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Entering Mexico

Filling out forms at the border

Proof of Citizenship

You need to show documents to prove who you are and where you are from. You are NOW required to show a valid Passport to enter Mexico.


Passport A new Mexican law requiring some U.S. visitors to present passports when entering Mexico went into effect March 1 2010.

The law applies to visitors planning to spend more than 72 hours in Mexico, according to the country's National Migration Institute in Tijuana.

The new Mexican law comes nine months after a U.S. law went into effect, requiring a passport to re-enter the United States.




Dogs and cats are allowed into Mexico and we have never been asked for documentation when we crossed the border. Technically speaking you are to have an international certificate from a vet stating the pet is in good health and that all shots are up-to-date. Other pets such as birds or ferrets need special consideration and you are to make inquiries at your local Mexican Consulate.


(On the way back to the US you must provide papers that document that the animal has had rabies protection for at least 30 days and that the inoculation has not expired. As a matter of course before a long trip we had our dog CRASH an additional note from our vet at home stating he is healthy and happy.)









Border Crossing CD Juarez


Tourist Cards

You are required to get a tourist card if you are either:

a) planning to visit Mexico for more than 72 hours


b) straying from the "tourist zones" along the border.

While you can pick up the cards at official Mexican tourist offices before you enter Mexico, there is no real advantage in doing so. They must be stamped and processed at the border. The cost for a card is approximately 200 pesos (payable at banks throughout Mexico before you leave the country) and is usually good for 180 days. You can re-enter on the same tourist card.

You should return it on your final exit from the country.

Vehicle Permits  (required everywhere except the Baja)

Temporary permits are required to bring in foreign plated vehicles into Mexico in an effort to halt illegal importation (untaxed entry of vehicles.) The procedure is both time consuming and very strict so should be taken quite seriously. Note: one driver is allowed to bring in one vehicle. A passenger would be required to be the signatory and bring in a tow car, motorcycle or ATV.

You must have

a) proof of citizenship

b) vehicles title or registration

c) credit card and charge of approximately 300 pesos

You are not allowed to temporarily import a borrowed vehicle - you must prove ownership through title. If you are leasing, making loan payments or the vehicle has a lien on it, you must get a letter from the lien holder stating that you are allowed to bring in the vehicle for a specific period of time. The letter should either be notarized or at the very least very official looking.

While there are alternate procedures, a valid credit card will ensure a much more speedy documentation process. You will be charged 180m pesos per vehicle.

An Immigration Officer will attach a hologram sticker to the drivers upper windshield. This must remain for the entire trip AND BE DETACHED BY AN OFFICIAL AS YOU LAST LEAVE THE COUNTRY. Failure to return the hologram could have serious consequences when you next return with your vehicle.



Generally you will not be asked to show your insurance documents. You would be crazy to drive anywhere, especially in Mexico without it. Remember Canadian or American insurance doesn't give you any coverage south of the border!

Click here for more information about Mexican insurance.


Boat Permits

You need to get a boat permit for boats that have fishing tackle aboard. Ask for a permit at any port city.


Fishing Permits


Customs Allowances into Mexico

DO NOT BRING EITHER GUNS OR DRUGS INTO MEXICO. Mucho problemo! Don't try it - think about it or even toy with the idea. If caught you most likely will end up in prison for a very long time.

You are allowed to bring into Mexico:

a) 2 cartons of cigarettes or 50 cigars or a kilo of tobacco (2.2lbs)

b) 1 litre of wine or hard liquor

c) 12 rolls of film

d) a computer

e) camera equipment

Be reasonable and don't bring in quantities of anything that might look like you are planning to resell them. You really don't have to load up on food anymore as there are enough Supermercado with a good supply and variety of food.

When you cross most borders you will be asked to push a button. If you hit green you will continue to pass through. If you hit a red signal your luggage will be searched. Additionally if you look suspicious or a guard has the desire - you can be searched regardless of the light.


Returning Home

You will be required to show proof of citizenship and identity when entering the US. Pets require paperwork etc.

US citizens are allowed to bring home:

a) after 30 days $800 US (November 2002) in purchases duty free. Over the $00 limit will be taxed at 10% for the following $1000 worth of purchases.

b) 200 cigarettes or 100 cigars or 2 kilos (4.4lbs) of tobacco

c) 1 liter of alcohol - wine or spirits

Canadian citizens are allowed to bring home:

a) after 24 hours $50 CAN in purchases duty free; after 48 hours - $300 CAN duty free; or after 7 days - $750 duty free.

b) 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 1 kilos of chewing tobacco

c) 1.5 liter of alcohol - wine or spirits


Don't forget to turn in your Car decal before leaving the country!