Mexico Tourist Visa & Vehicle Import Permit
We’re currently living long-term in Mexico. Back in July we signed a one month lease on a condo. You can see a video tour of our condo rental HERE.
Forma Migratoria Multiple – Tourist Visa
If you do not hold some type of residency permit in Mexico, you must have a FMM – Forma Migratoria Múltiple. AKA: Tourist Visa.
WHERE DO YOU GET IT?
When you enter into Mexico you need to visit the Migration Office. Normally located very close to the border crossing. This is where you can take care of your paperwork. You can also apply online. We’ve never done this so, I can’t speak to that process. But here’s a link to the Mexican Government’s website where you can give it a try if you like.
WHAT DO YOU NEED?
In order to get a FMM, you need a passport or passport ID card, and you’ll also be required to pay a fee. You’ll have to fill out a form with information: Name, Address, Citizenship, Passport #, Date of Birth. Pay your fee, get a receipt, and you’ll be issued your FMM card.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
The cost as of January 2020 was $575 pesos, which, depending on the current exchange rate is about $30 usd.
HOW LONG IS IT GOOD FOR?
The maximum amount of time a FMM is good for is 180 days – 6 months from the date of issue. During this time frame, you can leave Mexico and return using this same FMM.
IMPORTANT: BEFORE the expiration of your FMM you MUST leave Mexico. You can go to any border, walk/drive across it into a different country, turn around and come right back into Mexico and be issued a NEW FMM for another 180 days. You’ll have to fill out a new form, pay the fee again, etc.
DO I HAVE TO GET MY FMM CANCELLED?
There seems to be some question about this (in Mexico things are not always super clear). In Baja we never did anything about our FMM when we left. However, we’ve heard some reports that you’re supposed to get an exit stamp when leaving mainland Mexico. When we exit Mexico (prior to our vehicle permit expiring) we plan to ask about it when we go in to get our TIP canceled. YOU MUST get your TIP canceled at the border…more on that below.
Permiso de Importacion Temporal de Vehiculos – TIP
Temporary Import Permit for Vehicles. If you’re driving a non-Mexican vehicle into Mexico, you must get a Temporary Important Permit. These are issued by the Banjercito.
You DO NOT NEED a Vehicle permit to drive the entire Baja pennisula or Rocky Point.
Vehicle Permits are REQUIRED if you travel outside of Baja, outside the border zones (further than 16 miles from the border), or outside the permit-free zones of Sonora.
Driving in Mexico without a TIP (where it is required) could result in you having your vehicle seized by the Mexican government. Don’t do it. On our two day drive to central Mexico, we were stopped twice by police who wanted to see our paperwork for the vehicle.
NOTE: For current information, you can call Banjercito directly at 011-52-556-272-2728, press 7 or 011-52-555-626-0500 x2637. For general information on procedures to visit Mexico, call 1-877-210-9469. English speaking representatives are available until 2pm CST.
WHERE DO YOU GET IT?
This can vary depending upon the border crossing. Best to check ahead of time and find out the details of the particular crossing you plan to use. You have to pay your fees to the Banjercito. This is the Mexican government authority that issues Vehicle Permits. Often, they are located right at the border crossing in or near the Immigration building/offices. But at some crossings, you have to drive to a different location to access a Banjercito office.
You can also apply ahead of time online HERE. We’re not going to cover that process, because we’ve never done it that way. 😉
WHAT DOCUMENTS DO YOU NEED?
IF YOU OWN YOUR VEHICLE: (These are the things we had with us when we applied)
FMM (tourist visa) – get this first
Passport or Passport ID
Driver’s License issued outside of Mexico
Original Vehicle Registration (must be in the driver’s name)
Original Vehicle Title (in the driver’s name)
Proof of Mexican Insurance
NOTE: In addition to originals, we had multiple copies of each of the items listed above.
WHAT IF YOUR VEHICLE IS FINANCED/LEASED ?
