Traveling to Mexico? Read this.

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In fact, I would print this out and take it with me. Long-assed, but may be of some help.

SUBJECT: Conditions of travel to MEXICO effective
1/1/2006. Rather lengthy however worth reading, or printing out for future reference, only 12 pages in length, could save a lot of trouble in the future.

If you plan on traveling there soon, recommend you review & understand the condition that has existed in that country presently, for your family & your own safety as an American Citizen.

From: CA, Travel Info
Subject: Mexico Consular Information Sheet


Mexico Consular Information Sheet

February 03, 2006

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.

The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 requires that by January 1, 2008, travelers to and from the Caribbean, Bermuda, Panama, Mexico and Canada have a passport or other secure, accepted document to enter or re-enter the United States. As of December 31, 2006, this requirement will apply to all air and sea travel to or from Mexico.

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.

Business Travel: Upon arrival in Mexico, business travelers must complete and submit a form (Form FM-N) authorizing the conduct of business, but not employment, for a 30-day period. Travelers entering Mexico for purposes other than tourism or business or for stays of longer than 180 days require a visa and must carry a valid U.S. passport. U.S. citizens planning to work or live in Mexico should apply for the appropriate Mexican visa at the Mexican Embassy in Washington, DC or nearest Mexican consulate in the United States.

Minors: Mexican law requires that any non-Mexican under the age of 18 departing Mexico must carry notarized written permission from any parent or guardian not traveling with the child. This permission must include the name of the parent, the name of the child, the name of anyone traveling with the child, and the notarized signature(s) of the absent parent(s). The State Department recommends that the permission should include travel dates, destinations, airlines and a brief summary of the circumstances surrounding the travel. The child must be carrying the original letter - not a facsimile or scanned copy - as well as proof of the parent/child relationship (usually a birth certificate or court document) - and an original custody decree, if applicable. Travelers should contact the Mexican Embassy or closest Mexican Consulate for current information.

All travelers should refer to our Foreign Entry Requirements brochure for more information on Mexico and other countries. Visit the Embassy of Mexico website at http://portal.sre.gob.mx/usa/ or contact the Embassy of Mexico at 1911 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20006, telephone (202) 736-1000, or any Mexican consulate in the United States for the most current visa information.

DUAL NATIONALITY: Mexican law recognizes dual nationality for Mexicans by birth, meaning those born in Mexico or born abroad to Mexican parents. U.S. citizens who are also Mexican nationals are considered to be Mexican by local authorities. Dual-nationality status could hamper U.S. Government efforts to provide consular protection. Dual nationals are not subject to compulsory military service in Mexico. Travelers possessing both U.S. and Mexican nationalities must carry with them proof of their citizenship of both countries. Under Mexican law, dual nationals entering or departing Mexico must identify themselves as Mexican. For additional information, Read our information on dual nationality and prevention of international child abduction.

SAFETY AND SECURITY: Travelers should avoid demonstrations and other activities that might be deemed political by the Mexican authorities. The Mexican Constitution prohibits political activities by foreigners, and such actions may result in detention and/or deportation.

The Department of State recommends caution in traveling to the southern state of Chiapas. Armed rebels and armed civilian groups are present in some areas of the state, and there is often no effective law enforcement or police protection. Violent criminal gang activity along the State's southern border - mostly aimed at illegal migrants - continues to be a concern. U.S. citizens traveling to Chiapas are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy for further security information prior to traveling to the region.

Sporadic outbursts of politically motivated violence occur from time to time in certain parts of the country, particularly in the southern states of Chiapas, Guerrero and Oaxaca.

GENERAL SAFETY: Standards of security, safety and supervision may not reach those expected in the United States. This has contributed to deaths of U.S. citizens in automobile accidents, after falls from balconies, after falls into open ditches, by drowning in the ocean as well as in hotel pools, and in water-sports mishaps, among others.

The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas. For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement , Travel Warnings and Public Announcementscan be found.

Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States, or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

CRIME: Crime in Mexico continues at high levels, and it is often violent, especially in Mexico City, Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, and the state of Sinaloa. Other metropolitan areas have lower, but still serious, levels of crime. Low apprehension and conviction rates of criminals contribute to the high crime rate. Travelers should always leave valuables and irreplaceable items in a safe place, or not bring them. All visitors are encouraged to make use of hotel safes when available, avoid wearing obviously expensive jewelry or designer clothing, and carry only the cash or credit cards that will be needed on each outing. There are a significant number of pick-pocketing incidents, purse snatchings and hotel-room thefts. Public transportation is a particularly popular place for pickpockets. U.S. citizen victims of crime in Mexico are encouraged to report the incident to the nearest police headquarters and to the nearest U.S. consular office.

Visitors should be aware of their surroundings at all times, even when in areas generally considered safe. Women traveling alone are especially vulnerable and should exercise caution, particularly at night. Victims, who are almost always unaccompanied, have been raped, robbed of personal property, or abducted and then held while their credit cards were used at various businesses and Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs). Armed street crime is a serious problem in all of the major cities. Some bars and nightclubs, especially in resort cities such as Cancun, Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Acapulco, can be havens for drug dealers and petty criminals. Some establishments may contaminate or drug drinks to gain control over the patron.

