Before even crossing the border from USA into Mexico I read about the rules online. There are the rules for the border crossing into Mexico, when you have to travel all of Mexico. If you only have to travel in the Northern territory, different rules are applied.
- Buy insurance for the vehicles online before leaving the USA. The insurance have to cover the full territory of Mexico. If you are staying more than 30-40 days in Mexico the price for the insurance is the same for 30 or 180 days (6 months).
- Get a 180 days tourist visa at the immigration office, which usually is located next to or in the same building as the Banjercito.
- Buy a temporary vehicle import permit (TVIP), which include a deposit between 200-400 USD per vehicle depending on the age of the vehicle.
A Banjercito is a army bank owned by the government. It handles all the fees, that applies when coming into Mexico. It is not possible to withdrawal money at the Banjercito, if you need money go to a regular bank/ATM. On Google maps I looked up Banjercito and found two different Banjercito’s just after the Tijuana border crossing. We decided to take the one to the east of the biggest Tijuana border crossing. The Banjercito is usually closed in the weekend, so if you want a temporary vehicle import permit (TVIP), you have to go across the border on a weekday or find a Banjercito in a different town and go there on a week day. We recommend that you go across the border on a weekday and get everything fixed the same day at the local Banjercito.
We visited Sondra in San Diego, who helped us with buying an insurance for both motorcycles online at www.bajabound.com, which was 287,38 US dollars for 6 mouths for both motorcycles. She also printed out one copy of each insurance (one for me and one for Esben). We each carry the insurance paper with passport, TVIP and the tourist visa.
It was really easy to go across the border, we didn’t even have to stop and show our passports. 5 minutes later we found a Banjercito according to the coordinates from Google maps, without the coordinates it would have been almost impossible to find, since there were no signs giving directions towards the Banjercito.
Bring your passport with you to the immigration office. At the immigration office there has an elderly military employee – he could only speak Spanish. I almost lost my courage… left the office to get my cellphone which could translate from English to Spanish. I went back inside and I filled out the immigration papers. Had to go back to the Banjercito to pay the immigration fee and then back to the immigration office, where the elderly military employee approved and stamped the 180 days tourist visa to Mexico. I paid 50,80 USD for two 180 days tourist visas (one for me and one for Esben). Esben and I had to sign the tourist visa separately.
Temporary vehicle import permit (TVIP)
Bring your passport with the tourist visa and title for the motorcycle. Back at the Banjercito I got the TVIP, which was pretty easy. We had to pay 400 USD in deposit for each motorcycle, because they are only a few years old. I total we paid 463,92 per motorcycle for the TVIP. It is really important that you check that the VIP number on the TVIP is exactly the same as the one on your title. It is your own responsibility that all the information is correct. The TVIP is a big sticker, but don’t out it on your motorcycle. Keep the sticker with your passport and the insurance papers. If you put it on your motorcycle there is a risk of it being stolen. When all this was going on, Esben is keeping an eye on our motorcycles and all our gear, this was not necessary at this Banjercito because there were armed guards. Esben and I had to sign the TVIP separately.
Overview of the payment, for two persons and two motorcycles:
Insurance for both motorcycles = 287,38 USD
180 days tourist visa for two persons = 50,80 USD
TVIP for both motorcycles 2*463,92 = 927,84 USD
Total 1266,02 USD*
Including refund of 800 USD when exporting the motorcycles 1266,02-800 = 466,02 USD in total.
*We paid all the expenses at the Banjercito with a credit card, it is also possible to pay in cash.
Before we leave Mexico, we have to find a Banjercito and export our motorcycles, which should give us 800 US dollars back. The money will be refunded to the credit card, that was used when importing the motorcycles. If you pay in cash, you will get the deposit bag in cash, which is not convenient when you are about the leave the country.
After 1½ hour everything was in order an we could continue south on the Baja Peninsula. We were very lucky, because there was no other people at the Banjercito and immigration, so we didn’t have to spend time standing in line. You can easily spend much more time if you have to stand in line several times. So plan when you have to go across the border.