People entering and exiting Mexico may have different experiences at the borders depending on location. Included here are the details of specific border crossing experiences.
Individual Border Crossing Experiences
Hidalgo, USA to Reynosa, Mexico September 8, 2008
We crossed the US Mexican border at Hidalgo, Texas to Reynosa, Tamaulipas. After showing our passports at the entry gates, we had to do a little wandering in our car to locate the 'Aduana' to secure our FMT and vehicle import permits, as the location is not clearly marked. This always required two steps, first an interaction with border personel to show documents and fill out forms, and second, taking the forms to the Banjercito to pay the necessary fees. We think these two steps are in place to minimize corruption on the part of the border personel, but this is just a guess. After showing our passports to the border guard, filling out our FMT form, and paying $22 American per person at the Banjercito, our passports were stamped and we proceeded to get the vehicle import permit. This required all of the documents listed above, as well as the photocopies. The permit cost about $30 US, and also required a larger deposit held on our credit card, to ensure that we left the country with our car. Make sure to keep all papers and receipts associated with these transactions as we needed all of them when we left Mexico.
--Posted by Kristin
Presidio, USA to Ojanaga, Mexico, 2009
The easiest place to cross the border from the US into Mexico is from Presidio, TX to Ojanaga, Mexico. We crossed here in mid December, at the height of the surge of pre-holidays traffic from the US back home into Mexico and there were no lines and no hassles. It was fast an easy to get documentation for us and for our car, plus we got to drive through Marfa, TX to get down to Presidio. If you REALLY want to treat yourselves, spend a night at Cibolo Creek Ranch (just a few miles from the border) before entering Mexico.
--Thanks to Karen
Corozal, Belize to Chetumal, Mexico, 2010
The office on the Chetumal side of the border where you get your temporary importation paperwork and windshield sticker so your vehicle is legal to drive in Mexico is open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 3pm Saturday and Sunday. If you cross the border when that office is closed you will be required to spend the night in Chetumal (about seven miles from the border) and return the next day to deal with your vehicle paperwork. In Chetumal, we stayed at the Hotel Ucum which is cheap (220 pesos for a fan room with no TV) and has a large parking area in a central courtyard.
--Thanks to Karen
United States to Naco, Mexico, 2010
We crossed the border yesterday and it was extremely painless! We crossed at Naco, which is near the Nogales border crossing but we heard from friends who have done the trip many times that Naco is a lot quieter and easy to get through, plus it's safe. And they were right!
When we arrived on the US side, we were told that we could go straight through, until we explained that we needed to be stamped out of the US. There was a bit of confusion there as we are allowed to cross and come back as long as it's within the US visa's validity date (which is late July for us). So we went into the building where they took our i-94s which they would send for processing. Everyone was very friendly and it was done in a matter of minutes. For foreigners not planning on coming back to the US on the same visa, you have to put in your I-94 or else the next time you visit the States they will question you as to why you didn't leave!
Then we crossed over, and were again about to be waved through until we explained we needed an FMT. So the inspection guy let us park in the inspection area, while we went over to the office. Here is the process:
1) Explain that you can't speak Spanish. Immigracion guy smiles and speaks a little English, takes passports, has a look for visas (if required) and starts photocopying valid pages. Also asked to look at US visas, and copied them
2) Writes out Tourist Card (FMT), shows us to Bank which is around the corner to pay for FMT which is now $262 Pesos (rate is 12.8 at the moment, but you get about 12.1 realistically). You HAVE to have pesos, they do not take credit cards, debit cards or US dollars. If it happens you don't have pesos, there is a bureau de change down the street that will happily take your USD.
3) Take the FMT and receipts from bank back to Immigracion officer, who stamps your FMT and had to be reminded to stamp the passports! He also makes copies of the receipts. He stapled the receipts and FMT into our passports.
4) Off you go!
We then had to drive to Cananea for the nearest Banjercitos (come to a big roundabout with a pointy sculpture in the middle, turn left and head down the street, see a Pemex and it is opposite, there are signs but you have to look out for them) where they required the following:
1) Passport 2) Driver's License 3) Mexican Insurance (though they didn't take a copy of this) 4) Vehicle Registration 5) Vehicle Title 6) Credit Card (must have name on it, they don't accept travel cards) 7) $35.52 USD or $459 Pesos (seems it's gone up recently)
They give you a sticker that goes on the car, Vehicle Importation Permit, as everyone already knows. We got stopped once (outside the US vehicle hassle free zone of course!) and they just looked at the passport and VIP, all was sweet.
- Information from Miin
Nuevo Laredo Border Crossing
If you are entering Mexico at the Nuevo Laredo border crossing, the most intensly detailed (including maps and photos) description is available at ClimbPoteroChico.com.
Ciudad Cuautemoc. Mexico to La Mesilla, Guatemala
November 8, 2008
We chose to cross the Mexican-Guatemalan border at Ciudad Cuauhtemoc-La Mesilla. We left early in the morning from Comitan, Chiapas, Mexico, to make sure we had plenty of time to get to Xela, Guatemala that afternoon. It took us 1.5 hours to drive from Comitan to Ciudad Cuauhtemoc on slightly winding but otherwise good roads. Upon entering Ciudad Cuauhtemoc, we parked at the ´banjercito´ on the left and entered the banjercito. After processing some information using our Vehicle Import Papers, the officer went with us to our car to make sure the VIN numbers on the car and documents matched. We removed the windshield vehicle import sticker, and returned with him to the banjercito. He processed some more paperwork, then gave us a receipt proving we had canceled our vehicle import permission. We then proceeded next door to the Aduana to process paperwork related to our passports. They needed our passports, our FMTs, and receipts that we had paid for our FmT. Without the receipts, we would have had to pay 237 pesos each a second time. Overall it took about 1 hour to get through the Mexican side of the border.
--Posted by Kristin