Mexico ( I have been many times. I will never return )
Warning: Mexico enforces it laws!
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Mexico is a Spanish-speaking country about three times the size of Texas, consisting of 31 states and one federal district. The capital is Mexico City. Mexico has a rapidly developing economy, ranked by the World Bank as the twelfth largest in the world. The climate ranges from tropical to desert, and the terrain consists of coastal lowlands, central high plateaus, and mountains of up to 18,000 feet.
Many cities throughout Mexico are popular tourist destinations for U.S. citizens. Travelers should note that location-specific information contained below is not confined solely to those cities, but can reflect conditions throughout Mexico. Although the majority of visitors to Mexico thoroughly enjoy their stay, a small number experience difficulties and serious inconveniences. Read the Department of State Background Notes on Mexico for additional information. Travelers to Mexico should carefully read the section on Crime below.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: The Government of Mexico requires that all U.S. citizens present proof of citizenship and photo identification for entry into Mexico. However, some U.S. citizens have encountered difficulty in boarding flights in Mexico without a passport. The U.S. Embassy recommends traveling with a valid U.S. passport to avoid delays or misunderstandings. A lost or stolen passport is easier to replace when outside of the United States than other evidence of citizenship. However, U.S. citizenship documents such as a certified copy (not a simple photocopy or facsimile) of a U.S. birth certificate, a Naturalization Certificate, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or a Certificate of Citizenship are acceptable. U.S. citizens boarding flights to Mexico should be prepared to present one of these documents as proof of U.S. citizenship, along with photo identification, such as a state or military issued ID. Driver’s licenses and permits, voter registration cards, affidavits and similar documents are not sufficient to prove citizenship for readmission into the United States.
IMPORTANT NEW INFORMATION: Effective January 23, 2007, all U.S. citizens traveling by air to and from the Caribbean, Bermuda, Panama, Mexico and Canada are required to have a valid passport to enter or re-enter the United States. As early as January 1, 2008, U.S. citizens traveling between the United States and the Caribbean, Bermuda, Panama, Mexico and Canada by land or sea (including ferries), may be required to present a valid U.S. passport or other documents as determined by the Department of Homeland Security. American citizens can visit travel.state.gov or call 1-877-4USA-PPT (1-877-487-2778) for information on applying for a passport.
Tourist Travel: U.S. citizens do not require a visa or a tourist card for tourist stays of 72 hours or less within “the border zone,” defined as an area between 20 to 30 kilometers of the border with the U.S., depending on the location. U.S. citizens traveling as tourists beyond the border zone or entering Mexico by air must pay a fee to obtain a tourist card, also known as an FM-T, available from Mexican consulates, Mexican border crossing points, Mexican tourism offices, airports within the border zone and most airlines serving Mexico. The fee for the tourist card is generally included in the price of a plane ticket for travelers arriving by air.
Vehicle Permits: With the exception of travel to the Baja Peninsula, tourists wishing to travel beyond the border zone with their car must obtain a temporary import permit or risk having their car confiscated by Mexican customs officials. To acquire a permit, one must submit evidence of citizenship, title for the car, a car registration certificate, a driver’s license, and a processing fee to either a Banjercito branch located at a Mexican Customs (Aduanas) office at the port of entry, or at one of the Mexican Consulates located in Austin, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Bernardino, or San Francisco. Mexican law also requires the posting of a bond at a Banjercito (Mexican Army Bank) office to guarantee the departure of the car from Mexico within a time period determined at the time of the application. For this purpose, American Express, Visa or MasterCard credit card holders will be asked to provide credit card information; others will need to make a cash deposit of between $200 and $400, depending on the age of the car. In order to recover this bond or avoid credit card charges, travelers must go to any Mexican Customs office immediately prior to departing Mexico. Disregard any advice, official or unofficial, that vehicle permits can be obtained at checkpoints in the interior of Mexico.
Travelers should avoid individuals outside vehicle permit offices offering to obtain the permits without waiting in line, even if they appear to be government officials. There have been reports of fraudulent or counterfeit permits being issued outside of the doors of the vehicle import permit office in Nuevo Laredo and other border areas. If the proper permit was not obtained before entering Mexico and cannot be obtained at the Banjercito branch at the port of entry, do not proceed to the interior. Travelers without the proper permit may be incarcerated, fined and/or have their vehicle seized at immigration/customs checkpoints. For further information, contact Mexican Customs about appropriate vehicle permits.
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