Temporary Import Permit (TIP)

On the Road? Call 1-888-712-7023 or Buy Online. We can email your policy.
Updated: September 10, 2015

What is the Temporary Import Permit (TIP)?

In order to drive a USA or Canadian plated vehicle into Mexico, you must purchase a Temporary Import Permit (TIP) for Mexico, and the vehicle must have Mexico Automobile Insurance.

The TIP is valid for any type of vehicle, weighing not more than 3.5 metric tons (7,716 lbs), and can be obtained for a maximum of six months (180 days).

The permit (TIP) registers your vehicle (car, truck, RV, motorcycle) and links it to your passport, so that Mexico can ensure that you remove it from Mexico after your visit. It comes in the form of a hologram sticker which is affixed to your windshield, and is accompanied by official paperwork. The sticker and all paperwork must be turned in at the border for cancelation upon departure. IMPORTANT: Do not simply depart without stopping at the customs office and turning everything in, and collecting your receipt of departure. Retain the receipt for future reference, and carry it with you if you ever again drive into Mexico. (More information below.)

You DO NOT require a Temporary Import Permit (TIP) to drive into

  1. The “Mexico Free Zone” (also known as the "Mexico Free Trade Zone", the "Liberated Zone", or the "Perimeter Zone");
  2. The State of Sonora… “Free Zone” ONLY… which is anywhere within 98 kilometers of Mexico Federal Hwy #15 in the State of Sonora; or
  3. Any part of the Baja Peninsula.

Note: You can obtain a “Sonora Only” Temporary Import Permit (TIP) if you plan to only drive into that State beyond its Sonora Free Zone.

Where To Obtain the Mexico Temporary Import Permit (TIP)

The Temporary Import Permit (TIP) can be obtained at the border crossing when you arrive. Or you can purchase it online from Banjercito, the official Mexican issuing agency, anytime 7 to 60 days prior to travel into Mexico.

Please note that vehicle permits CANNOT be obtained at checkpoints in the interior of Mexico. Here we are referring to what visitors often call the “12 Mile Checkpoint”. After crossing into Mexico, these checkpoints exist along the highway routes going into Mexico from the border usually about 20-25 km from the border. If you do not obtain your TIP at the border crossing, customs officials at the checkpoint will turn you around and send you back to the border. They cannot issue the Temporary Import Permit (TIP) at these checkpoints.

Documents Needed to Apply for a Mexico Temporary Import Permit (TIP)

You will need to present original documents and provide photocopies of them for the customs officials. We have experienced incidents when the border photocopy machine was not working, so if you intend on purchasing your TIP at the border, it is recommended that you bring three photocopies of the following documents with you:

  1. Evidence of Citizenship, i.e. your Passport.
  2. If you are not a Mexican citizen, a Mexican immigration permit, such as a tourist, business or immigrant permit. (The tourist permit is also available at the border, so if you are entering as a tourist, you can obtain your tourist permit and your vehicle TIP at the time of crossing.)
  3. The Vehicle Title and registration certificate. A bill of sale is not acceptable.
  4. Your valid Driver's License with photo.
  5. Certificate of canceled import permit for any prior Temporary Import Permit(s). You may be asked.
  6. If the vehicle is financed, is a rental car, is leased, and/or is a company car, a notarized Letter of Permission to bring the vehicle into Mexico is required from the lien holder or lending institution. Practical Tip….In many cases, the Vehicle Title (ownership paperwork) may show your name and home address as well as the Leaser, and in these cases Mexican officials usually neglect to request the Letter of Permission. Our experience has demonstrated that it may be easier to hold back on the Letter of Permission and only produce it if requested….fewer questions by confused agents may be your reward.
  7. If you are the driver requesting the TIP, and the title of the vehicle is in the name of your spouse, child, or parents… an original birth certificate (or marriage license) must be presented.
    1. If the vehicle belongs to your spouse, you need your marriage license;
    2. If the vehicle belongs to your child, you need the child’s birth certificate naming you as the parent;
    3. If the vehicle belongs to your parent(s), you need YOUR birth certificate naming your parent(s).

Note: All of the above documents are needed when you drive your vehicle in Mexico whether you purchase your vehicle import permit online or not…so bring the originals and copies.

Don’t forget your credit card (American Express, MasterCard, Visa) which must be in the name of the driver of the vehicle (importer).

What is the Cost for a Temporary Import Permit?

There are 2 costs incurred to bring a foreign vehicle into Mexico.

  • Temporary Import Fee

The fee for importation of a vehicle is $44.00 USD plus IVA; this fee is the same whether the permit is obtained at the border, consulates or online.

  • Deposit Guarantee

Mexico will charge your credit card, according to the year of the vehicle, with a refundable deposit as follows:

  • 2007 or Newer - $400 USD charged in Mexican Pesos (includes IVA)
  • 2001 - 2006      - $300 USD charged in Mexican Pesos (includes IVA)
  • 2000 or Older   - $200 USD charged in Mexican Pesos (includes IVA)

If the vehicle is not returned to the US prior to the expiration date on the permit, or the permit is lost, your deposit is forfeited.

Mexican Auto Insurance

Mexican automobile insurance is required in order to obtain a temporary vehicle import permit. If you are on the road, call us toll free from Canada or the USA at 1-888-712-7023 and we will email you your policy.

Or you can Buy Online and your policy will also be immediately emailed to you.

Or, Email Us for more information.

Multiple Entries with your TIP

Once you have a vehicle import permit you may drive your vehicle across the border multiple times during the valid length of your permit. However, it is not recommended. If you were to drive into the USA (or back to Canada) with your TIP still on the windshield, and were unable to return the same vehicle to Mexico (due to total loss, for example), you may be unable to have the vehicle removed from the Mexican data base. They would consider the vehicle as still being in Mexico and you would (a) forfeit your guarantee deposit; and (b) be prohibited from bringing in another vehicle.

Warnings

  • There have been reports of fraudulent or counterfeit permits being issued adjacent to the vehicle import permit office in Nuevo Laredo and other border areas. Do not purchase permits from anyone except the officials behind the counter. Travelers without the proper TIP may be incarcerated, fined and/or have their vehicle seized at immigration/customs checkpoints.
  • You cannot sell your foreign vehicle in Mexico. It must be removed from Mexico.

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More Information

Who Can Drive Your Vehicle in Mexico

Liability Limits in Mexico

Making a Claim in Mexico

The "Free Zones" - Baja and Sonora