U.S. citizens should be very cautious in general when using ATMs in Mexico. If an ATM must be used, it should be accessed only during the business day at large protected facilities (preferably inside commercial establishments, rather than at glass-enclosed, highly visible ATMs on streets). U.S. and Mexican citizens are sometimes accosted on the street and forced to withdraw money from their accounts using their ATM cards.

A number of Americans have been arrested for passing on counterfeit currency they had earlier received in change. If you receive what you believe to be a counterfeit bank note, bring it to the attention of Mexican law enforcement.Kidnapping, including the kidnapping of non-Mexicans, continues at alarming rates. So-called "express" kidnappings, an attempt to get quick cash in exchange for the release of an individual, have occurred in almost all the large cities in Mexico and appear to target not only the wealthy, but also middle class persons. U.S. businesses with offices in Mexico or concerned U.S. citizens may contact the U.S. Embassy or any U.S. consulate to discuss precautions they should take.

Criminal assaults occur on highways throughout Mexico; travelers should exercise extreme caution at all times, avoid traveling at night, and may wish to use toll ("cuota") roads rather than the less secure "free" ("libre") roads whenever possible. In addition, U.S. citizens should not hitchhike with, or accept rides from or offer rides to, strangers anywhere in Mexico. Tourists should not hike alone in backcountry areas, nor walk alone on lightly-frequented beaches, ruins or trails.

All bus travel should be during daylight hours and on first-class conveyances. Although there have been several reports of bus hijackings and robberies on toll roads, buses on toll roads have a markedly lower rate of incidents than buses (second and third class) that travel the less secure "free" highways. The Embassy advises caution when traveling by bus from Acapulco toward Ixtapa or Huatulco. Although the police have made some progress in bringing this problem under control, armed robberies of entire busloads of passengers still occur.

In some instances, Americans have become victims of harassment, mistreatment and extortion by Mexican law enforcement and other officials. Mexican authorities have cooperated in investigating such cases, but one must have the officer's name, badge number, and patrol car number to pursue a complaint effectively. Please note this information if you ever have a problem with police or other officials. In addition, tourists should be wary of persons representing themselves as police officers or other officials. When in doubt, ask for identification. Be aware that offering a bribe to a public official to avoid a ticket or other penalty is a crime in Mexico.

It is increasingly common for extortionists to call prospective victims on the telephone, often posing as police officers, and demand payments in return for the release of an arrested family member, or to forestall a kidnapping. Prison inmates using smuggled cellular phones often place these calls. Persons receiving such calls should be extremely skeptical since most such demands or threats are baseless, and should contact the U.S. Embassy or closest U.S. consulate, or the Department of State for assistance.

U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet, A Safe Trip Abroad , for ways to promote a trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/, or via the Department's Internet web site.

INFORMATION FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are a victim of a crime while overseas, you should report it immediately to the nearest U.S. consular office and make a report to Mexican authorities. Do not rely on hotel/restaurant/tour company management to make the report for you. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed. Under the best of circumstances, prosecution is very difficult (a fact some assailants appear to knowingly exploit), but no criminal investigation is possible without a formal complaint to Mexican authorities.

Victims of crime may also report the crime to the Mexican Embassy or nearest consulate after arriving in the United States. However, delays in reporting the crime may hinder or even prevent prosecution in some cases.

See our information on Victims of Crime

CRIME IN MEXICO CITY: In Mexico City, the most frequently reported crimes involving tourists are taxi robbery (see below), armed robbery, pick-pocketing and purse-snatching. In several cases, tourists have reported that men in uniforms perpetrated the crime, stopping vehicles and seeking money, or assaulting and robbing tourists walking late at night. As in any large city, individuals should exercise caution and be aware of their surroundings, especially when walking anywhere in the city.

Business travelers should be aware that thefts occur even in what appear to be secure locations. Thefts of such items as briefcases and laptops occur frequently at the Benito Juarez International Airport and at business-class hotels. Arriving travelers who need to obtain pesos at the airport should use the exchange counters or ATMs in the arrival/departure gate area, where access is restricted, rather than changing money after passing through Customs, where they can be observed by criminals.

Metro (subway) robberies are frequent in Mexico City. If riding the Metro or the city bus system, U.S. citizens should take extreme care with valuables and belongings. Avoid using Metro during busy commuting hours in the morning or afternoon. Tourists and residents alike should avoid driving alone at night anywhere in Mexico City.

Robbery and assaults on passengers in taxis are frequent and violent in Mexico City, with passengers subjected to beatings, shootings and sexual assault. U.S. citizens visiting Mexico City should avoid taking any taxi not summoned by telephone or contacted in advance. When in need of a taxi, please telephone a radio taxi or "sitio" (regulated taxi stand - pronounced "C-T-O"), and ask the dispatcher for the driver's name and the cab's license plate number. Ask the hotel concierge or other responsible individual calling on your behalf to write down the license plate number of the cab that you entered. Sitio taxis may be distinguished from other taxis in Mexico City by the letter "S" that precedes the identification numbers on the side of the car and on the license plate.

