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What is a Mexico Vehicle Permit?
A Mexico Temporary Vehicle Importation Permit (TIP), or simply Mexico vehicle permit, is a vehicle import permit needed to drive your vehicle into and through certain parts of Mexico, beyond the Mexico Free Zone. The Mexico Free Zone is also called the Border Zone; it was designated by the Mexican government to make it easier for travelers and commuters to enter Mexico, while improving tourism along the U.S. border. If you are driving in this zone, you do not need a permit. The zone perimeters encompass Mexico's northern and southern borders, including the entire Baja peninsula and a large portion of Sonora.
You do not need a vehicle permit to drive throughout the Baja Peninsula (from Tijuana to Los Cabos), however you must obtain a tourist card if you stay longer than 72 hours or if you travel south of the US-Mexico Border Zone.
Sonora is included because the free zone in Sonora lies to the northwest of Mexico Federal Highway Number 2, which starts at Aqua Prieta. For those visitors who only stay in the state of Sonora, the state offers a charge-free “Sonora Only” permit, which requires less documentation than the standard TIP and is valid for a period of 6 months (180 days). It is very important to remember that ALL permits must be returned at the same checkpoint that the permit was issued at and it must be returned before the 6-month expiration date.
These permits are valid for any vehicle, as long as they have a gross vehicle weight rating less than 7,716 lbs (or 3.5 metric tons); these are good for up to 180 days. Motorhome TIPs are good for 10 years.
Who needs one and why?
It is illegal to travel outside of the Mexico free border zone without a TIP. If you are caught, your vehicle can be confiscated and you could be escorted right back to the border or even worse, taken to jail.
How to get a Mexican vehicle permit
Vehicles such as cars, boats or RVs may be pre-registered with Banjercito, the official Mexican issuing agency. These permits can ONLY be obtained from Banjercito. You can get your permit online on the Banjercito website or at the Mexico border.
If you’re paying online, purchases must be made 7-60 days prior to travel into Mexico. Online registration is straightforward and your temporary permit will be delivered to your home address. Travels can apply for a permit as early as 60 days from the date of their planned Mexico trip; however, keep in mind that the agency requires at least a 10-day notice to complete the application process. If you do not want to register online, you may use the mail option and pick up your permit at the Banjercito office.
The following items are required to obtain your Temporary Vehicle Importation Permit and must be the original copies or notarized copies:
● Valid citizenship document - Birth Certificate or Passport
● Valid Driver's License - Mexican residents, by law, may not drive a US registered vehicle in Mexico unless they have legal residency in the US.
● A tourist visa or tourist card, which can be obtained at any US-Mexico border crossing as well as any Mexican Consulate inside the US.
● Proof of ownership for your vehicle - this includes the original title or the original/valid vehicle registration form. All person(s) listed on the original registration form must be present or if the owner cannot be present, you must contact the Mexican Consulate ahead of time for help with how to obtain the permit.
● All leased, financed or rented vehicles need a “letter of authorization” allowing you to drive the vehicle into Mexico. Contact your finance company or rental agency to request this letter.
● Cash deposits are accepted. Credit cards are accepted (VISA, AMEX, Mastercard, Diners Club) but card must be issued to the name of the driver.
● Fees due: $27.00 USD at the border modules or $35.20 USD at the consulate modules.
Sonora Only Permit
● A valid Drivers License
● Proof of vehicle ownership or legal documentation/authorization to drive the vehicle. This is provided by the owner of the vehicle.
○ Legal Documentation can be proven by:
■ Vehicle registration showing the name of the driver or company, as well as the original title of lease contract for all leased vehicles.
■ Leased or financed vehicles must present a letter of authorization written from the leasing company or bank. A lot of banks and/or leasing agencies require a copy of your “Full Coverage” Mexican auto insurance policy before they will issue you a letter of authorization.
■ All company-owned vehicles must show proof of employment between the company who owns the vehicle and the driver....