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Bethie

Oct 10, 2009, 3:47 AM

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US Visa

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When flew into and out of Mx in July, my visa was not stamped. Is this a problem? If asked "is this your first trip to Mx?" how should I reply?



Altahabana


Oct 10, 2009, 6:13 AM

Post #2 of 17 (7752 views)

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Re: [Bethie] US Visa

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Your question is a little vague but I assume you are asking about entering the US from Mexico as a non-US citizen on a tourist visa. There is no reason to say anything other than the truth about your travels when entering the US. CBP does not examine passport pages for stamps in my experience. Passports are usually scanned and that provides immediate entry information to the official. If you were asking something else you need to be a little more specific.


Bethie

Oct 10, 2009, 12:34 PM

Post #3 of 17 (7715 views)

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Re: [Altahabana] US Visa

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I am sorry, please excuse my mental-pause. I completely phrased the questions incorrectly. I am a US citizen and no one stamped my PASSPORT on my last visit to Mexico. Is that OK? or will that cause a problem when I go back for another visit in a few weeks.


Altahabana


Oct 10, 2009, 1:13 PM

Post #4 of 17 (7706 views)

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Re: [Bethie] US Visa

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I would not worry about it. If you entered legally on your first trip and turned in your FMT that is all you needed to do. If you fly in, normally they do stamp the passport. If you enter by land and get the FMT at the border, most stations do not stamp the passport. I can't remember an immigration officer ever examining my passport in detail, either at the border or when entering by air.


chinagringo


Oct 10, 2009, 5:44 PM

Post #5 of 17 (7675 views)

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Re: [Altahabana] US Visa

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I beg to differ! As I stated in a previous post, we got tripped up at the border due to expired FMT's. In October of 2008, we obtained FMT's. At the time I was traveling with a U.S. State Dept. issued Birth Certificate and Kathy was traveling with a US Passport. We realized too late that our FMT's had expired and I even made an inquiry on this forum to that effect and was told not to worry. On August 14, 2009, we stopped at the border to obtain new FMT's. When I turned my form in, I was free and clear but they noticed that Kathy did not have an exit stamp, which triggered an inquiry about her FMT. Initially she tried to play dumb but that wasn't working. She went to pull her expired FMT out of her Passport case and mine was folded inside. Now we were both busted! We were 125 days expired and the fine was to be $5 USD per day/each but after 1.5 hours of negotiating, we were able to resolve the issue. To say that they don't look at stamps may have been the "old way" but things are a changing!
Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM



gpkgto

Oct 11, 2009, 8:45 AM

Post #6 of 17 (7628 views)

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Re: [chinagringo] US Visa

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"after 1.5 hours of negotiating, we were able to resolve the issue"

Does this mean you paid a mordida/bribe?


chinagringo


Oct 11, 2009, 8:48 AM

Post #7 of 17 (7627 views)

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Re: [gpkisner] US Visa

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You are free to interpret that statement any way you wish.
Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM



gpkgto

Oct 11, 2009, 8:55 AM

Post #8 of 17 (7624 views)

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Re: [chinagringo] US Visa

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 "To say that they don't look at stamps may have been the "old way" but things are a changing!"

If the matter was resolved in an "illicit" manner, then maybe nothing is changing--you just gave the agent the opportunity to make a buck. Just bad luck on your part.


chinagringo


Oct 11, 2009, 9:17 AM

Post #9 of 17 (7615 views)

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Re: [gpkisner] US Visa

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"If the matter was resolved in an "illicit" manner, then maybe nothing is changing--you just gave the agent the opportunity to make a buck. Just bad luck on your part."

That may be true. However, having learned from this experience, there was no way that we were not going to cancel both our FMT's and vehicle permit on the way back out. In both cases, they questioned us about wanting to do so and only after we insisted did they do so. It seemed to us that the cancellation process was more involved than on prior occasions. Not simply the hand stamping but also scanning of Passports and documents. Not sure if these apparent new procedures were the result of the termination of all customs agents which happened two days after our crossing into MX. We did notice that while we were in MX, they had moved military directly onto the border crossing.
Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM



Maritsa


Oct 12, 2009, 7:55 AM

Post #10 of 17 (7554 views)

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Re: [chinagringo] US Visa

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I have been reading all of the posts here about visas, and wonder if things have gotten stricter in the past 3 years. When I went to Mexico in Nov 2006, I asked if I needed to get a tourist visa and I was told "no". We went by bus from San Diego to Tijuana and were not asked for a passport or visa at the border. The bus was checked at Sonoyta and we had to take all of our bags into the office to be checked. They charged me $50 for a DVD player that I bought for $25 in NJ, and some DVD's.

I was in Mexico for 3 months, and flew back from Mexico City. Again, I was not asked for a visa, and left Mexico with no problem. If I go back next year, as I am planning to do, will it be different? Is it easier if I go by bus (do they not check?) I just want to make sure I do it right so I don't have any problems.


esperanza

Oct 12, 2009, 10:58 AM

Post #11 of 17 (7523 views)

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Re: [Maritsa] US Visa

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You don't need a visa to come to Mexico as a short-term visitor.

You DO need an FM-T, otherwise known as a tourist card, if you're traveling into the interior of the country. It's not a visa, it's just a tourist card. They are handed out on all airlines leaving the USA and are also available at the border, if you are traveling by car or bus.

The tourist card is granted for up to 180 days, although many are granted for less time than that. If yours is granted for less time and you need more time, you may apply for an extension at any INM office within Mexico. However, if you are traveling on a tourist card--even with an extension--you may not stay in Mexico longer than 180 days. On day 180, you are required to leave the country. You can ask for a new tourist card at either border (USA or Guatemala) and come back into Mexico the same day you leave.

