Temporary Vehicle Import Permit for Mexico
A Temporary Vehicle Importation Permit (TIP) is like a permission slip for people who are not Mexican or live outside Mexico. It lets them bring cars from other countries, such as the U.S. and Canada, into Mexico, but only if they're going beyond the free or border zone. You can only get this permit if you're a "visitor" (FMM), Temporary Resident, Temporary Resident Student, or a Mexican living outside the country. To get a TVIP, you have to go through Mexico's Banjercito government agency.
If you want to drive your vehicle outside the Mexico Free Zone you have to get a Mexico Temporary Vehicle Importation Permit (TIP). You can only get this permit from Banjercito, the official Mexican agency.
You can get it either online on the Banjercito website before your trip or at the Mexico border. If you're buying online, make sure to do it between 10 and 60 days before you go to Mexico.
The TIP is good for any vehicle weighing less than three and a half metric tons (7,716 lbs. GVWR) and is valid for up to 180 days. If your vehicle is a motorhome, you can get an RV TIP that's valid for 10 years.
In Sonora, you only need a permit if you're driving outside the Sonora Free Zone, which is the part of Sonora west of the 15 highway and north of KM 98. If you're only traveling within the Mexican State of Sonora, you can buy a Sonora ONLY Vehicle Permit, and it's cheaper.
You DON'T need a Temporary Vehicle Import Permit if you're driving in the Baja California Peninsula, Quintana Roo, the northwest part of Sonora (the area west of the 15D and north of Guayamas), and within 25 kilometers of the borders.
No matter what anyone tells you, whether it's official or not, you can't get vehicle permits at checkpoints inside Mexico, except at the ferry terminal in La Paz, Baja Sur. To get a permit there, you need to have a valid FMM.
It's suggested to carry three black and white copies of each document, as Mexico doesn't accept color copies to avoid potential forgery attempts.
- Passport, passport card, or green card.
- For non-Mexican citizens, a Mexican immigration permit (like Forma Migratoria Múltiple - FMM) for tourism, business, or immigration.
- A non-Mexican driver's license with a photo.
- Original and photocopy of the vehicle's title and registration issued by a foreign authority in the applicant's name. If the title or registration is in the spouse's name, a marriage certificate must be provided. Only the vehicle owner or their spouse can obtain a TIP.
- Proof of temporary Mexican auto insurance for your vehicle.
If you're bringing a leased, financed, or company car into Mexico, you'll also need:
- For Leased Vehicles: Lease contract and a notarized letter of permission from the leasing company.
- For Financed Vehicles: Credit contract and a notarized letter of permission from the lienholder or lending institution.
- For Company Cars: A notarized letter of permission confirming the employment relationship and authorizing the employee to import the vehicle into Mexico.
TIP Declarations and Payment Process
In addition to having the required documents, you need to:
- Sign a declaration, promising to return the vehicle within the 180-day period the permit is valid and follow all regulations.
- Pay around $51.00 USD at the border or $45.00 USD online, plus IVA (tax), using cash or a credit card not issued in Mexico. The cost may vary based on the peso exchange rate and could go up over time.
Pay a deposit based on your vehicle's model year:
- $400 U.S. — 2007 model year and newer
- $300 U.S. — 2001 – 2006 model years
- $200 U.S. — 2000 model year or older
The deposit will be refunded if you cancel the vehicle import permit within the 180-day period and don't break any rules.
According to the Banjercito website, the IVA and deposit amount can change depending on the peso-to-dollar exchange rate.
To pay the fees, you'll need an international credit card (American Express, Mastercard, Visa) in the name of the vehicle's driver (importer) or cash.
Your credit card might be held or charged for the import amount. Make sure to contact your credit card company after you return to make sure you get a refund.
Getting Your Permit Online
Banjercito suggests purchasing online for a faster and more convenient process. Getting your permit online at the Banjercito website will allow you to avoid potentially long lines at the border.
To make an online purchase, do it between 10 to 60 days before your trip to Mexico.
Remember, you need to buy your FMM online before getting a TIP online.
After buying your FMM online, you must stop at the border for immigration (INM) to stamp/validate it. Bring both your printed FMM and your receipt as proof of payment.
Your permit will be sent to you by email. Print it along with your receipt, and carry the printed copy while driving in Mexico. Use your email as verification of your TIP purchase. If you don't have internet access, the printed copy will serve as your backup.
Getting a TIP at the Border
You can buy temporary import permits at CIITEV offices found at Aduana locations along different U.S./Mexico border spots. Locate Banjercito offices in Arizona, California, New Mexico, or Texas.
After the purchase, Banjercito will send you an email containing your TIP and provide a printed copy along with your receipts. Make sure to carry both the email and the printed copy with you at all times when driving in Mexico.
Obtaining a TIP at the Mexican Consulate
You have the option to purchase a permit at one of the Mexican Consulates in the U.S. located in:
- Arizona: Phoenix
- California: Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Sacramento
- Colorado: Denver
- Illinois: Chicago
- New Mexico: Albuquerque
- Texas: Austin, Dallas, Houston
Upon purchase, Banjercito will provide you with your receipts and a copy of the TIP, which will also be sent to your email. Always keep a copy with you while driving in Mexico.
How It Works
If you get pulled over for TIP verification, the officer will likely use a cell phone application to scan your TIP. In cases where there is no cell service, you may need to verify using your paperwork.
Multiple Entries with Your Vehicle
Once you obtain a vehicle import permit, you can drive your vehicle across the border multiple times throughout the duration of the permit's validity.
If the vehicle is registered in the name of a spouse, the importation is allowed with the presentation of the marriage certificate (and a copy).
The owner's adult spouse, children, parents, and siblings can drive the temporarily imported vehicle in Mexico without the owner present, as long as they are not permanent residents of Mexico and hold a non-Mexican driver's license. It's advisable to carry documentation confirming your relationship with the owner.
For other individuals to drive the vehicle, the owner must be in the vehicle, and they should possess a non-Mexican driver's license.
Canceling Your Permit
You MUST CANCEL/SURRENDER YOUR VEHICLE IMPORT PERMIT UPON YOUR FINAL RE-ENTRY INTO THE U.S. If you don't, you'll lose your deposit, and you won't be allowed to obtain another Temporary Import Permit. This is how Mexico ensures the vehicle has left the country.
You CANNOT surrender and purchase a new permit online or anywhere within the interior of Mexico.
Exiting Mexico from the same port as you entered is not necessary to cancel your permit. You must cancel and surrender your permit at an approved Banjercito TIP return location on the border. Locate border locations in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas.
Vehicle Import Violations
The following actions will lead to the forfeiture of your deposit fee:
- Driving a vehicle with an expired vehicle import permit in Mexico.
- Selling an imported vehicle in Mexico.
Other Important Facts
Here are some important facts to keep in mind:
- Temporary Vehicle Import Permits (TIPs) cannot be renewed.
- You cannot surrender and obtain a new TIP within the interior of Mexico.
- Surrendering and obtaining a new temporary permit through a Mexican Consulate abroad is not allowed.
- Surrendering and obtaining a new TIP online is not possible.
- If a vehicle has not been returned to Banjercito offices at the border and the TIP canceled, a new permit cannot be issued.
- A TIP will not be issued if your vehicle has any restrictions in the U.S. or Canada (determined by the Vehicle Identification Number or VIN), such as 'salvage' or theft.
Mexican Auto Insurance
Temporary Mexican auto insurance is required in order to purchase a temporary vehicle import permit. Buy Mexican Auto Insurance now from AmigoMex.