Moving to Mexico – Part 2
Here in part 2 we will look at some details about driving to Mexico, crossing the border with household goods, what goods are allowed and prohibited and so on. If you haven’t read part 1 of this article simply titled Moving to Mexico I suggest you read it as well.
Here are some things you need to know:
1. Permissible Goods
(Goods you are allowed to bring into Mexico)
Before you can bring ANY household goods into Mexico you MUST have the correct visa requirements. Please see our article Moving to Mexico for details on the types of Mexican Visas and what’s involved in attaining one.
Assuming you already have one of the above mentioned visas you are permitted to bring used household goods. Anything newer than 6 months old may be subject to import taxes. Household goods include things like furniture, clothing, appliances, artwork, books etc.
2. Prohibited Goods
(Goods you are not allowed to bring into Mexico)
There are many items you cannot bring into Mexico legally such as firearms, certain medicines, illegal drugs etc. You can read a full list of items and more information here.
3. Household Inventory Certificate
In order to move your household goods into Mexico you will require a Household Inventory Certificate. To obtain a Household Inventory Certificate you will need to fill out an application as well as take certain documents to a Mexican consulate in your country of residence:
- Valid passport with four copies of all pages containing data
- Your Mexican temporary or permanent resident visa (with 4 copies)
- A passport size photo
- A typed inventory list of the goods you are importing (must be in Spanish) and 4 copies
- The first page must have the name of the person who holds the visa as well as both their current address and the address they will be moving to in Mexico
- The last page of the original list must be signed by the same visa holder
- The current fee is $127USD
If you have any questions or would like more information on moving to Mexico please contact us!
Driving Directions from the U.S. to Ajijic, Chapala, Mexico
MAKE SURE YOU HAVE SUFFICIENT PESOS WITH YOU!
The trip from the US border to Lake Chapala takes approximately 12 hrs. Whenever possible, you will be instructed to take the toll roads because they are better managed, well maintained, there is less traffic, and in some segments the toll provides for some insurance against damages (keep your receipts). You WILL NOT need exact pesos, all toll booths provide change (and a receipt). As of June 2019 the toll fees between Loredo and Lake Chapala (Ajijic) are roughly $1,000 to $1,300 pesos (toll prices may vary, this a guide)
If you have vehicle trouble, there are free telephones available along the toll roads to call the “Green Angels” who assist motorists in need. We usually pack a lunch and get something to drink while we are stopped at a gas station. There are only PEMEX gas stations in Mexico but there are many of them on the way so refuelling should not be a problem. For vehicle registration, tolls, fuel, and if necessary one night at a motel you will need about $3,000 pesos ($5,000 if coming with two cars). Credit cards and foreign currencies are not always accepted so it is prudent to have the cash on hand.
The linked PDF Document lists a number of important points or junctions along the road. The odometer and GPS readings are approximate. You should also use a good recent road map for reference. The toll costs are based on our latest trip but they could have changed since then (as of June 2019 they are around $1,300 pesos). Please let us know of any updates or corrections that could be useful to the travellers that will follow you.
Alternative Driving Directions from the U.S. to Ajijic, Chapala, Mexico
Tip – Follow the signs look for the following towns on the way: Monterrey, Saltillo, Matehuala, San Luis Potosi, Mexico, Lagos de Moreno, Guadalajara, and Chapala. You can also use Google Maps to help augment our directions
1. U.S. Boarder to Nuevo Laredo
Once crossing the bridge, check to see if you get a green light. If red, stop at Customs on the right. If green continue to the first street and turn left. Continue on that street for several blocks looking to see where you can turn left on to the main bypass around Nuevo Laredo. Turn right on the bypass road until you see the road to Passport Control and where to get Auto Sticker. Turn Left on that road and go to Passport Control and Auto Sticker building.
2. Nuevo Laredo to Monterrey
Get back and onto and continue on bypass. Go under the first overpass and turn left on to Highway 85. Go through the 20 km Check Point and Continue South on Highway 85 to Monterrey.
3. Monterrey to Matehuala
Once you see the as you enter into Monterrey Airport on the right, get in the right hand lane and look for the Periferico Exit, prior to an underpass, it may be hard to see. Turn right onto the Periferico and continue on the Periferico until you see the exit to Saltillo. Exit right onto Highway 40. Continue on Highway 40 until you see the exit to Matehuala. Exit left to Matehuala, which is Highway 57.
