FAQs for Smooth Entry and Exit

Below are useful guidelines on what is required or recommended to make your visit to Baja and return home smooth.

What is a Mexican tourist card (FMM)?

The FMM is known casually as a Mexican tourist card or tourist visa (although it is not officially a visa). The FMM stands for Forma Migratoria Múltiple, and is an immigration form some visitors need to legally visit Mexico. The FMM is easily obtained at INM (Instituto Nacional de Migración) offices in Mexico, for example at the border or online. Please visit our Mexican tourist card (FMM) page for more detailed information.

Do I need a Mexican tourist card (FMM)?

If you are visiting Mexico from the U.S. or Canada as a tourist on vacation, Mexican Immigration authorities legally require a Mexican tourist card (FMM). When driving across the border, authorities do not enforce getting an FMM, but it is still a legal requirement.

For citizens of other countries, it is best to contact a nearby Mexican consulate.

What documents do I need to get a Mexican tourist card (FMM)?

Mexican authorities now require a valid U.S. or Canadian passport or a passport card to issue a tourist card (FMM).

Is my driver's license valid in Mexico?

Yes. Mexico recognizes licenses from other countries as well as international driver's licenses.

Do I need Mexican auto insurance?

Yes. U.S. policies cannot, by Mexican law, prove your financial responsibility to the Mexican authorities. Therefore, you need at least a liability only policy to fulfill the legal requirement in case of an accident. Full coverage policies are also available with optional partial theft and vandalism coverage. Get a quote or buy a policy.

Do I need a vehicle permit to drive to Mexico?

There is no permit requirement for visiting the entire peninsula of Baja. There is a permit requirement to travel into mainland Mexico or if you will take the ferry from Baja to the mainland. Visit our vehicle permit page for more information on how to obtain a Mexican vehicle permit.

May I take a rented vehicle into Baja and may I buy Mexican insurance through Baja Bound?

Maybe. Rental companies have different policies regarding taking their vehicles to Baja. It is important to follow their guidelines since they are the owner of the vehicle. There are plenty of agencies that will allow you to take a vehicle to Mexico. It is recommended that the rental contract states that the vehicle may go to Mexico.

Some rental companies offer the Mexican insurance through us and others will sell you a policy through a company that they partner with. It is important to ask the agency before purchasing insurance through Baja Bound.

View rental agencies we work with

Will my health or medical insurance cover me in Mexico?

Maybe. Call your provider to understand what will be covered while you travel into Mexico. Low cost, daily international travel medical policies are available from many reputable companies and may include emergency air evacuation coverage. Visit our page "Do I Need Travel Medical Insurance?" to learn more. You may like to look into coverage offered by MEDEX and SkyMed.

What personal items are allowed into Mexico?

According to Mexican customs officials (Aduana Mexico), generally you may bring your personal luggage, personal belongings and up to US $75 of merchandise if crossing by land. The exemption accumulates if you have other family members traveling with you. Mexican customs has a duty free list of what can be brought into Mexico. Read more about bringing personal items into Mexico and how to cross the border.

What documentation do I need to return to the U.S.?

U.S. and Canadian citizens are now asked to carry a passport, passport card, or other authorized form of documentation, like an Enhanced Driver's License, SENTRI pass, NEXUS or FAST pass in order to return to the U.S. Crossing with a birth certificate and a picture ID like a drivers license is still allowed, but may create delays.

What is allowed to bring back to the U.S.?

Generally, you may bring back belongings that you took with you on your trip and up to US $800 in items acquired outside of the U.S. Certain items like handicrafts are not counted towards the US $800 exemption and can be brought across as long as they are for personal use. Read more about U.S. Customs and Border Protection regulations about returning to the U.S.

How can I cross into the U.S. faster and avoid the border line?

Join the SENTRI program, or get a passport card to use the Ready Lane, or get a Border Fast Pass. The SENTRI lanes are dedicated lanes for enrolled vehicles and passengers. The wait to cross, especially on weekends and rush hour, is greatly reduced. The Ready Lanes are also dedicated lanes only for holders of RFID technology cards, like the passport card, SENTRI, and others. The Border Fast Pass is a one use coupon that can be obtained from various venues such as hotels and medical centers in Tijuana, Rosarito and Ensenada that allows you entry to a special lane with less border wait. Read more about the Border Fast Pass.

Read more about each way in our article: Three Ways to Cross the Border Faster!

Updated: Sep 12, 2018 03:21 PM

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