Crossing the Border to Mexico: Eagle Pass

If you are considering driving to Mexico and crossing the border to Mexico from the US, you may be looking for some information on what it’s like to cross the border to Mexico at Eagle Pass.

The Eagle Pass border crossing has recently started to become more popular, due to some disturbances at other border regions, such as Laredo, Colombia bridge, and Juarez.

In this post, I will go through the exact step by step of crossing the border to Mexico at Eagle Pass. You’ll find tips for making the crossing as seamless as possible, what to do ahead of time and pictures from the road.

The Eagle Pass / Piedras Negras border crossing, has international bridges to pass from the US State of Texas to the Mexican State of Coahuilla. Read on for all the details on which bridge to choose, what documents to prepare, and what to expect driving into Mexico from the US.

When we decided to embark on our Worldschooling adventure, we decided to cross the border to Mexico at Eagle Pass, Texas. The reasons for choosing this border crossing, was because we heard of people having issues driving near the Laredo / Nuevo Laredo crossing in the State of Tamaulipas and the Colombia bridge crossing in the State of Nuevo Leon.

Preparing to Cross the Border to Mexico at Eagle Pass

In general, here are things you should be prepared to do before you leave home:

  1. Make sure your passport is current
  2. Apply for a tourist visa online (recommended but not required)
  3. Apply for a TIP car permit online, at least 10 days before you intend to cross (highly recommended but not required). Alternatively, bring your original car title to get a TIP at the Banjercito bank.
  4. Get Mexican car insurance (you need it from the moment you cross, so get it ahead of time)
  5. Get travel insurance (not required but recommended as a best practice)
  6. Download google map to your phone- optional but there are many areas without cell service near the border
  7. Get a no foreign transaction fee credit card – optional but a great idea. If you need a suggestion for a specific card, leave a comment below and I will email you a link. Bonus: it’s a great card for getting points you can later redeem for hotels.
  8. Figure out your phone plan: adding Mexico to your current service, or buying a phone locally.

Documents You Need to Drive to Mexico

First things first, if you are an American citizen and driving an American car into Mexico, you will need to get a tourist visa for yourself and a permit for your car. While both of these can be acquired at the border, you do need to make sure you have all of the correct paperwork before you get on the road, so make sure you prepare them ahead of time.

1. Mexican Tourist Visa (FMM)

The FMM (Forma Migratoria Multiple) is the tourist visa you can get at the border. If you are flying into Mexico, normally you will fill out the form on the airplane and then get it stamped at border patrol in the airport. The fee for the FMM is included in the cost of your flight.

However if you are driving to Mexico, you will need to pay for the FMM separately. You have two options: fill out and pay for the form online, then get it stamped at the border.

Alternatively, you can wait until you get to the border and fill it out in person, then go to the caja (cashier) and pay for it, then get it stamped. We suggest the former!

Click here to go to the INM website to get your visa. Disable any pop-up blockers for the website to work correctly.

What is the point of entry if you are crossing at Eagle Pass?

The point of entry is Puente Internacional II Coahuila 2000, (Bridge 2, detailed below) which is the bridge you will be crossing into Piedras Negras in Coahuila!

Do you need a passport to cross to Mexico?

Yes!

How much does the FMM cost?

As of July 2021 the cost for the FMM is 594 pesos per person.

How long can you stay in Mexico on a tourist visa (FMM)?

The time you are allotted is at the discretion on the agent. However, American citizens can be granted up to 180 days.

How can I stay for longer than 180 days in Mexico?

If you want to stay longer, you will need to get either a Temporary Resident Visa, or a Permanent Resident Card. I suggest going through the requirements on the consulate website directly for the most accurate information.

2. Car Permit (TIP)

The second thing you will need to drive into Mexico is a TIP (Temporary Vehicle Importation Permit).

You are now able to get your car permit ahead of time, and we highly recommend you do this! The line for getting a TIP at Eagle Pass was insane (many hours long wrapping around the building).

To get a TIP online:

To get the TIP online, you need to apply for it at least 10 days ahead of time. You will need to upload a copy of the original car title or registration and pay a deposit fee. (This fee is returned to you when you leave Mexico and turn in your TIP).

As the TIP is attached to your tourist visa, you must first get your FMM. The online form will ask for your folio number.

Click here to get to the Banjercito website to apply for a TIP online.

To get a TIP in person, you will need:

Your original car title or registration to your name, proof of US car insurance, your passport with FMM and two photocopies of everything. (We have heard various versions of exactly what you need. If you have done the TIP in person leave a comment and let us know what documents you needed).

The 57 highway in Texas before getting to Eagle Pass

Crossing the Border at Eagle Pass / Piedras Negras

Here’s the step by step of what you can expect before, during and after crossing the Mexican border.

