Driving to Mexico Requirements (2024)

What documentation do I need to drive to Mexico?

Along with the essential steps facing anyone crossing an international border, here's what you need to drive your car into Mexico as a U.S. citizen, as advised by the U.S. State Department:

Your U.S. passport or U.S. passport card

If you don't have a U.S. passport, you should apply for one well in advance of your trip. As of November, 2023, the U.S. State Department has a posted routine processing time of seven to ten weeks, which doesn't include the time it takes to receive your application and then mail your passport to you.

Proper insurance for driving in Mexico

U.S. drivers need to buy a separate Mexico auto insurance policy while driving in Mexico. Your Mexico auto policy will provide you with liability coverage, the only coverage you're legally required to carry while in Mexico, but you should consider additional coverage for theft, collision, and more scenarios. Learn more about getting car insurance for a Mexico trip.

Your state-issued driver's license

Make sure your driver's license is valid and won't expire while you're traveling.

Your vehicle's proof of registration

You need a valid vehicle registration to enter Mexico. Ensure all information is up to date, such as your address, before going on your trip.

A temporary vehicle importation permit (except in the hassle-free zone)

To get your temporary vehicle permit, the Mexican government requires a deposit (they generally accept major credit cards), which is returned when the vehicle re-enters the United States. It can be obtained through Mexican government authority Banjercito online, at the border, or at certain Mexican consulates in the U.S. Nonrefundable permit fees are also required.

You don't need a temporary vehicle permit while traveling in the "hassle-free zone", or the Sonora free zone, which includes an approximately 12-mile (or 20 kilometer) wide area south of the Mexican border, the western half of Sonora, and the entirety of the Baja Peninsula, including Baja California Norte and Baja California Sur. However, you'll still need to get an entry permit from a National Migration Institute (Instituto Nacional de Migración or INM) office after you cross the border into Mexico.

A letter of permission from your vehicle lender (if your car is financed)

Your lender may require you to notify them of any international travel you take with your financed vehicle. The letter of permission from your auto lender shows that you have permission to drive the car in Mexico, even though you don't own it outright. It also allows your lender to verify that you have the right insurance before you head over the border. Contact them prior to your trip and ask for a letter of permission stating that they've approved your travel with the vehicle.

A Mexico entry permit (Forma Migratoria Multiple or FMM)

You can obtain an entry permit at a National Migration Institute (Instituto Nacional de Migración or INM) office after crossing the border.

Driving to Mexico Requirements (2024)


What documents do I need to drive my car into Mexico? ›

What documents are required to drive to Mexico?
  1. A U.S. Passport (or Green Card)
  2. A U.S. Driver's License (or International Driving Permit)
  3. Proof of car registration.
  4. A Temporary Vehicle Importation Permit (TVIP)
  5. A Mexico Tourist Card/Entry Permit (FMM)
  6. A Mexico tourist auto insurance policy.

Can you drive into Mexico with a US license? ›

As a US citizen, driving in Mexico is relatively simple. All you need is your US driver's license, registration, and proof of insurance. However, it's always a good idea to have a passport on hand in case you're stopped by Mexican authorities. Here's a checklist of other documents you need to have to drive in Mexico.

What to know before driving to Mexico? ›

Requirements for driving to Mexico
  • Your passport, proof of insurance and registration, driver's license, vehicle importation permit, and letter of permission from your auto lender are essential documents for your trip.
  • Once across the border, you'll need an entry permit from a National Migration Institute office.

What documents do I need to cross the US border from Mexico? ›

Documents You Will Need

All U.S. citizens need U.S. passport books if re-entering by air. Land and sea border crossings accept additional travel documents, such as U.S. Passport cards and Trusted Traveler cards. Child travelers have additional options - see the Traveling with Children section.

Does US car insurance cover Mexico? ›

Your US auto insurance policy won't cover your car if you drive into Mexico. To have coverage while driving in Mexico, you need to buy a separate Mexico tourist auto policy.

What is the safest route to drive through Mexico? ›

What is the safest route to drive through Mexico? The all-time favorite route among casual tourists and surfing enthusiasts is the Pacific Route. It has the following advantages: It's well-maintained and has good infrastructure.

Is it safe to drive your car into Mexico? ›

Whatever the reason for driving across the border to Mexico may be, either renting or using a personal vehicle to drive across Mexico comes with incredible risks to business travelers. Roads in Mexico can be treacherous and are simply not held to the same maintenance standards as the United States and Canada.

What can I bring into Mexico by car? ›

When crossing by land, you are allowed to take your personal belongings and $75 worth of merchandise, duty free. People over the age of 18 may bring three liters of liquor or beer and up to six liters of wine. For more details, see our Mexican Customs section.

Can you turn right on red in Mexico? ›

It is illegal to turn right on a red light in Mexico unless there is a sign that says you may proceed with caution after stopping. But this does not stop the taxis from doing it all the time.

Does my health insurance cover me in Mexico? ›

Your employer-provided health plan may have limited or no coverage in Mexico, and Medicare doesn't cover health care outside the United States, except in rare cases. Travel health insurance pays for emergency medical expenses during a trip. These expenses include the following: Ambulance service.

What do you need to drive through the Mexican border? ›

Can you cross the Mexican border with a driver's license? Not any more. Since 9/11, more or less, you need a passport to cross either way. The USA, for an extra fee, issues passport cards which can be used for Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean if you don't want to carry your regular passport.

Can I come back to the US without a passport? ›

While dual citizens may be able to travel abroad with alternative documentation, all U.S. citizens are required to present a U.S. passport to re-enter the United States.

Do I need a passport to go to Mexico by car? ›

Before the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, U.S. citizens were able to travel to Mexico with a government-issued ID like a driver's license. However, as of June 1, 2009, all U.S. citizens must show their passports to enter and exit Mexico.

What can you not bring back from Mexico? ›

Examples of prohibited items are dangerous toys, cars that don't protect their occupants in a crash, bush meat, or illegal substances like absinthe and Rohypnol. Restricted means that special licenses or permits are required from a federal agency before the item is allowed to enter the United States.

Does my car need a permit to go to Mexico? ›

Whether you enter to Mexico on a tourist visa (less than 180 days) or on a Temporary/Permanent Resident visa (more than 180 days), you need to apply for a Temporary Importation Permit for your vehicle.

Can I drive my car to Mexico with paper plates? ›

It is legal to travel in Mexico with current temporary U.S. tags. However, there are a few things to keep in mind. If you do not have either the appropriate tags or the appropriate registration on your car, you might not be able to obtain a temporary vehicle importation permit to drive past the border free zone.

When Travelling to Mexico What documents are required? ›

Required documents. To enter Mexico, you must present a valid passport and a duly completed tourist card (Multiple Immigration Form). Carry documents to prove the purpose of trip, such as hotel or tour booking confirmations, as immigration officers may request them.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Foster Heidenreich CPA

Last Updated:

Views: 5257

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (56 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Foster Heidenreich CPA

Birthday: 1995-01-14

Address: 55021 Usha Garden, North Larisa, DE 19209

Phone: +6812240846623

Job: Corporate Healthcare Strategist

Hobby: Singing, Listening to music, Rafting, LARPing, Gardening, Quilting, Rappelling

Introduction: My name is Foster Heidenreich CPA, I am a delightful, quaint, glorious, quaint, faithful, enchanting, fine person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.