Driving to Mexico
We are glad that you are thinking about traveling to Mexico. So you can have a better experience, we have created this page with tips and procedures to cross our border at Nogales, Arizona. We will attempt to make changes to this page as often as possible so you can stay updated with all the necessities.
Here are a few of the steps you need to take when you decide to drive across the border into Mexico. If you abide by these rules, your trip to Mexico should turn out to be wonderful. Keep in mind that regulations may change: please call the Mexico Tourist Board at 1 (800) 44-MEXIC prior to your trip for updated information.
If your travel is within the Border Zone (usually up to 20 kilometers south of the U.S. - Mexico Border) or Free Trade Zone (including the Baja California Peninsula and the Sonora Free Trade Zone), you do not need a car permit, but you DO need a tourist visa. If you wish to pass these zones, the following procedures will apply. You MUST secure a permit by following the next few steps. If you are going to cross through the Nogales, Arizona, port of entry, don't hesitate to call us. Our office is current with all the latest rules and regulations for entering Mexico.
NOGALES PORT OF ENTRY
After leaving our office, turn left (west) and drive directly under the I-19 overpass. CONTINUE DUE WEST. DO NOT TURN LEFT TO HEAD SOUTH ON I-19. Just 3 miles from our office, you will come to the international border.
Merge left to the Hermosillo Route. After crossing the border, continue south about 5 miles to the toll station. You will pay approximately $5.00 U.S. currency to use the Nogales bypass. Just past the toll booth, you will come to your first inspection point. This will be your first time playing "red light - green light." You must stop for the inspectors if you receive a red light! The "Aduanas" may ask you to open your luggage or to see your proof of citizenship. They may inquire as to where you are going. After the toll and inspection area, continue heading south on the Hermosillo road. This bypass will soon merge onto Highway 15.
13 miles south of the international border (kilometer 21), you will obtain a personal visa permit. Everyone over 18 years of age must do so. For this permit, you must provide proof of citizenship with your passport (the fee is approximately $35.00).
If you are visiting the Free Zone and your visit will be a week or less, there will be no charge for the visa form. Payment for your visa will be paid next door at the BANJERCITO window. You will return to the first office to show your receipt and have your form stamped.
The Free Zone is the area WEST of Highway 15 from Puerto Peñasco (Rocky Point) south to Guaymas. The area includes Bajia Kino and San Carlos.
After obtaining your visa, if you are going beyond Guaymas, Sonora, the vehicle's driver, must get a vehicle permit that will require a few photocopies. FOR THE VEHICLE PERMIT, YOU WILL NEED COPIES OF YOUR PROOF OF CITIZENSHIP (Passport), VEHICLE REGISTRATION or TITLE, CREDIT CARD, and YOUR VISA PERMIT. The fee is approximately $45.00 for 180 days.
VEHICLE PERMIT REGULATIONS
In the past, when obtaining your vehicle permit, you signed a promise to return your car to the U.S. and turn in your entry permit. New regulations now require you to post a REFUNDABLE bond to drive your car south of the Free Zone. The fees are $200 U.S. dollars for autos older than the model year 2000. For autos 2001 to 2006, the fee is $300 U.S. dollars, and for autos 2007 and newer, the fee is $400 U.S. dollars. Upon your return and when you return your permit, your bond will be returned. If you paid on your credit card, it would be returned to your credit card. Please allow 7 days for the transfer. If you paid in cash, you would be given your money in cash at that moment. RVs may obtain a 10-year permit, and there is no charge. Mexico is "tourist user-friendly" and loves to have you visit the country.
After clearing your paperwork, you are on your way. Your next stop will be a toll road at Magdalena. There will be another toll just north of Hermosilla. Recently, you will enjoy the ride south on the newly constructed Mexican highways for your driving pleasure.
On returning, you must turn in your permits where you received them to secure your deposit. Failure to do so will constitute the loss of your deposit.
2013 Liability Law
In the past, the liability damages imposed on an at-fault driver who has caused a negligent fatality in Mexico were capped at 750 days multiplied by the local Mexico Minimum Wage. Effective January of 2013, that limit has been increased by the Mexican Government to 5,000 days multiplied by the local Mexico minimum wage.
That being said, I urge my clients to seriously consider purchasing $300,000 in liability instead of the $100,000 that most of you may have purchased in the past. If purchasing only liability (and not full coverage that would include Legal Aid), I suggest Legal Aid be added to the purchase. The cost of Legal Aid is $20.00. The legal protection would help you present your case in a court of law with a Mexican attorney by your side provided by the insurance.
Hours of Operation for the Banjercito Banking Module
Arizona Border Points
- Agua Prieta - All Week, 24 Hours
- San Luis Rio Colorado - All Week, 24 Hours
- Naco - All Week, 8:00 a.m. to Midnight
- Sonoyta - All Week, 24 Hours
- Nogales - All Week, 24 Hours
California Border Points
- Mexicali - All Week, 24 Hours
- Tijuana - Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.; Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Sunday; 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- Otay Mesa - 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
- Tecate - All Week, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Texas Border Points
- Ciudad Acuña - All Week, 24 Hours
- Columbia - Mon-Fri, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
- Nuevo Laredo - All Week, 24 Hours
- Reynosa - All Week, 24 Hours
- Ciudad Juarez - All Week, 24 Hours
- General Rodrigo M. Quevedo - All Week, 24 Hours
- Ojinaga - Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Saturday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Sunday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- Ciudad Miguel Alemán - All Week, 24 Hours
- Matamoros - All Week, 24 Hours
- Piedras Negras - All Week, 24 Hours