Entering Mexico with your foreign vehicle

My Overland Adventure

Around the World in a Land Cruiser
Staff member
May 29, 2014
On The road
Guide to entering Mexico with your foreign vehicle

Summary of process

  • Buy Mexican Insurance
  • Purchase Tourist Card
  • Obtain Temporary Import Approval (if Required)
*A carnet is not required to enter Mexico

Mexico Insurance
There are many insurance companies online that can provide insurance for both US and foreign owned vehicles.

Most insurance companies will ask for the following:

  • Proof of ownership (Vehicle Registration certificate)
  • Vin Number
  • Driving licence Number*
*Note an International driving permit is not required in Mexico

Third party liability, full comprehensive insurance & road side assistance can be purchased from any of the following:

*note it is recommended that you have a minimum of $300,000 of third part liability.

Tourist Card
If you are traveling to Mexico as a tourist, you must obtain an FMT tourist permit. The FMT allows you to visit or make multiple trips to Mexico for a maximum period of six months (180 days). The Mexican Immigration official issuing the FMT has sole discretion in determining your length of stay and may ask you the expected duration of your trip. As a tourist, you are not authorized to conduct any type of business activity in Mexico.

The tourist card costs roughly $25 and can be purchased at the border.

Temporary Import Permit
The rules differ depending on where you plan to drive in Mexico; some zones (1&2) no permit while travelling to Senora or mainland Mexico. Outside of zones 1&2 will require a temporary import permit.

  1. Border Zone – within 25KM of the border (No Permit Required)
  2. The whole of Baja or Puerto Penasco (No Permit Required)
  3. Senora – (Senora only Permit Required)Mainland Mexico outside the above (Temporary import Permit Required)
Senora Zone

Obtaining the Permits
Permits can be purchased at Banjercito offices. You will need the following:

  • Passport
  • Your vehicle registration – The vehicle registration must be in the driver’s name
  • A lease contract if the vehicle is leased or a rental contract if it is rented
  • A Mexican tourist card or visa for travel in Mexico
This is the location of the Banjercito in Otay near the airport (The office has been moved from Tijuana in the last year) GPS 32.545750, -116.940556

Below is a map of the states with Banjercito offices. More information can be found here:

Or online (the permit is sent by post and may take up to 7 business days).
  • You may request your permit 7 to 60 days prior to entering Mexico by vehicle.
  • Once the payment has been accepted, they will send the permit to your address within 7 business days.
  • Once you have received your 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 itvnet@banjercito.com.mx.
  • Through courier service 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.
  • 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).

The cost of the permit is linked to the age of the vehicle:

Cost of Permits:
The permit costs just under $50 USD. You will also have to provide the refundable deposit detailed below. You can pay by credit card or cash.


Vehicle Year Cost USD

2007 & Later $400

2001 – 2006 $300

2000 & Earlier $200

Leaving Mexico
Don’t forget to go to the Banjercito office for your deposit refund!!
Last edited by a moderator:

Mr Rehab

New Overlander
Dec 1, 2015
I'd like clarification on the process for Temporary Import of vehicles above 3.5 tonne.

Apparently vehicles above 3.8 ton may be weighed and inspected by Aduana and a fee determined. Anybody have any experience with this process and the scale of fees for larger vehicles?

This Mexican Aduana website doesn't mention the weight limit: General aspects for the temporary importation of vehicles, mobile homes and vessels

But this Mexpro Insurance site does in a 2016 update:
Mexico Vehicle Importation Permit | Mexico RV Insurance | Mexpro

  • The maximum weight for all vehicles, including motor homes, in order to obtain a temporary import permit at Banjercito is 7,716 pounds, which is equal to 3.8 tons.

This US RV site has a later update with info as below:
Mexico RV Info

Important note (Jun 3, 2016): I am getting reports of people being refused permits for 3/4 ton trucks & up. This is because they are taking the GVW figure, which is the max loaded weight of the truck & cargo. In these case the 3500 kg limit is exceeded. I am trying to resolve this before the 2016/2017 season. Banjercito's own website is contradictory on this subject (see images for downloading below). Problem crossings appear to be the Guatemalan border, El Paso, Reyonosa and la Paz (ferry from Baja). I have had no reports from Nogales which is my recommended crossing.

To confuse matters more, the SAT website (they set the laws) states its 3500 Kg cargo capacity. Still not GVW or GVWR, that is GVW-truck net weight. You can download that HERE. See Page

Update Aug,2016: The latest is that if you are over, they will send you to customs to inspect the truck to make sure it is a passenger vehicle, not a commercial one. I will have more info in November 2016, after I cross myself, with my 1 ton.

Update Oct,2016: The latest is that this problem has been resolved. The individual who caused it no longer works fo Banjercito and things are back to the way they were before. We will see.
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Mr Rehab

New Overlander
Dec 1, 2015
Does anybody have recent experience for a temporary import for a 'truck camper' as opposed to an RV?