Anglers now need a visa to fish in Mexico – San Diego Union

As expected, all anglers venturing into Mexico on fishing trips – by sea or by land — now are required to obtain a visa in order to fish there due to an immigration law enacted recently in May by the Mexican government.

Mexican authorities are expected to begin enforcing the visa requirements on Jan. 1 with random checks of commercial passenger fishing boats and private boats in Mexican waters.

The cost of the visas will range from $33.06 for three days of fishing or less to $250 for a yearly visa. The cost will vary depending on the value of the peso. All captains and crew members of sport boats will need the visa as well as all anglers on the boats. Fishermen who venture to Mexico on private boats also will need the visas and a Mexican fishing permit (approximately $11) or a yearly Mexican fishing license (approximately $45).

California Department of Fish and Game statistics show there are more than 70,000 licenses fishermen in San Diego County, but this new law requiring a visa will impact hundreds of thousands of anglers who travel from all over the United States and the world and fish Mexican waters out of San Diego and other ports.

The Sportfishing Association of California on Wednesday released some of the parameters surrounding the new documentation that all anglers must have to fish in Mexico. The local landings are working out an arrangement for a private company, MEX Tour Assistance, to administer the visas at the docks. SAC member vessels will obtain a visa through a program sanctioned by the Mexican Immigration Department (INAMI). All crew members must have a visa in order to work on fishing boats in Mexico. MEX Tour Assistance will work out of the local landings to make it easier for local anglers to obtain a visa. At some point, private boater anglers also may be able to get visas at the landings in order to fish in Mexico.

“This program will permit the application process to be administered through a company approved by INAMI,” the SAC release said. “This company is currently working with the sportfishing landings in San Diego to establish the required infrastructure. Once the process is ‘live’ the feasibility of opening it up to the general boating public will be evaluated by the San Diego Landings.”

The fee schedule charged by MEX Tourist Assistance will be as follows:

FMM 3 days or less – $33.06.

FMM 4-9 days — $38.06.

FMM 10 days or more — $43.06.

FM3 for one year — $250.

MEX Tourist Assistance is a Mexican-based company owned by Ana Guillermina Amezaga, according to her U.S.-based partner in the company, Troy Williams. MEX Tourist Assistance guarantees a three-hour turnaround on visa applications, said Williams, who works in the aerospace industry and is an avid angler.

Williams said Thursday morning that he was on his way to the SAC office in Point Loma to work out details of the process. MEX Tourist Assistance will also provide training at the landings so personnel there will be able to collect fees so that MEX Tour Assistance employees can go to Tijuana to obtain the visas.

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