Mexico Free Zone

Mexico Free Zone

Mexico’s “Free Zone

Mexico’s “Free Zone” is a strip along the Mexico-USA border that has been created by the Mexican government to help promote Mexico tourism and greater economic growth for the Mexican areas along the border. Within the free zone, customs importation requirements are essentially removed, allowing goods from other countries to enter this area of Mexico free of duty.

The Mexican customs checkpoints have been moved further into the interior of Mexico, typically 20 to 25 kilometers from entry points, and goods moving into the interior of Mexico past these checkpoints are subject to duty.

Where are the “Mexico Free Zones”?

  1. All of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, including the states Baja California and Baja California Sur are inside the Free Zone.
  2. The northwest portion of the state of Sonora also is a “Free Zone” and is outlined by a couple of Mexican Federal Highways. The Free Zone includes the portion of the state of Sonora that lies to the northwest of Mexico Federal Highway Number 2, starting at Agua Prieta, extending through Cananea, up to where it intersects with Mexican Federal Highway Number 15 in Imuris. From Imuris, the free zone is again all of the areas to the north and/or west of Mexico Federal Highway Number 15, which runs south through Magdalena, Santa Ana, Casa Blanca, Benjamin Hill and Hemosillo. Just north of Guaymas, Highway 15 splits with the Libramiento Guaymas portion extending towards the southeast. Here the free zone encompasses the areas to the south and to the west of Highway 15, to include the areas of Santa Clara, Hacienda El Pardo, Guaymas, and Empalme. The end of the free zone is clearly marked by a warning sign on Mexican Federal Highway Number 15 at kilometer 98, southeast of Empalme.

Temporary Vehicle Importation Permit (TIP)

The Temporary Vehicle Importation Permit (TIP) is not required within the Free Zone. However, if you travel outside of the free zone, you will need to clear the customs checkpoint, and pay a deposit to obtain your windshield TIP. Temporary Vehicle Import stickers must be returned when you leave or you will forfeit your deposit and not be allowed to apply for any future Temporary Vehicle Importation Permits. Unless you return the sticker, you won’t be able to bring any other vehicles into Mexico.

Mexico Vehicle Insurance Required

If plan to drive your car, truck, van, SUV, motorcycle or RV across the border, even if you will be staying inside the free zone the entire time, you will need to have a valid in-force policy that includes Mexican liability insurance coverage.

Some U.S. insurance policies do include riders or extensions that will provide physical damage protection for vehicles driven into Mexico. However, you are still required by Mexican law to have a Mexican insurance policy which must be issued by a Mexican insurance company.

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Temporary Import Permits

Who Can Drive Your Car in Mexico