Step 2: Crossing the Border
We crossed the border at a little known crossing west of Laredo, Texas. We did so because of a tip we received by a Mexican American woman who stood in line patiently behind my husband as he telephone the hotel to find out what he could order for our dogs from the buffet line. He apologized and explained our venture, and after hearing about our plans for crossing in downtown Laredo, she advised him to reroute. It would require a few extra miles but it would route us around a very dangerous area for tourists in downtown Laredo. It would also cut hours off our wait time to cross. She advised getting there as early as possible for the best experience. So the next day, we set the GPS and found the crossing.
Laredo Colombia Solidarity International Bridge, TX-255, Laredo, TX 78045
There was no wait. We drove right up, were shown where to park after submitting our residence visas, and questioned about our trip. Where were we going, for what reason, and did we have any guns or dog food. It seems only a small amount of dog food is allowed in. We were not over the limit. We offered our Menaje de casa (listing of the contents of our van), which he quickly scanned and gave back to us. He asked to see one suit case, which was filled with clothing. He pet our dogs but never asked for papers. We had them none the less. He then told us where to park, and where to obtain our FMM (Mexican tourist card).
We entered the building and were directed to a room to the right. Do not expect anyone to speak English. We lucked up, and one agent who was free interpreted for us. Still, even with the help, mistakes were made. So I strongly suggest that you adopt the following procedure as your own.
When you approach the counter agent, HAVE YOUR PASSPORT OPENED TO YOUR MEXICAN VISA PAGE. I cannot stress this enough. The agent can cause a great deal of difficulty if he issues an FMM for 180 days instead of 30, virtually reducing your resident visa to a tourist visa. It can be corrected, but depending on the office you use, it can be very troublesome. Check your FMM to make sure that it is for 30 days only, and that the agent understands it is for a temporary resident. Don’t leave the window until it is correct.
After you know the document is correct, you will be guided to the payment line. First you will need to locate the vehicle registration office. There you will need to present the following documentation:
- Registration from your country of origin not expired more than 3 months
- Invoice or bill of sale
- Original vehicle title
- Driver’s license
- Passport copy
- Original Temporary Resident visa if applicable
- Permission from finance/leasing company
You will be issued a permit to attach to your windshield, and a portion to be kept in the glove compartment of your car. You will pay a fee of $53 plus a deposit. For more information, click HERE. (link to car page) Your permit is good for 30 days, until you can get an extension to cover the term of your final resident visa.
You will then proceed to the line to pay for your
FMM which should run about $22USD at this time.
Once these documents are obtained, return to your car make 3 copies of your FMM and file your FMM inside your passport and put in your binder. Place one of the copies in your wallet. Copy and place the proper documents in the car. Be sure to take the time to do this. We were stopped by the police about 60 miles into Mexico, and the sticker was checked. The officer was polite, and explained the lack of a tag on the front of our vehicle, which is required of Mexican vehicles. He saw we were legal and sent us on our way.
You now have only 30 days to secure a place to live and visit the immigration office in Santiago de Queretaro to finalize your resident visa and obtain your Temporary Resident Permit card.