Passengers arriving at Mexico City's Benito Juarez International Airport should take only airport taxis (which are white with a yellow stripe and a black airplane symbol) after pre-paying the fare at one of the special booths inside the airport.

CRIME IN CANCUN AND OTHER RESORT AREAS: There have been a significant number of rapes reported in Cancun. Many of these have occurred at night or in the early morning. Attacks have also occurred on deserted beaches and in hotel rooms. Acquaintance rape is a serious problem. In other cases, hotel workers, taxi drivers, and security personnel have been implicated. Please refer to our information for Victims of Crime .

CRIME IN BORDER CITIES: Visitors to the U.S. - Mexico border region, including cities such as Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, Nogales, Reynosa and Matamoros, should remain alert and be aware of their surroundings at all times.

Some border posts have seen an increase in violence over the past year and some of it has been directed against U.S. citizens. Local police forces have been ineffective in maintaining security in some regions along the border. Drug-related violence also has increased dramatically in recent months, and shows no sign of abating. While U.S. citizens not involved in criminal activities are generally not targeted, innocent bystanders are at risk from the increase in violence in the streets of border cities.

In Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo and Tijuana, shootings have taken place at busy intersections and at popular restaurants during daylight hours. The wave of violence has been aimed primarily at members of drug trafficking organizations, criminal justice officials and journalists. However, foreign visitors and residents, including Americans, have been among the victims of homicides and kidnappings in the border region. In recent months, the worst violence has been centered in the city of Nuevo Laredo in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, where numerous citizens were kidnapped and/or murdered. U.S. citizens are urged to be especially aware of safety and security concerns when visiting the border region and exercise common-sense precautions such as visiting only legitimate business and tourist areas of border towns during daylight hours.

Mexican authorities have failed to prosecute numerous crimes committed against American citizens, including murder and kidnapping. Local police forces suffer from a lack of funds and training, and the judicial system is weak, overworked, and inefficient. Criminals, armed with an impressive array of weapons, know there is little chance they will be caught and punished. In some cases, assailants have been wearing full or partial police uniforms and have used vehicles that resemble police vehicles, indicating some elements of the police might be involved.

Visitors are very vulnerable when visiting the local "red light districts," particularly if they are departing alone in the early hours of the morning. In Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana, there has also been a rise in automobile accidents in which municipal police extort money from U.S. citizen victims.

MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION: Adequate medical care can be found in all major cities. Excellent health facilities are available in Mexico City, but training and availability of emergency responders may be below U.S. standards. Care in more remote areas is limited. Standards of medical training, patient care and business practices vary greatly among medical facilities in beach resorts throughout Mexico. In recent years, some U.S. citizens have complained that certain health-care facilities in beach resorts have taken advantage of them by overcharging or providing unnecessary medical care. In addition to other publicly available information, Americans may consult the U.S. Embassy's website or the U.S. Embassy, a consulate or consular agency prior to seeking medical attention. The Embassy, consulates and consular agencies maintain lists of reputable doctors and medical facilities that are available to assist U.S. citizens in need of medical care.

In many areas in Mexico, tap water is unsafe and should be avoided. Bottled water and beverages are safe; although visitors should be aware that many restaurants and hotels serve tap water unless bottled water is specifically requested. Ice may also come from tap water and should be considered unsafe. Visitors should exercise caution when buying food or beverages from street vendors.

In high altitude areas such as Mexico City (elevation 7,600 feet or about 1/2 mile higher than Denver, Colorado), most people need a short adjustment period. Reaction signs to high altitude include a lack of energy, shortness of breath, occasional dizziness, headache, and insomnia. Those with heart problems should consult their doctor before traveling. Air pollution in Mexico City and Guadalajara is severe, especially from December to May, and combined with high altitude could affect travelers with underlying respiratory problems.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. To ensure proper reimbursement of medical expenses by insurance carriers, the U.S. Embassy recommends that patients ensure they have sufficient documentation of their care and treatment before leaving the health care facility.

The Social Security Medicare Program does not provide coverage for hospital or medical costs outside the United States. Please see our information on medical insurance abroad.

TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Mexico is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance. Public transportation vehicles, specifically taxis and city buses, often do not comply with traffic regulations, including observing speed limits and stopping at red lights.

Driving and Vehicle Regulations: U.S. driver's licenses are valid in Mexico. The Government of Mexico strictly regulates the entry of vehicles into Mexico. Mexican law requires that only owners drive their vehicles, or that the owner be inside the vehicle. If not, the vehicle may be seized by Mexican customs and will not be returned under any circumstances. For detailed information on how to bring a car into Mexico, please refer to the publication Tips for Travelers to Mexico.

Mexican insurance is required for all vehicles, including rental vehicles. Mexican auto insurance is sold in most cities and towns on both sides of the border. U.S. automobile liability insurance is not valid in Mexico, nor is most collision and comprehensive coverage issued by U.S. companies. Motor vehicle insurance is considered invalid in Mexico if the driver is found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Road Emergencies and Automobile Accidents: If you have an emergency while driving, the equivalent of "911" in Mexico is "060", but this number is not always answered. If you are driving on a toll highway (or "cuota") or any other major highway, you may contact the "Green Angels," a fleet of trucks with bilingual crews. The "Green Angels" may be reached directly by (01)(55) 5250-8221. If you are unable to call them, pull off the road and lift the hood of your car, chances are they will find you.

