Mexican Border Crossing News

Listen up, or don’t come whining to us when you get snagged at the border
BY: REN DRAKE HILL

Many of us in northern Baja travel back to the States often. Many of us participate in bus trips organized by social groups here. Many travelers were surprised recently upon returning to their homes in Baja through San Ysidro.

This is yet another reminder to keep your Mexican documents with you at all times. We all remember to carry our passport, passport card, or Sentri when we’re knocking on the door of the U.S., but we also must remember our Mexican visas or immigration status cards (or FM3 booklet), for our return to Mexico.

Buses, especially those returning south Monday through Thursday, are apt to be stopped, compelling riders to go through customs before walking across the border to join their bus on the other side. If you don’t have your valid visa with you, you are asked, (required, actually), to fill out new paperwork, which could compromise your current residency status. And even cars going south are more closely watched now, with some being stopped and you better be able to pony up your Mexican paper work. And walking? Don’t walk in without it, for sure, for sure.

In most cases, a color copy of both sides of your temporary or permanent residency card will suffice. Carry it! Always, when you’re border hopping.

In other border news, Mexico’s National Immigration Institute, in their infinite wisdom and in order to make border crossings easier and faster, has made it possible to buy the 180 day (6 month) FMM traveler’s visa online.  Purchase may be made by credit or debit card and then you can print out a document to show as proof of payment at your border crossing of choice. Once it’s been approved and you printed it out, you have 30 days in which to initially use the document which is stamped upon entering Mexico the first time.

Website: www.inm.gob.mx/fmme/publico/solicitud.html  .

Unfortunately, as with all Mexican government stuff, the website and form is in Spanish, without translation. However, you can check the box at the bottom of the instructions to bring up the form, which is easily translatable if you know even rudimentary Spanish. (Uno mas cerveza does not count). You can also run it through Google translate.