Originally Posted by Jeff Munn
I will offer this advice, even though it may not be completely legal. You can decide if you wish to follow it. Legally, you must export yourself and your vehicle when departing Mexico. However, if you are enroute to Panama, and plan on returning to the USA thru Mexico, you can avoid having to pay the visa and vehicle import fee twice, using this technique. We failed to do this and it doubled our fees for crossing Mexico. Pilot showed us this technique, and had no problems.
The other unique issue is that your tourist fee must be paid at a Mexico Bank, sometime during your stay, and prior to departing. These banks ARE NOT at the border, so make sure you find one, pay the fee and get the appropriate stamped documents before you head to the border to depart Mexico for the last time.
Now for your vehicle importation. Remember the Vehicle registration validity period is tied to the visa period. You will have to pay the vehicle importation fee to a special Banjercito that will probably be several miles from the actual border (remember that free trade zone?). On departure, you MUST remember to find the Banjercito office at the ADUANA that will out process you.
I crossed the border at Nogales. I was able to avoid going throuh the shaddy city by taking the MARIPOSA rd. If i remember correctly is exit number 139 there is a Carls Junior and a Valero where you can get gas one last time. Once you get of Mariposa you need to take a right.
I crossed around 11am. There was no line at all. The "offices" to get the importation paper work and visa are at km 21. When i got there nobody was there. I first had to file the paper work for my visa - i just had to show my passport. Then I went to another building where i handed my documents including registration and driver license. then they sent me to make copies of my documents each copy was 25 cents. then i return to the other building. They had a Banjercito right there so i was able to pay all the fees on the spot with a credit card.
I followed Jeff advice and got the Visa for 6 months however the vehicle can only stay in the country for 3 months at a time.
the lady there said that the visa is valid for multiple entries however the vehicle importation is not because you need to give back the sticker once you leave the country.
once i was done with my paperwork another person showed up behind me.
the whole process took me approx. 40 min from when i shut off the engine and turned it back on.