If you are involved in an automobile accident, you will be taken into police custody until it can be determined who is liable and whether you have the ability to pay any penalty. If you do not have Mexican liability insurance, you may be prevented from departing the country even if you require life-saving medical care, and you are almost certain to spend some time in jail until all parties are satisfied that responsibility has been assigned and adequate financial satisfaction received. Drivers may face criminal charges if injuries or damages are serious.

ROAD SAFETY: Avoid driving on Mexican highways at night. Many U.S. citizens have died in recent years as a result of driving at excessive speeds, at night, on roads that are in poor condition or are poorly marked. Vehicular traffic in Mexico City is restricted in order to reduce air pollution. The restriction is based on the last digit of the vehicle license plate. This applies equally to permanent, temporary, and foreign (U.S.) plates. For additional information refer to http://www.hoynocircula.com.mx/ (Spanish only). Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.

For additional information concerning Mexican driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax, mandatory insurance, etc., please contact the Mexican Secretariat of Tourism (SECTUR) at telephone 1-800-44-MEXICO (639-426), or its web site at http://mexico-travel.com. Travelers are advised to consult with the Mexican Embassy or the nearest Mexican consulate in the United States for additional, detailed information prior to entering Mexico. For travel in the Baja California peninsula, travelers can also consult http://www.traveltobaja.net/.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Mexico as being in compliance with ICAO international aviation safety standards for oversight of Mexico's air carrier operations. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA's Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/safety/programs_initiatives/oversight/iasa.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Weather conditions may vary as they do in various parts of the United States. From June to November, the country may experience strong winds and rains as a result of hurricanes in the Gulf or along the Pacific Coast. Some areas may experience earth tremors. It is prudent to leave a detailed itinerary, including local contact information and expected time-date of return with a friend or family member.

Water Sports: Visitors to Mexico, including to local resort areas, should carefully assess the potential risk of recreational activities. Recreational facilities such as pools may not meet U.S. safety or sanitation standards. Do not swim in pools or at beaches without lifeguards. Several U.S. citizens have died in hotel pools in recent years. Parents should watch minor children closely when they are in or around water. U.S. citizens have drowned or disappeared at both remote and popular beaches along the southwest coast of Mexico.

Warning flags on beaches should be taken seriously. If black flags are up, do not enter the water. In Cancun, there is often a very strong undertow along the beach from the Hyatt Regency all the way south to the Sol y Mar. Several drownings and near-drownings have been reported on the east coast of Cozumel, particularly in the Playa San Martin-Chen Rio area. In Acapulco, avoid swimming outside the bay area. Several American citizens have died while swimming in rough surf at the Revolcadero Beach near Acapulco. Despite U.S. trained lifeguards, there have been several drownings of persons in the area of Zipolite beach in Puerto Angel Oaxaca because of sudden waves and strong currents. Beaches on the Pacific side of the Baja California Peninsula at Cabo San Lucas are dangerous due to rip tides and rogue waves; hazardous beaches in this area are clearly marked in English and Spanish. Do not swim alone in isolated beach areas. Beaches may not be well marked, and strong currents could lead to dangerous conditions for even the most experienced swimmers. Do not dive into unknown bodies of water, because hidden rocks or shallow depths can cause serious injury or death.

Sports and aquatic equipment that you rent may not meet U.S. safety standards nor be covered by any accident insurance. Scuba diving equipment may be substandard or defective due to frequent use. Inexperienced scuba divers in particular should beware of dive shops that promise to "certify" you after a few hours' instruction. Parasailing has killed American tourists who were dragged through palm trees or were slammed into hotel walls. Jet-ski accidents have killed American tourists, especially in group-outings when inexperienced guides allowed their clients to follow each other too closely.

Cancun and Other Resort Areas: Over 3 million Americans travel to Cancun and other Mexican beach resorts each year, including as many as 120,000 during "spring break" season, which normally begins in mid-February and runs about two months. Excessive alcohol consumption, especially by Americans under the legal U.S. drinking age, is a significant problem. The legal drinking age in Mexico is 18, but it is not uniformly enforced. Alcohol is implicated in the majority of arrests, violent crimes, accidents and deaths suffered by American tourists.

In recent years, moped rentals have become very widespread in Cancun and Cozumel, and the number of serious moped accidents has risen accordingly. Most operators carry no insurance and do not conduct safety checks. The Embassy recommends avoiding operators who do not provide a helmet with the rental. Some operators have been known to demand fees many times in excess of damages caused to the vehicles, even if renters have purchased insurance in advance. Vacationers at other beach resorts have encountered similar problems after accidents involving rented jet-skis. There have been cases of mobs gathering to prevent tourists from departing the scene and to help intimidate them into paying exorbitant damage claims.

