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Bustamante TSA President's Day Project 2007

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Going to Bustamante

Before you leave town check that you have everything you need! Crossing the border is very easy IF YOU HAVE YOUR PAPER WORK IN ORDER!! It can be a real hassle if not. Absolutely DO NOT take firearms, ammunition or explosives into Mexico. You will be arrested and spend time in jail. If you have prescription drugs you must also have the prescription with you.

Personal documents for crossing the border:

Everyone must have proof of citizenship: A birth certificate AND a picture ID OR a passport is required. The birth certificate must be an original or a certified copy with a raised seal. Note that voter's registration card or a notarized proof of citizenship is no longer accepted. Although I crossed with a TX drivers license and a voter's registration card in Dec. 2004, don't count on it!! Children must have birth certificates. If a child under 18 is traveling with only one parent, it is necessary to have notarized permission of the absent parent even if divorced. If the Permission for a Child to Travel in Mexico document is needed, use the "child" link here. A death certificate for the absent parent and proof of custody may also work. Pets need current vaccination records from the vet.

What to do at the Border Crossing:

When you arrive at the border take your document/s to Migracion and you will be given a Migratory Form for Foreign Tourist (FTM). Fill out the form and have it authorized. Proceed to pay your FTM fee of $??.?? And you have your permit. In Feb. 2005 this fee was $22.00 or 220 pesos. There is a free permit (don't know if vehicle owners can get this) that you can request if you are not staying in Mexico more than 7 days. This free permit must be returned before you leave Mexico and you must not stay more than 7 days. Sometimes they require you to have a passport to stamp to get this permit. If at a later date you are found to have a stamp without an exit stamp in your passport to match, you will be fined approximately $40.00 US.

If you are the owner of the vehicle being driven to Mexico you will need the following:

The original vehicle title and registration which must be in the same name as your credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Diners Club). If your vehicle is financed, you'll need a notarized letter of permission from the lien holder to take it into Mexico. You'll need the credit card to pay a $??.?? fee to Banjercito for your permit. In Feb. 2005 it was $29.70. I keep a separate low limit credit card I use only for this purpose. If you don't have a credit card, take another persons car. You can post a bond but it's a lot of trouble. This permit is usually good for multiple entries during 180 days. You must return your vehicle permit at the end of 180 days or you will not be issued a new one until you do. If you are found in Mexico with an expired vehicle permit on your vehicle you will be arrested and your vehicle will be confiscated.

OK now make copies before you leave home of:

  • Your proof of citizenship.

  • Your vehicle title and registration.

  • Your letter of permission to take vehicle into Mexico.

  • Your driver's license.

  • Your credit card (Discover card not accepted).

  • You will need a copy of your FMT made at the border.

Take all this and go to the Banjercito window and they will process for your vehicle permit.

Where to cross

There are two usual crossing possibilities, Laredo and Columbia. I recommend Columbia for its ease of crossing but other considerations may come into play based on your individual needs.

Crossing at Columbia:

Before leaving you should have everything mentioned above plus get your Mexico insurance and if possible enough pesos to spend while you're there. Insurance is easily purchased by e-mail at www.sanbornsinsurance.com . After you get the Sanborn web page click on 'get a quote' then select an agent and then Austin. Fill in the information and submit. There are other choices for insurance and insurance agents. Pesos can possibly be acquired at your bank. If not, pesos are usually available at the ATM where you get your papers or at the Casa de Cambio in Anahuac.

Traveling south on IH 35 you will take Exit 39 just south of Encinal for your last fuel and food stop at Love's Truck Stop before entering Mexico. Then, if you have timed your arrival at the toll booth to be before 10:00 pm or after 6:00 am, proceed to the Camino Colombia Toll Road (255 Toll), Exit 24. You must have a special card to pass the tool booth between 10:00 pm and 6:00 am. The toll is $2.00. The Colombia Solidarity International Bridge closes at 11:00 pm, sometimes earlier, so don't be late. Also there has been some information that bandits have been operating near Anahuac in the very late and very early hours. The odds are very, very small; however, be aware! I recommend not driving late.

So you arrive at the border, follow the signs to pay the bridge toll ($2.00 in Feb. 2005) and proceed to the Mexican side. See map of border crossing facility below.

Columbia Crossing PDF Map Click Here

Drive thru Nada para Declarar (Nothing to Declare) lane, assuming you have nothing to declare. If you get a green light, proceed past the inspection tables on the right to the parking area. If you get a red light proceed to the inspection tables on the right, and after inspection, proceed to the parking area. After parking go to Migracion (#1) and fill out your FMT. (Note: answer to #8 Main Destination in Mexico: Bustamante. If asked, say you are a tourist going to recreate at the caves.) Have your FMT authorized (you will need your proof of citizenship). If you are not getting a free permit, pay your fee (#2) and you're done if you are not taking your vehicle into Mexico. Vehicle owners should get a copy (#3) made of your FMT and proceed to the Banjercito window (#4) to obtain your vehicle permit. You will be given a sticker to apply to your vehicle. Read the instructions as placement has changed. Now you must place sticker just left of your rear view mirror. See, that wasn't so bad and now you're ready to go.

Follow the sinuous road of custom facility for 1.5 miles to a T intersection with Highway #2. Turn right onto the 4-lane divided Highway 2. (Pemex on your right). Proceed 0.8 miles to the first intersection and turn left (a military check-point is often at this location). Continue 28.2 miles to the intersection with Highway 1. Turn right (Pemex on your left after the turn and there may be a military check-point here also). Continue 5.2 miles to Aduana on the right. Drive thru the lane, press the button: red means stop for inspection, green means proceed. Approximately 1.8 miles after the Aduana, is usually another military check-point. Continue 8 miles to Anahuac, additional 26 miles to Lampazos, and additional 30 miles to the turnoff to Bustamante. Military check-points may or may not be encountered and may be at locations other than those noted. Good Luck!!!!

See you there.

Remember, if you got a free permit, it must be returned at the same place you got it when you leave Mexico.

Laredo Crossing PDF Map Click Here

Orion & Jan Knox Bustamante 2007 Web Page

Bustamante on my mind by Gill Ediger