The Banjercito Vehicle Permit for Driving in Mexico
Mexico North America Sonora

The Banjercito Vehicle Permit for Driving in Mexico

If you’re planning an overland journey into Mexico from the United States and you’ve decided to drive your own car, you’ll need to get a Banjercito Vehicle Permit in order to go a certain distance beyond the border (generally 16 miles, but there are some special “Sonora”-only vehicle permits available as well). It’s not hard to get the vehicle permit in Tijuana, but it’s important that you don’t skip this step if you’re going to drive beyond a certain distance into Mexico.

What is the Banjercito Car Permit?

The Banjercito car permit is basically a holographic sticker that you’ll put on your windshield to show that you’ve paid to temporarily and legally bring your car into Mexico beyond a certain distance.

Why you might need a Banjercito Car Permit…

If you plan to drive only in the Baja Peninsula, Rocky Point, or within about 16 miles from the Mexico US border, then you don’t need the car permit. Mexico tourists who plan to head south to do more than just some cursory exploration near the border should get the permit! NOT getting the permit to travel to Mexican cities that are further south could make you show up on the drug trafficking radar. So get the frickin’ Banjercito sticker! Then you’ll be able to drive anywhere in Mexico for 6 months before having to take your car across a border again (if you don’t want to take it across the U.S. border, cross into Guatemala or Belize).

John and I were somewhat mystified by this permit because we’d never taken our car across an international border into a country other than Canada. What we realized though (as we were sitting in traffic waiting to leave Tijuana and return to the U.S. side to try to get the sticker on a second try since we’d failed the first time), was that essentially we were “declaring” our car at customs in order to get the holographic sticker. The word for “customs” in Spanish is “aduanas”. There are signs that say, “Aduanas” just beyond the big MEXICO sign in the big line of traffic outside of Tijuana. Don’t blow past these signs if you want to get the Banjercito car permit!

Be sure to gather all the documents and information that you need in order to get the car permit for Mexico. At the time of this writing, you need documents and information required to prove that you legally own your car. Put these documents in a file folder to keep them organized and accessible.

Check the Banjercito web site to find out how much it costs to temporarily import your car into Mexico. The rate changes based on currency conversions and other factors.

How to get the Banjercito Vehicle Permit in Tijuana, Mexico…

If you do the San Ysidro border crossing to Tijuana, you’ll cross under a sign that says, “MEXICO”. If you aren’t already in the right lane at this point, merge into the far right lane. You aren’t going to follow most of the cars. After the big MEXICO sign, you’ll turn left behind all the other cars, but then, way over to the right of this line of cars, you’ll need to drive toward a sign that says, “Aduanas” (all the other cars will be going the other way). This part isn’t especially intuitive. That’s why we missed it the first time. You can go here to watch us successfully get the Banjercito vehicle permit on video.

Find a place to park at the SAT building and walk inside. Take your important documents with you. Just inside the first set of glass doors, there are some bank windows to the left just inside. Up ahead, midway to the next set of glass doors that lead back outside again, are clean restrooms on the right. Keep walking. You’ll need to go through the second set of glass doors and go outside again under a big awning where buses might be parked. Walk to the end of the cement wall and turn left. Go through the first door on your left and ask to fill out the paperwork for a visa. After you do this, go back toward those glass doors again (don’t go back through them…just toward them). You’ll see a window there. Tell the woman/man behind the counter that you need the Banjercito vehicle permit. You’ll need to go back and forth between this window and the visa office you just came from, possibly more than once to fill out everything that needs to be filled out and finally get the Banjercito vehicle permit sticker.

Ask people for help/directions if you need it!

Related Links:

Crossing the Tijuana Border

How to Get a Car Permit for Mexico at the Tijuana Border

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