Border Crossings

US – Mexico Border

US – Mexico Border

Entering Mexico

Crossing from the US to Mexico was pretty simple.

I crossed at the Laredo border, which has 3 bridges connecting Texas with Nuevo Laredo in Mexico. You reach the main bridge (Number 2) following I35 south, but I decided to take bridge number 1 located to the right of the interstate highway.

As you leave the US you must go through an exit toll. Motorcycles pay USD3.50, I guess that cars pay the same. I did not check; I couldn’t pay attention to anything else but what I was doing. Right after the toll booth, you make a right and you are already entering Mexico. There are 2 directions you can take depending if you have something to declare or not, just like in the airport. I took the left option for nothing to declare.

What comes is a nightmare! At least if you are riding a big and heavy motorcycle. Introducing the most tortuous and idiotic traffic-slowing device probably inspired by the French Inquisition, the triple line sunny side up eggs (no idea what the real name is), a 3 line setup of metal half circumferences installed on a pattern on which one of them is in front of the space left by 2 on the second line, and one on the 3rd line is also in the middle of the same 2, like the pieces in checkers, with enough space between them for your front wheel to almost fit. And there is more than one of those in a few yards!

Nobody was stopping me so I was just passing through (with a lot of difficulties) while trying to figure out what I was supposed to do when I saw what must have been an agent or employee of this border waiving and telling me something. Yes, I had my helmet on!

This person asked me where I was going and I was thinking “did I miss the immigration booth?!”, but no, he was just curious. I asked him for directions to immigration and customs as I knew I had to at least get the temporary import permit (TIP) for my bike.

Immediately after you pass this entrance you must make a right and follow the signs to the Vehicle’s Temporary Import Office called “Modulo CIITEV”

Once you arrive and park you enter the building and take your left towards immigration. It is called Step 1 (go figure).

If you have not purchased insurance yet, some very friendly ladies will offer it to you from about 6 different companies. Nobody asked me for insurance at this place, but you must carry at least liability insurance in Mexico, and based on some recent changes in the law a USD300,000 is the recommended amount.

In the immigration office, I walked straight to the counter as nobody was there the officer instructed me to fill up the migratory form (nothing new) and he sent me to Step 2 after checking the passport, asking the routine questions, with instructions to come back with a receipt showing that I paid.

I walked half the building to Step 2, passing the entrance door and going right. A receptionist on this side of the building controlled my papers and pointed to the Step 2 window and indicated I was to skip Step 3 and move directly to Step 4.

Step 2, photocopies. You will need a copy of your passport; your vehicle registration and the top part of the migration form you just completed in Step 1. All 3 copies were MX$35, but I only needed my migration form (I carry copies of the other documents already) which cost me MX$5 (USD0.25, yep, expensive for a copy). Done that only needed Step 4.

Step 4 is Banjercito, where you pay for all the permits. You need from 200 to 400 USD for the TIP deposit (depending on the age of your vehicle, mine paid the highest, and I didn’t ask what years where the other amounts were) plus about 51 USD for the TIP processing and a final roughly 35 USD for the immigration processing. You can pay with cash or card, and the deposit will be returned to you when you leave assuming you have not overstayed your TIP. So, bring USD 500 or your card to Step 4.

That done, you will walk now back to where you started on the far left of the building to give the immigration officer the receipt for the processing and he will have you on your way after some final clicks and stamps.

We call all this bureaucracy, they call it “it is what it is”

Joking aside, while it would take some time, the process is simple. I was there on Sunday morning and was out in about 45 minutes. Mind you there were almost no customers.

Please note, as of this writing the Mexican government requires that you wear a mask to enter the building, if you don’t have one, a nice person at the entrance will give you one in exchange for a donation.  I gave him 50 USD cents because the one I had was somewhere inside my luggage and I wasn’t going to unload and open the panniers to find it. The time saved was well worth the money.

With my papers completed and being very hot inside the riding suit, I was ready to go. Coming out of the parking lot, it would seem that you can only turn right, which I did; found a place to U-turn and came back in the same direction I had arrived. In retrospect and having experienced Mexican driving style, I could have just turned right over the yellow lines.

I was now legally in Mexico, riding 85 Libre south towards Monterrey. Did not look back or to the sides (I should have changed some money maybe, but I didn’t) I just rode into Mexico and far from the border.

Published by Martin Posse