Originally Posted by FKNBUM
I really am a bit concerned, I hope to go for a ride this Jan/Feb and would like smooth border crossings. Anything I can do at this point? Or, is there really nothing to be concerned about at all?
Short answer: I don't see where you will have any residual problems from your last experience, go and enjoy Mexico again. Just make sure to have your documents in order as per usual. Take your camera and give us a ride report!
Long answer (optional):
If you are refering to the bike you previously took to Mexico and didn't turn in the permit, time has long since passed and you've likely had the import fee charged to your credit card.
This time, remember to simply follow standard practice. Appear at the Imigracion/Banjercito/Aduana with the original registration to your bike AND a credit card with a name that matches the registration. Let me repeat that: make sure the name on your ORIGINAL registration and on your credit card MATCH. If you are John J. Jones on the registration, don't offer a credit card with Jack Jones on it, or even John Jones. Go get a new card to match your registration well before your trip. I even carry a spare card that meets all these rules, from a different bank and account "just in case" I have to cancel the other one.
I witnessed the above being a huge problem at the border two weeks ago. The person was denied entry initially and it took a lot of delicate and time consuming charm to get the person into Mexico. I wouldn't assume charm would work every time.
It doesn't hurt to highlight with a yellow marker the name on the registration and the VIN number. Formats among U.S. states for vehicle registration vary and this simple technique will assist the person behind the glass believing your registration is original and in preparing your bike permit. I also sign my bike registration even though it isn't required, and I do it in blue ink to that the person behind the glass doesn't think it is a copy (which it isn't, but one never knows what is going through the mind of the person processing your paperwork).
When you get your corresponding paper for your permit, check the VIN down to the last numeral, and insist that it be corrected if it is wrong. Don't walk away from the window to do this. Check it right there in front of the person. I've seen documents only one numeral off become a problem for the holder. Again, don't leave the window (especially if there is a line behind you!) without checking the spelling and the VIN on your permit paper.
Make sure your credit card (that matches the registration exactly - can't say that enough) has "room" on it. Believe it or not, I also saw that one two weeks ago crossing at Nogales. A guy had to post a cash bond to cover the bike permit because he thought he just had to have a card and didn't seem to think that it being maxed out was going to be a problem. Well, it was a huge problem for him.
This time when you exit Mexico, be sure you are aware of the operating hours at the border for the customs office (many are 24/7 but not all - either check directly or consult Lonely Planet or some other method of finding out in advance). When your bike permit is taken they will issue you a receipt. KEEP THE RECEIPT because you will plan to return to Mexico again, and it will prove that you turned in your permit. Always keep your "latest" exit receipt and bring it with you on your next trip as insurance should somebody claim you didn't turn in your permit. You can work around this by going through a Mexican consulate in the U.S. but the process is a headache and it is much easier to do it at the border when leaving.
Border crossing to/from Mexico has always been a fast, straightforward process for me, with never a problem. I've also encountered professional people. It may seem like a bit of a tango with copies, this window/that window kind of vibe, but IF you research what it requred in advance and iron out any wierd situations you might have in advance (like a rental bike along side of a bike thats not paid off on a trailer towed behind a friend's truck etc. etc. etc.) you will be fine.
Buena suerte y modere su volocidad