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Wherever I park (orig Kingston, WA. USA)

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Posted: 07/25/09 03:35pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator


DISCLAIMER: Although I believe this information was correct when I wrote it, and may still be correct when you cross the border, you have to watch out for what I call the "Red Clown Nose Contingency" (RCNC). If your situation is the least bit out of the ordinary, you run the risk of allowing the border official to deviate from his normal routine. And no matter what the rules say, the official standing in front of you has the final say. So if he says that you have to be wearing a Red Clown Nose to get across then, unless you have immediate access to someone higher in the food chain, you better start looking for a costume shop!

So beware of the RCNC

A well prepared group!

  1. Individual Identification
  2. Children under 18
  3. Tourist Permits (FM-T)
  4. FM-T Exemption Areas
  5. Types of FM-T

  1. Personal motor vehicles in México
  2. Drivers License
  3. Who can drive your vehicle?
  4. Registration
  5. Insurance
  6. Copies
  7. Temporary Import Permit (TIP)
    1. General
    2. Mainland Mexico
    3. Baja and Northern Sonora
    4. Sonora
      1. Sonora Free Zone
      2. Sonora Only Zone
  8. 10 Year RV Permit
  9. Banjericto TIP website
  10. Canceling a 10 Year RV Permit

  1. Bringing your kids
  2. Bringing your pets
  3. Boat Permits
  4. Harbor Permits
  5. Fishing License
  6. Mexican Sports Fishing Regulations
    1. Bag and Possession Limits
    2. Violations

D) Crossing back into the US
  1. Documentation for Reentry into the U.S.
  2. U.S. Agricultural Quarantine Information
  3. Prohibited Items
    1. Fruits and Vegetables
    2. Plants and Seeds
    3. Meat and Game
    4. Eggs
    5. Live Birds
    6. Straw
  4. Permitted Items
    1. Fruits and Vegetables
    2. Nuts
  5. Alcohol, Tobacco, Drugs, and Firearms

    * This post was last edited 08/05/09 07:20pm by Turtle-Toad *   View edit history

    Turtle & Toad, On the Road
    37' Georgetown XL w/3 slides, 1 1/2 bath, & 595 watts of solar power
    06 Taco TRD (for "Off the Road")
    I am here
    Only States/Provinces that I have spent at least a week in are shown


Wherever I park (orig Kingston, WA. USA)

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Posted: 07/26/09 06:34pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator



You will need to prove two things, who you are, and where your citizenship is.

To do this, one of the following documents should be presented to prove both identity and citizenship.

Acceptable Documents as of January 31, 2008
    • U.S. or Canadian Passport
    • U.S. Passport Card (Available now)*
    • Trusted Traveler Cards (NEXUS, SENTRI, or FAST)*
    • State or Provincial Issued Enhanced Driver's License (when available - this secure driver's license will denote identity and citizenship.)*
    • Enhanced Tribal Cards (when available)*
    • U.S. Military Identification with Military Travel Orders
    • U.S. Merchant Mariner Document
    • Native American Tribal Photo Identification Card
    • Form I-872 American Indian Card
    • Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) Card

* Frequent Land Border Crossers- To expedite processing into the United States, U.S. Customs and Border Protection recommends using one of the above asterisked documents.

The one exception is the States that have complied with the WHTI guidelines, the drivers license from these States is also a proof of citizenship. These licenses are called “REAL ID”. Currently the only states that I know of that issues WHTI compliant driver's license are Michigan, New York, Vermont and Washington. Arizona signed the “REAL ID” Act of 2005 agreement in 2007 but I don’t believe they are issuing the REAL ID yet.

A forum member informs me that, in Washington state, you have to ask for the REAL ID, otherwise you just get the usual drivers license. It also costs more.

The way it's supposed to work, is you request the REAL ID, they process you, take whatever you are using for proof of citizenship, and issue you a temporary drivers license. The REAL ID is mailed to you in about 3 to 6 weeks. This also acts as a verification of your address.

NOTE; REAL ID is NOT valid for international air travel!

Minors travelng with persons other than parents (like grandparents) need to have valid passports and letters from parents that are translated and notarized to Spanish by the Mexican Consulate.

This has to do with child abductions and child trafficing, it also applies to a child traveling with only one parent, the other parent needs to give permission and have the document translated and notarized!

