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Visa-Free on the "HONOR SYSTEM"

Discuss international visas, immigration and citizenship issues.

Moderators: jamesbond, fschmidt

Visa-Free on the "HONOR SYSTEM"

Postby Jester » Thu Mar 27, 2014 6:01 am

OK, so when you drive into Mexico, and stay in the "border area", you don't need a tourist visa. They may inspect your belongings for customs duties if it looks like you have a houseful of stuff, but if you look like a vacationer you just get waved through. If you are going to go deeper into Mexico via car, you do need to stop, get an actual tourist visa (6 months) and get something to make your car OK in Mexico. But I think its the car that is the issue. Not you yourself.

In other words if not driving you could hang around in Mexico, and your passport would not have a stamp indicating when you arrived. (Arrival by air probably is different, dont know).

And if you have a car, as long as it i in the border area, no papers necessary except US registration and Mexican car insurance (need that only if you have an accident, but very advisable).

Bottom line you can cruise on into Baja Norte, plus other border areas, without a stamped visa. No immigration enforcement.

Are there any other countries like this?
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Re: Visa-Free on the "HONOR SYSTEM"

Postby Rock » Thu Mar 27, 2014 7:38 am

Jester wrote:OK, so when you drive into Mexico, and stay in the "border area", you don't need a tourist visa. They may inspect your belongings for customs duties if it looks like you have a houseful of stuff, but if you look like a vacationer you just get waved through. If you are going to go deeper into Mexico via car, you do need to stop, get an actual tourist visa (6 months) and get something to make your car OK in Mexico. But I think its the car that is the issue. Not you yourself.

In other words if not driving you could hang around in Mexico, and your passport would not have a stamp indicating when you arrived. (Arrival by air probably is different, dont know).

And if you have a car, as long as it i in the border area, no papers necessary except US registration and Mexican car insurance (need that only if you have an accident, but very advisable).

Bottom line you can cruise on into Baja Norte, plus other border areas, without a stamped visa. No immigration enforcement.

Are there any other countries like this?


No stamp in passport does not automatically mean your data has not been entered into their system. When I go to and from Taiwan, I no longer get passport stamps. In fact, I don't even need my passport to leave or enter. I just use my permanent resident card and swipe it in the automatic e-gates available at the airport, no human involved.

When I used to travel around Europe, my passport didn't get stamped in most countries I visited.

If you go to Cuba, you can opt not to have your passport stamped.

Going into and out of Brazil, they once did not stamp my passport. That really effed me over cus next time I went a year later, they denied me entry cus they said my 5 year visa had become invalid since I had not entered within first 3 months of it being issued. So they put me right back on a plane to Colombia. I even showed them a date marked photo of myself in Rio but they ignored it. I basically had choice of getting on the plane or going to some kind of jail or detention :(

Oh, these days when I visit the USA, they usually don't stamp my passport on entry too though once in awhile they do.
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Postby xiongmao » Thu Mar 27, 2014 8:52 pm

You can drive around most of Europe without getting inspected too much. As Europeans we have the legal right to work in any other European country. Of course due to the language barrier this is more theoretical than practical.
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Re: Visa-Free on the "HONOR SYSTEM"

Postby Jester » Sun Mar 30, 2014 7:44 am

Rock wrote:
No stamp in passport does not automatically mean your data has not been entered into their system.


I agree. If they swipe OR stamp when you enter, they might then track how long you stay,

So are there any other countries (besides Mexico) that do NEITHER? I.e. that keep no record of when you entered?

PS FWIW, Subversive Uncle Frank wrote somewhere that San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua is a de facto no-passport-check, stay forever zone if you can get there by boat. Here's a link (though not to that sepcific article):
http://www.escapefromamerica.com/2010/0 ... n-del-sur/
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Postby Jester » Sun Mar 30, 2014 7:53 am

xiongmao wrote:You can drive around most of Europe without getting inspected too much. As Europeans we have the legal right to work in any other European country. Of course due to the language barrier this is more theoretical than practical.


Yes, one you're inside the EU you can probably dodge around, not having to produce a passport very often. But to enter the EU, I'm pretty sure they will scan. And certainly EU countries have computers and databases of travelers.

I guess I see your point, if you avoid official encounters you could stay indefinitely. But the thing is, if you DID have an official encounter of some kind and they "ran" your passport, they would discover you were an overstay, and out you go. Might even be other problems like a few days in detention, lost possessions/rent/deposits, having to pay a fine, etc.

I figure if the country doesn't swipe at all (again, like Mexico in many cases) that you couldnt get in trouble for an indefinite stay.
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Postby MeGustanLatinas » Sun Jul 13, 2014 12:03 am

I took the bus to DF ages ago, and at the MTY boarder I had to get a visa. I could either pay $20 US there, or they could give me the visa and I pay $20 US at a bank. I have no idea how they enforce that, but I didn't want to find out and possibly be stuck in Mexico. So a month before I left I finally paid it.
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Postby eurobrat » Sun Jul 13, 2014 10:20 am

Jester wrote:
xiongmao wrote:You can drive around most of Europe without getting inspected too much. As Europeans we have the legal right to work in any other European country. Of course due to the language barrier this is more theoretical than practical.


Yes, one you're inside the EU you can probably dodge around, not having to produce a passport very often. But to enter the EU, I'm pretty sure they will scan. And certainly EU countries have computers and databases of travelers.


Correct, because it's a union now once you are in the Schengen Zone you can move around freely without a visa for 90 days and no more customs stops. However, your passport does get checked for a stamp when going from country to country. To stay longer you need a visa. European nationals can move around however much they want visa free.

Going to Switzerland you get another stamp, because it's not part of the EU.
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Postby Jester » Mon Jul 28, 2014 7:12 pm

MeGustanLatinas wrote:I took the bus to DF ages ago, and at the MTY boarder I had to get a visa. I could either pay $20 US there, or they could give me the visa and I pay $20 US at a bank. I have no idea how they enforce that, but I didn't want to find out and possibly be stuck in Mexico. So a month before I left I finally paid it.


Good point.

Since you were traveling so far into the country (Mexico City), you fell outside the border zone.

It's the border zone were they leave you alone.

The border zone DOES include northern Baja, I'm not sure how far down the peninsula. Anyway I was OK down south from Ensenada down to San Quentin, and north from Ensenada through Tijuana. Even at a DUI checkpoint (yes there was one, one time) and military checkpoint (common on highway, looking for drug and gun smugglers) they do not check passport.

BTW I guess Baja has special status, because San Quentin etc is nowhere near the border. I would love to have an actual link to the law that defines the border zone.
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