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jwallacq

Jun 5, 2015, 8:42 PM

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Trapped in Chetumal, hoping for some quick advice :-)

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I drove over from Merida today, hoping to renew my tourist visa & car permit.
Arrived just after the bridge had closed for the night, but there was still a guy in the Immigration office.
He told me I would either have to spend 3 days in Belize or else pay a "fee" of 1800 pesos which sounded very phony to me, so I thanked him and said I would come back in the morning.
I am now in a hotel in Chetumal, looking for advice as to what I should do if they try to pull the same stunt with me tomorrow????

Thanks in Advance!



YucaLandia


Jun 6, 2015, 5:36 AM

Post #2 of 16 (4249 views)

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Re: [jwallacq] Trapped in Chetumal, hoping for some quick advice :-)

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There is nothing in the Immigration law that allows them to do this.

I spoke with the Merida INM office supervisor last month about this, and was told "No, you do not have to wait 3 days. Tell them to allow you to get new permits that same day."

You cannot force them to do it, but you can be firm and professional: Explain that you know the rules, explain that you realize that you arrived late in the day yesterday, and politely insist that they process your request today.

If that does not work, tell them you want to speak with a supervisor to explain that you will go to Chetumal to the PROFECO office on Avenida Venustiano Carranza to file a complaint against them and that you want to write down their name and ID#.

Explain that the Merida INM office confirms that they should not be delaying you.

We've had them try to shill/con us two different times into paying bribes to get normal service - and after 5 minutes of back and forth, they've given in and done what they were supposed to, without us paying a centavo.

Good Luck,
steve
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Read-on MacDuff
E-visit at http://yucalandia.com

(This post was edited by YucaLandia on Jun 6, 2015, 5:56 AM)


playaboy

Jun 6, 2015, 8:51 AM

Post #3 of 16 (4207 views)

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Re: [jwallacq] Trapped in Chetumal, hoping for some quick advice :-)

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How much did the hotel cost you?

Sounds like business as usual at the INM office on that border. When living here on a tourist permit you have to play their game. That INM official can give you 10 days on a FMM, or he/she could give you 23 days. They can refuse to issue a new card too. It is up to them, they have the authority. That officer also has access to that computer they scanned your passport with. You could have negotiated the 1800 down some.

They asked a person on another thread for 2300.


YucaLandia


Jun 6, 2015, 9:49 AM

Post #4 of 16 (4189 views)

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Re: [playaboy] Trapped in Chetumal, hoping for some quick advice :-)

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true... true... true.... and true .... *sigh*
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Read-on MacDuff
E-visit at http://yucalandia.com


jwallacq

Jun 6, 2015, 7:34 PM

Post #5 of 16 (4119 views)

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Re: [YucaLandia] Trapped in Chetumal, hoping for some quick advice :-)

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Well, thanks for the advice, but it didn't work out -- at least not so far.

This morning I tried going back, but this time I went to the new bridge instead, and of course there was a different guy. This guy was very nice and seemingly professional. etc., etc. and he didn't seem to be trolling for a bribe (but I can't be certain of that).

Anyhow, he SWORE -- that there is just absolutely, positively NO WAY to get a new tourist visa without going into Belize. In fact, he insisted that:
(a) I would have to spend at least 72 hours in Belize
(b) Belize would not let me in unless I could show them confirmed Hotel reservations for 3 nights in a Belize hotel
(c) Mexico would not let me come back unless I could show them confirmed reservations for at least 2 or 3 (I forget) nights in a Mexican hotel

So eventually I gave up, and I am now on my way back to Merida, seriously thinking that I might just have to make a run to the US border instead. Thank goodness I did not leave this until the very last minute!! I still have plenty of time to comfortably get back to Laredo, if I have to.

My (Mexican) wife thinks I should have just paid the bribe to the first guy, but my concern is: How could I even be sure that he would stay bribed? I mean, what if I give him his 1800 pesos, and he turns around and gives me a 30-day permit instead of 180? Or what if they demand an additional 1800 to take care of the car permit?

Speaking of the car: That was another big concern that I would have about going into Belize: I had a moderate amount of hassle -- even up North -- getting this car into Mexico in the first place because it is registered in my daughter's name instead of mine. So I have this worst-case nightmare scenario: What if I take the car across the bridge, and Belize won't let it in and then Mexico won't let it return, and my car is stuck in the Zona Libre for all Eternity?