MOTOR ACCIDENTS: Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death of U.S. citizens in Mexico. Motorists should exercise special caution on the heavily traveled expressway south of Cancun, particularly between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, where the road narrows from 4 divided lanes to two-way traffic on a narrower and poorly maintained road. For more information, please refer to our Road Safety page..

Mountain Climbing and Hiking: Travelers who wish to climb Pico de Orizaba in Veracruz should be aware that summer droughts in recent years have removed much of the snow coating and turned the Jamapa Glacier into a high-speed ice chute, increasing the risk of death or serious injury. At least 17 climbers have died on the mountain and 39 have been injured in recent years, including U.S. citizens. Rescue teams operate without the benefit of sophisticated equipment, and any medical treatment provided in local hospitals or clinics must be paid in cash. While regulation of the ascent is minimal and guides are not required, the U.S. Embassy recommends hiring an experienced guide.

The Colima Volcano, located approximately 20 miles north-northeast of Colima city, is active and erupted several times in 2005. Travelers should not enter the prohibited area within a 4.5-mile radius of the volcano.

When departing on an outing to backcountry areas to hike or climb, it is prudent to leave a detailed itinerary, including route information and expected time-date of return with your hotel clerk or a friend or family member. Similarly, mariners preparing to depart from a Mexican harbor should visit the harbormaster and leave a detailed trip plan, including intended destination and crew and passenger information.

FIREARMS PENALTIES: The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against taking any type of firearm or ammunition into Mexico without prior written authorization from the Mexican authorities. Entering Mexico with a firearm, some kinds of knives or even a single round of ammunition is illegal, even if the weapon or ammunition is taken into Mexico unintentionally. The Mexican government strictly enforces its laws restricting the entry of firearms and ammunition along all land borders and at air and seaports. Violations have resulted in arrests, convictions, and long prison sentences for U.S. citizens.

Vessels entering Mexican waters with firearms or ammunition on board must have a permit previously issued by the Mexican Embassy or a Mexican consulate. Mariners do not avoid prosecution by declaring their weapons at the port of entry. Before traveling, mariners who have obtained a Mexican firearm permit should contact Mexican port officials to receive guidance on the specific procedures used to report and secure weapons and ammunition.

CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Please see our information on customs regulations .
U.S. citizens bringing gifts to friends and relatives in Mexico should be prepared to demonstrate to Mexican customs officials the origin and the value of the gifts. U.S. citizens entering Mexico by the land border can bring in gifts with a value of up to $50.00 duty-free, except for alcohol and tobacco products. Those entering Mexico by air or sea can bring in gifts with a value of up to $300.00 duty-free.

Tourists are allowed to bring in their personal effects duty-free. According to customs regulations, in addition to clothing, personal effects may include one camera, one video cassette player, one personal computer, one CD player, 5 DVDs, 20 music CDs or audiocassettes, 12 rolls of unused film, and one cellular phone. Any tourist carrying such items, even if duty-free, should enter the "Merchandise to Declare" lane at the first customs checkpoint. The tourist should be prepared to pay any assessed duty. Failure to declare personal effects routinely results in the seizure of the goods as contraband, plus the seizure of the vehicle in which the goods are traveling for attempted smuggling. The recovery of the seized vehicle involves the payment of substantial fines and attorney's fees.

Mexican customs authorities enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Mexico of items such as trucks, and autos, trailers, antiquities, medications, medical equipment, business equipment, etc. It is advisable to contact the Mexican Embassy or one of the Mexican consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.

U.S. citizens traveling to Mexico with goods intended for donation within Mexico, or traveling through Mexico with goods intended for donation in another country, should be aware of Mexican Customs regulations prohibiting importation of used clothing, textiles, and other used goods into Mexico. These regulations apply even to charitable donations. Individuals or groups wishing to make such donations should check with Mexican Customs for the list of prohibited items, and should hire an experienced customs broker in the U.S. to ensure compliance with Mexican law. The charitable individual or group, not the customs broker, will be held responsible for large fines or confiscation of goods if the documentation is incorrect. The website for Mexican Customs, or "Aduanas," is in Spanish only at http://www.aduanas.sat.gob.mx/webadunet/body.htm. Mexican authorities require that all international transit through Mexico of persons and merchandise destined for Central or South America be handled only at the Los Indios Bridge located south of Harlingen, Texas on Route 509. The American Consulate in Matamoros is the closest consulate to Los Indios Bridge and may be contacted for up-to-date information by calling 011-52-868-812-4402, ext. 273 or 280, or by checking their website, http://matamoros.usconsulate.gov/matamoros-esp/, which lists in English the most common items prohibited from entry into Mexico. Additional customs information can be found on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website at http://www.cbp.gov.

BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION FACILITIES: A number of facilities have opened in Mexico that offer behavior modification therapy for teenagers and others suffering from drug addiction and other behavioral or psychological problems. Standards applied by the Government of Mexico and local governments, where they exist, may not meet standards for similar facilities in the United States. Parents planning to enroll their children in these facilities should investigate the facility first. Since 2004, Mexican officials closed six adolescent behavior modification facilities in Baja California and another in Jalisco due to health code and other violations. This was done on very short notice and caused serious inconvenience for the American students and their families. Another behavior modification facility in Sonora suddenly declared bankruptcy and closed its doors in March 2005, with a similarly disruptive impact on students. For further information, please refer to the State Department's Fact Sheet on Behavior Modification Facilities.