Step 1: Driving in Texas to Eagle Pass

If you are driving from San Antonio, Austin or any other area of Texas, you will eventually need to get on the 57 Highway. Once you get on the 57 from La Pryor to Eagle Pass, the road is very remote.

Tip: Fill up gas before you get on this segment. We suggest filling up in Uvalde on the 83, where there is a cluster of many gas stations.

Note: The 57 highway goes through different counties with different speed limits, make note as you drive. You will also notice all types of police, law enforcement, border patrol, etc. Drive safely and be on your way.

Step 2: Choose a Bridge – Eagle Pass International Border Crossings

There are two bridges that cross the USA-Mexico border, from Eagle Pass to Piedras Negras.

Eagle Pass International Bridge 1

  • Bridge 1 is only one lane.
  • This bridge is free.
  • It is open during daytime hours 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. (this changes so check before you go)

Eagle Pass International Bridge 2 (Camino Real Bridge)

  • Bridge 2 has multiple lanes.
  • The toll to cross is $4 (USD), it can also be paid in pesos. (On the way back from Mexico to the US the toll is 33 pesos).
  • It is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • If you are hauling a trailer or driving an RV you should use this bridge.

In Eagle Pass follow the signs to the bridge you wish to cross. The signs are very clear, or you can use your navigation.

Getting in line to pay toll and cross to Mexico at Eagle Pass on Bridge 2

Step 3: Crossing from Eagle Pass to Piedras Negras

The actual driving across the bridge is very simple:

Choose a bridge, pay the toll if necessary, and cross the bridge over the Rio Grande. At the end of the bridge is Customs (Aduana). Drive through the green light if you have nothing to declare.

The vehicles we saw being pulled aside for inspection were all very overloaded with gear. This is a no camera/no phone area so I don’t have a picture for you.

On the 57 highway in Mexico, just before the parking lot entrance to the INM in Allende
The Allende INM building. Line for the visa on the right, and the TIP on the left.

Step 4: Drive to Allende, Coahuilla to get your visa and TIP

The actual INM (Instituto Nacional de Migración) i.e. immigration office, is located in Allende, Coahuilla (pronounced kwa-wee-la). Allende is located roughly 45 minutes drive from Eagle Pass. Just keep driving on the 57 and you will find it!

The white building is located on the right side of the road, at kilometer 53.4, if you are driving south from the border. There is a parking lot where you will park your car and get out to stand in line.

There are two lines, one for immigration and one for car permits.

Note that this INM office has been very overloaded. Expect to wait in line for several hours in the sun. (Our experience on a Thursday morning at 10 a.m. was a 2 hour wait for the immigration line, and even longer for the TIP). Expect longer waits on holiday weekends.

Step 5: Welcome to Mexico

Once you have your FMM and your TIP, you are free to go! Keep heading south on the 57 and enjoy your Mexican road trip!

How many hours do you want to drive before your first stop?

We don’t suggest driving farther than that on the first day. For your safety only drive during daylight hours! From Matehuala it is another 4ish hours to San Miguel de Allende, or Dolores Hidalgo.

Do you have any more questions about the border crossing at Eagle Pass? Please leave them in the comments!

44 thoughts on “Crossing the Border to Mexico: Eagle Pass”

    1. Hi Teresa, Eagle Pass is on the US side of the border, so you are actually entering Mexico in Piedras Negras and getting your FMM in Allende. Hope that helps!

      1. I am applying for a FMM on line – what is the name of the port of entry that is listed for Piedras Negras? Thanks.

  1. This was very helpful. Hope you can help with two additional questions: Our dog will be traveling with us. Besides the paperwork normally required when flying with him, do you know of other requirements or procedures for crossing the border with a dog? Second, regarding if you have “nothing to declare:.” We are bringing a few personal items for our house in Mexico. Is there a “maximum total value” for items?

    1. Thank you! We do not have any personal experience with pets so sorry I can’t help with that. As for personal items I believe the limit would be the same as for tourists. In our experience you shouldn’t have an issue with used items but have a ballpark estimate of how much they cost in case you are asked to pay customs. But if you want to know for sure I would look up the exact Mexican laws or ask someone more official 😉 . Best of luck on your trip!

    2. Hi – we are preparing to bring our two youngest kids – both teenagers, and our 65-pound lab mix (rescue dog) and two cats. The only information I have found is that it is supposedly necessary to have health certificates from a licensed veterinarian showing the dog or cat has been vaccinated for rabies and is generally in good health. However, I have also heard that it is rare for any authorities – customs or otherwise – to ask for these documents.

      When do you plan on leaving and where do you plan on crossing?