So anyhow, when I get back to Merida on Monday, I will have a few days to research possible alternatives.


cbviajero

Jun 6, 2015, 7:44 PM

Post #6 of 16 (4116 views)

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Re: [jwallacq] Trapped in Chetumal, hoping for some quick advice :-)

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Gosh,it sure sounds complicated to live full time in Mexico with a temporarily imported vehicle on a tourist visa...


chinagringo


Jun 6, 2015, 8:10 PM

Post #7 of 16 (4106 views)

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Re: [jwallacq] Trapped in Chetumal, hoping for some quick advice :-)

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Could you please answer just why as a Gringo you feel the need to bend, twist or otherwise manipulate the rules and regs to fit your particular needs and requirements?

Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM



playaboy

Jun 6, 2015, 9:22 PM

Post #8 of 16 (4097 views)

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Re: [jwallacq] Trapped in Chetumal, hoping for some quick advice :-)

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I am sorry you had difficulty. I am also not surprised. I know many people that have gone thru the same thing there.

Years ago when living in PDC, I was in doing the 6 month tourist runs to Belize. I used to visit friends in Corazol all the time too. Those agents are very very "buyable" if you play their game right. No choice, you have to play to get what you want. He/she was feeding you a bunch of BS about entering Belize. They were trying to scare you and set you up for a higher price. Problem you had is you didn't play the game. Now you are going home with nada.

You should have played. It is part of the adventure, learning to live in Mexico.

INM doesn't have anything to do with TIP's. Since you don't own the car on paper you will probably be better off going to the USA and try to get new TIP.

Then you can get another 6 month FMM for yourself.

Have a safe drive.


DigYourself

Jun 7, 2015, 4:15 AM

Post #9 of 16 (4075 views)

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Re: [jwallacq] Trapped in Chetumal, hoping for some quick advice :-)

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Your situation reminds me of one I had about 40 years ago. I was living and working in Guatemala. An immigration lawyer had my passport (for months) and was supposed to make everything legal. I asked for my passport and went to immigration myself. They were not at all happy when they saw how much I had overstayed my visa. They stamped my passport EXCESO PERMANENCIA and told me to leave. I went to the airport, looked at the list of flights and chose Cozumel. After a few days I went back to Guatemala with a tourist visa.

When the tourist visa expired I went back to immigration and they were REALLY upset. They said I had to leave for good. So I drove the pick-up to the border with El Salvador. When I presented my passport in El Salvador the agent said - if Guatemala doesn't want you neither do we. The border was a river with a bridge. I left the immigration office, approached the sentry/gate and smiled and waved as I drove into El Salvador. I got about 5 miles when I ran into a roadblock with rifles pointed at my windshield. They took me into a shack and I spoke to the commander in San Salvador on a radio - who said something like I'll give you 3 hours to get here to my office.

This was a time when they were shooting Catholic nuns in El Salvador. When I got to the capital there were literally tanks in the streets. I met with the commander who allowed me enough time to drive to Honduras. The guy in Honduras didn't even look through the pages of my passport and gave me 180 days to stay.

Sometimes we do crazy things when we are young.


jwallacq

Jun 7, 2015, 5:45 AM

Post #10 of 16 (4060 views)

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Re: [chinagringo] Trapped in Chetumal, hoping for some quick advice :-)

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Well, that is kind of off-topic, but since you asked:
The fact that they don't seem to have definite, well-publicized rules is precisely the problem.

For example: If they wanted to, they could have a nice, clear rule saying that you can spend 180 days in Mexico as a tourist and then you have to go back to your home country for "X" days, and then you can come back to Mexico for 180 days. That would be a plain, simple rule that everybody could plan their lives around.

But when the only "rule" is that bribe-able border guards get to make stuff up as they go along, that's worse than no rules at all.

And in my case, the only reason I'm here is that my Mexican-born wife suddenly got homesick after 20 years in the USA, and decided she wanted to get back in touch with her roots, or something. But (Heh!!!!) I think even she is starting to remember why she left in the first place.

Getting totally off-topic: She decided a few months ago to get a Mexican passport for our youngest child. Now as you know, in the USA, getting a passport takes, what? 20 minutes? You download the forms from the Internet, fill 'em out at home, take the forms, the photos, and a check to the Post Office, and 6 weeks later, you get your passport in the mail. Here, I lost count of how many days she wasted trudging back and forth to the SRE offices to straighten out one silly FUBAR after another -- I think it took about 5 trips.


playaboy

Jun 7, 2015, 8:02 AM

Post #11 of 16 (4027 views)

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Re: [jwallacq] Trapped in Chetumal, hoping for some quick advice :-)

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In Reply To
Well, that is kind of off-topic, but since you asked:
The fact that they don't seem to have definite, well-publicized rules is precisely the problem.

