What Do I Need To Drive Into Mexico? 5 Best Tips

What Do I Need To Drive Into Mexico?

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Getting across the US-Mexico border is relatively easy, regardless of where you're going. However, there are some documents that you'll need to bring along with you. These documents will vary depending on whether you're planning on driving or leasing a vehicle.

If you're planning on staying in a certain area for a short time, such as a safe zone, then you'll need to bring these documents along with you. Before heading out, make sure that you thoroughly review the rules of the road.

List Of Things You Require to Drive Into Mexico

Regardless of whether you're planning on driving across the border or renting a car in Mexico, there are certain documents that you'll need to bring along with you.

Checklist for Driving into Mexico

  • -US citizens who are planning on driving into Mexico will need to bring along an identification card or passport.
  • -Driver's License: Either your American license or an international driving permit is acceptable.

Those who are planning on visiting Mexico for tourism or staying in the country for less than 180 days must present an official entry immigration form prior to their trip. In order to save time, you can complete and submit the form online. If you have to fill out the form at the border, you will no longer be required to do so in Cancun.

Required Car Insurance Policy

If you plan on driving into Mexico from an area outside of the free zone or border, then you'll need to have a temporary vehicle importation permit. In order to get this permit, you'll need to provide various documents, such as proof of ownership of your vehicle and a valid US driver's license. You can also obtain this permit online up to 60 days prior to your trip.

Renting a Car To Drive A Car To Mexico

You'll also need to have a valid US driver's license and proof of civil liability insurance in order to reserve a car in Mexico. You must be at least 25 years old to rent a vehicle in the country, and drivers must have a license for at least five years in order to drive.

Although your credit card may provide you with insurance when you rent a car in Mexico, it's still important to have Mexican car insurance in order to avoid getting in an accident. If you don't have this type of insurance, you might not be allowed to leave the country after an accident, and the company will only reimburse you once you return home. Before you leave, make sure that you thoroughly read the terms and limitations of your credit card's coverage.

Before you sign the contract for a rental car in Mexico, make sure that the agent has all of the scratched and non-working parts of the vehicle inspected. Doing so will allow them to use the photos as proof that you did cause the damage.

what do I need to drive into mexico

Picture Credit- Flickr

Best Mexico Vehicle Insurance

Having Mexican car insurance can also help minimize the possibility of getting in an accident. In Mexico, you must have civil liability insurance in order to protect yourself in case you cause damages to another vehicle or injure another person. However, this type of insurance is not always valid in the country for bodily injury. If you have American insurance, you might be able to get coverage for physical damage.

If you're planning on taking your car out of Mexico for a long time, then consider a six-month policy. If you're planning on leaving for a longer time, you might want to consider purchasing travel insurance before you leave. Sites like RentalCars can help you find the best deal by comparing prices from different providers.

You can also purchase Mexican car insurance in the US. There are usually several stores and storefronts that sell this type of insurance near the border. However, this type of insurance can only be purchased in certain areas, such as Deming, New Mexico.

In addition to insurance, all drivers in Mexico will also need to have a vehicle permit and a tourist card in order to drive.

You'll need to have a tourist card, which is an arrival or departure card, at the border in the US. You can fill out a simple form at an immigration office or online, and then you can hang onto the card. This type of card can be used for up to 180 days in the country, though it's important to keep it with you at all times.

The cost of a vehicle permit in Mexico has gone up to $21 in 2022, and you'll need to pay with a credit card. If you don't have a credit card, then you'll have to pay a processing fee and a bond. You can also purchase a temporary importation permit through Banjercito.

Mexico Border Crossing From the U.S.A

You'll drive through one of the lanes at the border between the US and Mexico. Depending on how much traffic there is at the crossing, you might drive through multiple lanes. The traffic lights at the intersections above the lane's direct vehicles into the inspection area or the country.

If the light turns green when you enter Mexico, proceed directly into the country. However, if the light turns red, you may be directed to a parking area, and a customs agent may search your vehicle or ask you some questions. Carrying both your tourist card and vehicle permit, as well as nothing illegal, such as switchblades, is fine.

If you're bringing new or used merchandise into the country, then you might be asked if these items are for resale.

What The Driving Experience Like in Mexico?

The way people drive in Mexico is similar to that of the country's citizens. Although it may seem like a bit extreme for Americans, the way Mexican drivers operate their vehicles makes sense once they get used to it. Large cities such as Mexico City are no worse than Atlanta or Phoenix when it comes to driving at rush hour.

There are some areas in Mexico that you should avoid. One of these is the Toluca Highway, which is known for its random encounters with drug gangs.

It's not worth taking risks while driving in Mexico, especially since the locals have more experience than you do. Also, the dangerous driving that you see may be well-rehearsed by the locals.


driving across mexican border with a car

Mexican Rules of the Highway

If you're new to Mexico, then there are a lot of rules that you need to follow in order to avoid getting stranded on the side of the road or getting involved in an accident. While there are some laws that are different from those in the US, the top tips for safe driving in Mexico are the same.

  1. One of the most important factors that you should consider when it comes to safe driving in Mexico is avoiding driving at night. In the country, there are more animals and pedestrians on the road at night than on the day, and there are numerous vehicles without lights. Also, Mexican roads lack overhead lights, which can prevent you from seeing potholes, broken glass, and topes.
  2. If you're planning on breaking down at night, don't panic. In most parts of Mexico, you'll be stranded on the side of the road for most of the night. To survive the night, you can lock your doors and try to sleep in the backseat until the morning.
  3. If you're experiencing a break down in the middle of the day, then you should consider calling the Green Angels. These are government-paid roadside assistance teams that are known to arrive at your location in just a couple of minutes. The Green Angels are composed of green trucks that are equipped with spare parts and bilingual crews.

