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Mexico Marinas Improve the Online “Paperwork Cha Cha”

The Association of Mexican Marinas (AMMT) is offering improved instructions and websites to help U.S. recreational boaters heading to Mexico more easily complete the maze of INM (Immigration) paperwork requirements online.

This can be done 48 hours before arriving in Ensenada, which for West Coast boaters is their first Port of Call on Mexico’s Pacific coast.

For your online convenience, here are AMMT’s step by step instructions to apply for Immigration entry to Mexico, receive the FMMs (formerly called Tourist Cards) and to pay the required fees with improved websites. 

Step One:

Visit the following internet portal,

Follow the instructions and save the electronic payment receipt. You will need it when you e-mail your passenger list to INM in the next step. Also print out a copy to keep with you on the boat. The following information must be provided:

  • Passport number of the person responsible for the vessel.
  • Vessel Documentation (State or Federal Documentation).
  • A $687 Mexican Pesos fee (about $41.39 US as we go to press) per each visiting foreigner. The fee must be paid using a credit card, and we suggest you make a payment for each person INDIVIDUALLY. (Group payments are possible, but the receipt will not have all the names on it.) (To pay one person at a time, when asked how many persons on board the vessel, just enter 1; that is the number of fishing licenses that will be billed.)

Step Two:

Download and complete the spreadsheet with the information of the vessel and passengers from:

Here you will find the following:

  • A Sample Form (spreadsheet) for submission of a list of maritime passengers and crew members. Delete the sample information and insert your passenger list. Save it to your computer following the instructions on the web page – including how to name this file correctly, to avoid confusion later.
  • A Guide for filling the Form for the submission of a list of maritime passengers and crew members.
  • An e-mail Directory/List of INM Ports addresses for submission of lists of maritime passengers and crew members.

Step Three:

E-mail the completed spreadsheet to INM and copy of your receipt(s) (See STEP TWO above, 3rd bullet, on how to find the correct e-mail address.) As an example, if you are leaving from Southern California, you should send the e-mail to the Ensenada INM Office at:

Step Four:

Once the visitors’ information outlined above is sent to INM, they will e-mail you back the Entry Authorization (or denial) to the individuals intending to enter Mexico’s waters onboard the given vessel. This document must be kept aboard the vessel at all times along with the receipt of payment.

The authorizing e-mail will also contain INM’s permit to enter as a Visitor Without Permission to Perform Activities for Profit (i.e., work for income/profit). The length of the stay will be the time requested by the applicant, but shall not exceed 180 days, so we suggest you request 180 days. This document cannot be used for multiple entries and departures.

A copy of your information will be sent to the Secretary of the Navy (MARINA) and to the Port Captain.

Sportfishers who are not stepping ashore in Mexico must complete INM’s 4-step process 24 hours before entering Mexican waters. See more about fishing below.

Not Online Aboard?

U.S. and Canadian boaters can still wait to start their required Immigration process when they arrive in Ensenada, but once there the process usually takes longer, and the weekday office hours may be less convenient. Required visits include Health, Immigration, Customs, Port Captain and finally the Banjercito kiosk to pay all fees and get the important receipt. Most of these offices have a service window in the building labeled CIS or Central Integrales de Servicios.

Hire it Done?

In Ensenada, Marina Coral, Marina Baja Naval and Cruiseport Village Marina all have staff members who, for a small fee, can help their guests with their Paperwork Cha Cha. Also, ship’s agencies in town can legally represent you, for a larger charge, in order to dance all the steps of the Paperwork Cha Cha for you.

NOTE: Mexico’s Navy considers that foreign boaters who fail to clear in at Ensenada are breaking the law, are in their country illegally, may be subject to fines and confiscation of vessel if they continue south. Please do take care of your required International Arrival at Ensenada, unless you’re a registered member of that fall’s Baja Ha Ha tour group.

Purchase Fishing Licenses Online

Visit Fonmar’s website

It’s a secure and easy way to obtain your permits to fish in all of Mexico´s waters. All you need to do is enter your name(s), license duration and start date. Then you will be directed to a secure banking site (Banjercito) to add your credit card information. Once the transaction is complete, you’ll receive an email confirmation and receipt, and a popup with the link to download and print your permits. Be sure to copy the PDF file to your computer.

NOTE: According to the Mexican Marina Association, foreign sportfishers who are not stepping ashore in Mexico must still complete INM’s 4-step process (detailed above) 24 hours before entering Mexican waters. But they may desire FMMs with less than the full 180 days possible – such as four days or seven days.

Fishing Rules are posted online at including the current catch limits of various species.

That’s Not All

Also, online through the AMMT portal are streamline instructions for obtaining and using your boat’s required TIP (Temporary Import Permit), good for 10 years. This section also provides detailed instructions on how to cancel your boat’s TIP before it departs Mexican waters, thus avoiding a major hassle down the road for you or someone else.

 National Park

Want to visit Mexico’s National Parks and Protected Areas? Visit  https://pasaportedelaconservacion.  to get your whole crew’s 12-month Conservation Passport, allowing you to explore hundreds of National Parks and Protected Areas – such as visiting the Gray Whale National Park at Abreojos on the outside of Baja, or anchoring and going ashore at the spectacular Espiritu Santos Islands off La Paz.

The Mexican Marina Association has 32 member marinas and six associate members. It was founded in 1989 by Sra. Teresa Grossman, owner of Marina San Carlos in Sonora, in order to promote changes in legislation and regulations that affect their marinas and to help promote nautical tourism.

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