International Travel – Mexico

There have been many comments / stories on recent travel to Mexico. This post is dedicated to Travel to Mexico. Some Mexico specific comments  have been moved here for further discussion.

Also see:

Living with 290 – Traveling to Cabo San Lucas

International Travel

Sharing More Information Will Enable Federal Agencies to Improve Notifications of Sex Offenders’ International Travel – United States Government Accountability Office, February 2013 (Highlights)

International Tracking of Sex Offenders Working Group – An interim report of the collaborative effort to develop a system for tracking registered sex offenders as they depart and enter the United States, as required by 42 U.S.C. 16928 (White Paper) – developed by representatives of the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, and Department of Defense offenders as they depart and enter the United States, as required by 42 U.S.C. §16928, December 2010

Current Situation Results in Thousands of Passports Issued to Registered Sex Offenders – United States Government Accountability Office, June 2010 (Highlights)

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commenter1: what airport in the US did you arrive back in to, and what was your experience with US CBP?


Hi Everyone

I am from Australia, Aged 46 and have been on register now for 1 year here , i have 7 more years to go on SOR . Mine was non contact offence and classed as low risk scale of offending , was convicted for 8 photos on my laptop something i stupidly done in a bad time of depression and stress in my life , i seriously don’t even know what got in my head to do it , I’m very angry at myself for doing so, let alone the grief i caused my poor wife 🙁 but she knows me well and knows i wouldn’t harm anyone and what i did was a stupid mistake . Anyway i received 18 month community order and $1,000 fine (which is like a probation in the states i guess).

I travelled to Fiji without a problem with my wife for 7 days this year in Feb but now Australia as of june 30 is starting to copy the USA now as we always seem to do . New laws state i cannot go to another state for more than 2 days without notifying the police and if i go to another state for more than 7 days i need to register in that state.

New legislation now says that if I’m to go overseas i must tell police 7 days before i go, i must show documentation of hotel I’m staying, all flight details etc and when i get back from overseas trip i must go back to police to prove I’m back after being home one day. They also state the AUS FED POLICE in most cases will now advise the destination country a sex offender is travelling (so pretty much copying USA) but
it is at the discretion of AUD FED POLICE if they send the warning or not.

I haven’t tried travelling anywhere else yet as I’m now quite worried myself i will end up on a blacklist and will affect my travelling after I’m off this stupid register , I’m not really sure what will happen. I am not a dangerous person/offender and have no interest in hurting anyone at all, i like everyone else like a holiday and love travelling.

I spoke to my police register today about going overseas and she said check with the relevant embassies as to whether i would have problems. I just want to go to Dubai with my wife for 10 days in November. Im not sure if it will be problem travelling to Europe again etc and def won’t be able for the states or Canada but just lucky I’ve been there before . Maybe in 10 years time i might re try the States .

Only other way round it is i can get duel citizenship , if i leave Australia on my Australia passport and arrive into Ireland/Or Europe on my Irish (if/when i get one) then they can’t stop me entering as i would then be classed as Iirish/EU Citizen.

Anyways sorry to crap on so much, i sincerely hate being on this register i try hard to move on with life but always get weighed thinking of this thing , me personally think it should work on a teired system with how long sentence and how bad the crime was etc , i know in QLD in another state here they have changed he register down from 8 years to 5 for my offence which i think NSW should also do where i live but won’t happen.

Half the stories I have read on this are full of errors. One story you see on multiple boards is a guy that was registered in Oregon and flew to Mexico last year to be denied. He claims he was convicted of a non felony sex offense 24 years ago. He says still has to register. No chance, in oregon he would of been off by now. This girl c
Chelsea above that talks about how her boyfriend doesn’t have to register anymore but was still flagged says her boyfriend was 18 and the girl 15. Under AWA that would make him a tier 1 offender. She says he was tier 3 but got off with the Romeo and Juliet clause. No chance, if he was a tier 3 offender the age difference was more than 3 years, a lot more. So he would still be registered when he flew down there. Then there was a guy that said the immigration officer told him they were sending back 3-5 people a day. So in 12 months 1800 people would be denied under guardian angel , yet by mexicos count the number is 1130 from September 2013 to July 2015. Which would be 1.7 people per day FOR THE ENTIRE COUNTRY. This guy was talking about 1 airport. Again no chance. Mexico would have nothing to gain by lowering the number, if anything they would want to inflate it. The same article from a few days ago also says that some people were allowed to stay despite their record if they provided a legitamats reason for being there. Again unlikely someone would say that if it wasn’t true, so I really question the stories where people couldn’t even talk to someone about their situation.

