Category Archives: Border Crossing Requirements

Mexican Free Zone

The Mexican Free Zone designed to attract tourists. Formerly the “hassle-free” or “liberated area” – officially it is called the “Free Trade Zone.” This zone is about 15-20 miles into Mexico all along the Mexican border. Its intention is to reduce government requirements (Mexican government requirements) for tourists visiting and spending money in the area.

In this free zone, customs import requirements, are essentially nonexistent. This also removes the Tourist Permit requirements, the Vehicle Import Permit requirements, and any other duty requirement. It does not, however, give you permission to do anything illegal, like bring a gun into Mexico.

Baja California – One Giant Free Zone

Baja took this to a whole new level by making the entire peninsula (Baja North and Baja South) a free zone. Technically, until and unless something changes, you can move freely about Baja as a tourist with little regard for permits and visas.

Baja South Map
The map of Baja California South

Puerto Penasco – Rocky Point – Sonora – Free Zone

The northwest portion of Sonora is also Free zone, well beyond the 20 miles. The official marker is the Mexican Federal Highway 15 and the 2 Highways

rocky-point-map
rocky-point-map

Do I need a TIP in Free Zone? NO

You do not need the TIP in the free zone but if you travel beyond, you might need one.

Don’t forget to return your TIP Sticker at the border when you return. IF you forget, you forfeit your deposit and you won’t be able to come back with another vehicle until it is returned

DO I need Mexican Car Insurance in the Free Zone? 

Yes. If you plan to drive across the border, you need Mexico car insurance–even in the free zones. Many drivers mistakenly believe that their comprehensive car insurance policy in the U.S. will protect them in Mexico. While this is true when driving in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. insurance carriers do not have an international coverage agreement. So, if you are planning to trip to Mexico’s free zone, you’ll have to apply for Mexican car insurance–even if you only plan to be there for the day.

You can apply for a short-term Mexican car insurance policy but if you make frequent trips to the free zone or elsewhere in Mexico, it will save you money over time to get a long-term policy. Don’t risk driving anywhere in Mexico without a Mexican car insurance policy. You can be arrested and taken to jail if you get into a car accident and don’t have Mexican auto insurance. All drivers in Mexico must have auto insurance or proof that they can pay for repairs in full.

Mexico Car Insurance needed in the Free Zone?

Mexico Car Insurance needed in the Free Zone?

As rules and regulations change about border crossings and Mexican travel, it’s important to check in with experts to get answers to your important questions. If you’re planning to visit Mexico’s free zone, you need Mexican Car Insurance or other documents for your trip. Although the free zone is associated with some different customs, you… Continue Reading

Mexican Insurance Laws 2019

Mexican Insurance Laws 2019

There is still a lot of confusion about what is required legally in Mexico when driving across the border (southbound). Mexican Car Insurance law on the books in Mexico regarding tourists. Here are the highlights: In 2019 All Cars are Required to Have Mexican Insurance in Mexico Under Mexican Federal Law – as of 2019… Continue Reading

FMM Tourist Card

FMM Tourist Card

What is the FMM – Tourist Card? The FMM Tourist Card is required of tourists visiting Mexico for vacation.  Form FMM from the Mexican Immigration Office that documents all long-term visitors to Mexico.  “Long Term” refers to a duration greater than 72 hours. Note:  Baja California is a permit-free zone, meaning tourists can come and… Continue Reading

Export Vehicle to Mexico

Export Vehicle to Mexico

A person attempting to export a used self-propelled vehicle shall present to Customs, at the port of exportation, both the vehicle and the required documentation describing the vehicle to include the VIN or, if the vehicle does not have a VIN, the product identification number (PIN). Exportation of a vehicle will be permitted only upon compliance with these requirements, unless the vehicle was entered into the United States under an in-bond procedure, a carnet, a Temporary Importation Bond, or under a personal exemption for non-residents who entered the vehicle for a 1-year period. Continue Reading

Mexico Customs Rules

Mexico Customs Rules

Are you following Mexico customs rules? When entering Mexico, travelers can expect to fill out a Customs Declaration Form. It is essential to fill this form out honestly as travelers are subject to random inspections. If you are chosen for inspection, your baggage may be inspected to ascertain that your form has been filled out correctly… Continue Reading

Fast Border Crossing with Sentri

Border Crossing with Sentri – several crossings along the U.S. and Mexican border now allow pre-approved travelers a fast track back to the U.S.  By registering for Sentri cards or other quick-pass identification cards, travelers can use the Ready Lanes to speed up the customs and crossing process.  For frequent travelers to Mexico, this is… Continue Reading

Obtaining a Passport

Obtaining a Passport

It used to be that travelers to Mexico could cross and recross the border with little more than a driver’s license.  Today, of course, passports are a must for getting back into the U.S.  When crossing the border, customs officials must be presented with a passport or passport card or the traveler will not be… Continue Reading

Hunting in Mexico

Taking guns into Mexico? Only if you are a hunter … and you follow these guidelines. Shotguns are allowed when you prove to Mexican Authorities upon entrance to Mexico that you will be hunting. Hunting in Mexico The US Department of State warns US citizens against taking any firearm or ammunition into Mexico without prior… Continue Reading