Millions of people cross the border from the U.S. into Mexico every year. If you haven’t crossed the US-Mexico land border before but you’ve been thinking about it, here are the steps you need to take.
We’ll break it down for you so it’s easy to understand. Keep in mind that plenty of U.S. citizens visit our sunny neighbor to the south for some fiesta time every year with no problem. Once you take your first trip, you’ll become a frequent visitor, too!
The first important thing for you to know is you must purchase Mexican car insurance to drive legally in Mexico. Your U.S. insurance policy is not recognized in Mexico. By law Mexico requires Auto liability coverage to be issued by a Mexican Insurance company.
If you are involved in accident where you are at-fault while driving in Mexico, you may go to jail and your car may be impounded, having the right Mexico insurance policy is important. So, it’s not something to take lightly.
Fortunately, your friends at Sanborn’s Mexico Auto Insurance will be happy to help you. They are experts who have been providing the mandatory insurance to U.S. citizens crossing the land border into Mexico for more than 75 years.
You can buy this insurance online or at an agency ahead of your road trip, so it’s one less thing to take care of before your grand adventure to Mexico!
Let’s hit the other important steps you need to take before crossing the US-Mexico land border for the first time.
What Other Documents Do I Need to Cross the Border?
You’ll need five (5) other documents to drive in Mexico. You can acquire these online prior to your trip or depending on where you cross, you can get them at the border crossing station.
1. Temporary Vehicle Importation Permit (TIP): Those who are driving in the Mexico free zone do not need a TIP. All others will need this document from the Banjercito. The cost of the TIP is around $55 (depending on the current exchange rate), as well as a refundable guarantee deposit of up to $400 based on the age of your vehicle. When you leave, cancel your TIP to receive your deposit back. If you do not cancel your TIP, you will forfeit your deposit and you also will not be allowed to drive back into Mexico until you clear things up.
2. Multiple Immigration Form (FMM) or Tourist Card: All foreign-born people (even children) visiting Mexico must apply for an FMM. Applying online is fast and simple, with most people receiving their card via email within 4 hours of applying. If you buy your FMM at the border, remember to have the exact amount. You’ll need your passport information to fill out the application.
3. Valid U.S. Passport
4. Valid U.S. Driver’s License
5. Vehicle Registration Documents
Crossing the Border in Your Car
There are many different places where you can cross into Mexico from the U.S. This decision should be based on where you will be driving from and where in Mexico you wish to go. Where and when to cross the border when driving to Mexico needs some forethought. Border crossings might have long wait times, so bring your patience, some water and snacks and daydream about that Cerveza and great Mexico destination just waiting for you!
You may be faced with multiple lanes at the border crossing of your choice, which can add to the confusion. If you are bringing your personal luggage and other miscellaneous stuff (up to a value of $300 per person), you can use the Nada que Declarar (Nothing to Declare) lane. Read up on Mexico Custom and Immigration Regulations before crossing to make sure you don’t inadvertently pack something not allowed. If you are taking gifts, or new merchandise, make sure to take receipts with you in case the agents ask you for them.
Don’t panic! In most cases, officials will give your car and trunk a check and you’ll be on your way in minutes.
So, there you have it. If you’ve been dreaming of visiting Mexico and you want to drive there, remember that thousands of people do it every year with no issues. Being prepared is your best bet for a stress-free and relaxing vacation.
Buy Affordable Mexican Car Insurance Before Your Trip
As we mentioned, doing what you can before you get to the border will make you that much more prepared. Besides reading up on common customs, road conditions and more, purchasing your required car insurance online (and your TIP and FMM) in advance will check those items off that list. Now, if just don’t forget little Sally’s favorite teddy bear, you should be good to go!
Reach out to the experts at Sanborn’s Mexico Auto Insurance for some guidance. They’ve been helping drivers take safe and enjoyable trips into Mexico for more than 75 years. You can purchase Mexico car insurance online, give them a call at (800) 222-0158 or stop in locations in all border states.