Bringing a Motorbike into Mexico
Touring Mexico on a motorbike can be one exciting experience. The thought is even more alluring when you consider the places the bike can penetrate that a car cannot. Besides, the amount you spend insuring a bike is less than the one you would spend on a car. So, if you are a licensed and experienced rider, there is no reason why you cannot consider touring Mexico on a bike as a possibility. If, and when, you decide to travel to Mexico on a motorbike, be sure to consult your nearest Mexican Consulate for up-to-date regulations. For now, however, here are the requirements as you cross the Mexican border:
This needs to be valid for the next six months, because even if you intend to stay for four months or less, something unforeseen might call for your delay and you do not want to be in the country illegally.
2. Motorcycle license
A license is mandatory as there should be proof that you are not going to be a danger to other road users in Mexico. Many riders have their driver’s license too and it is acceptable.
3. Proof of ownership
Just as in the case of cars, you should produce documentation confirming that the motorcycle is in your name; and those names should correspond to the names on your passport and license.
4. Letter of Authorization
This letter is required only if the motorbike is not in your name. If it belongs to a company or it is leased, their legal owners need to issue you with express authority to handle the bike, stating clearly that they allow you to cross the border with it.
5. Credit Card
You need to have a usable Credit Card because of the various transactions involved in your processing. Your temporary motorcycle import permit, for instance, needs to be paid for by credit card, and some border points also prefer that the bond deposited is also processed by credit card.
6. Visa Visitors from the European Union, the US, Canada and Australia need not worry about visas as Mexico does not demand them. Everyone else needs to learn their position from the embassy during preparations for the trip.
7. Mexican Insurance
It is possible nobody will worry about your insurance at the border, but once you have touched Mexican territory, beyond the Free Trade Area, you need to be able to show the police your Mexican auto insurance documents. This insurance is very important as it is the one that covers the rider for any liabilities should there be a road accident affecting another road user. Mexican law requires tourists bringing their vehicles into Mexico to get a Mexican vehicle insurance policy. Your US or Canadian vehicle insurance will not cover you in Mexico. If you still do not have a Mexican insurance policy, you can buy it here.
As a matter of convenience, it is important that you produce copies of each document before leaving home; it saves you time at the border. In fact, it can be disorienting going in search of a photocopying shop in a new place, yet copies are required at the border offices.
What happens at the border?
Crossing on a bike is almost the same way as crossing using a personal car. There is not much inspection taking place, so you need to join the lane labeled Nada a Declarar or ‘nothing to declare’.
If you do not look suspicious, the officer will wave you by. At some border points, the officer asks you to press a particular button, the result of which is either a green light coming on, or a red one. Green implies you proceed while red is an indicator that you should be personally inspected plus your bike. The fact that you are going to be searched is no reason to panic if you have no contraband. The officers just need to reassure themselves.
What happens after getting onto the inside?
You are required to follow the same procedure car drivers do. That means you check into the immigration office, getting your passport stamped and getting your tourist card. Only that card will show that you are in Mexico legally.
Do not be wary of seeking assistance. Some border points can be tricky to understand, having places labeled just in Spanish and other places not labeled at all. Gladly, the border officials and military personnel are usually ready to help.