Do you need a Temporary Import Permit to drive your car into Mexico? If you plan to drive in certain areas–or beyond a certain distance from the border, travelers will also need a Mexican vehicle permit. This permit is from Banco Nacional del Ejército Fuerza Aérea y Armada, commonly known as Banjercito. Use this guide when you plan to apply for your vehicle permit.
Do I Need a Temporary Import Permit (TIP)?
If you plan to drive beyond 16 miles, or beyond the permit-free zone, you will need to apply for a Mexican driving permit. This permit is not required for driving anywhere in the Baja Peninsula (although, Mexican insurance is required). Drivers will not need to apply for a permit for driving in permit-free zones like tourist-friendly Rocky Point either. However, if you plan to take a longer excursion into the country, you should apply for the permit.
How to Apply for a Mexican Vehicle Permit
The process of applying for a Mexican driving permit is not difficult. Travelers should allow at least seven days for Banjercito to process. Ideally, it’s better to apply within a few weeks (up to 6 months) prior to entering Mexico. Pre-registering is ideal because the agency can then directly mail a temporary permit to you. However, you can also pick up the permit at a Banjercito office when you cross the border. Regardless, you must visit the office to procure the permit once the agency verifies your documents. Make sure you have paper copies of your title, registration, and Mexican insurance.
Conveniently, travelers can pre-register for a vehicle permit online at the Banjercito website. Complete the online application and then submit an electronic payment. Keep in mind that pre-registration does cut down on the processing time, but you’ll need to submit documents in person at a Banjercito office. This step cannot be skipped. Pre-registered applicants are fast-tracked, so it’s still a good idea to apply online. By taking care to obtain the permit you need before your trip, you’ll save yourself considerable headaches and enhance your stay in Mexico.
Mexico Vehicle Permit Costs
Costs for the Mexico vehicle permits vary. Specific costs can be found on the Banjercito website. Currently, fees are $50 and under for cars, trucks, and recreational vehicles. In addition to the cost of the permit, drivers will also have to pay a deposit. The deposit varies in accordance with the year of the vehicle. It tends to be much more substantial than the cost of the permit itself. Mexico requires this deposit to ensure that drivers return their permit before leaving Mexico. If you do not return your permit, you risk losing your deposit.
Returning the Temporary Import Permit (TIP)
Moreover–and this is quite important–these vehicle permits must be returned to a Banjercito office in person. These offices are located at border crossings. Deposits for these permits are substantial and you risk losing yours if you choose to mail in your permit or fail to return it at all. This is the current rule and there does not appear to be a change in sight even though much of the process has now been streamlined for online users.
Permanent Importation of Vehicles
Permanent import permits are much more complicated and will require the help of a Banjercito staff member. Once you obtain your permit, be sure to keep it with you at all times.
Other Important Information
When you apply for a Mexico driving permit, you will need to present approved documents that prove your citizenship. These documents include passports, records of naturalization, or resident alien cards.
One of the most confusing topics to come up recently is the law that allows drivers to Mexico the ability to import only one vehicle under their name. For instance, a single driver may obtain a Temporary Import Permit for his car and/or, perhaps, a trailer, but not for a motorcycle that the driver also wants to bring along. Another driver must register to obtain a permit for this vehicle and, furthermore, must accompany this vehicle. Many drivers will allow a spouse or parent to apply for the permit, but the law can be difficult for some to understand.
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