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* This post was last edited 11/28/12 04:52pm by Turtle-Toad *   View edit history


Wherever I park (orig Kingston, WA. USA)

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Posted: 07/26/09 07:15pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Tourist Permits (FMM - Forma Migratoria Múltiples)
NOTE: Recently the FM-T has been replaced by the FMM (Forma Migratoria Múltiples). Consequently this section is being rewritten. But, according to the Mexican Government, the change should be transparent to most visitors. And most of the following still applies

The Mexican government has raised the permit fee from 262 peso's to 294 peso's as of 1/3/12 (approximately $21.40 U.S as of 1/4/12) for each visitor entering Mexico. If traveling on business or as a student, contact the nearest Mexican consulate for information on obtaining a business or student visa (which is the same FMM, but filled out differently). The fee must be paid in order to have your tourist permit validated if you plan to remain anywhere in Mexico for more than 72 hours, or stay less than 72 hours and travel beyond the "border zone," defined as an area between 20 to 30 kilometers of the border with the U.S., depending on the Mexican state. See "FMM Exemptions”{link} below.

A government-issued tourist permit, commonly referred to as a visa (which it isn't) a tourist card, or an FMM, but is actually a multi-part form; is available upon presentation of proof of ID and citizenship from some Mexican consulates in the United States and Canada, or at Migración offices at official points of entry.

Prepaid permits can also be ordered (on-line) from certain travel clubs; among them are Vagabundos and Discover Baja. With these, all you need is the Migración stamp at the border (or the KM 21 equivalent).

If you're entering Mexico by land, it is advisable to obtain your tourist permit prior to leaving the United States; especially if you're driving anything that can't be parked in a passenger car parking spot. Parking any form of RV at the border stations is near impossible. However, some border crossings have a dedicated site for getting your paperwork that is about 20 - 30 km from the border. These sites have ample room for the largest rigs. When crossing at Lukeville/Sonoyta the Migración is on Mex-2, about 7 miles east of Sonoyta. At Nogales, the Migración is called KM 21 but is actually at KM 258 of Mex 15. The KM markers go down from the border.

WARNING: When traveling in Baja, Do NOT wait until you get to Ensenada to get your FMM; the official there will assess a per/day penalty for not getting your FMM at the border. I've been told that this is perfectly legal and that the official doesn't collect the money, but it is assessed when you go to the banjerito to pay for the FMM.

The tourist entry fee is paid at a branch of any bank operating in Mexico or through the Banjercito window at the border or dedicated Migración site, (a list of banks at which the fee can be paid is shown on the back of the tourist permit form). Upon payment, the tourist permit is stamped with an official "Fee Paid" designation.

Almost all large towns have a Migración office and a bank. If you're crossing at Tecate, you can park in a pay parking lot on the U.S. side, walk across and get your paperwork. Since the town of Tecate is up against the border, you can then walk 2 blocks and be in the town square. There are stores, restaurants, and a bank around the square. You can try out your ATM card at the bank and get some pesos, have lunch at one of the restaurants, and sit in the square for awhile before walking back across. Tecate is my favorite border town and the only one I would recommend doing this. I sometimes walk across just for a day trip.

The procedure goes something like this; you go to Migración and get the FMM, you take the permit to a copy office to get copies made. Then you go to the local bank (not always co-located with the Migración) pay for the permit and get the "Fee Paid" stamp. The bank may keep one of the copies. You then take the permit and the other copies back to Migración, where he will check your stamps and take one of the copies. You are now ready to go (or to start all over to get your Temporary Vehicle Permit(s) if you didn't plan ahead). See the Temporary Vehicle Permits FAQ for the area you're going to (or through).

FMM Exemptions are as follows:
    • Visitors traveling by air or sea anywhere in Mexico and staying less than 72 hours
    • Visitors traveling by land to destinations within the 20-kilometer (12-mile) border zone, regardless of length of stay
    • Those visiting as students (as defined by Mexican Migración laws)
    • Visitors traveling by land beyond the border zone and staying more than 72 hours, but limiting their visit to the following destinations/tourist routes:

      Tijuana to Ensenada, B.C.;
      Mexicali to San Felipe, B.C.;
      Sonoyta to Puerto Peñasco (Rocky Point), Son.;
      Ciudad Juárez to Paquéeme, Chih.;
      Piedras Negras to Santa Rosa, Coah.;
      Reynosa to China, N.L.,
      Reynosa to Presa Cuchillo, Tamps.

There may be changes to the above list, stay tuned!

Types of FMMs

The Single-entry tourist permit is valid for up to 180 days and must be returned to Mexican border officials upon leaving Mexico. These are normally what are issued when entering by air or sea. (Belive this is also the FMM but haven't gotten clarification on this)

The NEW FMM permit MUST also be turned-in when you leave the country, However you can then get a new one each time you re-enter the country as long as you haven't reached a total of 180 days in country for that year. There is still some confusion as to when the year starts. More on this as we figure it out.

If a tourist permit is not used (stamped) within 90 days of issuance, it becomes void. Carry your FM with you at all times while in Mexico. If you lose it, a duplicate can be obtained from local Migración officials.