4. Matehuala to San Luis Potosi
Continue South on Highway 57. Note, prior to Matehuala there is a bypass around Matehuala, turn left onto bypass. This is a toll bypass.
Note: Continue on Highway 57 to Mexico, (Mexico City). This will bypass San Luis Potosi. Just past the Pemex station and Churches Chicken and restrooms is a tollbooth, continue south on Highway 57 until you see a sign for a road to Guadalajara. Do not take any exits to San Luis Potosi unless you plan on spending the night in San Luis Potosi. If you plan to spend the night in San Luis Potosi, after the toll booth take the exit to San Luis Potosi, exit right, continue on this road and you will see the Holiday Inn Express on your left. Other good hotels along this road. Next morning, go back the way you came and look for the exit to Mexico, (Mexico City), and exit to the right. This will be Highway 57, continue south for a while until you see a sign for a road to Guadalajara. This is the two-lane toll road.
5. San Luis Potosi to Ojuelas de Jalisco
Continue West on Toll Road until it ends and exit left, West, on Highway 80, a two lane highway, look for sign to Guadalajara. After approximately 23 kms, or 14 miles you arrive in Ojuelas de Jalisco, where all the pottery swans, frogs and pots etc. are located.
6. Ojuelas de Jalisco to Lagos de Maren
Continue West on Highway 80, a two-lane highway. Note there is a bypass around Ojuelas de Jalisco, note signs to Guadalajara. There is a toll on this bypass.
7. Lagos de Mareno to Guadalajara
West on Highway 80. There is a bypass around Lagos de Mareno, note signs to Guadalajara, take right turn onto bypass.
8. Guadalajara to Chapala
South on Highway 44, look for signs to Chapala.
Obtaining a Vehicle Permit to Enter Mexico
OBTAINING A VEHICLE PERMIT AT LAREDO, TX BORDER CROSSING
A Vehicle Permit can only be issued to the registered owner. Only ONE Vehicle Permit will be issued to the registered owner holding a valid Tourist Visa, Temporal or Permanente Card. If you want to bring in two vehicles they must be registered in two different persons’ names (e.g.: you and your partner), each holding a valid Tourist Visa, Temporal or Permanente Card.
DO NOT drive into Mexico without a permit! Also note that no one other than you or your partner with the same last name may drive the vehicle registered in your name unless you are in the vehicle or the other person has a written notarized permission authorizing such use. No Mexican national may drive your vehicle without you in it at all times, even with a written permission. If you are bringing in two vehicles, following one of your vehicles driven by a Mexican may not be done unless one of you is present in that vehicle. If authorities want to get nasty they have the authority to confiscate the vehicle and you most likely will never see it again. This happened once to someone just outside Monterrey when they were both following in their second vehicle. It is just not worth the risk.
DIRECTIONS TO THE VEHICLE PERMIT OFFICE IN NUEVO LAREDO:
Coming South on I-35, you will cross on Bridge #2. As you are getting close to the end of the bridge make sure you are in the right hand lane. You will see on the right hand side below the bridge a large building, that is the office where vehicle permits, visa and initial stamp for your Tourist Visa Temporary or Permamnet Resident visas must be applied for BEFORE you enter Mexico). You can access this building at the end of the bridge in the right hand lane.
TO OBTAIN YOUR VEHICLE PERMIT, YOU WILL REQUIRE THE FOLLOWING DOCUMENTS:
1. Original certificate of title/registration of the vehicle plus a photocopy
2. Original Tourist Visa, Temporal or Permanente Card. of the vehicle’s registered owner and a photocopy of the first two pages
3. Original Mexican insurance certificate and a photocopy
4. Valid driver’s license of Tourist Visa, Temporal or Permanente Card. holder and a photocopy
Passport of Tourist Visa, Temporal or Permanente Card. holder and a photocopy of the first two pages.
5. A credit card for imprinting
For more information and rates check out this article by Mexico Mike. Once you receive your Vehicle Permit, place the decal on the inside of the windshield on the driver’s side next to the rear view mirror.
