Traveling to Mexico for the Holidays

If you are planning to travel to Mexico for the holidays, you need to be sure you have prepared yourself and your family for the trip. There are people who are available to answer your questions, and provide you with information you may need. The staff members at your local Mexican Consulate are focused on giving you the most up-to-date information about traveling to Mexico, and if you run into any problems during your trip, they are available over the phone to handle your questions and complaints.

Below are some frequently asked questions about the documentation you will need to travel to Mexico, as well as travel safety tips, what items to take, buying car insurance, and other important holiday traveling tips. The answers to the question are also provided.

What should I bring with me to Mexico?

  • Important travel documents to prove your Mexican citizenship (a passport, birth certificate, military ID, Matricula Consular Certificate, or Declaration of Mexican Nationality or naturalization document). If you’re not a Mexican citizen and are a U.S. citizen, bring your U.S. Passport.
  • A map of your drive to Mexico, as well as a map of your final destination
  • Mexican car insurance (more information below)
  • Your family and friend’s contact information
  • A cell phone
  • Your temporary vehicle permit
  • Contact information for the Mexican Consulate (from Mexico dial 01 800 201 85 42 or 1 (877) 210-9469 from the U.S.)
  • Any medications you may need-including a prescription stating your name

If I am driving to Mexico, do I need insurance for my car?

Yes. Although having automobile insurance in Mexico is not required by law, the Consulate of Mexico recommends all vehicles traveling to Mexico purchase Mexican car insurance. If your vehicle is insured in the U.S., the policy will not be valid in Mexico. Check with your insurance carrier for more details. You may also purchase Mexican auto insurance in cities and towns along the U.S. Mexican border.

What safety precautions can I take to protect myself and my family while traveling to Mexico by vehicle?

The Consulate of Mexico reminds you that it is important to take common sense measures when traveling. These measures include traveling only during the day, not carrying large amounts of cash (or not carrying cash at all), and traveling only designated roads. To make traveling easier, the consulate has a service to provide you with the safest and shortest driving routes, as well as an estimated fuel cost. It is called Point to Point Routes, and it can be found on their website: http://www.paisano.gob.mx and follow the link titled “Trace Your Route”

What are some tax-free items that I may bring with me to Mexico?

According to the Paisano website, you may bring with you any items that are part of your personal baggage, including: your clothes, shoes, toiletries and some electronic devices (including cell phones, a radio, laptop and a DVD player) tax-free. If you are traveling with a baby, any items for room or transportation of the baby are permitted tax-free. For a detailed list of what you are allowed to bring into Mexico, tax-free, visit http://www.paisano.gob.mx/index.php/ quejas. All other items are taxable at a flat rate of 16% if they are worth more than $300 United States Dollars (USD) (raised from the normal $75 USD for the holidays). However, this amount applies to each person and can be combined for family members (including kids) traveling together in the same car. If you have a question about something that is not listed on the website, and would like to know if you can bring it into Mexico tax-free, check with your local Mexican Consulate office before your trip. Call the toll free number, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: (877) 210- 9469.

I have a pet, and I would like to bring it with me when I travel to Mexico. What do I need to do?

You can bring a dog or cat with you to Mexico, but there are steps you must take to ensure it will be allowed across the border with you. You are required to carry the original, as well as a photocopy, of the Health Certificate from a registered veterinarian issued within 15 days prior to your departure. You also need a valid certificate of vaccination stating your pet has had all required vaccinations within fifteen days of departure. These certificates must be provided to the Office of Animal and Plant Health Inspection when entering Mexico. If you transport one to three pets, there is no payment required. If you transport four or more, you must make a payment of about $140 USD ($1,817 Pesos) for the issuance of the Import Health Certificate.

I am packing food to bring with me to Mexico. What am I not permitted to bring with me?

To protect Mexico’s agriculture, animal products and plants are not allowed to cross the border. The Paisano Program’s website, recommends that you do not bring the following:

  • Flowers, plants, or dirt
  • Fruit, seeds or grains
  • Hay, straw, palm or coconut
  • Homemade food
  • Animal meats, in any form
  • Eggs, feathers
  • Milk, or milk products in any form
  • Pet food

If you encounter abuse from Mexican authority officials while you travel in Mexico, you may file a formal complaint by calling the numbers below. Remember, everyone’s circumstances are different, and not all situations are covered in this article. Please visit www.paisano.gob.mx or call the Mexican Consulate toll-free for more information. To contact the Consulate from the U.S. dial 1 (877) 210-94-69, from Mexico dial 01 800 201 8542. You can call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.