Make sure you turn in the FMm when you leave Mexico or shortly thereafter. You can also turn it in at most Mexico Consulates. This wasn't a big deal until lately when they computerized the system. Now you run the chance of having a problem on your next trip.

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* This post was last edited 01/04/12 02:47pm by Turtle-Toad *   View edit history


Wherever I park (orig Kingston, WA. USA)

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Posted: 07/28/09 02:56pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator


Personal Motor Vehicles in Mexico
For the purpose of crossing the border and operating in Mexico, a personal motor vehicle is defined as any passenger car, pickup truck, or motorcycle with an engine bigger than 250cc. Depending on where you are or are going, these may need a TIP (Temporary Import Permit) ATV’s and motorcycles of 250cc or less are considered as a recreational device and are covered by the RV or towing vehicle TIP {link to TIP}

Drivers License
You will need a valid driver's license; those issued by most other countries are recognized by the Mexican Government. This is all you need to drive in Mexico (besides insurance. See my Sticky on FAQ Insurance for Mexico). Mexican driver's licenses are not issued to people with a FM-T. A FM-3 or better is needed to obtain a Mexican driver's license.

Who can drive your vehicle?
Mexican Law pertaining to who can and who cannot drive your vehicle is completely different then in the U.S. or Canada. In Mexico, for anyone else to drive your vehicle, you have to be in it! Mexican Law paraphrased says the registered owner of the vehicle must be in the vehicle at the time of an accident. One of the exceptions to the law is that a spouse who is on the registration can give the spouse whose name is not on the registration a letter of authorization allowing them to drive the vehicle without the registered spouse being in the car. This letter of authorization can also be given to immediate family members (son, daughter, mother, father, brother and sister). You cannot give this letter to an unrelated person. Should you let an unrelated person drive the vehicle, even if you gave him a letter of authorization, and he had an accident the vehicle would most probably be confiscated and if there were any injures he would be put in jail. They are very dogmatic as to who can and who cannot drive a vehicle.

You will also need a valid registration for all your vehicles. The registration must be in your name. If there are lien holders on the vehicle(s), you will need a letter from the lien holder (Pagare Letter) authorizing you to take the vehicle across the border. This includes trailers, boats, boat trailers, and ATV's & motorcycles above 250 cc. Each driver is allowed only one vehicle above 250 cc (excluding the new RV sticker; see Temporary Import permits for RV's, below). Jump to TIP.

To expand on this a little, if you have a company owned vehicle, even if it's your own company or LLC, you will need the letter! So, for you RVers with your rigs registered in a LLC, Print out a letter, on company letterhead, stating that the company will allow you to take the rig into Mexico for the period of xx/xx/xxxx to xx/xx/xxxx. Sign it as President (or whatever position you hold in the LLC) and you're set. Some go so far as to get it notorized, but I don't think that's necessary; I've never had mine notorized and never had a problem.

If you're registered in a state that doesn't show lien holders on the registration, you don't need one as far as the border officials are concerned. But your lien holder may have a different rule on that. To be on the safe side, check with them.

You will also need insurance; see the Sticky FAQ Insurance for Mexico. I've never been able to find a Mexican Law that says that you have to have it, and I've never been asked for it when doing the border paperwork, but the signs on the walls at the Banjercito say you need it. And without it, an accident will probably put you in jail regardless of who was at fault.

You will need at least 3 copies each of the following.
  • Drivers License
  • Registration
  • Insurance
You will be required to show for inspection the originals, and leave a copy of these at various places. Normally it is one copy for the Migración office and one copy for the Banjercito (bank). In some cases you might have to go to two different windows at the Banjercito, one for the FM-T's and one for the vehicle stickers, and both will ask for copies; hence 3 copies.

You will also need copies of the paperwork you are issued. There are copy centers co-located with the Banjercito's, where, for a nominal fee, you can get these documents copied (and any that you didn't bring copies of).

Finally, to get vehicle permits (see below), you will need a valid internationally recognized credit card. If you don't have one, you will have to post bond on all the vehicles. This is expensive and complicated, and is based on the value of the vehicle. If you're going this route, check with the local Consulate ahead of time.

Of course there are exceptions to all this "copy" stuff. Below is an example of how easy it can be.

Crossing at Reynosa

We went to Reynosa today to get our vehicle permits and our visas and what a surprise, the easiest time we ever had at any crossing. They have a nice newer building that you start at one end and go station(1) thru station(4) and exit the other end. The whole process took about 30 minutes to get our visas, and two vehicle permits, one RV and one toad. No copies of anything needed, just present your passport, DL, and registrations and they make a copy of what they need and give it to you then on to the next station, great to see such a streamlined process. Now when we head in Monday, it's across the bridge and head for Monterrey.

