About Us

My photo
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Brian & Deya met in Vancouver Canada. After a few years together we were married and made choices. One was not to have children the other was not to take life for granted. The rest is yet to come.

May 17, 2011

Border details compliments of Deya

Names of border crossings.

Mexico (entry)-Agua Prieta, Sonora

Mexico (exit)-Ciudad Cuauhtemoc, Chiapas

Guatemala (entry)-La Mesilla

Guatemala (exit)-Pedro de Alvarado

El Salvador (entry)-La Hachadura

El Salvador (exit)-El Amatillo

Honduras (entry)-El Amatillo

Honduras (exit)-Guasaule

Nicaragua (entry)-Guasaule

Nicaragua (exit)-Peñas Blancas

Costa Rica (entry)-Peñas Blancas

Entering Mexico.

A simple process if you have the required documents and a credit card.

***Immigration:

a) Tourist Visa (FMM Forma Migratoria Multiple), processed by INM = Passport (original) + Payment.

***Customs:

b) Import Permit or Permiso de Importacion Temporal de Vehiculos, processed by Banejército = Passport (original & copy) + Driver’s Licence (original & copy) + Title or Registration of the vehicle: (original & copy) + Tourist Visa (original & 2 copies) + Payment (with a credit card or a cash deposit will have to be made as a guarantee to withdraw the vehicle from the country in the time agreed). A sticker is placed on the bike, you must keep and do not lose it, it will be removed together with the permit at the exit border.

Exiting Mexico.

***Customs:

Once again a simple process; they will require the original permit of entry to Mexico for the vehicle and the sticker that was placed on the bike. With this they produce a document to prove that the permit has been cancelled, it is called: Importacion Temporal de Vehiculos / Certificado de Retorno / Retorno Definitivo.

***Immigration: a stamp was provided in our passports. They questioned the fact that we did not have a stamp for the entry and warn us to make sure we always get one. However we did have the Tourist Visa so that is clear proof we came into the country.

Entering Guatemala:

***Immigration:

-Passport: original.

-Fee of $0 /person, a stamp is provided in our passports and a period of 90 days is given to be in the country, this will be valid throughout Guatemala-El Salvador-Honduras and Nicaragua, this means you will not likely get a stamp at the other borders just entered in their system. However, we got charged 20 Quetzales to enter the country, it was a scam and no receipt was issued because there was no “system” at the moment.

***Customs:

Normally Customs would ask for a series of copies, but here they only wanted originals and they would get their own copies.

-Passport: original.

-Title or Registration of the vehicle: original.

-Driver’s Licence: original.

-Proof of exit from Mexico for the vehicle: original.

-Payment at the bank of 160 Quetzales/vehicle. Permit is valid for 90 days. They only accept Quetzales.

Exiting Guatemala.

***Immigration:

Original passport is required and a stamp of exit is placed. Here is where I confirmed that we should not have paid anything when we entered the country.

***Customs:

-Passport with the stamp of exit of Immigration Guatemala: original & copy.

-Title or Registration of the vehicle: original & copy.

-Driver’s Licence: original & copy.

-Permit of entry to Guatemala for the vehicle: original & copy.

With these requirements the permit is cancelled and a stamp is placed on the permit. This is how the legal status to withdraw the vehicle is finalized. You may wonder what happens if you do not follow these steps… Fines are given and they can go as high as $622 USD per month or fraction of the month that the permit goes over the expiry date.

Entering El Salvador.

***Customs: a stamp is required on the stamped (cancelled) permit of entry to Guatemala for the vehicle, this stamp is placed by a Customs officer who is at the bridge before reaching Immigration or Customs.

***Immigration: simple step where the officer registers the entry in the computer but no stamp is provided in the passports.

***Customs:

-Passport with the stamp of exit of Immigration Guatemala: original & copy.

-Title or Registration of the vehicle: original & copy.

-Driver’s Licence: original & copy.

-Stamped (cancelled) permit of entry to Guatemala for the vehicle: original & copy.

-There is no fee to import the vehicle.

This is how you get the document that will allow you to circulate through the country, this document should be available because it is requested 100 metres later. As well as a toll fee of $5 USD/vehicle is collected but we did not pay since we had no money, there are no banks or ATMs at this border.

Exiting El Salvador.

***After being chased we came to a booth where we had to show the original permit of entry to El Salvador for the vehicle to an Agent of  “Direccion General de Aduanas” (DGA).

