Aug 27, 2018

Headed To Mexico?

The Mexican government has attempted to make entering Mexico by pleasure boat less complicated, but there's still a checklist of documentation required. Getting that paperwork in order months ahead is necessary. Start with a valid passport, required for each crewmember.

Most critical for any skipper to enter Mexico on your own boat is having original vessel documentation for proof of ownership, obtaining a temporary import permit (TIP) and displaying the decal, as well having your boat's hull identification number (HIN) where inspectors can see it. This is especially important if you plan to leave your boat in Mexico while returning stateside. In 2013, Mexican authorities seized dozens of U.S.-flagged boats that didn't have the permit decal and/or the HIN visible.

Apply for a TIP at one of 10 Mexican consulate offices in the U.S. You can also apply and pay for the TIP online through its Banjercito website. The site is in Spanish, but you can switch to English by clicking the option in the upper right corner. The cost is around US$51 plus tax.

Everyone on board will also need an FMM visitor card (formerly called a tourist visa).

Vessels also must complete an International Clear-In Document on arrival. A fee of about US$15 is required for each person aboard and must be paid by credit card. The fee can be prepaid online through the Mexican government's Banjercito website.

Casual anglers should know that if there's fishing gear on board, every person on board must obtain a Mexican fishing license, whether or not they're fishing. 

In addition to proper documentation, boating in Mexico requires three types of insurance: hull coverage, liability coverage, and automobile liability coverage, if you're trailering your boat on land. The wrinkle is that a Mexican insurance provider — outside of your normal insurance policy — must issue liability coverage for boat and trailer.  Restrictions may apply for storm seasons, destination, and length of stay.

Americans must remember that it's illegal to carry firearms or ammunition into Mexico. For comprehensive information on border-crossing document requirements, visit CBP's "Get You Home" page on its website.