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* This post was last edited 08/10/09 06:05pm by Turtle-Toad *   View edit history


Wherever I park (orig Kingston, WA. USA)

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Posted: 07/28/09 03:32pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

also called Temporary Vehicle Permits
NOTICE! The following includes the June, 2011 changes.

There will be a vehicle background search of both US and Canadian databases to ensure that the vehicle isn't stolen or doesn't have other flags on it. This will be a computer-based search and shouldn't take more than 5 minutes.

There are two different types of TIP's that we are concerned about; 6 month TIPs and 10 Year TIPs. The 10 year TIP is discussed below. The 6 month TIP is for non-RV's. If you have a cargo trailer, boat under 14' on a trailer, ATV, scooter, or motorcycle 250cc or under; they will be included in the vehicle TIP. If you have a truck and a motorcycle over 250cc it will take 2 people to get across the border legally (although some border officials ignore the motorcycle) because you can only have one 6 month vehicle permit and one 10 year TIP at a time.

Both the 6 month and the 10 year Temporary Import Permits (TIPs) are issued by the Banjercito, not the Migración office. To get a permit you must have a FMM (and copies) so go to the Migración office first. You will also need the following (with copies);
  1. Proof of Citizenship
  2. Drivers license
  3. Registration
  4. Letter from lien holder
  5. Insurance* (The whole policy, not just a card)
  6. Credit Card (MasterCard, Visa, AmEx, & Diners Club are the only ones currently accepted).

*There is no federal regulation requiring you to show proof of insurance, but there are big signs in the Banjercito office stating that it is required. Even so, I've never been asked to show proof of insurance but I always have it available, just in case.

There is a surety bond of about $200-400 for each vehicle (Does not apply to RV/Motorhomes). This can be paid either in cash or by credit card and will be based on the value of the vehicle(s). This bond will be returned when you re-cross the border back into the U.S. If you paid by credit card, your card will be reimbursed within 3 working days; if you paid cash, you will get it back immediately. This has been the experience of everyone that I've heard from, without exception.

Here's an example: You are single and drive a class A with a pickup in tow. On that pickup you have a 250 cc dirt bike or OTR. On the pickup rack you have a kayak.

With this scenerio, the single guy has no problems. He will get a 10 year RV TIP for the Class A, and a 6 month vehicle TIP for the pickup. All of the other stuff is considered recreational equipment and doesn't require separate TIP's. They might show up on the pickup's TIP, but in the past they were just ignored most of the time.

Now if you increase the cc of the dirt bike to over 250 cc, the single guy is in trouble, he needs two 6 month vehicle TIP's. Which is a no-no. So, he's going to have to have someone else with him to get the second vehicle TIP; and that someone has to be on the registration of either the pickup or the bike.

Trailered boats over 14 ft. are subject to the same Temporary Vehicle Permit process as other vehicles. There is a 10 year permit available, similar to the RV permit and available from the same sources, including the Banjercito website. I believe one person can have both a 10 year RV and a 10 year boat TIP at the same time. But I'm not sure on this one.

For years, the boat TIP was not asked for in Baja or Sonora. However, I’ve got first-hand information that some COTP’s (Captain of the Port) have been asking for them as a condition of issuing a “Harbor Permit”. I’m not sure how widespread this is in Baja or what ports are involved, but I do know it happened in Bahia Kino, Sonora; and a couple of ports in Baja Sur.

Mainland Mexico

The June 2011 also changed or eliminated some of these zones and TIP's may or may not now be needed in the various zones.

Federal Temporary Import Permits (TIP) (not the "Sonora Only" permit discussed below) are required everywhere in Mexico except where listed below.

Baja and Northern Sonora
TIP’s are not required anywhere on the Baja peninsula and the northern part of Sonora over to and including Puerto Peñasco (Rocky Point).This is the "exclusion zone" or "hassle free zone".

Here is where the confusion starts! Besides the exclusion zone (see above), there are two other exception areas in Sonora. They are known as the "Sonora Free Zone" and the "Sonora Only Zone". The names aren't the only confusion factors as will be pointed out below

SONORA FREE ZONE; This zone extends down to Empalme, not counting the exclusion zone. Inside this zone, you are supposed to be able to travel freely with just your FM-T. No vehicle permits are required.

SONORA ONLY ZONE; This covers all of Sonora not covered by the above. This Temporary Vehicle Permit is issued by the State of Sonora and not the Federal Government. Another little glitch here is that you can't get this sticker at the border crossings; you have to get it at Empalmé (although I've heard rumors that they are also available at the KM 21 checkpoint).

