Nice sunset view as we pass over London, England, on our way to Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Shkodra, Albania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Hiking the Peaks of the Balkans, June 13-24!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

You try to do the right thing, but sometimes...

Our regular readers will remember when our tourist visa's were stolen back in November. We think we've followed all the right procedures to try and get them replaced, but holy cow, they don't make it easy!

And even more funny is that they don't seem to care!

When you enter Mexico, whether by land or by airplane, you are given a maximum 180 day tourist permit. It costs 295 pesos ($24) per person for this permit. When you fly, the price of the permit is included in the price you paid for your flight. When you cross a land border, you have to pay. When you cross with a car, the permit for your car and the vehicle deposit are linked to your tourist permit.

At least this is all the way we understand the system. If you think we're wrong, please correct us!

I have to admit, we did wait a few weeks before trying to fix the problem after we noticed that we didn't have our permits any longer. It was December 15th by the time we made it to the immigration office in Chapala where they told us we had to do the application online and to return when it was approved.

Then I procrastinated a bit more and it was January 1st by the time I did the online stuff. It seemed to go through fine though, and the system said we were to wait 10 days for approval of the online application and then return to an immigration office.

Come the end of January, still no approval.

So yesterday, we went to the immigration office at the airport here at Puerto Escondido. I showed them the paper copies of the application we had done online with the file numbers and everything. The girl said that we had to go to the "municipio publico"  offices in town and get a sworn statement by a notary public attesting to the fact that they were lost or stolen. Hmm. Okay. Then, she says that if we're going to the Guatemala border next week that we may as well just wait and do the whole thing there when we leave. Hmm. Okay.

So we decide to go to the municipal office and at least get this statement done, for all it's worth. So we go to the office and he says no, we have to go to the judicial office to do it. There's a bit of a lineup so we wait. And we wait. And we wait.

I remembered when we were leaving the Guadalajara airport for Chicago last May and a guy had lost his tourist permit. He was made to pay a 300 peso "fine" and was on his way. Simple. So maybe the same thing will happen to us at the border. The only thing we're not sure of it the 3,900 pesos deposit we had put on the car that is supposed to be reimbursed when we exit the country. The gal at the airport yesterday said this wouldn't be a problem as we still have all of that paperwork for the little blue car.

So we got tired of waiting and we left. We will try again at the Huatulco airport when we get there on Wednesday. If nothing else, at least it should be interesting!


  1. Kevin, You should have no trouble going across the MX/Guat border. You are not turning in the car permit yet. So I would just go across without turning anything in, then get a new FMM's when you reenter. They will know you didn't turn them in when you left. Just tell them you lost them and you are willing to pay to get new ones.
    Keep us informed about what happens. I've crossed and didn't turn them in, I give them the airplane FMM's every year when I'm driving out and they just ask why and say OK.

    1. Thanks John...but I am under the impression that you HAVE TO turn in your vehicle permit when you leave the country or you risk forfeiting the deposit money. Besides, everything I've read about the Guatemala border at Tapachula says that you must stop in on the Mexican side first to "check out" so to speak. Then get new vehicle and tourist permits when we re-enter Mexico a couple of weeks or so later.

    2. I thought your car 6 mos permit would not be 6 mos until you leave Mexico with Sherman. That is when you get your deposit back. Unless it will be more than 6 mos since you entered with the car, do not turn in the permit at Guat. border.

    3. John, everything I have read says that we need to check our car out of Mexico, and re-do the entry procedure when we come back in. This includes turning in the car permit at the Guatemala border.

  2. I too will be interested in what happens. I don't think the personal and car registrations are tied that tightly, but I am pretty sure that I would try and get the car "checked out" as you say, as when you check back in, my guess is they are going to want another deposit no matter what happened before. I guess worst case they will ding you something for the missing FMM, but if you have a copy of the police report, they might just be nice at the border on that too. Obviously you have to get another FMM when you go back to Mexico from Guatemala.

  3. Just getting caught up here, so I'm late to the party.
    So a belated Congratulations on the "Big News"!
    That's awesome.

  4. This all sounds like the same run around we had trying to clear into every port in Greece while on a sailing trip. They just live for the paperwork, but are to disorganized and uninterested to follow thru with their own requirements.

  5. I dlues added up and thenon't remember all the details of it, but when I crossed on Jan 20th, the mosy memorable part of it was that their was a Guatemalan family ahead of me with a van full of toilet paper and deodorant and suchlike that all had to be inspected and then the values of it all added up and the taxes figured out.
    When my turn came and the guy from the office stepped inside the motorhome and out of camera range, I got him a beer from the refrigerator. We just visited for a few minutes, and he had his friend take the beer somewhere (hidden under his shirt so the camera couldn't see it. He didn't open any drawers or show any interest in what I might be carrying into Guatemala.
    Then the Guatemalan army guy asked for a pack of Mexican non-filter cigarettes. This gift somehow served to make it unnecessay that he conduct any sort of inspection either. I was quickly on my way and might have made it in record time, if not for that family of toilet-paper coyotes.


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