We showed this document and the agent kept it, a copy of the same document was stamped as a proof of exiting the country. I had to get one more copy of this stamped document for a future step which we did at that spot. 

***Immigration: no stamp was provided in our passports but our exit was registered in the computer. An immigration officer (the boss) made a clear recommendation: “Do not speak to anybody who does not wear official uniform of Aduanas or Migracion otherwise you are at risk of extortion”.

***Customs again just before the bridge. Another officer asked for the stamped (cancelled) copy of the permit of entry to El Salvador for the vehicle.

Entering Honduras.

***Young kids and young men where asking us to stop at the bridge.

***Once we crossed the bridge we came to a stop and a man who claimed to work for Customs asked us to give him all the documentation so we can clear Customs. I did not accept his demand and asked him to let me know where the offices for Immigration and Customs were at so we can do the process ourselves. He got angry and claimed to be injured by Deya so the police had to come and finally I went to the little office set up just next to the bridge and asked for help. A man with an orange shirt helped and took me to the Customs office, The DGA officers on the bridge are there to point you in the right direction and should not cost anything. Unfortunately the only person who is authorized to sign the permits to import a vehicle temporarily was not there, so we waited from 11:30 am to 2 pm. Meanwhile we got a phone number to report any problems faced by tourists: 800-222-8687 ANOMALIAS TURISTICAS.

***Immigration: while we waited we dealt with this part of the process.

-Passport: original.

-Fee of $3 USD/person. A receipt as a proof of payment is issued and stapled in the passport.

***Finally by 2 pm I went inside an office that is not marked as Customs but it is actually where the process takes place. The place is named Secretaria de Finanzas Direccion Ejecutiva de Ingresos. By the time I got in there was a long line and I had to wait. When I was able to speak to this lady I explained to her our frustrating situation and asked her to guide me through the process which she accepted and in fact she said this is what she is working on, getting tourists to do their own paperwork otherwise those criminals outside take advantage and mislead the tourists. She said what would normally cost 635.72 Lempiras or $35 USD approximately and almost no time, it costs for those who get taken advantage of about $100-$150 USD and a long wait. In occasions the process would take a long time just because line ups or little things but it would take long regardless of who is doing it. That is the reason why that little office after the bridge is set up so tourists can  get help from Customs rather than criminals, but hard to say who is who at that moment.

***Customs:

-Passport with the stamp of entry of Immigration Honduras: original.

-Title or Registration of the vehicle: original.

-Driver’s Licence: original.

-Stamped (cancelled) copy of the permit of entry to El Salvador for the vehicle: original.

With these documents two forms are issued: Forma 9A-1 and Boletín de Pago, and the proper payment is now clear $35 USD or 635.73 Lempiras/vehicle. Also the passport gets a stamp with all the information of the vehicle in consideration.

Normally at this point a series of photocopies are taken and the payment is done at the bank but in our case the bank was closed (closes at 4 pm). So, we made the payment directly at Customs and got the following photocopies and delivered two of each at Customs, we only kept one of the copies of the Forma 9A-1 and Boletín de Pago for a future step.

-Passport with the stamp of entry of Immigration Honduras: 2 copies.

-Title or Registration of the vehicle: 2 copies.

-Driver’s Licence: 2 copies.

-Stamped (cancelled) copy of the permit of entry to El Salvador for the vehicle: 2 copies.

-Forma 9A-1 and Boletín de Pago: 3 copies.

We faced another problem. They only accept cash and we did not have enough, which meant one of us had to go back and get money at a close ATM. The nearest was in El Salvador and we decided I would go. I went back with the Customs Agent (the boss) to the bridge to get permission to go back to El Salvador, went back through Immigration to enter El Salvador, they allowed me to go without checking my passport. However, just when I was about to get to the place where we were chased previously I decided to go back, I was afraid. I turned around and in no time they were there again, impeding me to go through, they put their vehicle in the middle of the road and one of them jumped off the vehicle and took the other side of the road leaving me with the shoulder to drive through so I can escape from them. I did not know their intentions. Back again to exit El Salvador, I was not required to go through Immigration, and Customs in Honduras let me go back with no problem because they had instructions to do so.

At this point and after explaining the situation to the lady at Customs she sent one of her officials to accompany me in his truck to get money.

There we go again, back to Immigration and this time I had to enter the country again and went to the closest town to withdraw money. Came back an hour later and went through Immigration again.  The point is, have enough cash available before you get to the border.

With this payment we finalized the process and Customs offered us to go with us to the hotel where they stay at the end of their shift. So we did, we waited. In that wait, he showed up… Dani… he was also being followed and we worked with him to get him through.