With all that said my biggest complaint are all the people posting around the net that they are going to Mexico and are worried about getting in but then very few post their results.

One guy on trip advisor said that he called 4 American consulates in Mexico and they told him that the people they were primarily not allowing were gun and drug offenders and registered sex offenders. He claims it may be possible to be off the list but yet still in the database. Speaking of the database it is not all knowing or even a single database. It’s estimated 50-55 percent of all records are in it. So I would say if you are not on the list you have at worst a 50/50 shot of getting in.

Once I go to Mexico in a couple months I will let you know how that goes.
I am off the list for 2 years now. My crime was when I was 18, she was 13. Probation no jail.

Looks like travel to Mexico will become a lot harder for pedestrian or vehicular border crossers. They are now requiring a passport and a $20 fee for entry into the country. While the article did not mention anything about sex offenders, one could easily presume that the same mechanism is in place that also confirms public transport passengers, which will result in registered citizens being turned back at the border.

I landed in Cancun yesterday and was called off the plane before anyone else disembarked. My wife was allowed to accompany me. I was taken to the immigration office and asked to fill out a form which asked if I was ever convicted of a crime in the US or Mexico. I answered yes because I was convicted of sexual assault in 2000 and served prison time.

I was told that I would not be allowed entry into Mexico because of my conviction. The immigration officer’s English was not good and I managed to hear something about Guardian Angel or Angels. I copied this from : an article that revealed the program and some other information

All of this, thanks to a program known as “Guardian Angel,” which allows Mexican Immigration officials to identify and prevent people with previous criminal convictions from entering the country.

There is also a warning on the US State Department site That states the following:

Prior Criminal Convictions: U.S. citizens should be aware that Mexican law permits immigration authorities to deny foreigners entry into Mexico if they have been charged or convicted of a serious crime in Mexico or elsewhere.

I am not required to register as a sex offender. I am not on the Federal or State registry, so I would like to find out how/where Mexican authorities gets their information.

What I find particularly interesting is that prostitution is legal in many States in Mexico, and in Cancun, there are numerous Brothels that advertise online. Seems like hypocrisy to me. And I am nogt sure that a law denying entry to Mexico for a felony conviction exists. I think it is a decision left to the immigration officer that interviews you.

Since the State Department seems to have all this information available, airlines should be required to inform prospective passengers to possible denial of access for whatever reason, instead of selling you a ticket that puts you on an 8 hour to and from trip. They make money and you get nothing but a long round trip flight.

I moved to the west coast of Mexico in October of 2013. I drove back and forth 4 times but in April of 2015 I flew back for some medical procedures and on my return I was detained and returned. It was a shock. Mexico is a wonderful place to live. The climate, the people and their lifestyle is just wonderful. I am very anxious to return.
I know that there are people trying to find a way to return legally. Is there any site or any formation that can be shared on how this can be done? It seems to me that if a Mexican attorney that spoke English could get the procedure down to a systematic filing he/she would make good money and that it would help many Americans with this terrible burden.
Any further information on a solution would be appreciated.

