Mexico Paperwork Guide for Motorcycle Travellers

Welcome to the Mexico Paperwork Guide. This guide’s job is to explain what paperwork motorcycle riders need to enter and travel in Mexico…

Contents

Mexico Paperwork Guide for Motorcycle Travellers

Every country in the world has their own rules, regulations and procedures for entry – and it’s always just a little more complicated when you throw a foreign motorcycle into the mix. Luckily, getting into Mexico is relatively straightforward.

We’ve put this guide together based on our travel experiences to help you get in and navigate the paperwork procedures. Here’s what motorcycle travellers need to know about paperwork for Mexico. 

Your paperwork

Passport

You need a valid passport that will be in date for the duration of your visit in Mexico.

Driver’s licence

You need a valid driver’s licence that will also be in date for the duration of your visit in Mexico.

The UK Gov website states that you need a 1926 issued International Driver’s Permit to use a vehicle in Mexico. The IDP translates your current licence into Spanish. However, this is very uncommon and not carried by most travellers. We do carry IDPs because they cost about £5 and are easy to obtain. So, officially you are required to carry one, but we strongly believe you will be completely fine with just your normal licence (provided it is printed in English).

Travel insurance

This is not a requirement but highly recommended. You should always have travel insurance that will cover you to ride a motorcycle when travelling. We recommend having a read of this guide:

READ MORE: Motorcycle Travel Insurance Explained

FMM

Mexico offers a visa free entry to citizens from a number of countries. Check this link to the Mexico Consulate to see where your citizenship stands.

However, while you do not require a visa, you do still require an FMM (Forma Migratoria Multiple). The FMM permit allows you to stay up to 180 days in Mexico (at the discretion of the immigration officer (note that your passport must be valid for the amount of time you plan on staying). 

Think of the FMM as a visa waiver or permit to enter the country. It’s also known as a tourist card or tourist visa.

You must get this at the land border when you enter Mexico (or at the airport when you land). Simply ask the guards where to get FMM – or where the immigration office is and they will point you in the right direction.

The FMM is purchased at the immigration office and costs around 720 pesos (35GBP / 43USD). You need to show your passport, fill out a form, make payment via card and you will be given a slip of paper with a stamp on it. You must look after this piece of paper and keep it in your passport as that is your FMM. If you lose it, you will need to visit an immigration office for a new one.

Note: you can sort your FMM online, but you still need to visit an office to pay for it – so there’s absolutely no point doing it online. Just get it at the border when entering. 

Important: When you pay for your FMM you will be given a receipt. This receipt is just as important as the FMM paper. You must keep it and show it when exiting otherwise immigration may try and charge you another FMM fee. If you manage to lose your receipt, we have heard of travellers printing out their bank statement showing they paid for the FMM and that working (it must be a print out, showing a screenshot on your phone won’t do).  

Temporary Import Permit

To ride in Mexico you must have a Temporary Import Permit (TIP). This allows you to keep your bike in Mexico for the same amount of time as your FMM is valid (180 days).

Note that you do not need a TIP if you are only riding in Baja as it is a ‘Mexico Free Zone.’ However, if you plan on entering mainland Mexico, you do need a TIP.

So, in our case, we entered Baja Mexico and got our TIP, despite the fact we didn’t need it for Baja – however, we knew we were taking the ferry from La Paz to Mazatlan so got it at the border.

Where to get the TIP

The TIP is purchased at a Banjercito office (government office responsible for issuing TIPs), which is also located at the border. It is very easy to simply ride through the border area without getting a TIP as nobody asks you to get one.

To get your TIP, you need to have a passport, FMM, vehicle registration documents and driver’s licence.

It costs around 40GBP / 50USD for the TIP, but you must also leave a deposit at the Banjercito of 315GBP / 400 USD (yes, you read that right!) This is refunded to you when you exit Mexico – provided you leave before the date stamped on your TIP. 

You can pay in cash or with a credit card that is in your name. If you are travelling as a couple like we are, pay separately on cards in your own names. Otherwise you will have a problem when it comes time to return your deposit.

Once you have got your TIP at the border you will be given the paperwork. Make sure to check your motorcycle’s VIN number and cross check your information on the paperwork. Once you are happy they will then email you a digital copy of your TIP. Make sure you keep the payment receipt too and any paperwork given to you at the border.

Returning your TIP

When you exit Mexico, you need to cancel your TIP at the Banjercito located at the border you are exiting from. Some border posts are tiny and may not have a Banjercito, and as there are loads of border posts we recommend checking the iOverlander app to make sure the crossing you are planning on using has an office.

You must visit the Banjercito and specifically cancel your TIP just before you exit the country. Do not let your TIP expire while you are in the country.

If paid via card, your money will be refunded to you the next working day. If via cash it will be done there and then. Note that you will get back less than what you originally paid and that missing amount is the TIP fee. This may be anywhere from 40-60USD. 

Motorcycle insurance

You must have Mexican motorcycle insurance to use your motorcycle in Mexico. This is compulsory – even though there are no checks for this at the border. Do not ride in without it.

You can purchase your motorcycle insurance online and should do this before you reach the border.

We used and recommend Baja Bound for this service as it was quick and easy, they’re highly recommended and the cover is comprehensive.

Note that while you may have insurance valid for your own country – you still need a Mexican insurance policy.

Read more on motorcycle travel in Mexico

Thanks for checking out the Mexico Paperwork Guide for Motorcycle Travellers. We hope you enjoyed it! Here’s a few more articles on motorcycle travel in Mexico and North America that we recommend you read next. 

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Are you planning a motorcycle trip in Mexico? Do you have any questions, tips or suggestions? Let us know in the comments below. 

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