      Whe

      1. You do not need animal health certificates if you are coming from the US or Canada, only proof of a rabies shot given at least 14 days before entry. You can confirm this info by looking at the consulate websites. The agency that inspects animals does not have offices at the border, only in sea ports and airports, but it is always a better idea to have the papers with you.

  2. Hi there, thank you so much for taking the time to put this together. We are crossing into Mexico and heading to Lake chapala area. It will be myself and my 16-year-old grandson. Hopefully we will be able to get the temporary residencies online before we cross. Also hoping to get the TIP before we cross. Thank you for your detailed instructions.

    1. If you need a tourist visa that is different from a temporary resident visa. A temporary resident visa can only be obtained by applying at a consulate outside of Mexico

    1. Hi Anna, I’m not exactly sure. However, I think it’s always prudent to have your passport/ID any time you are near an international boarder. To be safe I would ask an official source. Good luck!

  3. Hi Daphna! Thank you for the valuable content. We are taking our two youngest kids, 15-year-old twins, to try life in Malinalco (south of Toluca in the mountains south of Mexico City) for three months at least while we get a feel for expat life in Mexico. We are just beginning to learn Spanish and have little knowledge of Mexico. I was an expat in Russia for almost five years, so I am not governed by fear, but we want to be sensible about how we approach this.

    We have a new Suburban and are are (of were) planning to cross at with our dog, two cats, our personal items, laptops, etc. at Laredo bridge II. We are trying to avoid driving into Nuevo Laredo itself, and our plan is to stop at a pet friendly hotel in San Luis Potosí as the halfway point.

    After reading your blog, we would consider mirroring your crossing point two months ago, but I am curious what you have heard specifically about Laredo as an entry point into Mexico. There is talk about Cartel stopping Americans and demanding their own $400 entry fee. Can you elaborate as to anything specific you have heard the you feel would be vital for us to know in our choice?

    Thank you in advance and I hope you are well.

    Kindest regards,

    Rick Walker

    1. Hi Rick, We have not personally crossed at Laredo for several years now. I think the consensus from people we know that regularly cross the border is that it is not safe. However I don’t have specific data or anecdotes to back up that statement. There is a Facebook group with over 50k members called On the Road in Mexico. I would suggest joining the group, as there is lots of first hand knowledge from expats driving in Mexico. Best of luck with your trip!

      1. We have crossed 3 times via the Columbia Bridge in Laredo. This bridge is actually about 20 miles west of Laredo. We have never experienced or seen any issues with cars being randomly stopped by anyone. We only cross during the day. The Christmas crossing, into and out, of Mexico took 5 hours each way. The congestion and processing times were horrible. I would never cross again during a holiday.

  4. As someone else had mentioned, there is no selection for “Piedras Negras” when applying for the FMM online. What is the point of entry that we select when crossing at Eagle Pass and applying for an FMM online?
    and to that end, if you have your TIP and FMM already secured, do you need to stop in Allende at the INM or can you just keep on going? Thank a million!
    <3

    1. The point of entry is Puente Internacional II Coahuila, since this is the bridge you will cross from Eagle Pass. And yes you need to stop in Allende. Even with your FMM printed, you need to get it stamped and your passport with an entry stamp as well! (That said, it will save you time to do it ahead of time, because if you do it in person you will need to wait to pay the entry fee at the caja in addition to waiting to get it stamped.)

  5. Looking to apply for an FMM online but there is no option for Piedras Negras as the point of entry. Is it listed by a different name perhaps for the online FMM application? The closest port of entry I could find was Ciudad Acuña. would love to get my FMM and TIP in advance so any insight you can provide is helpful!

  6. We’ll be crossing on Monday morning and we’re a little confused. Google maps shows the INM in Piedras Negras just past the Aduana. Is it in Piedras Negras or Allende? Thanks!

  7. Hi! This is so helpful. Thank you very much! For the visitor permit, did your children have to wait in line with you? We have two babies and I am hoping to not have them in the line with lots of people. Thanks in advance!

    1. Yes the kids waited in line with us. They can wait on the side with one adult until you go in. However, if you have one adult waiting in line for the car permit while the other is in line for the visas you will want them with you. I was warned by multiple people not to let them out of my sight so we decided to keep them extra close.

  8. Hi Daphna – this article was very helpful!

    We have the initial temporary resident visa sticker in our passports, and will finalize the process in Playa Del Carmen in a few weeks. Do you know if we still need to complete the FMM form since we don’t have our card yet? Is the FMM form needed to complete the TIP application? How long did it take for your TIP to be approved when done online?
    Thank you –
    Robin

    1. Yes you need to get an FMM to enter the country that you will later convert to residency at your local office. Yes, you need an FMM to get the TIP. The approval online was pretty fast (I think just a day or so) but this may vary. Good luck!