The only rule you need to know is this.

At the border of any country, the immigration officer you are talking to has the authority of GOD. They can refuse you entry into their country, they can strip search you, they can determine the amount of time to let you into the country,

The USA CBP can do that and so can INM in Mexico. That is as clear cut as you can get..

Now do you understand the GAME?


YucaLandia


Jun 7, 2015, 8:19 AM

Post #12 of 16 (4022 views)

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Re: [playaboy] Trapped in Chetumal, hoping for some quick advice :-)

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In Reply To

In Reply To
Well, that is kind of off-topic, but since you asked:
The fact that they don't seem to have definite, well-publicized rules is precisely the problem.

The only rule you need to know is this.

At the border of any country, the immigration officer you are talking to has the authority of GOD.
They can refuse you entry into their country, they can strip search you, they can determine the amount of time to let you into the country,

The USA CBP can do that and so can INM in Mexico. That is as clear cut as you can get..

Now do you understand the GAME?


"At the border of any country, the immigration officer you are talking to has the authority of GOD."

A corollary to this: Border areas around the world attract some of the worst types of people - esp. govt. agents who love having a little power.


My wife has been coming and going to the USA since the 1970's - has a spotless immigration record - has worked in the USA as a virologist/public health specialist - does professional training of US and PAHO scientists in the USA - has had many US government grants, publications, and US conference presentations - ....

yet ... the immigration "professional" government agents/cops at George Bush Airport (Houston) hassle her and at least 50-100 other legal immigrants at a time (including Canadians) passing through Houston on their way to connecting flights.

We must book an additional 2˝ hour layover, or overnight layover (hotel $$) to account for the govt. agents 1 hr - 2 hr hassling her. Fortunately, Mexico has trained her well about sitting-in-chairs and remaining calm, polite, and professional.

Low level government "officials" around the world, esp. at borders/entry-points, too frequently love to exert every little bit of power they have.

Again, there is nothing in the Ley de Migración nor in their rule book that says you have to exit Mexico for 3 days when surrendering one visitors visa and applying for another. The rules do however allow local INM offices broad discretion in how they enforce the rules - creating some local "variations" like what jwallcq has experienced ...

and as Playaboy explains: In that moment, they are GOD. whether they are US TSA/CBP or Migración agents.
steve


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Read-on MacDuff
E-visit at http://yucalandia.com

(This post was edited by YucaLandia on Jun 7, 2015, 8:23 AM)


rvgringo

Jun 7, 2015, 8:26 AM

Post #13 of 16 (4018 views)

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Re: Trapped in Chetumal, hoping for some quick advice :-)

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Since the OP has a Mexican wife, why could he not go with her to INM and apply for Residente Temporal within Mexico? Once issued, he could take the car out, get it titled in his own name and return with a fresh TIP good for a year and renewable with his visa and notification to Aduana.


(This post was edited by rvgringo on Jun 7, 2015, 8:31 AM)


jwallacq

Jun 7, 2015, 10:15 AM

Post #14 of 16 (3991 views)

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Re: [rvgringo] Trapped in Chetumal, hoping for some quick advice :-)

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That is what we are planning to do eventually, but we didn't make a priority of of it because we assumed that renewing in Belize one time would be a quick & easy alternative.

I'm retired, but my wife works, so every time she has to go stand in line at some government office and hassle with these [expletive-deleted] payasos, she misses a day of work. And she thought that getting the child's passport taken care of was a higher priority. So my 6-month tourist is running out soon, and she hasn't had time yet to get started on the Residente Temporal process.


rvgringo

Jun 7, 2015, 10:36 AM

Post #15 of 16 (3975 views)

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Re: [jwallacq] Trapped in Chetumal, hoping for some quick advice :-)

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She is a Mexican citizen, so it is YOU who needs to start the visa process. Take your documents, including marriage and residence proofs to INM. If her presence is mandatory, they will tell you and you may be able to make an appointment to minimize her time off work. Since you are also the father of a Mexican child, take those documents too.
Postponement or waiting until the last moment are never good ideas.


chinagringo


Jun 7, 2015, 6:45 PM

Post #16 of 16 (3894 views)

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Re: [jwallacq] Trapped in Chetumal, hoping for some quick advice :-)

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As people have stated, crossing the border into the US is no cakewalk if one is out of compliance. Because I truly dislikee those who rationalize by comparing a situation in Mexico with something happening NOB - I won't make a direct comparison with any other country in the world but I can safely say that Mexico is relatively lax. it is their country and they get to make the rules! Not your place to question why they aren't what you think they should be!
Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM

 
 
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