How to renew your Mexican tourist visa at the Guatemalan border and what it costs.

I have been to the Guatemalan border twice in Chiapas in the town of La Mesilla to renew my Mexican tourist visa and paid two different prices for my new 6 month (180 days) visa.

Either way you will have to pay the 500 pesos ($25) exit tax.

Pay in Guatemala

The first time, I exited Mexico and paid my exit tax, got my exit stamp, then headed over to Guatemala in the shared taxi. 

Arriving at the Guatemalan immigration, they told me I had to stay in Guatemala for 72 hours until I was allowed to return to Mexico. Having no luggage and no desire to stay in Guatemala, I asked how much I could pay to exit right there and then. After a quick discussion, they gave me the price of 200 Guatemalan Quetzales – Apporx 500 pesos ($25).

It all happened nice and quick. They stamped me in and out of Guatemala, then I headed back to the Mexican immigration, filled out my form and got my new 180 Mexican tourist visa.

Be sure to ask for 180 days!! I have heard of people only getting 90 days.

Pay in Mexico

The most recent visit, I just paid the Mexican immigration without having to go to Guatemala.

They told me if I went to Guatemala that I’d have to stay for 72 hours. As my last visit was 6 months ago, I didn’t want to take the risk that maybe the Guatemalan immigration may not except cash for an instant exit.

Mexican immigration charged me 1500 pesos ($75), this included the 500 peso exit tax. I filled out my form, and returned back to San Cristobal de Las Casas.

It was super quick and very easy. Although it cost me an extra $35, it was secure and instant without the risk of not knowing what will happen with immigration in Guatemala. A smallish price to pay for peace of mind and another 180 days.


Either way it was all quiet simple. If the Mexican immigration offer you a price to renew you Mexican tourist visa there and then, I would go with that without having to leave Mexico.

Good luck with the process.

If you have a different story from another border town, leave a comment below. I’d love to hear about it.

Happy travels!!


    • Hi RC, as far as i know it for all of Mexico when exiting by land. Although i haven’t passed on the northern border, only in the south. Its about 400 pesos.

  • Hi,

    In your article, you say “I filled out my form, and returned back to San Cristobal de Las Casas.” Where did you fill out the form, where do you go to do that before going back to San Cristobal.


    • Hi Rosalind, Yeah I filled out the form at the immigration office on the Mexican side of the border. the mini bus/collectivo will drop you off right out front of the office.
      You have to talk to them first to say that you want to stay in Mexico and only renew your visa. Unfortunately to do this, you have to pay them a bribe of 1,500 pesos, which includes the 400 pesos exit fee. If not, you will have to enter Guatemala for 72 hours and then return to Mexico.
      Hope this helps

  • Here is my experience at the Mexico/Belize border in Chetumal: (this is reproduced from my blog the post titled Mexico Visa & TIP Process at Chetumal/Belize Border).

    I had not been looking forward to this but since we only have a month left on our visa and we are as close to a border as we are going to be for some time, we headed to Chetumal (Belize border post town) to try to ‘renew’ our visa and TIP (Temporary Import Permit for the car). When we originally got our TIP back in December, we never got the sticker for the windshield but it hasn’t been a problem for us except that it has been concerning me for the ‘renewal’ process.

    We arrived at the border post and spoke to a man in a booth, explaining that we want to renew our visa and TIP and he told us to go into the building where Banjercito is (that is the bank that handles all the immigration and other such government money matters).

    When we went to the ‘immigration’ window and explained again what we wanted, we were sent to the Banjercito window. Another explanation and the lady there took our papers, kept our existing TIP and started making a phone call. They explained that they cannot renew our visa, we had to go to the Immigration window – the immigration window lady told us that they cannot renew it and waved vaguely outside (all of this was in very broken English and very broken Spanish – we just kept trying to communicate with each other as best as we could).

