500,000 bottles of sparkling wine mature in this section of the underground cellars at Cricova Winery just north of Chisinau, Moldova. Photo taken December 3, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Transnistria. The country that doesn't exist!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

How to take your motorhome to Mexico

I've been refreshing my memory on the procedure because we'll be doing exactly this about a month from now. Always good to be totally prepared and to make sure you've got all the necessary paperwork in order, plus I wanted to check and see if anything has changed since the last time we completed the permit process in the fall of 2007.

Mexico motorhome permits are valid for 10 years. But when we left Mexico last spring, we weren't certain that we were going to be returning this year, and we had even tossed around the idea of selling the motorhome. Which meant that it made more sense to turn in our old permit when we left in order to have more options available to us.

And then, we decided not to sell the motorhome, and that we wanted to return to Mexico this winter!

So, we have to buy a new permit.

I don't think very much has changed.

We will be using the border crossing just west of Laredo, Texas at the Colombia Bridge. We've crossed there several times before, so we are familiar with the layout and it's not a busy crossing to begin with. Also, we'll plan to cross early on a Sunday morning (when the bad guys are either sleeping, or in church) to allow us lots of time to get to our destination that day.

When we cross the bridge, we have to pay a toll. Currently, $3.50 USD. Then, we have to pull up to a stop light system and hit a button which will light up either a red light, or a green light. If we get a red light, the Mexican customs authorities will do an inspection of the motorhome. If we get a green light, we are to carry on through and park off to the side where we can go in to process the paperwork.

The first thing we will need to get is our Mexico tourist cards. Some people call them a tourist visa, but they aren't really a visa. These cards are typically issued for 180 days, and they will cost around $22 USD per person. When you fly to Mexico, this cost is included in your airfare. But when you cross at a land border, you have to pay there.

You can now print out the form online and hand it in to get stamped. The website is all in Spanish, but it's there if you want to use it.

https://www.inm.gob.mx/fmme/publico/solicitud.html

Not sure I see the point, although I guess it may save you a few minutes at the border.

Then, we go to the office where we get the vehicle permit. It's usually just across the hall, but it's always been located in the same building where you get your tourist card.

For the motorhome, you require the following documents...
  • Tourist card
  • Passport
  • Drivers licence
  • Motorhome registration in driver's name
  • If your motorhome is financed, a notorized letter from your bank  stating that you have permission to take it to Mexico
  • Credit card in the driver's name
  • Copies of each of these
If you don't make copies in advance, they will have a copy person there who will charge you a few pesos to make the copies.

The cost will be $51.75 USD. Odd that this is pretty much the same as what we paid for our first one way back in 2007!

The motorhome permit is valid for 10 years and there is no vehicle deposit associated with it.

If you are towing another vehicle, you will need a permit for that as well. However that $44 permit will only be valid for 180 days and you will need to leave a deposit of between $200 to $400 that they will refund when you leave Mexico.

And that's it...you're in!

You can also get these vehicle permits online and ahead of time at

 https://www.banjercito.com.mx/registroVehiculos/

but I've never really understood the benefit of doing so. Again, it might save you a few minutes if you happen to be crossing during a busy time of day at a busy border crossing, but we never do that.

Of course you should have arranged your Mexico motorhome insurance in advance, and you should also have bought the very best Mexico road map ahead of time as well. You can do so here...

Mexico Road Map 2015 Guia Roji

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28 comments:

  1. Great information! Thank you so much! I tow a travel trailer with a vehicle. Does this still apply?

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    Replies
    1. I believe it's essentially the same, however we've never personally done it with a travel trailer or fifth wheel. You would need the regular 180 day vehicle permit and deposit for your tow vehicle, and the 10 year permit would apply to your trailer or fifth wheel. Maybe somebody else can chime in...as I say, we've never done it.

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  2. We will cross at Mexicali. Same process but there is very limited parking at the migration office so we will walk across the previous day, get our visas and car permit and then drive through without stopping the next morning. This route will take us through the Guadalupe Valley wine country on our way to the Baja.

    Can't wait, it is getting cool here on the Island.

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    Replies
    1. We are planing on crossing at Mexicalli on Sat Nov 14 on our way to Loreto. Does anyone have experience with crossing there early on a Sat morning? Tip about walking across the day before sounds great. We should have done that the last time we crossed at Tecate. We want to cross at Mexicalli because we want to use Highway 5 to avoid the west coast traffic. Cant wait as we have already had snow in NE BC!!

