8. BORDER CROSSING FORMALITIES

Update 1: On 1 May 2010, Mexico’s National Immigration Institute implemented some changes to its immigration procedures. The FMT immigration form for visitors was replaced by a new form called Forma Migratoria Múltiple (FMM).

Update 2: Effective 1 January 2012, the Derecho de No Inmigrante (DNI) fee for the Forma Migratoria Múltiple (FMM) increased from MX$262 to MX$294 (that’s pesos). The website of Instituto Nacional de Migración currently shows the fee as MX$295.

Visitors entering Mexico must complete an immigration form called Forma Migratoria Múltiple (FMM). If arriving by air, the form should be issued on the plane, and if arriving at a land border, the form is obtained at the Immigration building. Fill in the information and hand it to the Immigration Officer. The Officer will keep one half of the form and return the other half which should be kept with your passport and handed in when you leave Mexico.

The FMM allows a maximum stay of 180 days, but it depends on the type of travel, i.e. tourist, transit, work, business, student, etc., and the Immigration Officer will write in the actual number of days a visitor can stay. Visitors who check the Tourist (Turismo) box on the form should get 180 days. Visitors who check the Transit (Tránsito) box might get only 30 days.

It is my understanding that there is a fee for the FMM. If arriving in Mexico by air, the fee is usually included in the cost of the airline ticket, so there is nothing more to pay in Mexico, either at a bank or at a border point. You should seek confirmation from the airline or ticket seller to ascertain if the fee has been paid. If arriving at a land border, the immigration officer should attach another piece of paper showing the amount to be paid. Mexican Immigration officials are not authorized to collect any money, so the DNI must be paid in pesos at any bank in Mexico. The bank will issue a receipt which should be kept with the FMM and presented to Immigration when leaving Mexico. The fee can also be paid at the Cancún airport when leaving Mexico. At the Subteniente López border (Mexico-Belize), the fee can be paid during working hours at the bank Banjercito located at the Mexican Customs compound.

According to the Embassy of Mexico in Belize, all foreign nationals who enter Mexico by air, road or sea must pay the DNI fee in three different cases:
1. Visitors who enter Mexico and stay more than seven consecutive days.
2. Visitors who enter Mexico and transit through to a third country regardless of the number of days in Mexico.
3. Visitors who enter Mexico with a Forma Migratoria de Visitante Local (FMVL) border card and stay more than three consecutive days.

Visitors who are exempt from paying the fee include:
1. Visitors who enter Mexico, stay for seven days or less, and return to the country of origin.
2. FMVL border card holders who stay less than 3 days.
3. FM3 and FM2 holders.

In January 2012, the Embassy of Mexico in Belize issued a Press Release stating that airlines are no longer authorized to collect the fee; therefore the fee must be paid by ALL airline passengers before departing Mexico. However, I understand that at least some airlines are still collecting the fee. This is the reason for seeking clarification from the airline or travel agent.

http://www.sanpedrosun.com/travel-and-tourism/2012/01/25/changes-in-entry-fee-to-mexico/

Front & back of the FMM (click on image to enlarge)

Front & back of the right side (visitor’s part) of the FMM (click on image to enlarge)

This is the form that the immigration officer should attach to the FMM when you enter Mexico. It shows the amount to be paid (if payment is required). Click on image to enlarge.

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CROSSING THE BORDER FROM CHETUMAL TO COROZAL

Visitors leaving Mexico by bus stop at a small immigration booth just before crossing the bridge to Belize. Passengers get off, without luggage, and present their passports with FMM and receipt to the immigration officer. Whenever I have crossed, he has always asked (in Spanish) for 100 pesos or US$10. I have heard that since January 2010, he has been asking for US$20 from all bus passengers, and currently he is asking for the full DNI fee.

Beware! This is a scam. Your passport might get stamped, but there is nothing to pay if the FMM fee has already been paid. THERE IS NO EXIT FEE, and this has been confirmed by the Embassy of Mexico and the Mexican Honorary Consul in Corozal. Visitors who hand over money will not get a receipt. Mexican Immigration officials are not authorized to collect any money. And, although no longer allowed, some visitors have reported still getting a double entry (doble entrada) stamp after paying US$20.

Passengers re-board the bus, proceed across the bridge over the Hondo River and stop at Belize Customs & Immigration. Passengers (with their luggage this time) go into the immigration building. For citizens of Canada, USA and many other countries, there are no visas or fees when entering Belize — you will get a stamp in your passport allowing a stay of 30 days. Citizens of some countries require a visa which must be obtained before entering Belize. After completing immigration and customs, re-board the bus.

Visitors wanting to stay in Belize longer than 30 days can go to the nearest immigration office and ask for an extension. The passport will be stamped again, allowing a stay of another 30 days. There is a fee for the new stamps; I think it’s BZ$50 (US$25) per stamp for the first 6 months, and BZ$100 per stamp thereafter. After 12 months, you might be asked to leave the country, or if you intend to apply for permanent residency.

