Mexico Connect
Forums  > General > Traveling Mexico


yodave

Jul 23, 2010, 8:08 AM

Post #1 of 11 (8784 views)

Shortcut

where to cross border into US and car permits

Can't Post | Private Reply
I have lived in Mexico(SMA) for over 5 years. This Spring was the first time I drove across the border. I chose Reynosa/MacAllen because I was advised it was the "safest" crossing. Upon arrival in NYC I read where Reynosa is one of the most DANGEROUS crossings-in reading posts on this forum I just get more confused about which crossing might be the easiest and possibly the more safer crossing. I had no problems whatsoever in crossing by the way(ignorance CAN be bliss sometimes).

So, can anyone suggest the crossing that is the "easiest" and I will make up my own mind about what kind of "danger level" of a crossing to endure? I am still considering crossing from Laredo. We are coming from NYC.

By "easiest", I mean one in which FINDING the aduana office/booth/shack is simple once crossing. I understand at certain crossings it's extremely tough to find the office.

I need to get a Car Permit and am also confused by a lot written on these posts about that-I keep seeing "Temporary Car Permit" mentioned. I live in Mexico and have an FM3. This is the first time I'm driving this car across the border. Don't I get a permit good for a year-or maybe one that I can renew in interior aduana in 6 months? It's my understanding that I need a current registration, current driver's license, Mexican Insurance, and in my case my current FM3 and probably current Passport. Anything I'm leaving out? Does the make of my car matter?It's a Toyota Rav4-manufactured in Japan-one can tell by the VIN #.

We also have 3 cats we're bringing in. I think I have a handle on all the documentation required for them but in case we are asked to present all that documentation, it's another reason I would prefer not to be driving all over the place trying to find the office,etc.

Thank you in advance for any advice you can give.

Also, by "easiest"-if coming through Laredo which bridge would one suggest and why?



chinagringo


Jul 23, 2010, 8:43 AM

Post #2 of 11 (8781 views)

Shortcut

Re: [yodave] where to cross border into US and car permits

Can't Post | Private Reply
1) Never have crossed on that Texas border, so no recommendations there. But an observation that the situation at various border crossing is in a constant state of flux and opinions can only be valid in a very narrow time period.
2) Vehicle Permit: you can save yourself time at the border by obtaining your permit prior to crossing. One option is to obtain one at a Mexican Consulate, a relatively easy and painless process usually completed in less than 30 minutes. Second option is to order online:
http://www.banjercito.com.mx/...ccionesIITV_ing.html
3) If I understand your question correctly - your vehicle permit is valid for whatever period that your FM3 remains current. There is no actual renewal process for the vehicle permit.
4) The country of origin for your Toyota makes no difference as long as the vehicle has NOB plates.

Hope this helps and I would expect that others with more experience at those crossings can provide advice on locations of Aduana, etc.
Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM



robt65

Jul 23, 2010, 9:28 AM

Post #3 of 11 (8769 views)

Shortcut

Re: [yodave] where to cross border into US and car permits

Can't Post | Private Reply
Hello yodave,

I have always crossed at Matamoros for several reasons. It is the Southern most point of the USA that touches Mexico, making greater distance daytime driving on the Mexican side more productive. In other words I can drive farther towards my destination (Tampico, Altamira or Queretaro) in a days time. Usually I can make Tampico or Altamira in about five to six and a half hours depending upon construction, checkpoints etc. Going to Queretaro, it affords a good amount of travel and usually I can get to SLP during daylight for an overnight hotel. It also keeps me out of what I call the danger circle of several cities (and areas) that could have problems at any give time.

I don;t think that you can find a more accommodating crossing point for car permits, customs, immigration, banking for fees, and monetary exchange than Matamoros. It is all within ONE AREA. You park (usually in a shaded area) and do all your business from that one parking place. I have found most of the various department staff very nice, business like and usually typically warm hearted. The key is to have all and I mean all your paperwork in hand ready to do business. When I do this it takes me usually no longer than 25 minutes to get me permit and my FM whatever. Now I do not any longer require my FM visa as I have Perm FM2. Make your own copies of everything before getting to the window, saves you much time and a few pesos. customs as at any of the crossings (I imagine) take the longest. Usually as the staff is overwhelmed by pure numbers of persons requiring inspections. Again, make sure that you have any necessary paperwork in triplicate at least, just in case.

At Matamoros they even have a small cafe of sorts right there where you can get a cool drink and something to eat. I cross with my two big dogs and cat and have never even been asked to look at their vet papers for shots. I however do make sure that I have their collars on and the rabies tags prominently displayed and I also have their papers readily available. I carry a small legal size cardboard expanding type file with everything sorted in its own category. that makes it so much easier. Always have extra copies of Passports, FM's, Mex Car Insurance Papers, Drivers License, Vehicle / Trailer Registrations, Vet Certificates, and other important papers in this folder. I also go to the exchange and get about $5000 Pesos in smaller bills (none larger than $500, $100 denominations and a handful of Mexican Peso coins. This also saves time at the permit window. The exchange is only about 65 steps from both the car permit office and the immigration window. They also have a bank that s used for any customs payment right next to the little cafe. That is about 50 steps from where your car is usually parked for customs inspection. It is really a pretty simple place to cross.

They do have public bathrooms there but for sure they are not the cleanest. You also have to provide your own stationary! (smiling) Always good to carry any way. I also usually stop just before the USA side inspection (going into Mex) at the Burger King and get something to eat and take with me in case the wait is a little longer on that day.