CRIMINAL PENALTIES AND TREATMENT OF PRISONERS: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. The trial process in Mexico is different than in the United States, and procedures may vary from state to state. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Mexican laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs in Mexico are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.

Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States. For more information, please see our information on Criminal Penalties.

Soliciting the services of a minor for sexual purposes is illegal in Mexico, and is punishable by imprisonment. The Mexican government has announced an aggressive program to discourage sexual tourism. Police authorities in the state of Baja California recently began enforcement of anti-pedophile legislation.

The Mexican government is required by international law to notify the U.S. Embassy or the nearest U.S. consulate promptly when an American citizen is arrested, if the arrestee so requests. In practice, however, this notification can be delayed by months or may never occur at all, limiting the assistance the U.S. Government can provide. Americans should promptly identify themselves as such to the arresting officers, and should request that the Embassy or nearest consulate be notified immediately.

Prison conditions in Mexico can be extremely poor. In many facilities food is insufficient in both quantity and quality, and prisoners must pay for adequate nutrition from their own funds. Most Mexican prisons provide poor medical care, and even prisoners with urgent medical conditions receive only a minimum of attention. U.S. citizens who are incarcerated in Mexico are sometimes forced to pay hundreds and even thousands of dollars in "protection money" to fellow prisoners.

Mexican police regularly obtain information through torture and prosecutors use this evidence in courts. The Constitution and the law prohibit torture, and Mexico is party to several international ant-torture conventions, but courts continue to admit as evidence confessions extracted under torture. Authorities rarely punish officials for torture, which continues to occur in large part because confessions are the primary evidence in many criminal convictions. U.S. citizens have been brutalized, beaten, and even raped while in police custody. Since the beginning of 2002, 20 American citizens have died in Mexican prisons, including five apparent homicides.

DRUG PENALTIES AND PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS: Penalties for drug offenses are strict, and convicted offenders can expect large fines and jail sentences up to 25 years. The purchase of controlled medication requires a prescription from a licensed Mexican physician; some Mexican doctors have been arrested for writing prescriptions without due cause. In those instances, American citizens who bought the medications have been held in jail for months waiting for the Mexican judicial system to decide their fate. The Mexican list of controlled medication differs from that of the United States, and Mexican public health laws concerning controlled medication are unclear and often enforced selectively. To determine whether a particular medication is controlled in Mexico, and requires a prescription from a Mexican doctor for purchase, please consult the website of the Mexican Federal Commission for Protection Against Health Risks at http://www.cofepris.gob.mx/pyp/estpsic/es.htm.

The U.S. Embassy recommends that U.S. citizens not travel to Mexico for the sole purpose of buying prescription drugs. U.S. citizens have been arrested and their medicines confiscated by the Mexican authorities, even though their prescriptions were written by a licensed American physician and filled by a licensed Mexican pharmacist. There have been cases of Americans buying prescription drugs in border cities only to be arrested soon after or have money extorted by criminals impersonating police officers. Those arrested are often held for the full 48 hours allowed by Mexican law without charges being filed, then released. During this interval, the detainees are often asked for bribes or are solicited by attorneys who demand large fees to secure their release, which will normally occur without any intercession, as there are insufficient grounds to bring criminal charges against the individuals. In addition, U.S. law enforcement officials believe that as much as 25 percent of medications available in Mexico are counterfeit and substandard. Such counterfeit medications may be difficult to distinguish from the real medication and could pose serious health risks to consumers. The importation of prescription drugs into the United States can be illegal in certain circumstances. U.S. law generally permits persons to enter the United States with only an immediate (about one-month's) supply of a prescription medication. Further information on bringing prescription drugs into the United States is available from U.S. Customs and Border Protection at " Know Before You Go ."

The U.S. Embassy cautions that possession of any amount of prescription medicine brought from the United States, including medications to treat HIV and psychotropic drugs such as Valium, can result in arrest if Mexican authorities suspect abuse or if the quantity of the prescription medicine exceeds the amount required for several days' use. Individuals should consider carrying a copy of the prescription and a Mexican doctor's letter explaining that the quantity of medication is appropriate for their personal medical use.

To import medicines into Mexico for personal use, a foreigner must obtain a permit from the Mexican Health Department prior to importing the medicine into Mexico. Additional information is available at www.cofepris.gob.mx. For a fee, a customs broker can process the permit before the Mexican authorities on behalf of an individual. If using the services of a customs broker, it is advisable to agree upon the fees before telling the broker to proceed. Current information on local customs brokers (agencias aduanales) is available at the Mexico City yellow pages at www.seccionamarilla.com.mx.

MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS IN MEXICO: In general, to marry a Mexican national in Mexico, a U.S. citizen must be physically present in Mexico, and present documents required by the jurisdiction where the marriage will take place. U.S. citizens who marry U.S. citizens or other non-Mexicans are not subject to a residence requirement, but are required to present their tourist cards. For additional information on marriages in Mexico, contact the U.S. Embassy or the nearest U.S. consulate.

