By Russ and Tiña De Maris
RVers planning to travel into Baja, Mexico, may – or may not – run into a bit of unexpected permit hassles on their entry. According to a story that appeared on sandiegoreader.com, some travelers have recently been hit by border officials with the need to purchase Travel Import Permits (TIP) and pay refundable deposits for rigs taken into Mexico.
Officially, a TIP is required for any vehicle entering the Baja, and it costs $52. For non-RVs, the permits are good for six months; for RVs, the permits are good for ten years. Deposits are based on the age of the vehicle, and can range anywhere from $200 to $600. While some internet sites offer the opportunity to purchase the TIPs online, they may also be purchased at the border. Deposits may be paid for with a credit card bearing a Visa or MasterCard logo.
It’s important to pay attention to the details. If you let your permit expire and then return to the border expecting your vehicle deposit back, it won’t happen. And if you should fail to cancel your permit when you decide your time in Mexico is over, bring your rig back to the states and sell it, the new owner won’t be able to get a TIP for the rig. Cancel (return it to the Mexican authorities) your permit when you’re done with it, or deal with difficulties down the road.
There are some of you who may be tempted to hit the “comment” button and fire off nasty comments about the TIP system. Yes, it’s true, some folks report they’ve been able to cross the border into Mexico and never paid for or had a TIP. Evidently this is one of those “loosey-goosey” affairs that may depend on the mood and disposition of the Mexican border crossing folks. On the other hand, you may hit the guard whose on a tear for making sure the gringos dot every I and cross every T. Be prepared when you go.
South-of-the-Border travel commentator Mexico Mike has plenty to say about the subject, and may be one of the most up-to-date sites on the web.