Something introduced in December 2005 is the 10-year RV permit. Units that qualify for this permit are Class A, B, C, and the RV portion of Fifth Wheels. The travel trailer portion of a tow-and-trailer setup also qualifies for a 10 year permit. However, truck campers and the tow vehicles for travel trailers and 5ers don't qualify. As stated, these are good for 10 years and, for the qualified RV, this is the only thing offered. The 6 month Temporary Vehicle Permit is no longer available for these RV's.

You can only have one each of the 10 year and the 6 month permit. This means that if you are driving a truck camper and towing another vehicle, you will need two people to get both of them into Mexico. And the person applying for the TIP has to be listed on the registration.

Banjercito Website
Banjercito website is a website for getting your TIP’s (Temporary Import Permit) on-line. You can get TIP’s for your vehicle, motorhome, or boat.

The site allows you to select your language (Spanish or English) and then proceed to the selected TIP. You can use this site to either “pre-register” (do all the paperwork on line and pick up the TIP at the border crossing) or actually get your TIP in advance. However, some restrictions apply.

To get the TIP you have to complete the application procedure up to 60 days prior to your trip, and a minimum of 1 month. This is to allow time for processing and mailing. The cost is $49.50 U.S. and you can pay with most major credit cards.

It is recommended that you visit the site before you want to actually use it, and read the “pre-register” pages, especially the “Required Documents” page so you can gather everything you need ahead of time. Even if you don’t use the site to get the TIP, this information is also what you need to get it at the border. Just break off before you submit any data, unless you want to pick up the TIP at the border.

The trick here is to know that the English translation of "Otre" is "Other". By picking this option you can then fill in your information.

it's finally becoming a usable tool.

Grade: “B” for effort, “C” for usability!

On edit; The reports I've received from people that have actually used this site has been mostly positive and the turn-around time has been excellent. People have reported getting the TIP by private messenger within a couple of days of submittal.

Second edit; I'll be using this site for my vehicles shortly and will give everyone a 'blow by blow' description of how it goes. I've also corrected the link

The latest info on delivery time is as follows; (from slowlyiturn)

We applied for our holograms on Oct 7th. Received the trailer one on Oct 21st by courier-DHL. The truck hologram came on Nov 9th-same courier service. We then sent digital scans back to Banjercito of our documents and we're ready to go,but not until Dec 29th. At the other end of the spectrum is 'slowlyiturn' who got his in 6 days!

A 10 year TIP can only be cancelled two ways,
WARNING: Some of this no longer applies. See this Link for the latest info.

I'll rewrite this page to incorporate this and all the other recent changes soon.

1. At the border; in person (with the vehicle). Take your paperwork and the vehicle with the hologram (do NOT remove the hologram yourself) to a banjercito near or at the border that issues/cancels TIP's. They will scan and remove the hologram, check your VIN and your passport, take your paperwork, and issue you a RETORNO DEFINITIVO receipt. Don't lose this.

2. Not at the border. If you need to cancel a 10 year TIP and you don't want to go all the way back to the border, or don't have a hologram to turn in, (Vehicle sold/traded in/scrapped/stolen, or you replaced your windshield without first removing the hologram) you can either fill out a form or write a letter explaining your circumstances, include the supporting documentation, and send the whole thing to Mexico City. If you still have the hologram, you can remove it yourself by using a hair dryer on the outside and peeling it off from the inside. You should be able to get it off in one or two pieces. Lay them out on a sheet of paper (they should stick) and send it, the original paperwork, and all the supporting documents listed on the form to the below address. I have the form available in English and Spanish. It includes a list of supporting documents needed. These forms can be downloaded from my website,

The address to submit this stuff to is;
    C.P. Sofía Leticia Alderete Flores
    Administradora de Operación Aduanera “3”
    Administración Central de Operación Aduanera
    Administración General de Aduanas
    Av. Hidalgo No. 77, Módulo IV, 1er piso, Col. Guerrero,
    Delegación Cuauhtémoc, C.P. 06300, México D.F

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* This post was last edited 03/15/13 12:56pm by Turtle-Toad *   View edit history


Wherever I park (orig Kingston, WA. USA)

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Posted: 08/04/09 05:32pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator


Mexico is a great place for kids! Mexicans love them! I recommend that if you don't have any of your own, rent a couple, they are great icebreakers (just kidding).

You will need the birth certificates for all of your children. These are also needed to get back across into the U.S.

If both parents aren't traveling together, a notarized letter from the missing parent granting permission for you to take the kids into Mexico is required. A form for this is available at Parental Affidavit. Make sure you get it notarized!

If you are bringing a dog or cat, make sure you have a current rabies shot record (for the dogs) and a current Certificate of Health (for both dogs and cats) or you might have to leave fluffy behind when you come back to the states.