DIVORCE REQUIREMENTS IN MEXICO: Divorce requirements may vary according to jurisdiction. The U.S. Embassy recommends U.S. citizens consult a local attorney and /or the Mexican Embassy or nearest Consulate for information on divorces in Mexico.

REAL ESTATE AND TIME-SHARES: U.S. citizens should be aware of the risks inherent in purchasing real estate in Mexico, and should exercise extreme caution before entering into any form of commitment to invest in property there.

Investors should hire competent Mexican legal counsel when contemplating any real estate investment. Mexican laws and practices regarding real estate differ substantially from those in the United States. Foreigners who purchase property in Mexico may find that property disputes with Mexican citizens may not be treated evenhandedly by Mexican criminal justice authorities and in the courts.

The Mexican Constitution prohibits direct ownership by foreigners of real estate within 100 kilometers (about 62 miles) of any border, and within 50 kilometers (about 31 miles) of any coastline. In order to permit foreign investment in these areas, the Mexican government has created a trust mechanism, in which a bank has title to the property, but a trust beneficiary enjoys the benefits of ownership. However, U.S. citizens are vulnerable to title challenges that may result in years of litigation and possible eviction. Although title insurance is available in the Baja Peninsula and in other parts of Mexico, it is virtually unknown and remains untested in most of the country. In addition, Mexican law recognizes squatters' rights, and homeowners can spend thousands of dollars in legal fees and years of frustration in trying to remove squatters who occupy their property.

American property owners should consult legal counsel or local authorities before hiring employees to serve in their homes or on their vessels moored in Mexico. Several American property owners have faced lengthy lawsuits for failure to comply with Mexican labor laws regarding severance pay and social security benefits.

American citizens should exercise caution when considering time-share investments and be aware of the aggressive tactics used by some time-share sales representatives. Buyers should be fully informed and take sufficient time to consider their decisions before signing time-share contracts, ideally after consulting an independent attorney. Mexican law allows time-share purchasers five days to cancel the contract for unconditional and full reimbursement. U.S. citizens should never sign a contract that includes clauses penalizing the buyer who cancels within five days.

A formal complaint against any merchant should be filed with PROFECO, Mexico's federal consumer protection agency. PROFECO has the power to mediate disputes, investigate consumer complaints, order hearings, levy fines and sanctions for not appearing at hearings, and do price-check inspections of merchants. All complaints by U.S. citizens are handled by PROFECO's English-speaking office in Mexico City at 011-52-55-6090-6633 and 5090-6700 ext. 1317 or via email at [email protected]. . For more information, please see the PROFECO "Attention to Foreigners" web page at Profeco (Procuraduría Federal del Consumidor).

ALIEN SMUGGLING: Mexican authorities may prosecute anyone arrested for transporting aliens into or out of Mexico for alien smuggling in addition to any charges they may face in the other country involved, including the United States.

CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website. Mexico is the destination country of the greatest number of children abducted from the United States by a parent. A party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction since 1991, Mexico is not in full compliance with the Convention.

REGISTRATION/EMBASSY, CONSULATE AND CONSULAR AGENCY LOCATIONS: Americans living or traveling in Mexico for more than one day are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration website, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Mexico. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, you'll make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact you in case of emergency.

The U.S. Embassy is located in Mexico City at Paseo de la Reforma 305, Colonia Cuauhtemoc, telephone from the United States: 011-52-55-5080-2000; telephone within Mexico City: 5080-2000; telephone long distance within Mexico 01-55-5080-2000. You may also contact the Embassy by e-mail at: [email protected]. The Embassy's Internet address is http://www.usembassy-mexico.gov/ .

In addition to the Embassy, there are several United States Consulates and Consular Agencies located throughout Mexico:

Consulates:

Ciudad Juarez: Avenida Lopez Mateos 924-N, telephone (52)(656) 611-3000.
Guadalajara: Progreso 175, telephone (52)(333) 268-2100.
Monterrey: Avenida Constitucion 411 Poniente, telephone (52)(818) 345-2120.
Tijuana: Tapachula 96, telephone (52)(664) 622-7400.
Hermosillo: Avenida Monterrey 141, telephone (52)(662) 289-3500.
Matamoros: Avenida Primera 2002, telephone (52)(868) 812-4402.
Merida: Paseo Montejo 453, telephone (52)(999) 925-5011.
Nogales: Calle San Jose, Nogales, Sonora, telephone (52)(631) 313-4820.
Nuevo Laredo: Calle Allende 3330, Col. Jardin, telephone (52)(867) 714-0512.

Consular Agencies:

Acapulco: Hotel Continental Emporio, Costera Miguel Aleman 121 - Local 14, telephone (52)(744) 484-0300 or (52)(744) 469-0556.

Cabo San Lucas: Blvd. Marina Local C-4, Plaza Nautica, Col. Centro, telephone (52)(624) 143-3566.
Cancún: Plaza Caracol Two, Second Level, No. 320-323, Boulevard Kukulcan, Km. 8.5, Zona Hotelera, telephone (52)(998) 883-0272.

