How To Prepare to Drive to Mexico!

By Erin May

Before you embark on your drive to Mexico, take a look at our checklist and tips for a worry free road trip.

Mexican Vehicle Insurance – it is highly recommended to purchase your Mexican vehicle insurance online before your drive to Mexico as opposed to buying at the border. This will save you both time and money.

Financed Vehicles – Ensure you get written permission from your lien holder to drive to Mexico.

Vehicle Permits – As of 2015, you need a Temporary Vehicle Importation Permit (TVIP) to drive anywhere in Mexico except Baja California, parts of Sonora, and within about 18 miles of the northern border. Fees are $40 USD for a motorcycle, $50 for a car, and $60 for a motor home. If your vehicle is 2007 or later, you will also need to leave a $400 deposit, less for older vehicles; if you are even hours late on returning the TVIP, you will lose your deposit.

You need to obtain a vehicle import permit. The Banjercito, the Mexican entity that processes the Mexican vehicle import permits, now allows you to process the vehicle permits online. Visit to request your vehicle permit and pay the compulsory deposit.

You may request your permit 7 to 60 days prior to entering Mexico by vehicle.

You may ONLY request a permit for a vehicle that is registered to your name or that of your spouse, your children, or your parents.

You may NOT request a permit for a vehicle weighing more than 3.5 metric tons (7,716 lbs).

If you are a foreign citizen, before starting the vehicle permit application process, you must apply for an immigration preauthorization for your FMM, AKA tourist card. The cost for the tourist card is about $23USD. The vehicle permit will be issued for the same period as that stated on your immigration pre-authorization.

Once the payment has been accepted, Banjercito will send the permit to your address within 7 business days. After you have received the permit, you must send a copy of the documents you provided during the application process in one of the following ways:

  • Sending the scanned documents by e-mail to
  • Using a courier service to deliver the documents to the following address: Av. Industria Militar 1055, Col. Lomas de Sotelo, Del. Miguel Hidalgo, México, D.F., CP 11200.
  • Delivering them in person to any Banjercito office.

Once you have entered Mexico, you must go to the Immigration Office and exchange your pre-authorization form for the proper tourist visa. Some people find it easier to just get the TIVP at the Immigration Office, rather than online, since you have to go there for your final visa anyway.

(Flâneur, French: A stroller, dawdler)