You should have had a tourist card even on your last trip. However, if you took the bus from San Diego to Tijuana and then to Sonoyta, you might not have known to get your permit to be in this country. If you flew out of Mexico City and into Tijuana, you probably weren't asked to hand in your tourist card. Trust me, if you didn't have the FM-T tourist card, you were--even then--an undocumented alien in Mexico.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









Papirex


Oct 12, 2009, 12:42 PM

Post #12 of 17 (7503 views)

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Re: [Maritsa] US Visa

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Esperanza is right, you must have at least a tourist card if you travel into this country further than the border security zone and/or stay in México longer than 72 hours. Nothing new about that.


All of the Baja is considered to be in the security zone so no visas or tourist cards are required to cross the border there or at any other border crossing provided you do not go beyond the security zone or stay in México longer than 72 hours. Ex-pats that live full time in The Baja violate that law all the time and get away with it.


We are required to carry our tourist card or visa on our person at all times, few of us do that unless we are driving on a long trip out of town. No one is going to tell you at any border that you may need a tourist card or visa. That is not their responsibility, it is yours to know what is required. If in doubt, ask and be safe.


We are unlikely to be asked to show proof that we are in the interior of this country legally except sometimes at banks, trying to activate a locally bought cell phone, getting a drivers license, etc. People have innocently driven across the border and kept going because no one is going to hold their hand and tell them what they need to do, and they have found themselves illegally in the center of the country with an illegal car. It can be a real hassle, and sometimes an expensive hassle to get out of that jam.


Do not rely on the experiences of anyone on a message board. Go to the appropriate agency, and no matter how illogical the requirements may be, comply with what they say and be safe, it will always be simpler and probably cheaper.


Incidentally, I think you were ripped off paying $50 Dollars to bring your DVD player and a few DVDs. The current import tax for electronics is 15% even if it is made in China, and you are allowed to bring up to 20 CDs or DVDs with you tax free. Did you get a receipt? If not, next time insist on one. You will probably be surprised at how often the tax will be waived then. It is best to do some accurate research to get the correct information. You will always win an argument with any Mexican official or cop if you know what the law actually says, if you don't know, you will be at their mercy.


Don't count on being lucky on every trip.


Rex
"The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved" - Victor Hugo

(This post was edited by Papirex on Oct 12, 2009, 12:46 PM)


geri

Oct 13, 2009, 6:43 AM

Post #13 of 17 (7455 views)

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Re: [Maritsa] US Visa

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Yes, Maritsa, I think it IS changing, slowly, due to computerization. When flying out, there is now a fine if you don't have your FMT (tourist card) to turn in, whereas a few years ago, it was more common for airline counter clerks to just wave you through. I'm not sure if they check for expiration date. Probably not, during busy times, or in certain places. The fine for not turning in your FMT on exit by air is around 450 pesos, in case you've lost it or inadvertently tossed it out. Someone, somewhere reported that although he has a FM-3, he comes in on a tourist visa. That is illegal and the authorities sometimes "go nuts" over it. They can tell on the computer, I think, if you have an FM-3. Once my FM3 expired while I was traveling so I came in on FMT and went to migracion the next morning with my boarding pass, turned in my FMT and renewed my FM3. I got scolded. They did not like it and said I should have renewed my FM3 in USA. If I had waited a few days or longer, I think there would have been a fine. It really DOES pay to know and obey the rules. Easier, cheaper all around.

I don't come and go by land, which I understand offers different experiences. But I think with computerization, Mexico is getting a lot more organized re FM3 holders. At least in my experience. It's much easier to find an agent in the airports to stamp your FM-3 when exiting, for instance.


bournemouth

Oct 13, 2009, 6:59 AM

Post #14 of 17 (7452 views)

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Re: [geri] US Visa

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Geri - I don't think you can renew your FM3 in the US - so they may have scolded you but they weren't correct - as is so often the case the officials we come up against.


geri

Oct 13, 2009, 7:10 AM

Post #15 of 17 (7449 views)

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Re: [bournemouth] US Visa

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I think you're right. I know someone who tried to do it in Boston recently -- no success. But the "guys" in Oaxaca don't know that. It's so much easier to do the paperwork in Oaxaca these days than it was 10 years ago. I attribute much of it to computerization. The office used to move (with no notice of when, why or to where) every couple of years. It was like a treasure hunt to find it, if you happened to be the first to go there after the move, and before buzz of the new location hit the extranjero communications system. I was among a group of "firsts" one year and it took us several hours to find the new office. Quite fun, actually. Taxi drivers, of course, have no reason to know where it is. Now it's almost on the zocalo. Governor probably owns the building, of course, but no nevermind. Convenience and efficiency is a good thing !!!


sancho

Oct 16, 2009, 5:16 PM

Post #16 of 17 (7359 views)

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Re: [Bethie] US Visa

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I spend a lot of time in Baja, if you are in Baja for anything over 72 hrs., get a tourist card,
either the free 7 day card, or the 180 days pay card, while there may be no
formal immigration checkpoint, you still have to have permission to be in
the country legally, this is very important if you are driving,
your Mex Insurance can be invalid if you are not legally in the country.
No vehicle permit required


gcooper

Dec 17, 2009, 3:46 PM

Post #17 of 17 (6731 views)

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Re: [sancho] US Visa

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Don't worry too much.

I once lost my visa and had to pay $200 pesos when I left.

I figure that's the worst thing that may happen to you.


GC

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