Top 10 Tips for Mexico Travel

Mexico Tourist Information

We are specialists in Tourist Auto insurance for Mexico. We serve you better by maintaining our focus on the insurance program and the technology that we employ to deliver this program on the Internet for you securely. See below for specific Tourist Information. We also have a casual forum on tourism in Mexico at our blog.

Commonly Needed Tourist Links

Passport Requirements

In 2009 the passport requirements changed. It is a good idea to get your passport as soon as possible. You can apply online here: Passport Card

Until June 2009, it was sufficient to show proof of U.S. citizenship with a birth certificate or other government issued proof of citizenship. Please do not mistake proof of residence with proof of citizenship. A drivers license is NOT considered proof of Citizenship.

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General Mexico Travel Information

U.S. citizens should carry proof of their citizenship no matter where outside the U.S. they travel, and Mexico is no exception.

On returning to the U.S. from Mexico, you will wait in line at a customs checkpoint located at the border where you will state your nationality and declare any items you are bringing back from Mexico.

If you go beyond the border cities or intend to stay in Mexico for longer than 72 hours you need to get a Mexico tourist card. The tourist cards are available from Mexican immigration authorities at the border (Declarations) and also at Mexican consulates and Mexican government tourist offices in the U.S. A birth certificate or other proof of U.S. citizenship (voter registration, military ID, passport) is required to obtain the tourist card.

Canadian citizens who visit Mexico should have a passport or birth certificate. Other foreign nationals should have a passport and appropriate visas both for entering Mexico and returning to the U.S.

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Driving in Mexico

An automobile permit is required when driving into the interior of Mexico beyond the border cities (in Baja, Ensenada is considered a "border city." The permit, is good for up to 180 days and may be obtained at the border. There is a small fee for this permit. Don't forget to return the permit before you return from Mexico.

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Mexico Auto Insurance

According to Mexican civil statutes, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle in Mexico without auto insurance issued by a Mexican insurance company. Although some companies offer an endorsement that covers your vehicle for physical damage or medical payments on U.S. policies in Mexico, Mexican authorities do not recognize it, and the law is clear: drivers must be covered by domiciled Mexican insurance. Auto accidents are considered criminal offenses in Mexico, and regardless of fault involved vehicles can be impounded and drivers detained. The package put together for Mexico Insurance Services includes this offering, and the Latin Assist coverage is also available for comprehensive legal assistance. It is important to note that drinking and driving in Mexico is illegal, and therefore if you are under the influence and involved in an accident your claim may be denied.

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About Pets in Mexico

Both Mexico and the United States are strict with regard to transporting animals across the border. We suggest you leave your animal at home, with relatives or at a boarding home for pets. If you insist on bringing your animal to Mexico, make sure you have all the paperwork including vaccinations records, international health certificate signed by your veterinarian and claim the animal at customs to pay the nominal fee.

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Mexican Currency — the Peso (pay-so)

The Peso (pay-so) is the currency used in Mexico, however the border town gladly accept U.S. dollars. Be wise and familiarize yourself with the current exchange rates and do the math yourself at the gas stations in case the attendant makes a mistake.

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Returning to the U.S. from Mexico

You may bring back Mexican purchases valued to $400 duty free every 30 days. Federal duty fees will be assessed on the value of articles above the $400 exemption. Note that there are items "Made in Mexico," such as handicrafts and jewelry, that may qualify for exemption above the $400 limit.

Federal Law permits only one liter of duty-free alcoholic beverages to be brought back by each adult U.S. citizen every 30 days. Alcoholic beverages in excess of the limit are subject to duty and internal revenue tax.

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Prohibited Mexican Imports

When you return to the U.S. from Mexico, certain articles are either prohibited or subject to various quarantines, limitations or special permit requirements. Those articles include all narcotics or drugs, weapons, certain trademarked articles, most fruits, vegetables, plants, animals, birds and meats, and products made from the hides, shells, feathers, or teeth of endangered species. If you are unsure of regulations governing the import of a wildlife product, check with local authorities of U.S. Embassy before making a purchase. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Law Enforcement, P.O. box 28006, 23rd St., NW, Washington, DC 20037, can provide information.

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Fishing and Hunting in Mexico

There are no restrictions on bringing fish caught in Mexico into the U.S., but they must be declared at the border upon return. For hunting, make sure you contact Mexican authorities for current regulations, licenses, and procedures for bringing guns and ammo into Mexico. Any game legally killed in Mexico may be brought back into the U.S. but it must be accompanied by a statement, issued by U.S. Customs that the dead animal(s) are in fact from Mexico.

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*The above information is a general summary of travel regulations between the United States and Mexico as of January 2009. Mexico Insurance Services is not responsible for this information or any information that may have changed since publication. For updated information, please see the very informative Federal Travel Department website.