Helpful Hints for going to Mexico

By Bob Newman

These are some of the questions I get regarding travel in Mexico. I will try to answer your questions the best I can.

What about Insurance?

Sanborn's Insurance is the one I use, No they do not cover anything except Liability.
My bike is paid for and is an 1985. You just have to be careful. The insurance is mainly
to keep you out of jail in case of an accident. I do not know of any company who will cover anything other than liability for a motorcycle. I like Sanborns because they will include air evacuation if needed back to the states and legal help with bail bonds etc. Also if you join the Sanborns Mexico club, you can get discounts up to 50 percent off at participating Hotels.
The main office for Sanborn's is located in McAllen, Texas. they have
offices in every major border city to Mexico.

The main address is:
Sanborn's Mexico Insurance Services
P.O. Bob 310
McAllen, TX 78505-0301

The only phone number I have is the one in El Paso. (915) 779-3538  fax:
(915) 772-1795

What documents do I need?

If you still owe on the motorcycle, you will need a certified letter from the bank allowing you to take it to Mexico. You will need in addition the following:

Visa Requirements:  Visas can be from 3 days to 180 days - no charge
a. Passport or Birth Certificate (issued from the county clerks office - not from the hospital!)
b. A picture ID (passport, drivers license, etc.)
c. A valid drivers license.

Vehicle Permit Requirements: permits cover 6 months only.
a. Original Title to the motorcycle (and letter from bank or lien holder if not free and clear)
b. Visa (from above requirements)
c. Major Credit card for bond (Visa or Mastercard) This cost will be about $12.00.
(d) Insurance- they do not require proof of insurance to get the permit, but it is best to get it in case of an accident.

Check Points etc.

Expect to encounter a Federal check-point in every Mexican state that you enter. Also random drug check-points. Be sure you do not carry any firearms or drugs or we will never see you again.!
Be friendly, smile and do not offer any resistance if they want to check the bike out, saddle bags etc.
They will almost always want to see the vehicle permit and check the number on the bike to see if it matches. If you speak Spanish, just answer their questions directly and truthfully, do not try to BS them.
They rely heavily on tourist travel for their income in Mexico, so they are more lienent with travelers.
Do not tell them you are going to be working or they will want to see a FM3 Work Permit!
If you are going to be working, you should contact the Mexican consulate and get an FM3 work permit. I have one of these so that I can work in Mexico. They cost about $110.00 per year and allow multiple entries and exits from Mexico for a full 365 days. After you have an FM3 for 5 consecutive years, you can get a permanent passport for Mexico. (I am into my 3rd year.) I have not had to show it at any check-point yet. It takes about 2 days to get the permit if you have a consulate in your area.
If you smoke, offer them a couple of cigarettes if you see any of them smoking. Recently, most of the Federal Police Check-Points have been taken over by the Military. They look more threating than they are, they are actually easier to deal with than the Federals. Most are just teenagers with one older officer type that is supervising them. Most are just curious and want to look at the bike because they don't see that many of them on the roads in Mexico. These stops will usually only hold you up about 5 min. I don't speak Spanish and do OK. They usually just ask where you are traveling to and if you are carring any guns or drugs. I try to make it a friendly way to make new friends in a strange country and it works. I have traveled through some of the check-points so often that the now just wave me on even while they are searching other people in cars, motorhomes and busses. If the weather is hot and I am wearing my leathers, I just wave the flap on my jacket while waiting in line to indicate it is hot here and they wave me though. You will also encounter military troops at all toll booths, they are there to protect the toll booth and you from robberies. They will also be present at the Pemex stations for the same reasons. I was at first intimidated by all these troops at these locations but after talking to them, found out why they were there and that they were for my protection from bandits also, I feel more comfortable with them around.

Good Luck and enjoy the experience.

Bob Newman
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