Once past the border follow the signs to San Fernando and Victoria and you will get to the highway out of town. the signs are a little confusing the first time there but the people are very good if you just wind down your window and ask Victoria or San Fenando? Only place to be really careful is on the bridge on the Mexican side going into town. Make sure that you absolutely do not speed o this bridge. They are waiting (the transito) to get ya! After you make the left turn You will se a very large Soriana (the new one) Mall. I usually stop ther for a last bathroom visit and to get some thing from the deli to carry me through for the first days trip that I can eat on the go. about 30 miles or so out of Matamoros you will find the first and only Aduana customs checkpoint. It is new and very good. Again, knowing this is going to be coming I have all my necessary papers together for inspection by the person in my lane. Typical questions, where are you going, for how long etc. hey ay ask to look and that is fine. A smile and positive attitude is a winner all the time. Never more than 5 minutes for me even with the cargo trailer. the highway to Victoria is not the toll road it is a free road and usually pretty good to travel.

Hope this helps you make your decision.

Robt65.


Rolly


Jul 23, 2010, 9:47 AM

Post #4 of 11 (8767 views)

Shortcut

Re: [yodave] where to cross border into US and car permits

Can't Post | Private Reply
Your vehicle permit will be valid so long as your FM3 is valid including renewals. It will remain valid if you change from FM3 to FM2. All without your having to do anything. Read the law here.

The permit will not be valid if you ever go from FM2 to Inmigrado.

Rolly Pirate


robt65

Jul 23, 2010, 9:53 AM

Post #5 of 11 (8763 views)

Shortcut

Re: [Rolly] where to cross border into US and car permits

Can't Post | Private Reply
HI Rolly,

He may have taken a flight out and is bringing a car back. In his own post he says: "I need to get a car permit."

Robt65


Altahabana


Jul 23, 2010, 10:42 AM

Post #6 of 11 (8751 views)

Shortcut

Re: [yodave] where to cross border into US and car permits

Can't Post | Private Reply
The permit station (officially CIITEV) in Nuevo Laredo is located between the two bridges on the river. It was closed due to flooding during the recent rise in the river and it looks to me like it is still closed. I suspect it will reopen within a week or so. It is not immediately adjacent to Aduana at Bridge II, but it is not hard to find. I wrote about the current situation in Nuevo Laredo. The situation in the city now is rather tense and there have been verified shootouts with fatalities on or near the routes out to the Monterrey highway.

At Columbia bridge the permit station is in the same area as Aduana so it is easier to find. But as you said, ignorance can be bliss unless you draw the proverbial black bean. I don't know anyone locally who uses Columbia in lieu of Laredo as a crossing point because of Zeta problems and moreso because it is simply not convenient.

I would recommend Eagle Pass/Piedras Negras if you are coming down IH 35. The Aduana/CIITEV station is at Allende, about 30 miles from the border and is located right on the road. You have to stop. Unfortunately Hwy 57 is closed at Sabinas but I heard it will reopen next week.


(This post was edited by Altahabana on Jul 23, 2010, 1:41 PM)


Rolly


Jul 23, 2010, 10:48 AM

Post #7 of 11 (8745 views)

Shortcut

Re: [robt65] where to cross border into US and car permits

Can't Post | Private Reply
Robert, I was responding to this line: Don't I get a permit good for a year-or maybe one that I can renew in interior aduana in 6 months?

Rolly Pirate


yodave

Jul 23, 2010, 11:36 AM

Post #8 of 11 (8734 views)

Shortcut

Re: [Rolly] where to cross border into US and car permits

Can't Post | Private Reply
Muchisimo gracias to all who have taken the time to send me this very helpful information.

yodave


Reefhound


Aug 4, 2010, 12:27 PM

Post #9 of 11 (8397 views)

Shortcut

Re: [robt65] where to cross border into US and car permits

Can't Post | Private Reply
Hey Rob, we're going to Matamoros this weekend for some things and you seem to be familiar with the bridges there. I'm not clear on what bridge to cross. I see three on google, I think the old international is a private bridge with a railroad, it looks like the new international leads into the heart of town, and there is a third bridge that appears to be commercial traffic.

Are you talking in your description about the new international that dumps into Alvaro Obregon? I don't see anything that looks like a mall. I've "driven" it with google and it goes by a Domino's and a Best Western.

Do you know where is the car permit return station?


Reefhound


Aug 4, 2010, 2:10 PM

Post #10 of 11 (8380 views)

Shortcut

Re: [Reefhound] where to cross border into US and car permits

Can't Post | Private Reply
Ok, I think I found Soriano. There's an HEB on the other side? That's from the bridge I thought was commercial traffic based on a Autobuses/Trucks sign. That way looks like the best for heading south and getting past Matamoros.

Still looks like new International gets me to downtown quicker and easier. We're staying in Best Western Plaza, is the plan.


Reefhound


Aug 6, 2010, 10:24 AM

Post #11 of 11 (8267 views)

Shortcut

Re: [Reefhound] where to cross border into US and car permits

Can't Post | Private Reply
For those interested, the bridge leading into downtown is called Gateway Bridge and is at the end of International Blvd (Hwy 4). On the other side the road is Alvaro Obregon. The return permit station is a small building on Obregon about a hundred yards before the return bridge toll and there is a place to u-turn back into Mexico right after it.

Note, this is not the bridge you would want to take if headed to interior locations. That is called Veterans Bridge and is at the terminus of Hwy 77.
 
 
Search for (advanced search) Powered by Gossamer Forum v.1.2.4