Crossing The Border (coming and going)

The Do's and Don'ts

To first time visitors to our neighbors to the south the first contact they have is with the Mexican Border Police. This can be a rather uncomfortable experience for those not knowing what to expect at the border. We hope to dispel a few of those unknowns on this page and enlighten our visitors with the knowledge to help you enjoy your visit south of the border.

OK! This page is going to be fairly long because we have a lot of information to cover but you all need to know this to make your trip to Rocky Point a great one.

The first thing I you need to know is "NEVER TAKE A FIREARM ACROSS THE BORDER!!!!!!!" (There are exceptions to this but contact a Mexican Consulate to determine the current exceptions). We just got a couple of Americans back from Mexican prisons that were sent there because the had unloaded firearms in their vehicles when they crossed into Mexico. One of them was a 60+ year old grandfather going to buy medicine at a Mexican Pharmacia that had put his unloaded rifle in the trunk of his car while his granddaughter was visiting to keep it out of the house! He spent 3 months in a Mexican prison and only got out because of a lot of U.S. political pressure.

The second thing you need to know is regarding vehicle titles. There will be more later in this page if you are planning to go farther south than Rocky Point but everybody needs to know the following....

If you are crossing the border to visit the "Free Zone" (Rocky Point included), you must have the titles to any vehicles you are crossing with. This includes boats, jetskis, waterbikes, ATCs, dunebuggies, etc. If you are not able to provide legal documentation of the vehicles you may be turned back at the border.

Crossing the Border and Customs Information

Driving into Mexico

Mexico Customs at the Border

Returning to the U.S. (Customs)

Driving To Mexico

Information courtesy Government of Mexico, Ministry of Finance

Whether you're visiting family or friends, or just want to drive through the beautiful countryside Mexico has to offer. it is important for you to remember the following steps when crossing! the border between the United States and Mexico.
If your travel is within the Border Zone or free Trade Zone (Including the Baja California Peninsula and the Sonora free Trade Zone) there are no procedures to comply with. However, if you wish to pass these zones, the following procedures will apply.

Obtain the original and one photocopy of the following documents:

Once you have the originals and photocopies of these documents, present them to the Vehicular Control Module located in Customs to process the Importation Permit. All documents and the credit card must be in the name of the owner who must also be in the vehicle when crossing the border.

Your international credit card will be charged an amount in national currency equivalent to US $10 at the Banco del Ejercito.
If you do not have an international credit card, the Banco del Ejercito will accept a cash deposit in an amount equal to the value of your vehicle shown in the "Table of vehicle values for bonding companies."( See table ) Your deposit plus any interest it may earn will be returned to you when you leave Mexico. Or,you many choose to obtain a bond through an authorized Mexican bonding company located at all the border crossings. the authorized bonding companies will require a refundable deposit equal to the value of the vehicle. according to the table. The Bonding company will also assess taxes and processing costs for this service.

Upon your departure from Mexico, and if the vehicle is not going to be driven back into Mexico, the permit for temporary importation must be canceled at Customs.

That's all there is to it. Follow these simple steps and you will have no problems whatsoever. However, please remember, if your car is found in Mexico beyond the authorized time, or without the appropriate documents it will be immediately confiscated.

For more information contact your nearest office of the Mexican Consulate.

Table of vehicle values for bonding companies.


Type of Vehicle l993 Thru 1992 1991 Thru 1989 1988 Thru 1986 1985 Thru 1980 Earlier Models
1 10,000 7,000 3,000 1,500 500
2 7,500 4,000 1,500 1,000 500
3 6,000 3,000 1,000 750 500
4 20,000 12,000 5,000 3,000 1,000

1 Pick up trucks, Vans (any model).
2. Large and Luxury Vehicles, such as Lincoln, Buick,
Grand Marquis, New Yorker, Cadillac and similar.
3 Medium and Compact Vehicles, such as Nissan, VW,
Honda, Mitsubishi, Ford, Chevrolet and similar.
4. European and Sports Vehicles, such as Mercedes Benz, BMW,
Alpha Romeo, Porsche, Jaguar, Corvette, Trans Am and similar.

Mexico Customs (entering Mexico)

Mexico Customs Inspection.

There are two options for inspection:

  1. Fiscal Traffic Light- if when you activate the traffic light at the border, the green light comes on (PASE) there will be no inspection. If the red light comes on (ALTO) there will be an inspection. If there is no fiscal traffic light or it is out of order, there will be no inspection.

  2. Integral Inspection - this is the voluntary request for the examination of the articles and merchandise which you have declared in the customs tax.


If merchandise is found which was not declared and you requested the fiscal traffic light, you will have to pay a fine of four times the commercial value of the articles. If you chose the integral inspection, the fine will be one and one half times the value. In both cases you will forfeit the right to the tax exemption and pay a 32.8% tax on all merchandise.


All foreigners and Mexicans coming from another country are international passengers and have the right to bring the following items, tax free:

If you are legally a resident of another country in addition to the items listed, you may bring into Mexico, tax free:

If you are traveling by camper, trailer or motorhome you may also bring in:


You may import additional merchandise valued at up to $1,000.00 by paying a corresponding tax without the intervention of a customs broker. (Contact Mexican Customs for the list)
In addition, you may impose without the services of a customs broker, one computer system as long as its value, added to the above merchandise, (of $1,000.00) does not exceed $4,000.00 U .S. Currency.
To pay the tax, multiply the value of your excess merchandise by 20.84% (if the product originated in the U.S. or Canada).
This information, supplied by Paisano Information at the Mexican Border, is subject to change.
It is forbidden to introduce drugs, fire arms and explosives into Mexico. If you do so, you will be subject to penalties and imprisonment.
VISAS - are obtained at the first building on the right after you clear the border check station at Lukeville. A Visa is required IF you are going beyond Puerto Penasco (Rocky Point). You will need
proof of citizenship such as a U.S. passport, birth certificate, voter's registration etc. (a driver's license is NOT proof of citizenship.)

PETS - if you take your dog or cat into Mexico, you are required to have:
1) A U.S. veterinarian's certificate Form 77-043 and
2) A rabies inoculation permit valid within the past 6 months.

DO NOT BRING your pet bird, turtle, fish etc. into Mexico as they will be subject to quarantine at your expense.


Returning To The U.S.


PLAY IT SAFE ! Avoid customs penalties by declaring all articles acquired in Mexico and in your possession at the time of your return.

This includes:

If in doubt about whether an article should be declared, always declare it first and then direct your question to the Customs inspector.

WARNING! If you understate the value of an article you declare, you may have to pay a penalty in addition to payment of duty. If you fail to declare an article acquired in Mexico, not only is the article subject to seizure, but you will be liable for a personal penalty.

Articles totaling $400.00 may be entered free of duty, subject to the limitations on liquors, cigarettes,
and cigars.


You cannot bring the following items back across the border into the U.S.: