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Baja California is an adventurers paradise, with countless beaches, mountains, trails and missions along its 798 mile length. However, it is important to remember that you are entering another country; one with a different judicial system and requirements for driving a vehicle into the country, acquiring a visa, etc. If your travel plans have you leaving Baja, or taking the ferry across to the mainland, other requirements are necessary, including the temporary vehicle importation permit, which is not covered in this document.

General Travel Regulations and Recommendations:

General regulations for all of Baja and Mexico:

1. You MUST have Vehicle insurance, as it is required for all vehicles entering into Mexico. This is for your protection, as you can be jailed if you do not have proof of liability coverage. Expeditions West uses Adventure Mexican Insurance

2. NEVER bring firearms into Mexico, this includes ammunition. Even one round in an ash tray is cause to impound your vehicle and put you in jail. Do not bring knives designed for protection into Mexico (cooking and camp style knives are permitted).

3. NEVER bring illegal drugs into Mexico. Army and Federale inspections look for these illicit materials. List of controlled substances

4. NEVER bring more prescription medication than is required for the trip, and keep them in the original prescription container. You can allow for a few extra days. Do not purchase medication in Mexico without a Mexican doctors prescription.

5. NEVER bring expensive jewelry into Mexico, or wear designer clothing. Leave extra credit cards at home.

The Mexican Legal system is Napoleonic, which is that you are guilty until your innocence has been proven. For legal assistance in Mexico, contact: Tel. (5) 761-4371 or by contacting the U.S. Embassy.

General recommendations for traveling into Mexico and Baja:

1. Identification: Passport is best, however a drivers license and a copy of your birth certificate is also acceptable for travel into Mexico and returning into the US. A drivers license alone is not sufficient for reentry into the US as of October 2004. In addition, the US is considering making passports a requirement for reentry from Mexico.

2. Photocopy ALL important documents and keep them in a separate area of the vehicle.

3. Use a money belt to hold large sums of cash and your passport.

4. Provide a detailed itinerary with family or a friend in the US and call them if plans change.


Permits and Visas:

The Border Zone:
If traveling within 25km of the border there is no temporary importation requirement or tourist card needed.

If your stay is less than 72 hours, there is no tourist visa (FM-T) required. If your visit is longer than 72 hours, or you are traveling into Baja Sur, you must obtain an FM-T at the border crossing.

Obtaining the FM-T:
Most border crossings have an immigration office. You can ask the Mexican border officers where the "oficina de migracion" is. They are typically right next to the border crossing, and are often near the governmental bank called a Banjercito. The FM-T is available from 4-180 days and costs $225.00 pesos. The payment for the FM-T is made at the Banjercito. Once the payment is made, the receipt is brought back to the immigration office and the FM-T is validated.

Documents Required: Passport or drivers license and copy of birth certificate.

Driving your vehicle into Baja :
The Temporary Vehicle Importation Permit (also known as the Mexican Vehicle Permit) is not required on the Baja Peninsula or in Sonora despite your length of stay, or distance traveled south. The owner of the vehicle should always be in the vehicle while driving in Mexico.

Documents Required: You must have your vehicle registration with your vehicle while traveling in the Baja Peninsula.

Contact Information:

Mexican Ministry of Tourism:

Call (55) 5250-0123 24-hour hotline
Toll Free: (01) 800-903-9200
from the U.S. 1-800-482-9832.

US Embassy in Mexico:

01-55-5080-2000.  e-mail at: ccs@usembassy.net.mx.


Tijuana:   Tapachula 96, telephone (52)(664) 622-7400.

Consular Agencies:

Cabo San Lucas:  Blvd. Marina Local C-4, Plaza Nautica, Col. Centro, telephone (52)(624) 143-3566.