***Customs again at the final exit gets a copy of Forma 9A-1 and Boletín de Pago.

Finally we made to the hotel in Nacaome, Honduras. Forty two kilometres of darkness and stress.

Exiting Honduras.

***Immigration: no stamp was provided in our passports but our exit was registered in the computer. Also a little stamp is given in a little piece of paper so we can deliver that at the bridge to an officer so we can prove we went through Immigration.



***Customs: simple process.

The Customs officer checks the vehicle in consideration, stamps the passport and takes Forma 9A-1 and Boletín de Pago away.

Entering Nicaragua:

***Immigration:

-Passport: original.

-Fee of $10 USD/person, the document issued is called Tarjeta de Turismo. $2 USD/person for Migración y Extranjeria.

***Customs:

-Passport: original.

-Title or Registration of the vehicle: original.

-Driver’s Licence: original.

With this the permit of entry to Nicaragua for the vehicle is issued.

***Vehicle Insurance:

It is called “Seguro obligatorio de responsabilidad civil legal de automóvil vehiculos con matricula extranjera y en transito”. This is not a requirement for Immigration or Customs but people will make you believe so. This is a requirement of the police and it is simply a Third Party Liability Insurance. If you happen to have an International Insurance Policy then this is not required by the police, but if you don’t then the police can force you to buy it and penalize you if you do not have this paper. This policy can be purchased after dealing with Immigration and Customs.

***Five kilometres later…

A fake police station was set up and a police office with a fat chick stopped us to ask for driver’s licence and insurance which sounds reasonable but not until they started to play tricks saying I did not look like the woman in the picture. I did not let them rip us off; they wanted money for a fee that was the last one to come into the country. Video of this…

Exiting Nicaragua.

The longest and stupidest process of all.

***Payment to exit to the Municipality of Cardenas Rivas, the receipt is issued as an Especial Contribution of $1 USD/person.

***There is a little booth where Immigration and Customs (DGA-Direccion General de Aduanas) check the passports and the vehicles and allow us to go to the next office inside a big parking lot.

***Immigration: here we have to show our passports and a stamp is placed. We also have to pay again a fee of $2 USD/person for Migración y Extranjeria.

***Customs: the best is to find the Customs office and ask for instructions. Otherwise it can be complicated.

-Get a signature on the permit of entry to Nicaragua for the vehicle in consideration from a police officer who is in the parking lot, who knows where and a signature of an officer of DGA (Customs). These two individuals suppose to check your vehicle but they do not, so really the signature is worth nothing. Someone may know the name of the police officer and the Customs officer and in that way it is easier to find them.

-With these two signatures in the document plus the driver’s licence and passport, another Customs officer will check the documents (in an office at the back of the parking lot). This officer will issue a signature on the permit of entry to Nicaragua for the vehicle in consideration. Another police officer in this office will do the same.

-The permit of entry to Nicaragua for the vehicle in consideration is given back to us and with all the signatures issued this paper is given back to another Customs officer at the end of the parking lot.

-At this point another Immigration officer checks the passports with the exit stamp.

Entering Costa Rica.

***Immigration: as simple as personally delivering the passport and getting a stamp which will allow Canadians to stay in the country for a maximum of 90 days. This is the first border, after Mexico, where they actually require seeing the person of the passport.

***Customs:

First the following documents have to be presented,

-Passport with the stamp of entry of Immigration Costa Rica: original & copy.

-Title or Registration of the vehicle: original & copy.

-Driver’s Licence: original & copy.

-Insurance called “Seguro obligatorio de vehiculos automores-poliza turista”, cost = 6736 Colones and it can only be paid in this currency: original & copy. This is purchased next to the Immigration office.

-Importation form called “Solicitud de Importación Temporal del Vehiculo”.

Second, with all these papers a little document is elaborated and the entire package is taken to another Customs office where the actual permit gets issued.

Third, in this other Customs office the package is delivered and a Customs officer prepares the permit of entry to Costa Rica for the vehicle. In return you get the permit along with the little document issued earlier to be able to exit the parking lot.

Fourth, little document is given to a guard at the end of the parking lot and Welcome to the Land of Civilized people again…

Deyanira Mendoza Dominguez – Adventure Researcher

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous19 May, 2011

    Crazy border crossing. I've heard horror stories of these borders, but never in such detail. When I eventually head to South America, this information will be invaluable to me. Travel safe and journey well.

    Shawn

    ReplyDelete