Visiting cruisers may keep their boats and boat trailers in Mexico for up to 20 years, and they can leave and return without their boats [or trailers] whenever they choose. Mexican officials charge no fees.
If you’re arriving at your first port of entry by sea, you must clear in with the Port Captain’s Office [the Capitanía], the Immigration Office [Migracíon] and the Customs Office [Aduana].
Upon entering your first port you must at the Aduana:
- Complete and sign an Import Form.
It states the rules for selling, renting or chartering your boat in Mexico. By signing it you promise not to violate these rules or you’ll be liable for a fine of 10 to 15 percent of the value of your boat.
A hired captain or owner’s legal representative may sign this form if the owner is not present, but that person must be named as a notarized power of attorney. The original notarization and a copy must be presented.
Your Import Form must be presented to whichever marina you visit whenever you depart Mexico. The marina in Mexico keeps your copy on file until you return.
- You must present the original and one copy of either your boat’s state registration or its Coast Guard documentation that proves your ownership of the boat. The copy will be kept by the Aduana.
For cruisers arriving by sea, you [owner, captain, representative] or a qualified marina
Representative may make the rounds of office calls for your initial port of entry [international] clearing-in
procedures. The marinas charge a service fee, newly limited to not more than $100, for this type of clearance. They charge less for a regular port-to-port clearance.
If you want to handle your own international clearance at your first port of entry, start by visiting the Capitaína. Have all your paperwork ready, because as long as you’re in his geographic jurisdiction, he makes the rules. After that, you’ll be directed to either the Aduana or Migracíon office.
To clear into Mexico, you’ll need:
- The original [and 10 or more first copies] of your boat’s documents [U.S. Coast Guard Documentation or state Registration]
- A valid passport for each person onboard, not to expire soon
- A tourist card for each person onboard
- A simplified crew list
- Pesca fishing papers [boat permits, individual fishing licenses].
If a marina handles your clearance paperwork for you, they’ll provide a blank tourist card for each person to fill out and sign. If you handle your own clearance, the Migracíon office will have blanks. Each person must be present at the Migracíon office to sign the form.
Standardized blank crew-list forms are sold in some nautical bookstores and vessel-documentation offices however, you can type up your own. It should include:
- vessel name
- home port
- documentation or registration numbers
- net and gross tonnage
- the port of your U.S. departure
- your farthest Mexican destination
- details about each person onboard [name, age, sex, citizenship, passport number, country of origin].
Make out a new “crew list” whenever anything changes; do not modify an existing list.You MUST have Pesca papers even if you do not fish, have no fishing gear.An individual fishing license is required for each person onboard [crew, guests, children].
Your boat and your dinghy each need a permit, good for 12 months. Permit fees are subject to change.
If you don’t intend to remain more than 24 hours in your initial port of entry it is advisable to clear in and out at the same time.