Banks and finance companies require you to take a notarized letter of permission with you to Mexico.
In order to issue the letter of permission, most companies will require proof of Mexican insurance first.
You should definitely contact your bank or finance company for specific information.
If the vehicle is leased or rented, you’ll probably need a copy of the lease/rental contracts as well.
A notarized letter of permission confirming the employment relationship and authorizing the employee to import the vehicle into Mexico.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
You will have to pay a fee for the permit – In June 2020 we paid 1267 pesos, which was about $60usd
There is also a refundable deposit required. This varies depending on your vehicle year. As of 2020:
- 2007 and newer models, USD $400.00 deposit required
- 2001 – 2006 models, USD $300.00 deposit required
- models previous to 2000, USD $200.00 deposit required
Our truck is a 2000 year model….so we paid about $200.
You can put all of these charges onto a credit/debit card. The prices will be listed in pesos on your documents.
The DEPOSIT is refundable so long as you do not allow your TIP to expire before getting your vehicle back out of Mexico.
HOW LONG IS IT GOOD FOR?
Just like the FMM, the maximum amount of time is 180 days. YOU MUST REMOVE THE VEHICLE FROM MEXICO BEFORE IT EXPIRES!
DO YOU HAVE TO CANCEL IT WHEN YOU LEAVE? IMPORTANT!!!!!!
YES!!! You MUST stop at a Banjercito office at the border and get your TIP canceled. You MUST take the vehicle out of Mexico before it expires. If you do not, you will not be refunded your deposit and you may have your vehicle seized by the Mexican government. THIS MUST BE DONE AT THE BORDER!!!!!! But you don’t have to go to the crossing where it was originally issued. Any Banjercito can take care of it.
Your TIP is good for up to 180 days. During this time you can drive in and out of Mexico without doing anything. If you want to have your vehicle in Mexico beyond the 180 days, you have to take the vehicle out of Mexico, being sure to get your current TIP cancelled. Then you can drive back into Mexico, stop and apply for a new TIP….going through entire process again…..pay the fee again, new deposit, etc. Then you can be issued a new TIP for another 180 days.
Your original deposit will be refunded within a week or so after your TIP is canceled. It will go back to the account by which you made the payment.
WHAT IF I’M STILL IN MEXICO AND THE PERMIT EXPIRES?
Try not to let this happen….but if it does, supposedly Mexican Customs can issue a permit called a “Retorno Seguro” or Safe Return that will allow you to drive the vehicle to the border. The permit is free of charge and is valid for five business days. I only know this from my research on the internet and have no first-hand experience with it. Your deposit will not be returned!
Vehicle Insurance For Mexico
If your regular insurance policy doesn’t cover your car in Mexico (most don’t), then you must purchase insurance specifically for Mexico.
WHERE TO BUY IT
There are places near the border where you can purchase a policy in person. Dave and I have never gone that route. We’ve heard it can be more expensive than getting it ahead of time. We’ve always purchased our Mexican coverage online at www.mexpro.com. We have no affiliation with this agency. We’re simply sharing it because it’s always been convenient for us.
If you search the internet for “Mexican car insurance” a number of websites will come up.
Buying insurance online has always been quick and easy for us. The process takes about 10 minutes. You provide information about your vehicle and your current USA (or other country) policy. Choose the options you want out of those offered. Then you’re provided with a quote. When we use mexpro, we’re always given a choice from several different companies that usually vary a bit in price.
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
You MUST have an existing policy.
Liability coverage is mandatory for driving in Mexico. It is generally recommended, based on Mexican laws for possible payouts for bodily injury or fatality, that drivers get a minimum of about $300,000 worth of third-party liability damage coverage.
It is possible to get full-coverage, but you have to have full-coverage with your regular policy.
Cost will vary depending on the options you choose and your type of vehicle.
In June of 2020 we paid around $140 for liability coverage of our 2000 F-350 truck.
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