From the CDC: "A general certificate of health is not required by CDC for entry of pet dogs (or cats) into the United States, although some airlines or states may require them. However, pet dogs are subject to inspection at ports of entry and may be denied entry into the United States if they have evidence of an infectious disease that can be transmitted to humans." Cats do not even require rabies certificates, but: "Dogs must have a certificate showing they have been vaccinated against rabies at least 30 days prior to entry into the United States." Elsewhere it mentions that the Certificate of Health is for livestock.

So it would seem that you don’t need one. WRONG! A lot of the people on this forum have reported that they have been asked for one. One poster said that the officials even questioned the validity of his certificate. So get one! And if it expires while you’re in Mexico, get another one from a Mexican Vet.

Mexico apparently has some rules about health certificates, etc, also; but I know of only one person that has encountered them. And he had all his paperwork in order.

Do NOT let your pet associate with the local street dogs or they might come up with a couple of diseases that don't exist in the U.S.

So PLEASE have your dog protected from parvo, heartworm, fleas and ticks, etc. before entering Mexico. Those things can all be problems and are fairly common among the Mexican street dogs.

Don't even think about bringing your pet gerbil, hamster, pot-bellied pig, or goldfish (or any other unusual pet) unless you are willing to put them in quarantine for a couple of weeks and have something higher than an FM-T.

Pet Birds: From the USDA “Fruits, vegetables, mats, and birds taken from the U.S. to Mexico may not be allowed to reenter. Consult in advance with inspectors of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But I have friends that travel with a parrot and have crossed the border numerous times with never a problem.

NOTICE! As of 1/08, the Mexican Government has terminated the requirement for Boat Permits.
The TIP requirement for boat/trailers over 14 ft is still in effect.

All Fishing Licenses boat permits are Personal and Non-transferable. Any alteration, mutilation or transfer of these documents will render them void and may result in fines or temporary seizure of your boat. HANDLE THEM WITH CARE!

Both boat and fishing permits are issued by the "Department of Environment, Natural Resources and Fisheries". I recommend that you get these before reaching the border. These licenses are good for 1 year from the time of issue. They are available on the U.S. side from many sporting goods stores in the border cities and from the various travel clubs.

A Boat Permit is required in Mexican waters for all inflatable, car-top, trailerable, or non-trailerable boats, as well as any dinghy or additional boat aboard the vessel, regardless of size or construction, that will be used for sport fishing and that are registered as Pleasure Boats. They will not be issued to any boat which has a commercial registration or which will be used in a commercial capacity as a sport fishing charter, commercial fishing, or sightseeing where passengers pay a fee. Do not apply for a Boat Permit if you are engaged in a commercial activity or if your boat is registered as a commercial vessel.

If a boat such as a kayak or inflatable is used only for sightseeing purposes, it is not required to have a boat permit. However, you are not allowed to have any fishing gear on-board. If so much as a stray sinker or hook is found on the boat, you will be fined for not having a boat permit and possibly have the boat confiscated.

Trailered boats over 14 ft. are subject to the same Temporary Import Permit (TIP) process as other vehicles. There is a 10 year permit available, similar to the RV permit and is available on the Banjercito website along with RV TIP's and FM-T's

If you're entering by sea, or are going to moor your boat in a port, you must also have a "Harbor Permit" issued by the local Captain of the Port. This permit is not transportable, and must be obtained for every port you enter.
A copy of the current registration and your FM-T must be submitted with your application for a permit.

A Fishing License is required for any individual, regardless of age, who wishes to fish in fresh or salt water in Mexico. This rule applies to all people fishing out of boats or fishing underwater while skin/scuba diving. A Fishing License is not needed when fishing from land or fixed structures attached to land.

All passengers, regardless of age aboard a boat in Mexican waters that is engaged in fishing must have a Mexican Fishing License in their possession, regardless if they are fishing or not.

There ARE fishing limits! The following was taken verbatim from the flyer that is handed out with the boat and fishing licenses;

  • In order to operate a boat that carries fishing equipment in Mexican waters, it is necessary to hold a valid boat permit, and a personal fishing license for everybody aboard the boat, regardless of age and whether fishing or not. A Fishing License is not required when fishing from land.
  • Only one rod or line with hook is permitted in the water, per person, but there is no restriction regarding the number of replacement items.
  • This fishing license allows the capture only fin fish. It does not allow the capture any mollusks or crustaceans, and their capture by anyone other than Mexican citizens is strictly prohibited.
  • Totuava, turtles, and marine mammals are under protection of the Ministry and may not be captured at any time.
  • To capture bottom fish, up to four hooks on a vertical line may be used.
  • The use of electric reels is restricted to disabled fishermen only, after written authorization for the Ministry before use.

