Whether you are heading to Mexico with your boat in tow or floating in from the U.S. there are some things you need to know and have on hand before you go. Not having the proper paperwork could mean a seizure of your vessel, and then the hassle of trying to get your boat back from the government.
Before You Go
Before you leave for Mexico with your boat, you need the following documents. Have them ready to show at the border or port you enter in Mexico.
- A copy of the title or lease agreement (if rented) of your boat. If you are bringing your boat in tow, you also need a copy of the title for the trailer.
- A copy of your passport for you and your passengers.
- Departure clearance from the port you are starting at if you are coming in by sea.
- A copy of your Mexican watercraft insurance policy.
Crossing into Mexico with Boat in Tow (land crossing)
If you plan to tow your boat across the border, you need to stop at the immigration office and get a Tourist Entry Form. Once you obtain that, proceed to customs and get a Temporary Vehicle Import Permit. Bring your boat and trailer title information with you.
Crossting into Mexico by Sea
If you plan to arrive in Mexico by sea with your watercraft, the process is very similar in that once you arrive at port, proceed to the immigration office and get your Tourist Entry Form and then proceed to customs for a Temporary Import Permit. To get the Temporary Import Permit, you will need the boat title. your Tourist Entry Form, and either a credit card, bond, or cash for the $10 deposit.
Once you have completed these forms and successfully registered your watercraft, ask the marine operator to notify the Tax or Customs office to let them know the boat is registered at the marina.
Coming and Going – Requirements to operate your boat in Mexico
If you plan to visit more than one port in Mexico, you also have to have clearance for your departures and arrivals. When you arrive at a port, you need a departure clearance or some official document verifying the port of departure you came from. If you are sailing the open sea, you may also need a health permit, but this depends on the area, so check with your nearest Mexican Consulate if this applies to you. A list of Mexican Consulates can you be found here.
To leave a port, you need permission from the Harbor Master or other representatives. This can be verbal, but you do need permission. If you are leaving a port and plan to sail along the coast, you need a few more things:
- A form giving you departure clearance.
- An inspection certificate from the boat’s country of origin.
- Proof that there are no monies due pending at the marina you are departing.
- A health permit if required. (as discussed above)