    Outside, we realized that we needed to go back to the man in the booth at the roadside – his English was much better and I dropped my attempts to speak Spanish and told him quite clearly that we wanted to renew our visa (once we have a new visa, we can get a new TIP) but that I did not want to have to go into Belize first. We were then invited to step out of the road and to come into his booth. He carefully explained that the process (the legal process) is that we have to leave the country (go into Belize in this case) for 72 hours and then when we come back into Mexico we can apply for a new Visa. I asked him if there is no other way of doing this because we just want to spend more time visiting places in Mexico and we don’t want to go to Belize – he almost blushed I think and then quietly and slowly told me that there are always choices. My first choice is to leave the country and return after 72 hours but that I do have another choice, so I asked him what the other choice was. He told me that I could get an exit stamp and then we could proceed with a new visa application but of course that would cost – I told him that I understand that there is a fee as nothing is for free, how much does it cost. The cost of this alternative process costs 2,500 MXP each and asked me if I understood and if I wanted to follow this other process and so it would cost 5,000 MXP for the two of us. I made it very clear that I did understand and wanted to do it this way – Gerald looked into his (carefully pre-arranged wallet) and said that he only has a little over 2,000 MXP. It was very obvious that this was not an acceptable offer but the official told us that he understood our situation and did not want to hurt our wallet so he could get this done for us for only 4,000 MXP. I asked Gerald where we could get more money and come back and he magically found this other 2,000 MXP. I gave the official our visas and passports with the money below the paperwork and he rolled back the date on his date stamp, stamped our passports and made a call to his supervisor to bring new visa forms. We were invited to take seats and wait while the visa forms were brought to us, we completed them and they were quickly finalized and returned to us.

    Once we had the new visa forms, it was back inside the main building to the immigration counter where we spent a few minutes getting our passports stamped for re-entry and the last step of the visa finalization. Once we had our new visas and stamped passports in our hands, it was off to the Banjercito window where the very helpful lady there worked through cancelling our previous TIP (and saying that the Piedras Negras people had made a mistake and given us the wrong part of the form so we just had to sign a declaration about having lost the sticker). We were told that the deposit will be automatically returned to our credit card on Monday (first business day after today/Friday) and we were then charged for the new TIP and it’s associated costs on our credit card.

    Fortunately there were very few people there at this time – we had chosen to go to the ‘new’ border post which can be found just north of Laguna Negra between the actual town of Chetumal and the southern town of Chetumal that is around the actual border. If you look for ‘border crossing near Cheumal’ on Google maps you will see both the new (northernmost) an the old (more south) border posts. The whole process took us only a little over an hour.

    Unfortunately I walked out of there feeling a bit like a villain but very relieved that this process is now over for the next 6 months – I also get a nice warm feeling and a smile every time I see that hologram sticker on our windshield because I knew that we were meant to have that all along.

    For now, I am going to try to let go of the fact that we are going to have to do this again in November and try to enjoy an evening in Chetumal. We drove back the way that we had come in because we just had to visit Bacalar while we are in the area, it is a beautiful little funky town with lagoons all around and we had a lovely little lunch in a very local restaurant several blocks away from the main tourist zone.

  • Hi Johnny,

    Hopefully you can help me to clear my doubts about the immigration procedure.
    So I’ve read that so many people cross the Mexico-Guatemala border to renew the 180days stay, but my embassy (Polish) informed me that those 180 days are only per year and so that I would not be allowed to stay longer even if I cross the border. Is it true? Basically I would be going to Guateamala at my 150 days and need just around 25 days more over the 180 that I am allowed, i.e. I would be in Mexico for 210 days total. Did you have 180 days and were given another 180 days? I hope this makes sense haha. Looking forward to your answer!

    • Hi Martyna, How long are you planning on going to Guatemala? just for the visa.. or you are going for a week or two?
      I’m Australian, so not exactly sure about Polish requirements, but from different people I have spoken to from different countries, it should be the same. You can renew your Mexican tourist visa as many times as you like. I’ve been doing it for 3 years without any questions. Each time a new visa and another 6 months.
      If you are going to Guatemala for more than 72 hours, you will be able to return to mexico no problems. As 72 hours in the minimum time you have to leave Mexico. If you are going to the border just to renew your visa, you will have to talk to the immigration officer, he will say no you can’t, but I paid $1500 pesos and got my exit and entry stamp, and my new visa for 180 days without having to leave Mexico. A little expensive, but very convenient. And I would have spend $1500 pesos waiting the 72 hours in Guatemala.
      Where abouts are you? I also have a contact in Mexico City who can renew your visa without having to go to the border.
      Hope this helps. Any questions, just let me know and i’ll help out if I can.
      Happy travels!!

