San Antonio is located 157 miles from Laredo, TX, a border city with Nuevo Laredo, and about 143 miles from Eagle Pass, TX, a border city with Piedras Negras. Our city is also within driving distance from other border cities in the Valley, which makes it easy to drive to Mexico.
As a Mexicana living in the U.S., and even though I recognize we have to take precautions on Mexican roads, I’m happy to know that I can drive home anytime. What I despise, is to think about all the time we may spend at the border going through the Vehicle Temporary Import Permit process (which is needed once you get past 26 km from the U.S. border) and the Immigration process for my husband, who is a U.S. citizen.
My family and I frequently cross through Laredo, TX—International Bridge II. This last time, it took us four hours in line to get the import permit for our car. The kids and I waited in our vehicle while my husband “patiently” waited in line. I was prepared with a few things to entertain the kids, but as you can imagine, four hours in the same place with small children is not an easy task.
Once you obtain your vehicle’s temporary import permit, you must take note that it only lasts six months and must be canceled and returned within the expiration date. In the past, we had already obtained this permit online, but this last time we couldn’t use that process because we realized really late that one of the documents we needed was expired and we had to wait to update it.
The extensive lines at the border, and seeing many other people going through the same, gave me the idea to write this for those who need to travel to Mexico by car and don’t know there is an option to apply for the needed permits online.
How to get the Multiple Immigration Form:
This document is needed for any foreign citizen traveling to Mexico beyond the 26 km marker.
To fill out the application, you can go to this page, where you will select your point of entry to Mexico and fill out the form. You will need a valid passport or passport card and will need to make a payment of $575 pesos, approximately $28.00.
Once you have filled out everything and printed the form, you can start your trip—just make sure to stop at the border to get this document stamped, and after that, you will have 180 days to reside in Mexico.
How to get the Temporary Importation Permit for foreign vehicles:
This permit allows the entry of foreign vehicles into Mexican territory beyond the 26 km marker. As I have mentioned, you can complete the process at the border, in one of the Banjercito locations, but to make it easier you can also request the Temporary Importation Permit for foreign vehicles form through their website.
The cost for this permit online is $46.00, while in-person is $51.00. You will also need to leave a deposit with your credit card to make sure you return your car to the U.S. before the permit expires. The cost of the deposit varies according to the year of the car, but for 2007 vehicles or later models, it is $400.00. You will get the deposit back once you return this permit, just make sure to do it before the expiration date (if not, you will lose your deposit).
The documents you need are:
- If you are Mexican, you will need your U.S. residence card. If you are a foreign citizen, you must first obtain the Multiple Immigration Form. (I described this process above.)
- Passport or passport card.
- A document that states ownership of the vehicle—whether it is registration, title, a financing contract and letter of authorization to temporarily import the vehicle to Mexico from the agency, receipt of payment to DMV for registration of the vehicle and current insurance, or a leasing contract in your name.
Please note that if the vehicle is under your spouse’s name (or another close family member such as a child, sibling, or parent), you must present either a birth certificate or marriage license to prove your relationship with the owner of the vehicle.
Once you have all these documents, you can go to Banjercito online to start the process, filling out everything they request.
Try to complete this process with enough time to make sure you will receive the permit on time. This process can be completed 10-60 days prior to your trip.
Whether you are a tourist traveling to Mexico for pleasure or a Mexican citizen that is visiting family, I hope you find this information useful, and Welcome to México! Pásale Paisano!