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  #1  
Old 20 Nov 2013
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Turned Away at Guatemal Border - Mesilla

I thought I should share this info as it may help somebody else, and possibly somebody would have some advice.

I attempted to cross the border yesterday to Guatemala and was turned away because they would not accept my Memorandum Title as proof of ownership. It is an official, original document from the state of Ohio but because I financed a portion of the motorcycle the bank holds the real title until I pay in full. When preparing for the trip I asked about this and was told it would work as it states i am the owner and it is a document from the state. Not in Guatemala, and as far as I can tell there's no way around it, geographically and figuratively.

I am in San Cristobal de Las Casas trying to figure my next move, I am supposed to meet my family in Costa Rica on Tuesday morning! Any help or advice would be appreciated, and I hope this helps future travelers.

Thanks! Greg
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  #2  
Old 21 Nov 2013
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This is a tough one to answer but maybe this will help. Since you are back in S Cristobal ,you probably went to and from the Cd Cuauhtemoc/La Mesilla crossing .Going back there they might let you go , but they might also remember you and refuse you again.Would have been better to have gone to the south coast border crossing ,not back to SC , but so it goes.

Do you have the vehicle REGISTRATION from Ohio ? Hopefully you have such a card or page and that it is in your name. This could save your bacon.Go back to the GT border at another crossing and show only the bike REGISTRATION and your DL and passport.Leave the"title" out of sight as if you do not have Ignore it completely. Really should not need it, it is only for purposes of selling ,right?
Go down to the Mex 200 crossing east of Tapachula at Cacahoatan.These guys see more traffic than la Mesilla and may not be as finicky.
If you make it through then you are also on a faster route through Guatemal on your way to Costa Rica
See www.borderhelper.com and click on border of Cacahoatan ,more details. re: leaving Mexico
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  #3  
Old 21 Nov 2013
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thanks for the response.

I am going to print a copy of a my title on some more official looking paper stock here and as you suggested go to the southern border crossing, hopefully tomorrow.

I did show my registration at the Guatemala - Mesilla Aduana and he refused to believe it was original, which it is, it just looks photocopied. The guy was impossible, he did show me a line in an official looking book about requiring "original title" for importing a vehicle into Guatemala. I was really surprised to see that. I hope the southern pass will work out and the other crossings will be better? Should registration only work for South America as well? Thanks for your help, the border crossing site is really nice so thanks for the link.

Greg
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  #4  
Old 21 Nov 2013
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Sorry about your trouble , but by law you are required to carry and show your title, not only in Guatemala but in all the other countries further down south as well .
You might not always be asked for it , but that's a different story.

IMHO Tapachula is a much tougher border to cross then La Mesilla. A really easy one is the one at El Naranjo (Peten) , but it's way off the shortest route to Costa Rica. And then you would still have several other borders to cross before you make it to CR .

Suerte !
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  #5  
Old 21 Nov 2013
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many countries including the UK & I think Canada, do not issue titles. I used to travel on my UK registered bike with only a registration document.
As others stated try another border or hope there is a different official working as they tend to change what they ask for hourly, whether it is the law or not!!
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  #6  
Old 21 Nov 2013
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Every border we crossed in CA bar Costa Rica and Panama asked for our titles.
They love original official "looking" documents. Its going to get worse as you head south.
I recommend playing around on photoshop for a while and make an official document.
These border crossing are a complete joke and some guy on a power trip whose only english is "original document" makes the whole process even worse. That and paying to spray insecticide all over your bike.
It may be worth paying the touts an extra few bucks to ease the process.
A friend of mine could not get his bike "out" of Nicaragua as he lost his paperwork. He had to use photoshop to make new doc's.
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  #7  
Old 21 Nov 2013
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have your document translated and legalized by a lawyer at the border. should be no problem after that. Also DMV card helps.

cheers
Taz
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  #8  
Old 21 Nov 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wheatwhacker View Post
They love original official "looking" documents.
These border crossing are a complete joke and some guy on a power trip whose only english is "original document" makes the whole process even worse.

It's not that "they" love it , it is the law ! Like it or not

And actually it is the traveller who is supposed to speak more then 2 words in spanish,the local language, not the border official english.
Keep in mind , you are a guest in another country . It's all about respect
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Old 22 Nov 2013
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Originally Posted by guaterider View Post
It's not that "they" love it , it is the law ! Like it or not

And actually it is the traveller who is supposed to speak more then 2 words in spanish,the local language, not the border official english.
Keep in mind , you are a guest in another country . It's all about respect
Yes, you are right about the traveler speaking the local language.

Is é seo mo theanga dhúchais. Buille faoi thuairim mé nach shoulds tú cuairt a thabhairt ar Éirinn ag am ar bith go luath Mura féidir leat labhairt deireadh ar a laghad dhá fhocal ar, tá sé ceart go leor, is féidir linn labhairt leatsa.
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  #10  
Old 22 Nov 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panavalk View Post
many countries including the UK & I think Canada, do not issue titles.
In the UK we have the V5 Document. And whiles this quire clearly states no proof of ownership, it is accepted worldwide as proof of entitlement to use the vehicle.