years ago back in early 2000’s I have a federal felony in California which I served below the year and a day (was released early when my dad died) and went through the probation.. after completing everything I moved to mexico and was using tourist visa’s to enter through Baja (walking) recently I am trying to get a Mexican permanentresident card (my crime wasn’t any sex oriented it was just being a passenger with illegal aliens and do not have to register furthermore I have a clean record just the 1 felony from 15 yrs ago
I hired someone to help me through INM got the passport page id… did the fingerprints paid the fee and was waiting 40 days or so into it for the pre-approved card to arrive.. then I get an email (not from INM but from my rep that I asked to check INM and get a “status” he posted “application denied” in an email to me but INM did not send me anything at all I check their site and no changes in my file on their site
the other day I talked to a couple of attourneys to help (if it is true) and try to at least get a “hearing” I am scared if I have to go back because I might be on some “LIST” that I feel I should not be on at least before I pay for a visa and go in no trouble I have my house here and my life invested here
how can something so twisted happen in todays society where you do good serve your time and get punished decades later!!!!!! I do have some money (not much) but I hate starting over (worst case if blacklisted without a crime that I have to register for) any ideas any1…. I might be looking for another country but don’t want to and don’t want to live in the USA (just visit)

update: I have paid to check my criminal record online through several services and can not find any convictions on me except for someone with a similar name in northern California (I have receipts that prove I wa and have been in mexico at the time of that persons arrest) the mug shots would also show it is not me.. I am not sure how to get off a “LIST” for mexico go through the 9th circuit court and petition what?? (a denial letter from mexico INM (worst case if I am truly denied) and ask to have my freedom / rights restored in a 10+ year court battle? I am getting too old to start over after building a life down south.. there has to be a way to finmd out exactly what govt organization runs this “list of doom” people should get together and file a class action lawsuit for not allowing our rights to be violated after we are alledgy free from our conviction/s sorry I am just ranting but in a worst case scenario this feels “unreal” after all these years

Jon, I am not sure why you ended up on this site nor why you state you have a clean record. I am not trying to be harsh at all but you said you had a federal felony conviction so you don’t, by any means, have a clean record. Sadly, in the US (unlike Great Britain and possibly many others) a conviction of any sort never goes away. It’s entirely possible that you denial is based on the old conviction. The US would probably deny permanent residence or citizenship to someone with an equivalent offense that was trying to stay here from a different country.

You said you had some money. The sad truth is that Mexico (along with a lot, if not all the world) runs on money. You probably need a very well connected “friend” in Mexico who can get you in front of the right immigration officer there, who is willing to listen to your story. And he may need some gesture from you that shows how much you appreciate his understanding etc, etc. I am by no means saying you should try a bribe but face it, there are almost always deals to be made.

I was off to climb Pico De Orizaba. I had my trip planned, tour guide, climbing guide, rental car, and hotel on the beach for the last half before heading home. As soon as the plane landed, and i had cleared customs i was motioned to secondary. I had the joy of being deported from the Mexico city airport last week. The humiliation of having the worst day of my life re lived, and of course a free escort to the front of the line at the airport ticket gate. I have worked hard, payed for my crimes, and have done everything that i was asked to do to comply with the system. My offense was a misdemeanor “communication with a minor for immoral purposes” I plead guilty, because I was scared, and threatened with a felony charge.
So it does not have to be a felony to screw you over. Thats what im saying. I also had a close friend of mine who is a lawyer review my plans and tell me that i would be fine…..after a day in the airport detention facility, i was placed on a flight back to the states.
The mexican police, ICS were far more professional than any US law enforcement i have ever encountered. It has been years since i have been a “free” man. I have not committed any crimes, including a speeding ticket. It is great that i can never repay my debt to the society that i live in. USA! USA!

Hope you read this and it helps you. Im a person, and once i made a mistake. No one was hurt, and here we are. Lots of mountains to climb in the U.S. , but it would have been cool to climb internationally and Orizaba is a perfect starting point for high altitude climbing.

I have been denied entry from Mexico twice while traveling by air. The 1st time was early 2014 when a notice was sent and they were waiting for me at the gate. The 2nd time was this spring. They were not waiting when I landed, but when my passport was scanned at the checkpoint I was brought in for questioning. At this point i’m assuming I’m on their list and if I travel again, I will be stopped when my passport is scanned since my passport is flagged. In the past few months my charges were dropped and i am clear from my previous issues. I recently obtained a new passport (with a new passport number). Assuming I fly to mexico again, another “notice” will not be sent to mexico with the charges cleared. With my new passport/passport number, do you think I will still get stopped at the checkpoint? I’m assuming their blacklist or list is based off of your passport number and not your name. Does anyone have any insight on this or thoughts?

