Can I Drive to Mexico Right Now?

There are plenty of reasons to drive to Mexico - beautiful beaches, less expensive healthcare, and culture galore. Whether you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, seeking medical or dental care without breaking the bank, or craving historical sights and delicious foods, there are exponential possibilities for any visitor to Mexico.

Each year, millions of travelers cross the border into Mexico, usually with little inconvenience. However, as with most things, the COVID-19 pandemic brought many challenges to travel, including to Mexico. The land borders between the United States and Mexico were closed for over a year, but thanks to progress with vaccines and research into the coronavirus, travel has opened up in many places around the world, albeit with some different protocols than pre-pandemic.

Driving to Mexico - Why Drive?

Many travelers drive to and throughout Mexico each year, and with good reason! One of the most popular drives in Mexico is along the Pan-Am highway. The highway runs along the Pacific coast and is incredibly beautiful. Travelers new to Mexico may not be aware that the landscape isn’t all desert and sand. Valle de Guadalupe is Mexico’s wine country, Oaxaca boasts mostly farmland, and Nayarit offers lush forests. Because there are many types of landscapes, there are also many types of animals, which can be great fun! Just be sure to keep an eye out for them while driving.

Driving to Mexico - What Documentation is Needed?

Just as prior to COVID-19, Mexico still requires that travelers driving their own cars complete certain paperwork before they are permitted to cross the border. In addition to having a passport or passport card, there are a few other things travelers will need. Visitors must have a Temporary Import Permit, often called a TIP, a Visitor Permit, or FMM, and Mexico-based car insurance. TIPs are not required in the Baja Peninsula, however, the FMM and Mexican car insurance still are required.

Travelers are encouraged to obtain necessary documentation prior to reaching the border to save time and money. Car insurance costs significantly more if purchased at the border. Temporary import permits and Visitor permits are available online through the Banjercito website. A deposit is also required and returned once the temporary import permit is canceled.

Additionally, travelers will need to provide proof of current car registration with the U.S. or the vehicle may be confiscated.

Driving to Mexico - How Have Things Changed Since COVID-19?

Very little has changed regarding driving to Mexico since the onset and development of COVID-19. As mentioned before, the same documentation is required, with one addition. When travelers cross the border into Mexico, they are required to fill out a health declaration form. In addition to some general health questions, the form also requires visitors to declare potential COVID-19 symptoms. If symptoms are reported, the border patrol authorities may require visitors to quarantine or test for COVID-19. Otherwise, Mexico doesn’t require proof of vaccination status or negative COVID-19 testing to enter the country.

It is important to note, however, that returning to the United States (even if only passing through the U.S.) does require proof of vaccination status and/or negative COVID-19 tests to enter the country. Don’t let that be a hindrance though - Mexico has many CDC-approved testing sites, including at many hotels and resorts so testing should be easy enough to obtain. The CDC also recommends that anyone traveling internationally should be fully vaccinated, especially with the current rise in infection rates due to the Omicron variant raging worldwide. Also, many hotels and resorts have their own restrictions and protocols regarding COVID-19 to help guests enjoy their time as safely as possible.

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