  9. I’m curious about the legality of driving all the way to Allende to get the FMM and the TIP.

    Isn’t it required to obtain the FMM at the border point of entry? Allende seems to be pretty far into Mexico before you get your FMM, especially if (like me) you haven’t pre-registered online.

    Far as the TIP, from everything I can find, Allende seems to be WELL outside the Mexico “Free Zone” where you’re allowed to drive an automobile without a permit. All the maps I’ve seen seem to state that pretty much any foreign auto that goes more than about 20-25 km past the border needs to already have a TIP permit, otherwise it’s not legal.

    If the offices in Allende are somewhere around 55-60km past the border, doesn’t that mean you’ve already broken the law? Not exactly sure how that jives, unless if you’ve pre-registered online and just need a stamp or something they look the other way.

    Seems like if you’re like me, and you aren’t getting everything done online ahead of time, you’d need to stop in Piedras Negras at that “Puerto Fronterizo Piedras Negras II” building near Bridge II and get everything done first.

    Advice?

    1. I don’t claim to be the authority on legality, but last we were in Allende, there were hundreds of people waiting to get their entry permits. This is a small office and until the last year was only used by a small amount of people crossing. It remains to be seen if people continue to use this crossing maybe they will build a larger building closer to the border similar to the ones near Columbia crossing and Laredo. In the meantime, as far as I know the Piedras Negras office only has limited opening hours during the week, so Allende is the place to go if you are crossing into Coahuila.

  10. Daphna!
    A thousand thanks for creating this post – we crossed at Eagle Pass on Tuesday and I don’t know how we would have done it with you. Seriously, we wouldn’t have made it.

    If I might add a few suggestions:

    1. Set your map destination and get directions before crossing the border. Our cell service died as soon as we crossed the bridge and it took a while for it to recover. If you set the directions ahead, they’ll run off GPS even if you don’t have service.

    2. Set your destination as “Oscar Barron” instead of Allende. Apple Maps took us to downtown Allende via highway 29 and we didn’t realize we were on a new path. The INM office is on highway 57 past the Allende signs, we thought we had missed it — so using Oscar Barron as your target will make sure you see the office.

    3. Definitely do your visa and car permit online. I submitted our documents online 10 days before we left Minnesota and I had the car permit the very next day.

    4. If you have your car permit ahead of time (I printed mine in color and black and white, just to be sure), your car permit doesn’t need to be approved or reviewed at the INM office – you only need your visa stamped.

    5. Get some pesos before crossing. We didn’t and it was a stressful few minutes because I couldn’t get the ATM to work at Oxxo. We crossed via Bridge II (the one with the toll) – and after Oxxo there was a little building that exchanged dollars for pesos. (It felt a bit crazy because it was a small concrete building without a lobby – we drove up and a drawer extended – we put $100 in the tray – they took the money – the drawer extended again with pesos.

    6. We had our two dogs with us and nobody cared (we took turns going into the INM for our visas so the dogs weren’t alone in the car). We weren’t searched at the border, so perhaps if we had been it would be a different story. We brought vaccination records just in case.

    Again, thanks for all the help!
    Nathan

    One mistake we made, we set Apple Maps to take us to Allende – so we ended up in downtown on highway 29 , and so it took us off highway 57.

    1. Nathan, Thanks so much for your kind comment and this detailed reply! I’m sure it will be a great help to other travelers! All the best!

  11. Hello my name is Lisa this is my first time driving into Mexico I don’t even know where I need to cross I need so help from some of you lovely ppl I will be traveling with my husband and 3 kids and my mom what is all I need and what can I get online thanks in advance

    1. Hi Lisa, Please read the post. These are pretty detailed instructions and they are from this year. Let me know if you have any specific questions!

  12. Are there certain times of the year that are not recommended to enter through Eagle Pass due to the rainy season? For instance driving to Puerto Vallarta, is it best to avoid the summer months? Also can you touch on the Green Roadside Assistance Trucks that I hear are meant to help in case of a flat tire.

    1. Rainy season is roughly from June to September or October, however I don’t think it should significantly impact your driving if you are sticking to the main highways. We drove throughout rainy season and would recommend normal precautions: slow down and drive carefully. We did have a few times we got caught in a major downpour but that was in Veracruz that gets much more rain than northern Mexico.
      I don’t think you need to avoid the summer months, just be prepared that the weather in Vallarta will be hot and muggy (plus rain). Inland Mexico generally is drier. It is a huge country so it’s hard to speak specifically to every place. But in Guadalajara, for example, the days are still beautiful and it usually rains in the evening.
      As for the Green Angels, you can call them if you are driving on a toll road and need roadside assistance. You can dial 078. There are also some dedicated phone stations you can use for calling along certain roads.
      Hope that helps!

Leave a Reply to Gary Haughney Cancel Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.