Go by ground. DO NOT FlY PERIOD! If you must fly, fly to San Diego and cross by car/pedestrian walkway at San Isdrio. If you fly you allow these systems of control to tag you. Airports are the MOST monitored and secure borders. You set yourself up for government blockage by using them.I have crossed many times, Nobody gives a f*** at tourist crossings. Then your in. Bring your passport of course but getting a tourist card on the other side is easy as hell. Go ground. Got it?

After traveling to Mexico at least 5 times a year for the previous 7 years, I was denied entry into Mexico today 12/3/2015 at 8:00am. I did not drive, but walked across the International Bridge to Nuevo Laredo Mexico.

I tried to do the right thing and obtain a Tourist Visa. After 1 1/2 hour within the Mexican Migracion Seconday Inspection, I was physically escorted across the international bridge right back to Laredo Texas, where 2 armed US Customs Agents were waiting for me. The Agents actually frisked me right there on the bridge, then escorted me back to the US Border Control Office in Laredo, where they performed a very thorough background investigation, and then proceeded to thoroughly inspect my luggage and belongings.

I was told by the Mexican Immigration Official that I would not be allowed to enter Mexico this time, due to a misdemeanor conviction from 2001 regarding “Attempted Sexual Criminal Act”. I’m a smart person and in preparation of any potential problems, I have been carrying legal documents pertaining to that misdemeanor conviction with me whenever I travel internationally. Despite providing those documents to the Mexican Migration Official, he and the other people there refused to consider the legality of any of it. My documents indicate that I’m “Not Required” to register as a Sex Offender.

The crime that they had me for in their system stated sexual assault- which obviously was not the case.

The Mexican Immigration Person told me that they received this information from US Customs and Border Patrol. I was allowed to read the document which had the CBP information listed. The Mexican Migracion Official advised me to contact an Attorney in the United States- he obviously had no clue.

Hello @paul Sal,

At which point did they detain you ? Did you scan your passport and then they detained you while you were trying to get the tourist visa ?

I would like to elaborate on a previous Reply “Do you have any idea about whom and what the US is telling other countries?”

So far I’ve read on this Thread that Mexico, Colombia, and Panama are not countries to attempt to fly into.

Does anyone know of, or have any experience about, any of the other Latin American Countries? ie Peru? Bolvia?

Paul Saul –

When you entered Mexico on the 3rd by foot had you already flown internationally since 2013/14 and been flagged in they system already? I’m trying to figure out how they knew when previously you had no issues entering Mexico , walking in.
We knew that travel was being flagged via Interpol upon booking an international flight but from what you are saying it seems now the actual passport is flagged even if there is no known international travel.

@HH yes that was exactly the case, I had previously attempted air travel into Mexico in 2013 and was turned back. Again after flying in at least 20 times in the past 7 years. What is puzzling to me is that I was able to obtain a Tourist Visa walking-in at the same Nuevo Laredo port, earlier this year without issue.

Concerning entering Mexico at the border, particularly San Ysidro or San yaskidrow. The US has paid for the new Mexican border crossing there, complete with cameras, armed guards, dogs and the giant x-ray machine. This “joint effort” cost american taxpayers 500 million at least. So far I cross the border in a vehicle monthly. The vehicle has been stopped, searched, inspected but no one asks for my passport…yet. They are set up to do so very soon I believe. I rent a house and spend a couple of days at a time there, never exceeding the magic number of days away (whatever that is.) So, at this time entering Mexico by foot es no bueno, but by vehicle, whether bus, taxi or auto is safe. You will have to go to secondary inspection when you re-enter the US. I have had few problems in secondary, some inspections lasting all of 5-10 minutes, others lasting 30-45 minutes. I go to work on a home there, and always have my tools with me, with my golf clubs. I know that at some point I will be denied entry into Mexico, but for now I’ll enjoy the tranquility and being anonymous while I’m there. Just a side note, more from paranoia on my part; I have my passport and wallet tucked safely in a foil/mylar/copper mesh pouch which supposedly blocks electronic access in reading my information. Who really knows if it works, but thus far I think it has. I’ll be wearing a damn foil hat soon I think.

