Can I drive across the Mexico border in my partner's car?
July 23, 2012 1:44 PM   Subscribe

Can I take a road trip to Mexico in a car that's not registered in my name?

I'm planning a road trip to Baja California with some friends. My car is registered under my partner's name only (who sadly can't join us because he has to work), though we are both on the insurance, and obviously have the same address on all documents.

Will I be able to drive the car across the border? Because we'll both be out of town until the day before I'm planning to leave, I don't think I can get my name added to the title before the road trip.

It seems that I don't need a temporary vehicle importation permit if I'm just driving around Baja, and so won't need to show the title/registration documents, but I'm having trouble confirming on the Internet that my specific situation is ok. Any advice the hive mind can offer?
posted by psycheslamp to Travel & Transportation around Baja California, Mexico (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The only time I did something similar (to Canada though, not Mexico) driving my step-sister's car, getting out across the border wasn't a problem. US customs on the way back was very suspicious because the car wasn't mine, though, and I had to sit in a room for hours while they tore through the car and my luggage before they let me drive in.

My step-sister's last name and address were different than mine, so having the same address might help. Be prepared for a long day though.
posted by Blue Meanie at 2:04 PM on July 23, 2012

Are you sure you don't need the permit if you're driving around Mexico? I've taken a lot of trips into Mexico in a US car, and you need insurance 60km (not sure about the number, may be 30 or 40) past the border. As for having it in someone else's name that could be a problem. I've been in a couple of situations in which the car was denied entry because the name on the title did not match. You should call the Mexican Consulate in your area.
posted by Partario at 2:41 PM on July 23, 2012

Okay, let me clarify. This is all coming from family trips to Mexico in which I never had to deal with this stuff. I believe the process is that you have to have your name on the title of the car to receive insurance. After a certain distance from the border there are checkpoints where American cars have to present proof of that insurance to continue through. The problem I could see you having is in obtaining the insurance if the car is not in your name - but it may just depend on the pickiness of whatever bureaucrat you encounter.
posted by Partario at 2:46 PM on July 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

This site has accurate information in my experience . I do know that Baja and Sonora have different rules than other Mexican states. I have taken vehicles with my name not on the registration into Mexico (for travel to other states than Baja or Sonora) for visits and always have brought a notarized letter of permission.
posted by cnanderson at 8:31 PM on July 23, 2012

My advice would be to find a rental place across the border so your car has Mexican license plates. This helps avoid the attention of village police officers looking for some quick $$$
posted by wcfields at 3:02 AM on July 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

as Partario has said, last I knew, You need Mexican insurance if your going farther then rosorito or so. Even then, cops can still be a pain if you are jackasses, speed, or somewhere you probably should not be (even if you don't know that).
posted by couchdive at 11:09 AM on July 24, 2012

I called the Mexican consulate, and thought I'd update in case anyone else runs into a similar situation.

Most of Baja is a special tourist zone where insurance, but no permit are required. I needed my boyfriend's info to get insurance online, but then added myself as a second driver. I also had a notarized permission letter, but everything went smoothly, and nobody asked to see any of the documents. If I'd been driving anywhere else other than Baja or sections of Sonora, I would not have been able to take the car across the border without him actually present to get the permit.
posted by psycheslamp at 3:11 PM on August 8, 2012

« Older Low cost paint job or Vehicle Wrap?   |   Teaching abroad in Spain? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.