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CROSSING THE BORDER FROM COROZAL TO CHETUMAL

Visitors leaving Belize by bus stop at Belize Immigration. Passengers, without luggage, enter the building and present their passports to Belize Immigration. For tourists who have been in Belize more than 24 hours, there is a fee of BZ$37.50 (US$18.75), payable in BZ$ or US$. This site explains the departure fees:

http://www.bmabz.com/

Passengers re-board the bus, proceed across the bridge over the Hondo River and stop at Mexican Immigration where they get off the bus with their luggage. If the bus is scheduled to continue to Chetumal, it will park about 50 to 100 metres further up the road, or maybe on a side street, and wait for passengers to complete immigration & customs. If in doubt, speak to the driver when you get off the bus.

Passengers go into the immigration building, get an FMM, complete it and present the completed form with passport to an immigration officer. After your documents are returned, exit the immigration building, and walk ahead to Customs. After Customs, re-board the bus. The fee for the FMM must be paid at a bank before you leave Mexico. Visitors in transit can pay at Cancún airport, although I’ve heard a few reports where visitors were not asked for money at Cancún airport.

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12 Responses to “8. BORDER CROSSING FORMALITIES”

  1. mason Says:

    i am a belizean and i want to live in chetumal what are my requirements. am 25 has a family so am not retired. but i once heard that belizean can live there and renew their permit every year. can u direct me

    • belizebus Says:

      I know other Belizeans who live in Chetumal, but I don’t know about the requirements.

  2. Magdalena Says:

    Hi, I got a question: Is it possible to pay the “exit fee” at the cancun airport, although I`m not in transit or do I have to pay the fee at the bank before leaving?

  3. Cesar O. Says:

    Hi, I´m Mexican and I would like to go to guatemala through belice, what do I need to cross using public transportation and what if I rent a Car, I mean inmigration fee, insurance, vaccines, passport, etc thanks for your support

    • belizebus Says:

      I don’t know the requirements for a Mexican to enter Belize or Guatemala. You can probably enter Belize for free (no fees), but when you leave Belize, the fees amount to BZ$37.50 or US$18.75.

      For transportation, if you don’t want to stop anywhere in Belize, get the San Juan Travel bus from the Chetumal ADO bus terminal to Flores, Guatemala.

      If you rent a car, make sure the rental company allows the car to go to Belize and Guatemala. In Belize, you must have insurance — it can be purchased at the border.

  4. Jeroen Says:

    Hi, I have a question: I am going to Belize from Mexico. I want to stay in Belize for a week and then go to Tikal in Guatemala. When I go back to Mexico, I go through Belize. So do I need to pay 2 times the exit fee? After this I only have a couple of days left in Mexico (maybe 4 or 5) before flying back to Europe (flight from Cancun stop over in USA). So I do not have to pay for the FMM fee? Thanks for the information!

    • belizebus Says:

      When you leave Mexico, you’ll probably have to hand in your FMM tourist card.

      No fees to enter Belize, but you pay the departure and PACT fees when you depart (total: BZ$37.50).

      You’ll probably be asked for money when you enter & leave Guatemala. I don’t know if these fees are valid, but it’s only a few dollars.

      When you re-enter Belize, nothing to pay, but you have to pay the BZ$30 departure fee when you leave. If your time in Belize is less than 24 hours, you don’t have to pay the BZ$7.50 PACT fee.

      When you re-enter Mexico, you’ll get a new FMM, but tell the Immigration Officer that your stay will be less than 6 days. Don’t pay the fee at a bank. At Cancun airport, you might or might not be asked to pay the fee.

  5. Louise Says:

    Hello

    I am flying into Cancun, staying the night then travelling by bus down to stay in Belize for 12 days.
    I am then travelling back up to Cancun to fly home to the UK.

    Please can you let me know what fees I will need to pay.

    Thank you!

    • belizebus Says:

      Visitors to Mexico must pay the Tourist Fee of 295 pesos. Airlines from Canada & USA include the fee with the airline ticket price, but I don’t know about all airlines from UK — you’ll have to find out if the fee is included.

      Crossing from Mexico to Belize…
      There is no exit fee. If you can’t show that you’ve paid the tourist fee, you might be asked to pay at the border. Even if you have evidence of payment, corrupt immigration officials might try to extort money from you.

      Entering Belize — no fees.
      Leaving Belize — Departure fee of BZ$30 and a PACT fee of BZ$7.50. Total: BZ$37.50 or US$18.75.

      Re-entering Mexico…
      You will get a new FMM (tourist card) at the border. You should not pay anything at the border.
      At the airport, you might be asked to pay the tourist fee.

  6. Sofie Says:

    Hi, I would travel from Belmopan to Tulum this weekend, but the bus that I want to take will drop me off in Santa Elena. Is there an easy bus at the border to catch to drive me to Chetumal?? Thanks a LOT!

    • belizebus Says:

      Hi Sophie,

      Although the schedules might say the Belizean buses go only to Santa Elena, they should actually terminate at the New Market in Chetumal. The ADO terminal is less than 1 km away from the Market.

      If you do get dropped at the Santa Elena border, there is a bus that runs between The border and Chetumal. It looks like the Chetumal City bus shown in Section 7, except coloured white and yellow (if I remember correctly). The fare to Chetumal is 10 pesos.

      The bus terminates near the Library (a few blocks east of the Maya Museum). Get a taxi to the ADO terminal for 20 pesos — it’s too far to walk.

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