Without doubt Mexico is a great and diversified sailing destination. If there just was not the hassle of checking-in. Mexico sure has one of the most lengthy check-in procedures in the Caribbean. Also the information provided through official channels often is inconsistent or outdated.
During the COVID-lockdown in 2020 there was an intense and fruitful exchange between the cruisers and the authorities in Isla Mujeres, the most frequented sailing destination in the Mexican Caribbean. After the lockdown, a few other cruisers and me developed this Check-in Guide for Cruisers in co-operation with the local immigration office and the Port Captain to provide cruisers a step-by-step guide through the complicated process. I think this is a wonderful example of how cruisers and authorities collaborate to make the lives of both easier.
This is an extract from the original document that is available in English and Spanish and that you will find on the bottom of the page.
- Make five copies of the following ship and crew documents:
- Departure clearance (zarpe) of your last port of call
- Crew List
- Vessel Registration
- Passport (page with personal data for each crew/passenger)
- Visa (if applicable)
- Check in at the Port Captain’s office
- You will need to file your arrival.
- You (and all crew/passengers) will need to see the Health Inspector and make the Maritime Declaration of Health (Declaración Marítima de Sanidad) to receive the Authorization of Free Pratique (Autorización de Libre Plática).
- Check in at the immigration office INM
- All crew/passengers need to appear in person with their original passports.
- For each crew/passenger: If you have paid the immigration fee (pagos migratorios) online already, please bring your receipt.
- For each crew/passenger: If you have not paid the immigration fee (pagos migratorios) yet, pay it at the bank and return to the immigration office with the receipt. You can also pay by credit card in the immigration office now.
- Then, you will be issued a tourist card. (Make sure you don’t lose it! You will need it when you check out.)
- Return to the Port Captain’s office
- You will need to see the customs representative to review your documents.
- You will need to go to the bank and pay the customs fee. Return to the Port Captain’s office with the receipt.
- The customs representative will then stamp your documents.
- You will need to see the veterinarian representative (SAGARPA) to review and stamp your documents.
- Both the customs representative and the veterinarian (SAGARPA) may request to board your boat.
- Then, the Port Captain will issue the Arrival Authorization (Autorización de Arribo) which is the final step of the check-in process.
- Make sure that you receive at least one copy of departure clearance of your last port, vessel registration and crew list with five stamps on each (Port Captain, Immigration, Health Inspector, Customs, Veterinarian). You will need that if you want to apply for the Temporary Import Permit (TIP) later.
- Temporary Import Permit
- If you intend to stay longer than 14 days and do not already hold one, you will need to apply for the Temporary Import Permit (Permiso de Importación Temporal) at the Port Captain’s office in Cancun.
Link to original document: Check-in Guide for Cruisers, Isla Mujeres, Mexico