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Last Minute Paperwork Advice

While right now cruising in Mexico may seem to be all about paperwork, this photo is more indicative of what it’s really like. Pictured are RotKat and Profligate at a little cove about 25 miles from La Paz. And you thought the calenques near Marseilles were cool.

©2014 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The 20th Ha-Ha starts in a week, but what if you still haven’t taken care of your paperwork? There are three options:

1. Wait to get your TIP and tourist visas in Mexico. While technically not legal, it’s the way everybody did it for the first 20 Ha-Ha’s. The law has changed, but we don’t believe anybody is going to bust your chops if you do it this way. As they say in Mexico, it’s easier to ask forgiveness than ask for permission. If you want to be safe, ‘forget’ that you stopped at Turtle Bay and Bahia Santa Maria. By the way, you can only get a TIP (Temporary Import Permit) where there is a Banjercito, which means not Cabo, but rather Ensenada, La Paz, Mazatlan or Puerto Vallarta. If you go this route, you will not be the only ones.

2. Run down to Ensenada and get all your paperwork taken care of there in advance of the Ha-Ha. Check the hours that the offices are open and make sure you have all the stuff you need: boat documentation, copy of insurance, passport for all the crew, notarized letters if you are taking minors, etc. For what it’s worth, Ha-Ha participant Sherri Wilkinson is driving down to Ensenada on Tuesday to do her paperwork and may have a couple of spots open in her car. She’ll be leaving from Harbor Island West Marina at 9 a.m. You might email her at [email protected] to see if you has space. The Ha-Ha has nothing to do with this, we only mention it for information’s sake.

3. While it’s a little late, we think it’s still likely you can get a TIP and online tourist visas. The TIP is the thing you really need to super rush on, but in many cases they’ll be getting the document to you in four days. If nothing else, keep copies of your application. Showing good intent is important. Also show copies of applying for tourist visas if you don’t do that until Sunday night. Once again, showing good intent goes a long way.

Participants with minors report the Mexican online Crew List application form will not accept minors. Yes, another glitch with no online solution. One thing you could do is either lie about their age, then explain everything when you get to Immigration at Cabo. Or, you could not list the minors, then explain the problem in Cabo. As long as both parents are present, or the one parent has a notarized letter from the other parent giving permission to travel to Mexico, there shouldn’t be any problem.

Folks, both we and all the officials in Mexico know there are all kinds of mistakes, contradictions and impossibilities with the paperwork for Mexico. We cannot make these problems go away, only try to advise you based on our decades of experience in Mexico. The one thing that is certain is that there will have to be lots of paperwork corrections made to TIPs in Mexico and to tourist visas as well. It’s not the end of the world. The important thing to remember is to be very patient and smile a lot. And if you don’t get what you want from one clerk or officer, try another. You can’t believe how common it is for one official to quickly and simply take care of a problem that another official said was impossible to solve. It’s part of the charm of Mexico. 


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