We aim to keep the information above as accurate and current as possible. Should you encounter or become aware of any changes in those Vehicle Permitting procedures please let us know immediately so that we can update this web page.
Driving Directions from Ajijic, Chapala, Mexico to the U.S.
It is impossible for us to keep these directions 100% up to date. You may also consult Google Maps to back up directions you read here.
MAKE SURE YOU HAVE SUFFICIENT PESOS WITH YOU!!!
This trip takes approximately 12 hrs. Whenever possible, you will be instructed to take the toll roads because they are better managed, well maintained, there is less traffic, and in some segments the toll provides for some insurance against damages (keep your receipts). You WILL NOT need exact pesos, all toll booths provide change (and a receipt). For our last trip North as of June 2019, the Total Toll Cost is roughly $1,000 – $1,300 pesos.
If you have vehicle trouble, there are free telephones available along the toll roads to call the “Green Angels” who assist motorists in need. We usually pack a lunch and get something to drink while we refuel at a gas station. As you might know already, there are only PEMEX gas stations in Mexico but there are many of them on the way so refueling should not be a problem. Credit cards and foreign currencies are not always accepted so it is prudent to have sufficient cash on hand.
Before leaving on your trip North (or any other direction for that matter), you might want to consult the Mexican Government “Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes” website
After clicking on the link: “Traza tu Ruta” (you will find it at the bottom of the left column in the section “TEMAS DE INTERÉS”), you will be asked to select your State “Estado” and City “Ciudad” of departure “origen” and the same for your destination “destino”. The picture on the right is an example for a trip from Chapala to Nuevo Laredo.
After clicking on “Consultar”, you will get a map of your trip and a detailed listing of all road junctions and toll booths you will encounter along with the amount of toll.
Of course, you should also have GPS or a good recent road map for reference.
ALTERNATIVE DRIVING DIRECTIONS NORTH
Chapala to Nuevo Laredo
Tip – Follow the signs look for the following towns on the way: Guadalajara, Lagos de Mareno, San Luis Potosi, Matehuala, Saltillo, Monterrey, and Nuevo Laredo.
1. Chapala to Guadalajara – North on Highway 44
Guadalajara to Lagos de Mareno – Cuoto or Toll Road – East on Highway 80. There is a bypass around Lagos de Mareno, note signs to San Luis Potosi, take left turn just past Pemex station on left.
2. Lagos de Mareno to Ojuelas de Jalisco – Continue east on Highway 80, a two-lane highway. Note there is a bypass around Ojuelas de Jalisco, note signs to San Luis Potosi. There is a toll on this bypass. Ojuelas de Jalisco is where all the pottery swans, frogs and pots and etc.
3. Ojuelas de Jalisco to San Luis Potosi – Continue east on Highway 80, a two lane highway. After approximately 23 kms, or 14 miles, there is the toll road to San Luis Potosi. Note signs Cuoto, (Toll Road), to San Luis Potosi.
Note: Toll Road runs into Highway 57, take left and Continue North on Highway 57. You will bypass San Luis Potosi. Just past the tollbooth is a Pemex station and Churches Chicken and restrooms.
4. San Luis Potosi to Matehuala – Continue North on Highway 57. Note, prior to Matehuala there is a bypass around Matehuala, turn right onto bypass. This is a toll bypass.
5. Matehuala to Monterrey – Saltillo Intersection – Continue North on Highway 57. At the Monterrey – Saltillo intersection, turn right onto Highway 40 to Monterrey. Note there is a new toll road to Monterrey and you will see the exit to Nuevo Laredo and the periferico. It is just past the toll booth.
6. Monterrey to Nuevo Laredo – Continue on the Periferico until you see the sign for Nuevo Laredo. Take the exit to Nuevo Laredo, Highway 85. Continue North on Highway 85 to Nuevo Laredo. Note you will exit on the left.
7. Nuevo Laredo to the U.S. Border – Once arriving in Nuevo Laredo, prior to the first overpass exit on the right and turn right onto the bypass road toward the river and the border. Look for the road to the right prior to a stoplight to take to go to Passport Control to have FM-2 stamped and to have the sticker removed from the auto.
What Size Moving Vehicle Will You Need
Number of bedrooms
Home size (sq.ft.)
trailer size (ft)
4 Bedrooms +
33 – 53