Business Travel: Traveling to Mexico
“South of the border, down Mexico way
That’s where I fell in love, where the stars above came out to play
And now as I wander, my thoughts ever stray
South of the border, down Mexico way”
– Frank Sinatra, South of the Border
Border crossing and illegal immigration from Mexico to the United States caused an uproar a few weeks back in the United States. It created a stir in the U.S. Congress and raised a number of voices, either in favor of tightening border crossing and migration laws from Mexico to the United States, or of loosening the said laws.
With the implementation of the U.S. Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative and other related measures securing border crossing into the U.S. slowly taking place as an offshoot of the 9/11 attacks, one can only imagine how hard these laws might affect travel and tourism in Northern America. The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative requires a traveler, whether a U.S. citizen or a foreigner, to present a passport or other relevant travel documents before entering the country.
But if one is finding it quite difficult to travel to the U.S., one must also flip the coin and find that it is also not that easy to travel from U.S. to Mexico. There are a number of guidelines one must follow before entering that country if you are coming from the U.S. Below is a rough outline of what one should do before traveling to Mexico, which can be found in full detail at U.S. Department of State homepage.
U.S. citizens do not require a visa or tourist card if they are going to stay in “the border zone,” which is the area some 20 or 30 kilometers of the border with the U.S. If going beyond the border zone, one must get an FM-T, the tourist card, which are available from Mexican consulates, Mexican border crossing points, tourism offices, airports within the border zone and most airlines serving Mexico. The fee for the tourist card is often included in the price of a plane ticket to Mexico if the traveler is flying to that country by air.
The tourist card is surrendered to Mexican immigration upon departure. Never, ever lose your tourist card if you do not want to deal with Mexican bureaucracy upon leaving the country. Leave before your tourist card expires or have it revalidated if you are going to stay beyond the expiration date.
If you are driving to Mexico, get a temporary import permit from a Banjercito branch at the Mexican Customs Office at the point of entry. This would require documents proving ownership of the vehicle as well as a bond deposit of something like US0 to 400. Get your permit only from the Banjercito branch and do not forget to claim your bond upon your return to the U.S.
Register your itinerary with the Department of State before leaving.
About the Author: Anna Lynn C. Sibal has worked with traveling business executives for the past seven years, providing them with close personal and administrative assistance. Along with her innate interest in travel, this experience has given her many insights on how traveling executives think and what they need.
Anne is a journalism graduate from the University of the Philippines, the leading state university of that country, as well as one of the premier academic institutions in Southeast Asia. Aside from travel, Anne also displays a keen interst in literature, the cinema and the Internet. She has written and contributed actively to various student publications and has managed an in-house publication for a real estate association in the Philippines. She has also won an award for her screenplay from the Film Development Foundation of the Philippines in 2001.
Check out her Business Trips blog.