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News from South of the Border

Sweeping new immigration laws took effect in Mexico on November 9. And then on December 6, a new administration from a new political party took over, which meant many of the old immigration officials were replaced with people who had no experience in that part of government. The result has been immigration chaos for many.

The good news is that if you’ve entered or are about to enter Mexico on a standard 180-day tourist visa, you’ve got no worries. Todo es bueno.

However, if you have an FM3 visa, as many cruisers do, and need to get it renewed soon, you’ve entered an immigration twilight zone. The problem is that neither the immigration heads, the immigration officers, private agents who help people get FM3s, nor anyone else seems to know what’s going on. For example, we’ve been told that nobody who applied for a new or renewed FM3 in Nuevo Vallarta in early November has gotten one yet.

Our advice is to relax and be patient — and don’t apply for an FM3 now unless you have to. Indeed, some immigration officials say that you now need to leave Mexico in order to apply for an FM3, that you can no longer upgrade from a regular tourist visa while in country. We have no idea if that’s true or not.

When it comes to boats, one local immigration head told a cruising couple that, since they’d left the place where they’d originally cleared in with Mexican Immigration for more than 90 days, and they hadn’t checked in with a new immigration office, they owed a fine of $6/day for every day over 90 days. What?! The official solved the problem by changing the date the couple supposedly checked into Mexico in the first place. We’ve not heard from anyone else who’s had a similar experience.

The best thing to do is relax, keeping smiling, and enjoy the warm Mexican sun — it’s 84 degrees this morning at beautiful Punta Mita, with clear blue skies — and let things work themselves out.

Here’s a nice shot of Barritt and Renee Neal sailing Serendipity, their San Diego-based Peterson 44 — the last one ever built — off Punta de Mita. While this shot was taken a couple of years ago, it’s not completely bogus because the couple participated in the just-completed Banderas Bay Splash and Pirates for Pupils Spinnaker Run for Charity. They, like a lot of the Blasters, have continued on south to Barra for Christmas and New Years, after which they’ll continue on down to Zihua. It sounds like so much fun we think we’re going to start the new year by chasing after them.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

In more positive news, the Banderas Bay Blast and Pirates for Pupils Spinnaker Run for Charity last week raised $4,200, the highest amount ever. Thanks to everyone who participated and donated — and that includes everyone who did the last Ha-Ha, as the biggest single contribution was made in your name.

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