A SMART WAY TO TRAVEL
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WYou’ve made it to Mexico. After packing and spending hours spent in planes, trains and automobiles, all you can think about is getting to your final destination. It almost seems cruel to make you pass through immigration and customs. Well, unfortunately, somebody has to do it and that somebody is you, me…and everyone else on the planet.
Red light, green light, stop, go, is what people talk about when talking about going through customs in Mexico’s airports. With all the talk about lights and pushing buttons, nobody has really made it clear as to what it is all about. No, the magical button and flashing lights do not have the power to detect anything prohibited or illegal in your luggage. Instead, it is Mexico’s innovative way to randomly select passengers to double ensure that no prohibited products are crossing the border. Every passenger has to press a button. If the light is green, you are free to go. If it is red, your bags will be lightly searched.
Putting magical non-discriminating lights and buttons aside, getting through immigration and customs can be a pain. Here are a few tips on how to make it less painful:
A) Most American airlines pass out a slip for you to fill out for your FMM or tourist visa on the plane. Carry a pen with you and fill it out before landing. It will save you time in the airport.
B) Keep your passport and your piece of paper together at all times and make sure they are easily accessible. If you are anything like me, getting out of the airport as fast as possible is the mission.
C) If you are traveling with a partner or a group of people, divide the luggage up evenly when going through customs. That way if your partner gets the green light and you don’t; only half of your luggage will be searched.
D) No food! Dogs roam through the small city of luggage to sniff out anything illegal. Although they may be trained to find something a little more potent than a ham sandwich, a ham sandwich they will smell and it will stop them in their tracks. You will have to take time to remove it from your luggage.
E) Before leaving your country, determine EXACTLY what items are prohibited and what are not prohibited to carry into Mexico. The most commonly encountered and confiscated items include:
By following theses basic rules and doing adequate research before leaving, getting through Mexican customs will be a breeze.
Because exact rules and regulations regarding international travel can be vague, we want to know what questions you have regarding immigration and customs in Mexico’s international airports. Please post questions in comments. We will do our best to find you answer. Also, if you have a funny story regarding Mexico customs, we want to hear it.
About the Author
Kristin McCollum is a travel writer that has spent the past year traveling and working throughout Europe and Mexico. Now settled on the Yucatan Peninsula, she finds inspiration in every person she meets and in the natural beauty which surrounds her. Follow Kristin on Twitter.