I realize that there are always new registrants coming to this website, and we all need to gather information and participate in our freedom of speech. But I think it helpful that I share an observation: Whatever plans we make for travel and post here will be read by those who wish to restrict our travel. It should surprise no one that pedestrian crossing into Mexico is now being (or has been) shut down for registrants. The information that registrants could cross the border in this manner has been repeatedly posted. We keep informing the government through these posts about avenues for successful travel. Do you think that maybe these avenues are targeted as a result? FYI, I am always reading these posts on international travel so that I can come up with a travel plan that is original. Unfortunately, I am finding it more and more difficult to do so as every idea is posted.

@concerned registrant
Agree completely but how else do you recommend we get this information ? Maybe we can recommend a live chat via the website ?

No easy answer to that question, except to say that direct information passed at the meetings person to person have proven valuable. and information about successful travel on the website have value, except that mentioning such likely creates a “We-gotta-shut-that-down” response from those who wish to further restrict our Constitutional freedoms. The only reason they have not succeeded is because certain other countries (few actually) are not cooperating (yet) with the U.S., but that could change at any time. As I mentioned before, there is no easy answer, but there is great value in discretion. Perhaps others could pipe-in with suggestions.

Playing secret cat and mouse games with border officials is not going to be good for us in the long run. If they don’t hear it from us, then certainly they are smart enough to realize an RSO can walk across the border or get in a car. The last image we would want to present is a bunch of RSO’s secretly trying to sneak into other countries. As if we had something to hide. It wouldn’t help. If we are going to bring this before the attention of the public and hope to win, we have to be open and forthright. That is how peaceful war has been waged, from Gandhi to Rosa Parks.
Maybe 50 to 100 (better 1000) of us could plan a crossing into Mexico as a protest, much as we did in Carson, when we marched from City Hall to the park. How would a hundred registered Americans trying to cross at one time affect border operations, I wonder? They seem to not know how to process even one registrant. In Carson, it was openly announced and the council members were invited to lunch with us. Although many of us surely felt quite the opposite, in Carson we presented a bold and confident front, and in glaring contrast to what people had expected from registered Americans. Who was shamed in the end? It was not the marchers but the city council.

I would agree with a previous poster, about the amount of information we post on here in terms of ways to solve these problems. “We keep informing the government through these posts about avenues for successful travel. Do you think that maybe these avenues are targeted as a result? FYI, I am always reading these posts on international travel so that I can come up with a travel plan that is original. Unfortunately, I am finding it more and more difficult to do so as every idea is posted.”

I think everyone should limit their post to just the facts of what happened and their experiences.

Does anyone know of any of the other issue with Latin American Countries? like

Uraguay? Peru? El Salvador? Honduras? Bolvia?

James – you are very right in my opinion. To your point-
I visited DC recently for my personal business and spent a lot of time with our lobby firm that represents my interests in our company . The entire time I was there I kept thinking how powerful and how much could change if everyone could donate even $5 monthly, the power behind that would be huge. Janice and team could use the money to hire a lobbying firm , while it is expensive – it’s more than doable if we could get everyone organized. A full time lobby firm in states and in DC would be the most powerful thing we can do. There is where laws are made and changed. I experienced this first hand and that’s how things get done.

I don’t know how we would organize all of these people but it can be done and that is when changes would be made.

Thoughts anyone ?

Maybe there is a need to post this in general comments as it doesn’t pertain to travel but I think it’s important.

I was wondering if someone could explain how this “Guardian Angel Program” works?

Is it a fact that foreign countries are notified only for Level 2 and Level 3 Offenders?

Does this information get passed only when a RSO attempts to fly into the foreign country?

I know that Interpool has their owm process “Green Notification” for which I have the same questions.

Thanks in Advance!