  • In ocean waters and estuaries the limit is a total of ten fish per day, with no more than 5 catches of a single specie, except of the species of Marlin, Sailfish and Sword fish and Shark, of which only one specimen of either is allowed, and which counts as five toward the overall 10 fish limit, or Dorado, Rooster fish, Shad, or Tarpon, of which only two samples of each specie are allowed, and which count as five toward the overall 10 fish limit.
  • Limit on in inland bodies of water (rivers, lakes, dams, etc.) is five fish per day, whether of a single specie or in combination.
  • Underwater fishing is limited to five fish per day, using rubber band or spring type harpoons, and only while skin-diving.
  • There is no limit to the practice of "catch and release", as long as the fish that exceed the bag limit be returned its their environment in good survival condition.
  • Where sport fishing is conducted from boats out at sea for longer than three days, the bag limit will be the equivalent of three times the amounts mentioned above.

  • It is illegal to capture and maintain alive any fish for ornamental purposes.
  • It is prohibited to receive any financial gain from the product obtained through sport fishing.
  • It is prohibited to dump trash, litter or substances that harm the aquatic flora or fauna, whether on lakes, river banks, shores or oceanic waters.
  • It is prohibited to collect shells, corals, sea anemones and snails, or to disturb the original ecosystem environment.
  • It is prohibited to practice sportfishing 250 meters or less from swimmers.
  • It is prohibited to use artificial lighting to attract large quantities of fish.
  • It is prohibited to discharge firearms in Mexican waters.
  • Fish caught under a sport fishing license may not be filleted aboard the vessel from which it was caught
  • It is requested that all unusual activities, occurrences or record catches be reported to the nearest office of the Oficina de Pesca, or to its representation in the US in order to ensure the preservation of natural resources for the continued enjoyment of all fishermen.

Oficina dc Pecsca 2550 Fifth Avenue # 15 San Diego, CA. 92103 Ph: (619) 233-4324 Fax: (619) 233-0344

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* This post was last edited 03/15/13 12:50pm by Turtle-Toad *   View edit history


Wherever I park (orig Kingston, WA. USA)

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Posted: 08/05/09 12:19pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator


I cannot be held responsible for anything listed below; due to the various pests, diseases, and Alert levels, the rules change rapidly at the borders. The below was current when I wrote this (July 25, 2009).

Documentation for Reentry into the U.S.
(Taken from the US Customs website)

On June 1, 2009, U.S. citizens returning home from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean or Bermuda, by land or sea, will be required to present one of the travel documents listed below.
Many of these documents are already available, and obtaining one now will ensure that you are ready on June 1, 2009, when they will be required.
  • U.S. Passport – This is an internationally recognized travel document that verifies a person’s identity and nationality. It is accepted for travel by air, land and sea.
  • U.S. Passport Card – This is a new, limited-use travel document that fits in your wallet and costs less than a U.S. Passport. It is only valid for travel by land and sea.
  • Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL) – also called “REAL ID”: Several states and Canadian provinces are issuing this driver’s license or identification document that denotes identity and citizenship. It is specifically designed for cross-border travel into the U.S. by land or sea.
  • Trusted Traveler Program Cards – NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST enrollment cards can speed your entry into the U.S. and are issued only to pre-approved, low-risk travelers. The cards are valid for use at land or sea; the NEXUS card can be used in airports that have a NEXUS kiosk.
  • Special Groups – Information for Children, Groups of Children, Native Americans, "Closed Loop" Cruises, U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents, U.S. Military, Merchant Mariners, Ferries and Small Boats, and Boaters is available on the US Customs website.

Knowing what documents are required and having them ready when you return home will help streamline the entry process and ensure your return to the U.S. is as smooth as possible.

U.S. Agricultural Quarantine Information
(Taken from the US Department of Agriculture pamphlet)

Notice to Travelers
* Declare all agricultural items you bring from Mexico. Failure to do so can result in delays and fines of $10,000 or more. Fruits, vegetables, mats, and birds taken from the U.S. to Mexico may not be allowed to reenter. Consult in advance with inspectors of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. All agricultural products are subject to inspection.

Prohibited Items
Agricultural items are prohibited if they can carry plant pests or animal diseases.

    Fruits and Vegetables
    All fruit not on the PERMITTED ITEMS list below are prohibited. Potatoes, including Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, and yams, are prohibited. (Exception: Cooked potatoes are permitted. Avocados without seeds are permitted, except in California. Fresh squeezed Grapefruit and Orange juice is permitted)

    Plants and Seeds
    Special permits are required. Some plants are prohibited. Check in advance with agricultural inspectors. (Exception: Dried plant parts, such as for medicinal purposes, are permitted)

    Meat and Game
    Raw and cooked pork, including sausages, cold cuts, skins, and pork tacos are prohibited. (Exception: Shelf-stable, canned pork and hard cooked pork skins - cracklings- are permitted) Poultry - raw meat from both domesticated and game fowl is prohibited. (Exception: Thoroughly cooked poultry is permitted) Game - Check with agricultural inspectors in advance.