Ciudad Acuna , Ocampo # 305, Col. Centro, telephone (52)(877) 772-8661
Cozumel: Plaza Villa Mar en El Centro, Plaza Principal, (Parque Juárez between Melgar and 5th Ave.) 2nd floor, Locales #8 and 9, telephone (52)(987) 872-4574.

Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo: Hotel Fontan, Blvd. Ixtapa, telephone (52)(755) 553-2100.
Mazatlán: Hotel Playa Mazatlán, Playa Gaviotas #202, Zona Dorada, telephone (52)(669) 916-5889.
Oaxaca: Macedonio Alcalá No. 407, Interior 20, telephone (52)(951) 514-3054 (52)(951) 516-2853.
Piedras Negras: Prol. General Cepeda No. 1900, Fraccionamiento Privada Blanca, telephone (52) (878) 785-1986
Puerto Vallarta: Zaragoza #160, Col. Centro, Edif. Vallarta Plaza, Piso 2 Int.18, telephone (52)(322) 222-0069.
Reynosa: Calle Monterrey #390, Esq. Sinaloa, Colonia Rodríguez, telephone: (52)(899) 923 - 9331
San Luis Potosi: Edificio "Las Terrazas", Avenida Venustiano Carranza 2076-41, Col. Polanco, telephone: (52)(444) 811-7802/7803.

San Miguel de Allende: Dr. Hernandez Macias #72, telephone (52)(415) 152-2357 or (52)(415) 152-0068.



* * *

This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated July 26, 2005, to update sections on, Entry Requirements, Safety and Security, Crime (including Information on Victims of Crime, Crime in Mexico City, and Crime in Border Cities), Medical Insurance, Traffic Safety and Road Conditions, Special Circumstances (including Cancun and Other Beach Resort Areas Motor Accidents, Water Sports, Mountain Climbing and Hiking), Marriage and Divorce Requirements in Mexico, Real Estate and Time Shares, Behavior Modification Facilities, and Criminal Penalties.


 

Ali

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Fuckme Stanley.

I just bring a box of rubbers and some cipro.

Save all that shit above.

:D
 
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Stanley

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Gato Gordo said:
Fuckme Stanley.

I just bring a box of rubbers and some cipro.

Save all that shit above.

:D

Agreed. It was simply meant as a BD Public Service Message.
 
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Dos Locos

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Turned it in for an Ultralight Backpack and a couple of thousand miles of trail
Who gives a fuck what Mexico requires. It's not like they respect our laws and requirements when the encourage their own citizens to jump the fence and cross illegally into the U.S.
 
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pfish

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Stanely:

Thanks for posting this. Can you post in the Baja Section as well? There was a recent debate by a few parties about driving at night. This might help. Thanks again.
 
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Stanley

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Dos Locos said:
Who gives a fuck what Mexico requires. It's not like they respect our laws and requirements when the encourage their own citizens to jump the fence and cross illegally into the U.S.

Cynic! :D
 
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fishnfool909

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Love the part about mexican constitution prohibits political demonstrations by foreigners. Fuck, we give them keys to the city here.
 
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Mr_PeaCH

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Thing that always mind fucks me about going down to baja is the FM-T tourist card. I guess technically I should have it if I'm going down past Ensenada (Maneadero check point) even for a long weekend but I have been giving it a miss. Still not sure about exactly when and where I should get it, does everyone need one or just one per vehicle, and what does it cost... also do I need one each trip or can I get one valid for a year or 180 days?

I'm down with paying for both a Mexican Fishing License and Boat License in order to fish from my kayak (which in and of itself is ridiculous; but whatever), and I always buy Mex. car insurance for the trip. But even there I've heard that if you don't own your car outright (ie. still making payments to the bank) you need to get a notice from your financing company granting you permission to take it to Mexico... WTF, it's "my" car here (until I stop making payments), how come when I cross the border the bank needs to get involved?
 
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SAGE

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Mr_PeaCH said:
Thing that always mind fucks me about going down to baja is the FM-T tourist card. I guess technically I should have it if I'm going down past Ensenada (Maneadero check point) even for a long weekend but I have been giving it a miss. Still not sure about exactly when and where I should get it, does everyone need one or just one per vehicle, and what does it cost... also do I need one each trip or can I get one valid for a year or 180 days?

I'm down with paying for both a Mexican Fishing License and Boat License in order to fish from my kayak (which in and of itself is ridiculous; but whatever), and I always buy Mex. car insurance for the trip. But even there I've heard that if you don't own your car outright (ie. still making payments to the bank) you need to get a notice from your financing company granting you permission to take it to Mexico... WTF, it's "my" car here (until I stop making payments), how come when I cross the border the bank needs to get involved?


Mex consulate on Grape St in San Diego. That’s where I would get my FM3 for work down there, I’m sure they do the FM-T there too. Don’t get fooled by the Q out front, it’s for the illegals, just walk upstairs like you own the place : ) I still can't take my truck into mex until it's paid off outright......
 
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MikeyLikesIt

did you say FISHING ???
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Don't go!

Mexico is a dirty, dangerous place......and would best be avoided.



:rolleyes: :rofl:
 
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