. Border) or the Free Trade Zone (including the entire Baja California Peninsula and the Sonora Border Region) no customs procedures apply with respect to personal use vehicles. If, however, your travels in Mexico will take you beyond these zones, you must comply with the following procedures to obtain a temporary vehicle import permit. These procedures are primarily designed to ensure that stolen vehicles are not driven into Mexico for sale there.

There are a few Mexican Consulates in the USA where car permits may be obtained. This will save you a great deal of time at the border if the service is available in your area. These consulates are located in:


TEXAS: Dallas, Houston, Austin

CALIFORNIA: Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, San Francisco

Please check with the specific Consular office to make sure that they do have the necessary Banjercito Module/Desk. The filing of the documents at these locations needs to be done well in advance of your plans to drive into Mexico.

1. Documents
Bring with you the original and two photocopies of each of the following documents:

Owner is considered the name(s) on title only. For example: a wife cannot take the car if the title is only in the husband's name. If names of both husband and wife appear on title, either one may take the car.

  • proof of citizenship (passport or birth certificate or citizenship card).
  • FM3 or completed Mexican tourist card.
  • vehicle registration certificate or other document that certifies the legal owner of the vehicle - this document must be in the name of the person who will be driving the vehicle into Mexico.
  • leasing contract, if the vehicle is leased or rented, in the name of the person who will be driving the vehicle into Mexico.
  • valid drivers license, issued outside Mexico.

2. International Credit Card
Also bring with you an international credit, such as Visa or MasterCard, issued in the name of the vehicle owner. If you do not have an international credit card, you will be required to post a bond or make a large cash deposit, as described below.

3. Temporary Vehicle Importation Permit & Fee
At the border entry point, present the originals and photocopies of these documents to Customs to process the temporary vehicle import permit. The original of this permit will be given to you once processed.

Your international credit card will be charged an amount of about US$15 as a fee for the processing of the import permit. If you do not have such a credit card, you will have to post a bond or make a cash deposit in an amount equal to the estimated value of your vehicle. Most of your deposit will be returned to you when you leave Mexico with the vehicle.

The temporary vehicle import permit is valid for a period of up to six months. The vehicle to which the permit relates may be driven across the border multiple times during this authorized period. If you have an FM3 you permit is extended with each renewal without having to return to the border.

4. Departing Mexico
Upon your departure from Mexico, the temporary vehicle import permit must be surrendered to Customs for cancellation - unless the vehicle is going to be driven back into Mexico and the authorized time period of the permit has not yet expired. If you do not surrender your permit you will NEVER be able to bring another car into Mexico.

5. Other Considerations

(a) When driving in Mexico make sure that you always carry the import permit with you.

(b) If your vehicle is found in Mexico beyond the authorized time period in the permit, or without the appropriate documents, it may be confiscated.

(c) The sale or commercial use of the vehicle while in Mexico may also result in its seizure and confiscation.

(d) The temporarily imported vehicle may be driven in Mexico by the owner and by his spouse or adult children, provided that they all have valid drivers licenses. Other persons are prohibited from driving the vehicle unless the owner is a passenger in the vehicle at the time.

(e) Your automobile insurance is unlikely to be valid once you cross the border into Mexico. Mexican automobile insurance covering the duration of your intended stay in Mexico can be easily purchased in border towns on the U.S. side of the border.

6. Additional Information
For additional information, or to ensure that the relevant requirements have not changed, individuals traveling to Mexico by vehicle should, before commencing their trip, contact the Mexican Consulate nearest their home. Here is a directory
 of Mexican Consulate offices in the U.S.

DIRECTIONS at Laredo, TX Crossing


You are coming South on I-35. You will cross at Bridge No.1 so that you can get a vehicle permit.  You will see,  below the bridge, a large building. This building is located between bridge No.1 and bridge No.2. This is where vehicle permits, visas, and initial stamp for an FM3 are issued. (FM3 registration is something different and obtained once you arrive at Lakeside).  For other crossings you will want to inquire. DO NOT drive to Lakeside without a permit!  Remember NO ONE other than you or your partner can drive the vehicle registered in your name unless you are in the vehicle or they have written permission authorizing such use.  No Mexican may drive your vehicle without you in it at any time, even with written permission.  Following one of your vehicles driven by a Mexican is also not allowed.  We stress that you MUST be in the vehicle.  If they want to get nasty, they have the authority to take the vehicle and you will never see it again. 


Arizona Border Points


Agua Prieta......All week, 24 hrs.
Naco......All week, 8:00 am to midnight
Nogales......All week, 24 hrs.
San Luis Rio Colorado......All week, 24 hrs.
Sonoyta......All week, 24 hrs.


California Border Points


Mexicali......All week, 24 hrs.
Otay Mesa......10:00 am to 6:00 pm
Tecate......All week, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm
Tijuana......Mon-Fri, 8:00am to 10:00 pm, Sat, 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, Sun, 12:00 noon to 4:00 pm


Texas Border Points


Ciudad Acuña......All week, 24 hrs.
Ciudad Juarez......All week, 24 hrs.
Ciudad Miguel Alemán......All week, 24 hrs.
Columbia......Mon-Fri, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
General Rodrigo M. Quevedo......All week, 24 hrs.
Matamoros......All week, 24 hrs.
Nuevo Laredo......All week, 24 hrs.
Ojinaga......Mon-Fri, 7:30 am to 9:00 pm, Sat, 7:30 am to 4:00 pm, Sun, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm
Piedras Negras......All week, 24 hrs.
Reynosa......All week, 24 hrs.



For detailed information on acquiring your permit, click on the PDF document link below. We would like to thank Robert and Hyacinth Martlew for providing us with these outstanding pictorial step-by-step instructions. We hope you benefit by their efforts.

Car Permit And Route To Monterey

Lake Chapala Moving
Carretera Chapala No. 158-A
San Antonio Tlayacapan, Jalisco
45900 Mexico
Local Phone: 376-766-5008
International Fax: 011-52-376-766-5008
International Phone: 011-52-376-766-5008
Toll Free Fax - USA and Canada: 1-888-699-1021
Toll Free Phone - USA and Canada: 1-866-804-1513