Getting a vehicle across a border with minimal headaches

As I pack getting ready for the next country I cannot help but to get a bit nervous. It’s not a bad thing necessarily; I just get a little anxious as to what to expect when entering a new country.

• One would think that border entry requirements would not make much difference when going from one country to another, but it does. Considering I am traveling within Latin America, one would think that it’s all very similar. We expect the same food, accent, immigration laws and the same friendly attitude towards foreigners, but many times this may be far from the truth.196140_1002375853625_6502_n

• Although there might be some similarities, the biggest differences I have noticed in addition to time frames allowed in each country are the vehicle entry time allowance. They all require title, insurance, driver license and of course the passport entry stamp. All countries vary when it comes to border crossing wait times but more importantly are the specific requirements for each country.

• For us traveling from the U.S.A. keep in mind that getting a vehicle legal may include a deposit such as in the case of Mexico. The amount of the deposit depends on the type of vehicle and model year. The highest deposit at the time on my crossing was $600 for a car and $450 for a motorcycle.

• In Colombia, they require a certified sketch of the vehicle and motor serial numbers before starting the process of the temporary vehicle permit to enter their country. Ask for a six months permit and you will be given 90 days and politely be given instructions on how to extend the vehicle permit for an additional 90 days shortly before the original 90-day permit.

• In Panama, they require the vehicle to be sprayed for, as what was told, mosquitos. In addition, you are not allowed to enter the country unless you can show proof of solvency. A current and valid credit card with an available credit of $500 or just showing $500 cash will satisfy this requirement.DSCF6984

• I also discovered an interesting requirement when traveling by bus and crossing a border. In many countries, if you are crossing the border by bus you will be required to purchase return bus ticket or show a return plane ticket back to any other country.  No vehicle requirements for bicycles.


Regardless of what information or rumors you may have heard, there are changes from time to time. Therefore, I recommend you always get the latest information from the official website of the country you are entering. I would always recommend doing this research for the temporary vehicle importation several days prior to the day you plan on crossing any border. This will avoid delays and maybe even a few headaches.

I hope this information was helpful. If you have any comments or ideas regarding this topic please feel free to leave them below. I will greatly appreciate them!

2 comments on “Crossing the border with a vehicle…border crossing on wheels

  1. Hey Greg,

    I had no idea about all the information needed to get a vehicle into another country. I just assumed you needed your passport and registration and maybe some other identification. I bet you people are surprised when they find out the fees that are involved when traveling to certain countries. Thanks for the heads up. 🙂

    • Yes Evelyn, and in Bolivia Americans need to apply for a Visa as well. I was aware of this prior to heading here but was very surprised when it all happened so fast and easy. Even easier then in some countries where no Visa is required. Thanks for your comment!

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