HOW TO DRIVE YOUR DOG OR CAT INTO MEXICO AND BACK TO THE US

HOW TO DRIVE YOUR DOG OR CAT INTO MEXICO AND BACK TO THE US

To enter Mexico from the US border, Dogs and Cats no longer require a Health Certificate, Vaccination Record, Rabies Certificate or Import Certificate. Mexico is not a high-risk for Rabies country (CDC).  They may be visually inspected for health.  You may need your documents on return to the US, so have them available for airline or state-specific requirements. 

Mexico is not an AT-RISK Rabies Country. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

1.       DRIVING INTO MEXICO

DOCUMENTATION FOR YOUR PET: Since November 2019, NO Health Certificate, Rabies or other vaccinations, no parasite prevention (screwworm, fleas, ticks mite, lice etc.), Import Permit or Medications records are required. 

Keep these documents with you in case you are asked upon reentry to the US or enter to another country.  Plans changes and if you need to fly back to the US you will need them for the airline. 

Your pet may be physically inspected at the border, but often is not inspected.

DOCUMENTATION FOR YOUR VEHICLE :  You will present a passport or US ID card/driver’s license and get a Tourist Visa  (FMM) for you and a Temporary Import Pass (TIP) for your vehicle, (Except Baja Peninsular where no TIP is required).  A TIP is tied to your immigration document and is valid for as long your immigration document is valid.

A TIP is legal document that allows a foreign-plated vehicle to be imported to and driven in Mexico for a defined period of time.  The vehicle must be exported (driven out of Mexico) before the TIP’s expiry date.  If you fail to export the vehicle and surrender/cancel the TIP, you will lose your deposit, you will not be allowed to import another vehicle in future; and you can also face fines and have your vehicle confiscated.

Who needs a TIP?

Anyone who wants to bring a foreign-plated vehicle into Mexico and drive outside of the Free Zones.  The Free Zones are:

  • within 25km of the land border;
  • the entire Baja California peninsula;
  • a defined area in the northern state of Sonora; and,
  • the southern state of Quintana Roo.

If you are going to drive your car farther than the 25km from the border or anywhere outside of a defined Free Zone, you must have a TIP to avoid fines and confiscation of the vehicle.

WHERE CAN I BUY A VEHICLE TIP?

Online

You can still obtain a TIP in-person at the border but applying for the TIP via the Banjercito site will speed the process and avoid potentially long lines at the border.

Note: If you apply online, you must first get your FMM online (or have your Residency visa or card issued) before you obtain the TIP.  When you get your FMM online, you must stop at the border and get immigration (INM) to stamp/validate the document.  Carry a printed copy of the FMM and your receipt to show proof of payment when you do this.

When approved, you will receive your TIP by email.  Print out your TIP and receipt and keep the printed copies with you while driving in Mexico.  Keep and use the email version only as verification of your TIP approval.

In person at the Land Border

Temporary import permits may be purchased at CIITEV offices located at Customs offices near various U.S./Mexico border locations in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas.  Check beforehand that the crossing you use has a CIITEV office.  When you apply in person, Banjercito will send an email with your TIP and hand you a printed copy of the TIP and your receipt.  Keep the email and paper copies to hand at all times while driving in Mexico.

Buying a TIP at a Mexican Consulate

A limited number of Mexican Consulates in the United States offer a TIP-issuing service.  Although the Consulate acts as facilitator, it is Banjercito that issues the permit.  Consulates in the following US States offer TIPs (we recommend you contact them beforehand to ensure that their TIP issuing service is available):

  • Arizona: Phoenix
  • California: Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Sacramento
  • Colorado: Denver
  • Illinois: Chicago
  • New Mexico: Albuquerque
  • Texas: Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston

BANJERCITO is the government authority that issues vehicle permits. 

The process can be done online, at the Mexican border, or at certain Mexican consulates in the U.S. 

The process involves leaving a monetary deposit that will be returned upon the cancellation of vehicle permit when leaving Mexico.

AUTO INSURANCE FOR YOUR ROAD TRIP IN MEXICO

You are required to have a Mexican Insurance policy or to show proof of financial responsibility.  Financial responsibility is proof of liquid funds (not credit cards) in case of accident. Your US or Canadian auto insurance policy won’t cover you for third-party liability in Mexico.  Most US or Canadian policies include coverage for damage to your vehicle and its contents—not coverage for another vehicle in an accident.  The most important aspect of an insurance policy for driving in Mexico is third-party liability. By law, US and Canadian insurers are prohibited from providing liability coverage in foreign countries.  Liability coverage must be underwritten by a Mexican insurance company. 

PET FOOD

Mexico allows a limited amount of pet food for you to carry with you.  A supply of one day’s meals is suggested.

2.       DRIVING BACK TO US FROM MEXICO

CATS: A Health Certificate is not required by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for entry of pet cats into the United States, although some airlines or states may require them.

However, pet cats are subject to inspection at ports of entry and may be denied entry into the United States if they have evidence of an infectious disease that can be transmitted to humans.

If a cat appears to be ill, further examination by a licensed veterinarian at the owner’s expense might be required at the port of entry.

Cats are not required to have proof of rabies vaccination for importation into the United States.

However, some states require vaccination of cats for rabies, so it is a good idea to check with state and local health authorities at your final destination (CDC).

DOGS:  Dogs that have not been in a high-risk country in the previous 6 months are not required by CDC to present a rabies vaccination certificate or other paperwork, but vaccination against rabies is recommended. (CDC).

Mexico is not a high-risk country. This applies to pets, not dogs imported for research purposes.

INSPECTION AT BORDER

Your pet may be physically inspected.  It must be healthy.  If the pet does not appear healthy (sickly, fresh or healing wounds) you will likely be turned away.

Mexico recognizes only Dogs and Cats as pets. All other animals enter under other rules.

Search news outlets for safety issues on your potential route.

TIP:  A “Pet Passport” is not an official document as are human passports.  A “Pet Passport” is all the documentation you pet may need for travel: ID, Photo, Health Certificate, Vaccination records, Rabies Certificate, Parasite Prevention documentation and Medication.

TIP: WAZE App can be very effective alternative to Google Maps.

Published by Stephanie Fling

Everything Pet Travel Related by Air, Sea and Land.

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