Belizeans who like to frequent neighboring Chetumal Quintana Roo will see some changes this weekend. Reporter Arturo Cantun has the story.
“Belizeans visiting Chetumal and other nearby Mexican city or town are being asked to process a new Mexican border crossing card. Some years ago, the Mexican Immigration Ministry requested frequent Belizeans and Guatemalans visitors to Mexico to acquire a FMVL card. This card, which allowed travelling within the Border States, is being replaced since November 2012 by the new card, Tarjeta de Visitante Regional. The problem is that no announcement was made by the Mexican Immigration Authority when the old cards started to be replaced, until recently. That is because effective November 9, 2013, that is this coming Saturday, the old card, FMVL, will no longer be valid and Belizeans will only be able to cross the border using either the new card or a passport. Interestingly, Belizeans who have managed to replace their old card with a new one say that they were charged $295 pesos, roughly $50 Belize dollars. Our investigation shows that according to article 8 of the Mexican Regional Visitors law, $295 pesos should only be charged to someone who is receiving a Mexican border crossing card for the first time and not someone who already owns a FMVL and seeks to replace it with the new card. The same law says that from November 9 2012 to November 8 2013 all FMVL holders should have changed their card for a new one without charge. According to frequent Belizean visitors to Mexico the problem is that no notice was given until a month ago. This has resulted in a high number of applications for the new card.
No comment has been made by either the Mexican Immigration Authority at the northern border or the Mexican Embassy in Belize on the issue if Belizeans should be charged for the new card when the law says it should be processed for free. Likewise no word had been said if extended time will be given to allow Belizeans to substitute their old card. Nonetheless, if by Saturday you don’t have the New Mexican Border crossing card you will still be allowed to cross into Mexico using your Belizean passport.”