Driving to Mexico

We are glad that you are thinking about traveling to Mexico. So you can have a better experience, we have created this page with tips and procedures to cross our border at Nogales, Arizona. We will attempt to make changes to this page as often as possible so you can stay updated with all the necessities.

Here are a few of steps you need to take when you decide to drive across the border into Mexico. If you abide by these rules, your trip to Mexico should turn out to be wonderful.  Keep in mind that regulations may change:  Please call the Mexico Tourist Board at 1-800-44-MEXIC prior to your trip for updated information.

If your travel is within the Border Zone (usually up to 20 kilometers south of the U.S.-Mexico Border) or Free Trade Zone (including the Baja California Peninsula and the Sonora Free Trade Zone), you do not need a car permit but you DO need a tourist visa. If you wish to pass these zones the following procedures will apply. You MUST secure a permit by following the next few steps.  If you are going to cross through the Nogales, Arizona port of entry, don’t hesitate to call us.  Our office is current with all the latest rules and regulations for entering Mexico.






After leaving our office turn left (west) and drive directly under the I-19 overpass. CONTINUE DUE WEST.  DO NOT TURN LEFT TO HEAD SOUTH ON I-19.  Just 3 miles from our office, you will come to the international border. For 2011, 2012 and 2013,  Homeland Security is under construction with it’s new facility. Routes will change from time to time and soon we will all enjoy the new site.

Merge left to the Hermosillo RouteAfter crossing the border continue south about 5 miles to the toll station.  You will pay approximately $5.00 U.S. currency to use the Nogales by-pass. Just past the toll booth you will come to your first inspection point.  This will be your first time to play “red light – green light.”  You must stop for the inspectors if you receive a red light! The “Aduanas” may ask you to open your luggage or to see your proof of citizenship.  They may inquire as to where you are going.  After the toll and inspection area, continue heading south on the Hermosillo road.  This by-pass will soon merge onto Highway 15.

13 miles south of the international border (kilometer 21) you will obtain  a  personal “visa” permit.  Everyone over 18 years of age must do so.  For this permit you must provide “proof of citizenship” with your passport.(the fee is approximately $25.00)

If you are visiting the “FREE ZONE” and your visit will be a week or less there will be no charge for the “visa” form. Payment for your “visa” will be paid next door at the BANJERCITO window. You will return to the first office to show your receipt and have your form stamped.

The FREE ZONEis the area WEST of Highway 15 from Puerto Peñasco (Rocky Point) south to Guaymas. The area includes Bajia Kino and San Carlos.

After obtaining your “visa” if you are going beyond Guaymas, Sonora the driver of the vehicle must get a “Vehicle Permit” which will require a few photo copies.  FOR THE VEHICLE PERMIT YOU WILL NEED COPIES OF YOUR PROOF OF CITIZENSHIP (Passport) , VEHICLE REGISTRATION or TITLE, CREDIT CARD and YOUR “VISA” PERMIT. The fee is approximately $36.00 for 180 days.


In the past when obtaining your Vehicle Permit you signed a promise to return your car to the U.S. and turn in your entry permit. New regulations now require you to post a REFUNDABLE bond to drive your car south of the Free Zone. The fees are $200 U.S. dollars for autos older than year model 2000. For autos 2001 to 2006 the fee is $300 U.S. dollars and for autos 2007 and newer, the fee is $400 U.S. dollars. Upon your return and when you return your permit, your bond will be returned. If you paid on your credit card it will be returned to your credit card. Please allow 7 days for the transfer. If you paid in cash you will be given your money in cash that moment. RVs may obtain a 10 year permit and there is no charge. Mexico is “Tourist User Friendly” and loves to have you visit the country.

After clearing all your paper work leave the parking area and enter the lane “NOTHING TO DECLARE” and you will play “red light – green light” for the last time.  When you return to the United States you are required to turn in your vehicle permits.  The process is fast and easy.  Watch for the signs just before you get to “kilometer 21” and pull into the appropriate lane.  The attendant will come out to your car scrape off your sticker and trade paperwork with you.  This action will officially remove your car from their computer.  Failure to do so will result in not receiving your bond money. They are open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

Hours of operation for the Banjercito banking module at the following border points:

Arizona Border Points

Agua Prieta……All week, 24 hrs.
Naco……All week, 8:00 am to midnight
Nogales……All week, 24 hrs.
San Luis Rio Colorado……All week, 24 hrs.
Sonoyta……All week, 24 hrs.

California Border Points

Mexicali……All week, 24 hrs.
Otay Mesa……10:00 am to 6:00 pm
Tecate……All week, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm
Tijuana……Mon-Fri, 8:00am to 10:00 pm; Sat, 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, Sun; 12:00 noon to 4:00 pm

Texas Border Points

Ciudad Acuña……All week, 24 hrs.
Ciudad Juarez……All week, 24 hrs.
Ciudad Miguel Alemán……All week, 24 hrs.
Columbia……Mon-Fri, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
General Rodrigo M. Quevedo……All week, 24 hrs.
Matamoros……All week, 24 hrs.
Nuevo Laredo……All week, 24 hrs.
Ojinaga……Mon-Fri, 7:30 am to 9:00 pm; Sat, 7:30 am to 4:00 pm; Sun, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm
Piedras Negras……All week, 24 hrs.
Reynosa……All week, 24 hrs.