In well over 5 years of worldwide travel, including 8 separate renewals on the my Guatemalan temporary import papers (same permit/sticker at La Mesilla) I never had any problems. Whenever I have been asked for Tittle document in all of Central America I just show them my V5.

I know of at least 2 UK bikes where the riders name was not on the V5 that successfully entered Guatemala. Both had a "use agreement" typed up and notarized in Mexico. A canadian rider without papers used the same tactic, but I don't know them personally.

La Misilla sees a lot of traffic. The aduana offices there are very efficient but also very well versed in what to check etc.

I would suggest that you might have better luck at another border. You may be tempted to just ride across as some riders have done in the past. From experience, the problem will come down the road, leaving Honduras to Nicaragua. With a bit of negotiation you should get yourself and the bike out for 100-150 bucks.

A friend who recently left his overseas registered bike in Honduras for an extended period, no permit renewal for a couple of years, didn't negotiate hard and still paid less than 300.

Cheers,

Andrew
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  #11  
Old 23 Nov 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wheatwhacker View Post
Every border we crossed in CA bar Costa Rica and Panama asked for our titles.
They love original official "looking" documents. Its going to get worse as you head south.
I recommend playing around on photoshop for a while and make an official document.
These border crossing are a complete joke and some guy on a power trip whose only english is "original document" makes the whole process even worse. That and paying to spray insecticide all over your bike.
It may be worth paying the touts an extra few bucks to ease the process.
A friend of mine could not get his bike "out" of Nicaragua as he lost his paperwork. He had to use photoshop to make new doc's.
And it was the border officials fault that your friend was an inept dork , how ?

It is attitudes like yours that makes it so much harder for others, you do not need to pay touts or bribe anyone. Just get the documents and attitude correct (and not loose them).

If you don't like the insecticide, then don't ride through any insects. Have you ever been into California ? They stop and check for fruit between states. Now *THAT* is a joke.
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  #12  
Old 23 Nov 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceP View Post
And it was the border officials fault that your friend was an inept dork , how ?

It is attitudes like yours that makes it so much harder for others, you do not need to pay touts or bribe anyone. Just get the documents and attitude correct (and not loose them).

If you don't like the insecticide, then don't ride through any insects. Have you ever been into California ? They stop and check for fruit between states. Now *THAT* is a joke.
I don't have an attitude.
We crossed into Mexico showing our reg and passport. The reg paper shows the VIN/plate number and me as the owner, simple.
I took us a half hour to cross the border. We then paid a couple of hundred bucks (refundable) and we we were on our way. Very professional system.
Costa Rica and Panama, the same except for the deposit part.
It was the countries in between that were the painful ones. All my doc's were in order, photocopies of everything except for one crossing where they wanted a copy of my passport with their stamp on it. Please tell me the purpose of that, really.
Anyway, apart from the multi hour crossings and the harassing by the touts, it was a very enjoyable experience.
I met a mother and son on a trip in a campervan who had been refused entry into Honduras after spending all day at the border because the title did not look original enough for the border control officer. They were not amused in the slightest. Really is a shame they cannot make it easier and let more people in and thus boost their economies.
I agree about the fruit fly. Ever wonder why California is broke?
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  #13  
Old 28 Nov 2013
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Hound Master , its been a week since your trouble began .
How did it eventually end up , did you make it to your appointed
meeting in Costa Rica on the bike ? Or did you have to fly there with
a bike stuck in Mexico ?

The problems of the overdone bureaucratic zeal at borders of those Central American countries can I think in large part be traced to the habits they learned in the time of the dictators and the period when the Soviets and communist eastern bloc and Cuba were sending aid and trainers.The old ways of the former dictatorships and banana republics also had influence in fostering stifling bureaucracy
In the '80 s one could see lots of Russian built KAMA3 trucks and other brands and Lada cars,Dacias from Romania and tons of MZ, Simson and CZ bikes on the roads At lots of towns you still see the watch post at roadside as you enter , now derelict or used as a police watch post

Their masters taught them to watch,register,document,and otherwise prepare
paperwork for everything . Job creation .Kept them busy.
All of it looked much like in Eastern Europe,even with the drabness of much of
cityscapes before the iron curtain rusted out.

Now you only still see an occasional old KAMA3 or MZ still running,
All replaced by more modern Chinese and Indian small bikes,Japanese,Korean ,Chinese andEuro cars.
Toyota new minibuses and used old school busses and big trucks from North America mostly run the big routes
And lots of modern highway coaches too .
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  #14  
Old 26 Jan 2014
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Mexico is not the issue, the other Central American countries are. You NEED the original Title to the vehicle, some piece of paper from a bank means nothing to a a official in Guatemala. This how they prevent stolen vehicles from getting out of the USA.

This really 101, common knowledge. You need the Original Title in Passport Holders name, period. Each countrthe bike goes in your Passport as a Visa Entry, you cant leave the country without the bike, without paying the taxes/duties, which is up to 100% of the value of the bike, they determine, not you. You basically are temporarily importing the bike at the border, then when leaving, exporting the bike, repeat at Immigration Customs for next country. So going to Panama and Back,you will need to process the bike 12 times, 2 at each border. Best to get to border in morning.

Costa Rica is the exception, the vehicle does not go in your Passport.
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