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Road trip from Florida to Cancun

Day 5 - Brownsville Texas and Matamoros Mexico

Day 5: Crossing the border

Click to see a larger image When you are ready to cross the border into Mexico, use the Veterans International Bridge which is on US 77 (soon to be named Interstate 69).

Mexican customs is just on the other side of the bridge. The picture below is less than a 1/2 mile from the US/Mexican border.

There is a toll booth (above) for crossing the bridge into Mexico. In the picture below you can see the famous Rio Grande river which divides Mexico and the US. It's not as big as they make it out to be in the movies.

The moment we have been waiting for (above). At the end of the bridge you are officially in Mexico. Mexican customs is 30 seconds ahead.

Procedure to import your car to Mexico etc.

Important! Go to the web site and fill out all the info in advance of entering Mexico. This will save a pile of time as the info will already be in their computer. Print out the "leaf" number and give it to the person at Banjercito.

Park your car and go inside the large customs building. The first step is to get a tourist permit. If you are facing the Banjercito, the tourist permit person is directly behind you (I didn't want to take a picture of it due to security regulations). You should be able to do everything in about 30 mins

With the tourist permit in hand, go to the Banjercito (the Mexican military bank) and present the following documents:

  • Original and photocopy of your drivers license
  • Original and photocopy of your tourist permit
  • Original and photocopy of your vehicle registration
  • Original and photocopy of your passport
  • A non-Mexican credit/debit card (they will charge you around $30) with photocopy of card.
  • The title document is rarely required but I have heard stories where they demand it (1 out of a 100). If you are making payments on your vehicle, most likely the bank holds title. It is wise to have a letter from your bank and a translated copy. This section of Mexican law is vague. The exact law says "Certificate of vehicle's ownership, valid registration, or lease contract." THAT can be interpreted various ways.
  • Banjercito is open 7 days a week (exact hours I will post later)
  • Pre-Immigration information at

Your name, passport, vehicle registration, and license must match exactly. If they don't, you need additional paperwork such as the original and a copy of a divorce certificate etc (translated).

Place the temporary importation permit on your windshield on the inside behind the mirror. The final step is to buy vehicle insurance. There are several vendors (tip: the guy to the left of Banjercito will make photocopies of your tourist permit etc for free if you get an insurance quote from him. He also had the best insurance rates).

Insurance quotes from the various companies were USD $550 to $750 with $9,000 collision and theft included. We bought 3 days worth of insurance for $31 as I thought this price was high. I will post more information on this topic later as I learn more. With many of the on-line insurance companies you must have US/Canadian collision insurance for the Mexican equivalent to be valid.

Click for a map of Brownsville and Matamoros Click for map of Brownsville and Matamoros

Click for an Excel Spreadsheet for importing a pet (translated to Spanish) Click for an Excel Spreadsheet for importing a pet (translated to Spanish)

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Next: Matamoros to Veracruz

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