Belize and Mexico has for so long maintained an exceptional relationship whereby Belizeans and Mexicans can easily travel from one country to the other for business, shopping, medical or recreational purposes. Chetumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico is the closest city to Belize and has long been a preferred destination for Belizeans. To facilitate that connection between Ambergris Caye/Caye Caulker and Chetumal City, two water taxis provide daily runs to Chetumal via boat. The service allows for easier access to Chetumal,eliminating the usual longer route. However, of recent residents of Ambergris Caye as well as visitors are claiming that a US$25 fee is being charged upon disembarkation at the Martine port of entry in Chetumal City. They also claim that a US$5 fee is being charged per bag upon exiting Chetumal.
The charge has taken many residents and frequent visitors by surprise, since in the past, there were no such fees. To shed light on the matter, The San Pedro Sun contacted Marcelino Miranda, Public Relations Officer at the Belize Mexican Embassy. Miranda sated that US$25 departure fee is in compliance with federal law which has been in place for years. He noted that in many instances it was not being implemented however, they are within the law to legal collect the US$25fee. The fee is known as the DNI (Derecho de No Inmigrante). “This fee is usually charged in the purchase of your airplane ticket, so many people don’t know about it. It is a fee that is charged in all points of entry and departure in Mexico,” said Miranda. When asked why the fee was not implemented before Miranda said, “I do not know why it was not implemented before, but it is a legal fee that is charged to every single person departing from Mexico via air or water.
Once the US$25 is charged, a receipt should be issued by Immigrations and Customs Department. The only travelers exempted from paying this fee are those travelling through land and not staying in the country more than seven days.”
The DNI is charged to tourists staying in Mexico more than seven consecutive day or transit travelers destined to a third country regardless of the time need for their transit. This includes those who enter Subteniente Lopez, Chetumal, by road and whose purpose is to board a flight in Cancun to travel to another country, as well as those arriving at Cancun and going to Belize, and holders of the border card FMVL (Forma Migratoria de Visitante Local) that remain more than three consecutive days in Mexico. Visitors who are exempt from paying the fee include visitors who enter Mexico, stay for seven days or less, and return to the country of origin, FMVL border card holders who stay less than 3 days, and FM3 and FM2 holders. The DNI fee can be paid to any bank in Mexico, airports in Mexico and at the point of entry between Belize and Mexico such as the Subteniente López Border. Proof of payment should be issued.
According to Miranda he is not aware of any baggage fee being charged on goods leaving the country, and he asks individuals with complaints to report the incident to the Mexican Embassy.He advises those required to pay the fee to visit a bank in advance of their departure and make the payment. For more information can contact the Mexican Embassy’s Consular Section at 223-0193 or 223-0194, Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm or write to c[email protected]San Pedro Sun