In this post and video on the Mexico Border Crossing, I discuss getting into Mexico through the El Chaparral Border Crossing at Tijuana. This video is for people both wanting to get into the Baja Peninsula from Tijuana (who do not need a vehicle import permit) and also onto the Mexico Mainland (people who do need a vehicle import permit). See full post and video on this ride day!
The most important thing is your first stop. More than 9 out of 10 people fail to do this. The border security might wave you on, but you say “no, Aduana” with a smile and stop immediately. Yes, the very first place you come to – you stop! Park on right side (offices are on the left side). I cannot emphasise how easy this is to miss. So, immediately you stop, immediately you see border security you stop!
I was informed of the importance of this during my consultations with Alex Chacon, and I nearly missed it, despite Alex reminding me multiple times because it seems so easy at first point (because no one will stop you).
If you do not stop and you want to go to the Mexican mainland, get ready for days of pain trying to organize your vehicle import permit or worse still, having to leave Baja, Mexico and return again. I ran into a couple of bikers who had missed the checkpoint and kept going (well they do not have a choice) thinking there was something more. They then tried to plead with immigration in one of the cities and were told to return to the point of entry and ended up having to ride to another city and pretend they just flew in to get Tourist Card and were very lucky they got it. Others have had to leave the country and return.
Mexico Border Crossing Information
- El Chaparral Border Crossing
- I have a USA Registered Motorcycle
- 100% Owned by Myself (No Loan)
- 1 Copy Passport (+Original)
- 1 Copy Insurance (+Original)
- 1 Copy Title (+Original – If you do not own, get letter from owner)
- 1 Copy Registration (+Original)
- 1 Copy Drivers Licence (+Original)
- $400 USD For Vehicle Import (Get Money Back as you exit Mexico and you get Sticker, which you don’t really need to attach to bike)
Before you go on the Mexico Border Crossing!
- Being prepared before you go to the border is imperative, get multiple color copies of your passport, title, and registration before you travel
- If you are leasing your vehicle (do not own it outright) get a letter from lessor or bank (whose name is also in the title) saying it is ok for you to travel with this vehicle in Mexico.
The Process on the Mexico Border Crossing
- STOP at the very first point, do not for one second think there is anything else further on, stop at the first point of entry.
- Go to Customs. Get FMM Tourist Card (ask to make a photocopy of this next door) as well as your title (and the letter from a bank if your title has another name on it, like your bank), passport and registration.
- Go to Banjercito next door and get Aduana, tell them you are going to mainland Mexico (you will need copies of everything, including your fresh new copy of your FMM tourist card, Passport, Title (and letter if you do not own) and Registration
- Pay the Fees ($59 plus the deposit which is either $200, $300 or $400 USD (see price schedule below) which you can pay by credit card if your credit card exactly matches your title of the vehicle, otherwise use cash.
Deposit Price Schedule for Vehicle Import Permit
- 2007 and newer models, USD $400.00 deposit required
- 2001 – 2006 models, USD $300.00 deposit required
- models previous to 2000, USD $200.00 deposit required
Time Taken on the Mexico Border Crossing
- It didn’t take me long because I planned it well
- Try to do it early in morning on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Sunday (slowest days in), make sure you do it no earlier than 8.30am as Banjercito might not be open (but should be)
- Give yourself 2 hours (should not take this long) and up to 3 hours on busy days and times and more if you are not prepared before you go.