Monday, March 12, 2007

Sonora Auto Permits

"Only Sonora" moves south and it's easier to visit Sonora

Visitors to the interior of Sonora are now able to drive directly to such cities as Guaymas, San Carlos, Hermosillo, Bahia de Kino, Caborca, Father Kino Missions, Magdalena and Santa Ana without the time-consuming process of obtaining a car permit. With the movement of the "Only Sonora" vehicle checkpoint, visitors to the state will no longer have to obtain a car permit in order to travel south of Nogales.

Now, paperwork to obtain the decal for visiting the interior of the state of Sonora will be done at a new checkpoint located at kilometer 98 on Highway 15, just south of the Guaymas-bypass on the road between Ciudad Obregon and Empalme. ( This check point will take paperwork from vehicles that are either entering the free zone to stay or returning to the United States ) The change is effective December 15, 2005.

Sonora will temporarily continue to staff a booth at the 21 Km. checkpoint that will take paperwork from vehicles that are returning to the US.

Minimally, the elimination of this paperwork means a savings of 15 minutes. However, around certain holidays, the measure may save visitors several hours.

The "Only Sonora" program, unique in Mexico, allows Americans and Canadians to visit Sonora without paying the customary (federal) fee of $27. "Our intention here is to make it easier for Americans and Canadians to visit Sonora," said Gov. Eduardo Bours. "This measure should cut anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour off a trip to Hermosillo, Bahia de Kino, Guaymas or San Carlos.

As importantly, it removes psychological barriers -- the less paperwork required for people to get from one place to another, the better. Sonora -- and other "free zones" in Mexico's border areas -- have experienced incredible growth when we eliminate paperwork. By moving "Only Sonora" south, we're confident that we'll inspire new visitors and bring our states closer together."

Travelers intending to go beyond Sonora will still have to obtain a so-called "Banjercito" federal permit.

A permit is not required for travel to Rocky Point and other border cities, which are classified as "free-zones." Required for a permit: proof of US residency; a driver's license, proof of vehicle ownership.

Motorists entering Sonora through San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonoyta, Sasabe, Nogales, Naco and Agua Prieta will not need paperwork for their vehicles, either, if their destination is before the new 'Only Sonora' checkpoint.

"Only Sonora" requires motorists to show proof of US residency; a visa (immigration permit) to visit Mexico; a driver's license and proof of vehicle ownership.

Americans, Canadians and other foreign citizens going beyond the Kilometer 21 Checkpoint into Mexico's interior will still be required to obtain a visa ( immigration permit ), which is valid for up to 6 months and good for multiple entries. The Banjercito booth will remain at KM21.

Neither a vehicle permit nor a visa is required to visit Rocky Point (Puerto Peñasco) and other border cities which are classified as "free-zones".

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