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    2. I'm afraid we are no help there as we haven't crossed at Mexicalli before. I would suggest that you check out Croft's blog croftsmexico.blogspot.ca. I'm not sure when they will be crossing but if they are before you then hopefully he will blog about the process, which I am pretty sure that he would. They live on Vancouver Island.

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    3. Karen and Wayne, Whichever day you cross I would suggest crossing early in the morning. We have always crossed by 9:00 AM. Find a place to park overnight in Calexico, walk over and get your paperwork settled and then drive across next morning. I understand the Migration offices are just across the border.

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    4. We crossed at Mexicali on a Sunday 9:00 a.m. January 2014. We had walked over the previous day to get our tourist visa, and there was no traffic so it went very smoothly and only took minutes. Two sweet young ladies "checked" our RV briefly and we were off within 5 minutes.

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    5. Glad to hear that your border crossing went really well. We have never had any issues with crossing the border into Mexico, as long as you have an idea of the process it is really straight forward. It always helps when there isn't much in the way of traffic.

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  3. Great info! Is it still the case that single RVers cannot tow a toad into Mexico behind a motorhome, because Mexico requires a unique driver for each motorized vehicle taken across? This was one of the reasons I decided to haul a trailer when I started RVing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No longer the case Dugg. You are allowed a motorhome on a 10 year permit as well as a car/truck on a 180 day permit.

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    2. Yes, I believe Croft is right... that is my understanding as well.

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  4. It is a pretty easy process we did it in 2009 but thanks for the reminder if we ever go again. I would like to, but then again we both have to agree on it.

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    Replies
    1. It's a shame that Suzie doesn't want to go back, maybe she will change her mind one day.

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  5. Glad to see Amazon picking up the low-cost tablet torch after Google so unceremoniously kicked it to the curb last year, cuz I'm not paying $400 for one. Although $50 is probably a bit too cheap, the colorful new Fire HD 8s look very promising at just $150!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We'll let you know how ours works out once we have gotten to use it on a regular basis. We paid $79 for it.

      Delete
  6. Correct me if I'm wrong, but car and truck permits are limited to 180 days. Motorhomes and rvs are eligible for the 10 year permit.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Very nice understandable information Kevin. Are you sorry you let your previous permit go?

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  8. Kevin, do you know if the Guia Roji has a version in English ? We bought ours in Mexico so of course in Spanish and the one I find on Amazon.ca seems to be Spanish. Thanks for your help. PS: I bought the Garmin you recommended and other than the 2 + hours to download the upgrades it looks really good, used it in BC, AB , Montana and Idaho already and we are hopeful for Mexico

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As far as I can tell, the last English version of the Mexico road atlas was produced in 2008. That was actually the first one that we bought and used it up until last year.

      Looks like you can still buy a used copy...

      http://www.amazon.ca/Guia-Roji-Mexico-Tourist-Atlas/dp/9706213414

      Yes, we tried out the new GPS for the first time ourselves yesterday. You're right about the download time for the updates...it's a 5 GB file!

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  9. K&R, we're leaving Santa Fe, driving to San Miguel de Allende in Dan the Van. We'll be crossing at Columbia a week from now. Where do you stay the night before so you can hit the bridge early on Sunday? Also, what do you do about the Texas Tolls on that road? Thanks! Bonnie and Dave

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Guys! In past years we have spent one night at Lake Casa Blanca State Park. By doing this, you don't take that Texas toll road that you're talking about. However this year, we're going to look for something different. Not sure what yet! If you do take that toll highway, it's easy to buy a day pass... https://www.txtag.org/en/about/tollroad_colombia.shtml

      There is state wildlife management area about an hour north of Laredo called Chaparral WMA. Looks like they have free camping, so we might check that out this year. You could still easily get up early enough toget to the border for opening, plus you'd avoid any of Laredo. Though you would need the toll pass, but it looks like it's $3.99 for a day pass.

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  10. Our motor home is not in our name,it is in our company's name . Can we still take it across?

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    Replies
    1. As I understand the rules you must have a letter on company letterhead from an officer of the company authorizing you to take the vehicle into Mexico. This could be a letter from you to you but that is what you need. I am not sure but you may have to have it notarized. Wouldn't hurt.

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    2. Yes, I believe Croft is correct and we also think it needs to be notarized but it just may depend on who you get at the border crossing. One of the members of the caravan had a company truck and did not have the letter so the wagon master who was in charged of the group made one up on his printer in his trailer and handed that over to the customs officer and they accepted that, and it wasn't notarized.

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