Mexico offers one of the greatest values in the world for cruisers with their Temporary Import Permit (TIP). For a one-time fee of about $50, you get a TIP that will allow you to cruise Mexico, with multiple entries and exits, for 10 years. Ten years! To put this in perspective, this is less that what many islands in the Caribbean charge for a single week. Netherlands Antilles (Sint Maarten) take a bow!
However, if you’re going to leave Mexico and not return with your boat, it’s a good idea to cancel that TIP when you leave for the last time, because the TIP goes with the boat. If you sell the boat, the new owner cannot get a new TIP or legally cruise Mexico until the original TIP is canceled.
The necessity of canceling a TIP for boats not returning to Mexico has caused all kinds of problems, so, urged by marine interests in Mexico, Mexican officials announced in Latitude and other media that they would have staff on hand at the consulates in Los Angeles, Phoenix and Sacramento to cancel TIPs on October 27 only.
Based on the reports we’ve received from Chip Prather of the Dana Point-based Morgan 45 Miss Teak and John Dye of the Channel Islands-based Islander 41 Lovely Reta, the Mexican officials knocked themselves out to take care of the surprising number of boatowners who showed up to get TIPs canceled.
“I was able to get the two TIPs — don’t ask, it’s too long a story how my boat got two — without any hassles,” says Chip. “The staff was exceptionally helpful, spoke great English, and completed forms with or for you. They moved the process right along.
“It did take 4.5 hours to get it done, but most of the time was spent waiting for my turn. The woman assisting me said they hadn’t expected so many people and were thus understaffed. However, they did bring in staff from other areas of the consulate to help out.
“The actual processing of my TIPs took 15 minutes at the most. In spite of many of us boatowners telling the staff to go to lunch or at least take a short break, they all refused and kept working to assist us. Overall it was a good experience.”
John Dye had a similar experience at the Los Angeles consulate. “The wonderful officials at the Mexican Consulate were surprised, as they had never seen so many sailors show up at one time. The officials were a bit overwhelmed at first, but quickly got the process organized, and within a few hours everyone was walking out with a new TIP under their name.”
Latitude is not sure if Mexico is going to have another special day at consulates to cancel TIPs, but as you’ll read in the November 1 issue of Latitude 38, boatowners with TIPs in the name of the previous owner of the boat have been successful in getting the TIP canceled — even when in Mexico. Ship agent and Latitude friend Victor Barreda in Cabo has been successful in canceling TIPs, which have then allowed boatowners to get new TIPs in either La Paz or Mazatlan. (You can’t get a TIP in Cabo because they don’t have a Banjercito.) When having a ship’s agent cancel a TIP, you should expect the process to take at least a week.
Whenever trying to cancel a TIP, make sure you have all the paperwork for your boat, hopefully your dinghy, too, your passport, and if at all possible a copy of the boat’s last exit from Mexico.
In other Mexico paperwork news, a couple of Baja Ha-Ha entries report they’ve had trouble getting a TIP online. While you technically can’t sail into Mexican waters without a TIP, don’t sweat it, as officials in Cabo have not been giving boats without TIPs any grief, and Banjercito officials in La Paz and Mazatlan have been issuing new TIPs to boats without them.