Northern Mexico is a relatively safe and secure area, and most of the stories of being robbed by banditos or getting Montezuma’s Revenge are greatly exaggerated. During the past 25 years, which have included hundreds of group visits to Casa, there have not been any situations where safety has been a concern. The residents of Cuauhtémoc and Anáhuac are used to seeing Americans, and are very friendly, polite, and helpful. If you purpose to have the “mind of Christ” and also some common sense, it is not likely that you will have any problems.
Appropriate precautions are common sense for whenever one is traveling outside of the United States:
- Avoid unsavory areas
- Don’t wander off alone
- Don’t “flash around” large amounts of money, etc.
The Casa campus is entirely fenced, and entry is only allowed through the secured gates.
Each person in the group will need to get a temporary tourist visa. It is fairly simple to get and these are the things you will need in order to get one:
- Passport or Passcard.
- Every unaccompanied minor must have a letter of permission that is signed by both parents and by a notary. The letter should name the group leader as the child’s guardian for the appropriate time period and the authorization for them to enter Mexico.
- If you plan to be in Mexico for more than seven days, you will need to pay a fee of approximately $26. If you will be in Mexico less than seven days, you will not need to pay the fee.
- Visit the website to get the form: https://www.inm.gob.mx/fmme/publico/en/solicitud.html
- Documents. You must have the following documents with you at the time you cross into Mexico and apply for a vehicle permit.
- Original title in the name of the driver.
- If the vehicle is not in the driver’s name you will need a letter from the title holder giving permission to the driver to take the vehicle into Mexico. The title holder could be a bank, church, or a spouse.
- Driver’s license of the driver.
- The deposit for your vehicle will require a credit card. The deposit is around $300, most of which will be refunded when you leave Mexico, except for a fee of about $60.
- Vehicle registration.
- Insurance. You must have proof of insurance for the U.S. and for Mexico. Mexican vehicle insurance is very inexpensive.
- Copies. You will need 2 copies of all of these documents as well as the tourist visa you acquire upon arrival. To save time you may make the copies beforehand; however, if there is a copy that you missed, there is a place available for you to make copies.
We also ask that you bring the proper transportation. In the past almost any vehicle was allowed to enter Mexico. However, this has changed, and regardless of our past experiences, any vehicle that seats more than 15 passengers will not be allowed into Mexico. If your title says “bus” it will not be allowed to cross, regardless of size. If you do not meet the requirements there are some rental companies that will rent vans into Mexico. If you would like to plan that beforehand, give us a call and we will be able to direct you to those we know will allow their vehicles to enter Mexico.
Border Crossing: Return to the U.S.A.
When you return to the U.S. from your visit to Casa, you must cancel your visitor’s visa. You will need to return to the same border crossing and get a stamp out. If you do not get the stamp out and return the following year, there will be a fine for everyday that you left and did not have the stamp. For example, if it was exactly one year, they will charge you a certain amount per day for one year as a fine. So be sure and get the stamp out.
If you obtained a permit for your vehicle, you will also need to cancel your vehicle permit. If you do not cancel your vehicle permit within the six months the permit allows, your entire vehicle deposit will be forfeited.
If you forget to cancel your vehicle permit, do not take the sticker off yourself if you plan to return to Mexico. Wait until you return (as long as it is before the termination date of the permit) and cancel it before getting a new one. If you do not cancel the sticker and have no proof that you did, there is a possibility that a fine is involved. Before your trip, check on the newest guidelines for re-entering the United States. A U.S. passport is required for re-entry into the United States.
Also use common sense when re-entering the U.S.; it is not a time for smart remarks and jokes that you think might be funny. The authorities might take you a little too seriously and you could be at the border for longer than you anticipated. Their job is to protect U.S. citizens from whoever/whatever dangers could come in through a foreign border, so please help them do their job and make it easy for them. Taking souvenirs home is acceptable; just be mindful of what you take. Things you can find in Mexico can incur a felony, if taken back to the U.S., so we suggest that you always think on the cautious side.