    Prohibited, (Exception: Hard boiled and cooked eggs are permitted)

    Live Birds
    Wild and domesticated birds, including poultry, are prohibited. To import personally owned pet birds, contact agricultural inspectors in advance.

    Generally prohibited. This includes wheat straw, seeds, and all articles made from this material, including animal fed.

Permitted Items
In addition to the excepted items listed above, many agricultural items are permitted if they pass inspection to be certain they are free of pests, soil, sand, and earth.

    Fruits and Vegetables
    Permitted fruits are; Bananas, blackberries, cactus fruit, dates, dewberries, grapes, lychees, melons, papayas, pineapples, and strawberries. Most vegetables are permitted except for those in the prohibited list above. Okra, however, is subject to certain restrictions. Those little sour limones are now permitted.

    Permitted items are; Acorns, almonds, cocoa beans, chestnuts, coconuts (without husks or without milk), peanuts, pecans, pinions (pine nuts), tamarind beans, walnuts and waternuts.

Alcohol, Tobacco, Drugs, and Firearms
(Taken from the U.S. Customs website)
  • There is a $800 exemption for gifts and personal articles you've purchased in Mexico; anything over that amount will be taxed.
  • One liter of alcoholic beverage per person over 21 is okay - more will be taxed; note that the state of Texas taxes all alcohol brought back from Mexico. (there is a higher limit for beer brought back through the California border crossings, if you're NOT a resident of California, but I've been unable to find that limit)
  • No steroids, period; make sure you have a prescription for any other medication. (Some medications, even though they are legal in Mexico, have not been approved for use in the U.S. These will be confiscated, prescription or not.)
  • No illegal drugs; if you have the slightest amount, you can be fined and sent to jail -- your car may even be confiscated.
  • No switchblade knives.
  • So many fruits from Mexico are prohibited in the US that you may as well not bring any back (see above).
  • No guns of any kind; even ammo is a no-no. You can get documentation showing that you legally purchased a firearm you're carrying in the U.S., but why bother taking a gun to Mexico?
  • Fish you caught in Mexico are okay.

Tobacco Products
Within the duty-free personal exemption limits, you are allowed to return to the U.S. with 200 cigarettes or 100 cigars (excluding Cuban products) that were previously exported (usually found in duty-free shops in the foreign country).

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* This post was last edited 08/05/09 12:56pm by Turtle-Toad *   View edit history


Wherever I park (orig Kingston, WA. USA)

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Joined: 04/11/2004

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Posted: 08/05/09 04:43pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

OK folks,
I think I'm done. So if you have any questions, updates, changes, problems, etc. post away.[emoticon][emoticon][emoticon][emoticon]

And thanks for waiting until I finished.


Lewisville, NC

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Joined: 12/30/2001

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Posted: 08/05/09 07:05pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator


Thank you for all of the time an effort you put into producing this great source of information for our members.



las peñas, michoacan, mexico

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Joined: 06/01/2007

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Posted: 08/06/09 01:43pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Estimado Amigo,

Seguros para los chofers isn´t mandatory nor is insurance mandatory for automobiles. Anyone applying for a fianza de importacion temporal at Bancercito does not need to show any kind of insurance document.

Aqui en Mexico it is assumed that all drivers have the ability to satisfy any and all claims arising out of an accident. Of course it is absurd to think that many Mexican vehicles carry liability or any other type of insurance.

Drivers that are involved in a minor accident who have no way to prove financial responsibility are detener (arrested) and brought to the commandancia (police station)

If the accident is serious enough, drivers are arrested and must sort things out at la commandancia. If the adjudged guilty party cannot satisfy all claims against him he will spend the nexty few days in jail and then be transferred to a state prison ¿entiendes?

Mexican coverage underwritten by anyone anywhere does not agree to satisfy claims fast enough to keep a person from going to prison. Sometimes a claim can take months to sort out while the guilty party remains behind bars.

To cover this period between accident and renumeration, many Mexico Insurance ased in the states offer supplemental coverage that is solely of their own origin. This coverage may go by any one of several names: Legal Fees, Lawyer, etc. It means that the alliance of surplus line brokers in the USA have established a fast-reaction fund that their agents in Mexico can access to satisfy legal claims. When the claim is settled and the broker will get his DESPOSIT GUARANTEE back once the claim is settled.

May I suggest that anyone wishing to verify or query this information get in touch with the Lewis & Lewis brokerage in California. They have a website and toll free telephone number.


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