    The members of the Green Angels will also usually go to an auto supply store to purchase a part for your vehicle. You can also call the 24-hour toll-free number of the Green Angels at 078 or if you live in one of the states that have a Green Angels patrol team.

  4. One of the most important factors that you should consider when it comes to safe driving in Mexico is avoiding driving in areas that are far from Bandidos. Due to the unpredictable nature of the roads, it's best to avoid the backstreets whenever possible. Mexico also has several toll roads that are in excellent condition, but they can be very expensive to use. These roads will take you to your destination, and you'll miss the local culture if you stay exclusively on them.
  5. In Mexico, turn signals are used to indicate whether or not a vehicle is ready to turn. Unlike in the U.S., these are not used to indicate whether or not a car is ready to turn. Instead, they are used to indicate whether or not a vehicle is moving in the other direction. Before you decide to pass when a car is turning, make sure that you can see the intersection ahead of you.
  6. In order to accommodate oncoming traffic, drivers in Mexico are required to drive on the shoulder whenever they see an oncoming vehicle. They can also pass cars on the shoulder if they're following closely. However, make sure to be quick as Mexican drivers often use every inch of the road to keep moving traffic.
  7. One of the most important factors that you should consider when it comes to safe driving in Mexico is never, ever, drive while intoxicated. This is because it's not worth the risk of getting involved in an accident or making friends in a jail cell. If you need to get to a hotel after drinking, you can take a taxi and return to your car the following day once you've sobered up.
  8. If you're pulled over by police officers in Mexico, do not try to bribe them. Instead, ask to be taken to the police chief so that he can give you money. This will most likely result in the officer backing off if he just wants to make money from you. It's also important to note that you shouldn't be the one who suggests paying a bribe.

If you find yourself in an Emergency: dial 911. (Yes, it's the same as the U.S.A)

Border Crossing From the U.S. To Mexico

The border between the U.S. and Mexico is divided into several lanes. When you enter the country, a customs officer will most likely ask you if there's anything to declare. If you refuse to do so, your car may be searched, and you may be sent to jail if you've lied.

It's widely believed that customs officers in the U.S. are more difficult than those in Mexico due to the volume of smuggled traffic crossing the border. If you're a US citizen, you should be able to pass through without any issues. However, if you're a Mexican, you might encounter interrogations.

Dealing With U.S. Customs

If you're planning on crossing the border into the U.S. from Mexico, avoid getting into any issues with customs by declaring all of the items that you brought back with you.

  • There is a $200 exemption for gifts and personal articles you've purchased in Mexico; anything over that amount will be taxed
  • One liter of alcoholic beverage per person over 21 is okay—more will be taxed, and the state of Texas taxes all alcohol brought back from Mexico
  • No steroids are allowed, and you must have a prescription (American) for any medicines brought across the border
  • No illegal drugs: if you have the slightest amount, you can be fined and sent to jail, and your car may even be confiscated
  • No switchblade knives
  • So many fruits from Mexico are prohibited in the U.S. that you may as well not bring any back
  • No guns of any kind are allowed, and even ammo is prohibited at the border; however, you can get documentation showing that you legally purchased a firearm you're carrying in the U.S.
  • Fish you caught in Mexico are permitted across the border
  • No clothing, purses, wallets, or shoes/boots made of endangered species, like sea turtles, are allowed
  • If you are ever in doubt, leave in in Mexico


Driving Into Mexico FAQ

Which Car Rental Companies Allow Cars into Mexico?

Most car rental companies allow their customers to cross the border into Mexico. However, there are a few locations that only allow certain types of vehicles to be driven across the border. To find out more about these restrictions, please contact the supplier directly.

  • Avis
  • Budget
  • Dollar
  • Enterprise
  • Fox Rent a Car
  • Hertz
  • National
  • Thrifty

What Do I Need To Drive To Mexico?

Can I Drive in Mexico with a Tourist Visa? In order to be allowed to drive in Mexico, one must have a valid passport or birth certificate, as well as an immigration form and the car's permit holder in the car with them. If you're planning on visiting Mexico with a tourist card, you must have the appropriate documents.

How Do I Get a Permit to Drive to Mexico? In certain areas, such as the Baja Peninsula, permits are not required. In order to get a vehicle permit in Mexico, one must go to a government agency known as Banjercito. Driving permits can be done online, at a Mexican consulate in the US, or at the border.

Can You Drive in Mexico with a US Driver's License?  Yes, you can drive in Mexico with a US driver's license but you will also need a valid passport, valid car insurance, and your tourist card.

Can I Drive My Car into Mexico? Yes, you can drive your car into Mexico if it has valid insurance, valid registration, and TVIP (temporary vehicle importation permit)

What is a Mexican TVIP (temporary vehicle importation permit)? Mexican TVIP is a permit which you can get on arrival at the border or purchase online 7 to 60 days prior to your trip. You will need several documents to acquire a Mexico vehicle permit including valid proof of car ownership, valid proof of American registration, an affidavit from any lien holders authorizing temporary importation, a valid American driver's license, and valid proof of citizenship