      • Hi Johnny,
        Thanks for your quick answer!
        I guess it doesn’t matter which country I am from, I was just worried that staying for longer than 180 days per year on tourist visa is not possible since the law has changed some years ago, but seems that it is not an issue.
        Yeah, basically I wanted to cross the border only to renew my FMM and as I have read your post about it, I was planning to try paying (or bribing haha) without having to stay in Guatemala for 72hrs. But now that you mentioned the contact you have in Mexico City, a trip to Guatemala might not be needed! I live in Mexico City now, how do I contact you to discuss it?

  • Hi Johnny,
    your blog post was a very big help for us while doing this the first time here in Mexico, but unfortunately it wasn´t a breeze like you describe. I would like to inform you and your readers about the current situation. We did this at the end of the year 2017 and had quite a bit different experience. We deliberately decided to cross a border where it should have been easy (based what people that we know experience every time there) as your border crossing but it wasn´t. I don´t know if it is just us or just bad luck, but we have everytime problems and get the worst case scenario. We live in Quintana Roo on the caribbean so for us the only choice was to go to the border with Belize and cross to Belize through Chetumal. We had a car rented from Cancun. No problems with the car nor the border crossing in to Belize. We wanted to be on the safe side and not take any chances so we decided to leave Mexico exactly 10 days before our 180 day visa expired. We also decided to do it the legal right way (stay out at least 3 nights) and have a nice few days in Belize which we wanted to visit anyway. It was a really perfect vacation until after 3 nights we were back at the border with Mexico. We got stamped out of Belize and no problems at all. It all came down to when we tried to enter Mexico. We got the tourist cards, filled it out and came to the immigration officers window. He took it, took our passports and after a few seconds he said he can give us only 7 days instead of 180 days!!! WTF was my first thought and that we are massively screwed because we like it so much here we wanted to stay another 180 days so doing it just the first time they should do no problems right? Not the case, he said 7 days because that´s what his computer shows him. It were exactly those 7 days that we had on our previous 180 days when we exited Mexico with 10 days left and spent 3 days in Belize. We don´t speak spanish at all so we wanted to get the 180 days. Then we were pushed back and to the side. He made some phone calls and quickly there was a small middle aged lady approaching us with broken english to come with her to another building. She asked us if we speak spanish or at least understand and we said no. She always asked if we live in Mexico. I said temporarily and as a tourist and she still wanted to know where exactly and how long we have been here and if done this before and stuff like that. I was hesitant to say we live here but we did and then it moved on. We argued, that we stayed outside of Mexico 3 nights as we should but she said we could stay even 30 days and it would be the same. As far as I understood you have to be out of Mexico 180 days to be able to be back for half a year in the calender year so something very similiar to the USA. If this is true then it is a very very serious problem for many people we know including you who are here many years like this. Perhaps that was a lie but how can I tell. After we argued, then she started to quietly speak with her workmate in the other building and we did understand a bit what they talked and it was all about how much to charge us and if he even admits to do it. So he said make us some money and let them go. She came with a smile and from that moment nothing was a problem anymore and asked us to pay 2000 pesos each for getting another 180 days! You say a little expensive for you to pay 1500 pesos? Well for 2 of us it was a total of 4000 pesos. The problem was there was no ATM and we had only 1000 pesos. I opened up my wallet and said this is all I have. With not a happy face she took it and walked back to the other building where she changed place with the other guy that said to us we will get only 7 days. We got the 180 days, had to pay the exit tourist fee or whatever it is called at the bank there and got a confirmation about it. Yes this can be paid upon leaving Mexico and usually is done that way but she insisted we pay it immediately there and they accepted a credit card. It was 500 pesos each. So we got back to Mexico eventually but it wasn´t a nice and easy going thing there. Imagine you have all your stuff here and you are not allowed to enter. What a nightmare. Anyway I would not advise anyone to even try to bribe them unless they come up with it as sort of a fee which I am ready to pay anytime even those 2000 pesos but not if I don´t have to and do it the right way as we did and we did that the first time and already had problems. What will happen to those who have their passports stamped out from all those visa renewals? Anyway Johnny can you tell us how it went with Martyna the polish lady? Or maybe I can send you an email and you can help me out with your contact in Mexico City in case we would want to stay longer. Take care and people please write your experiences with this allong with all the details and which borders did you cross. This way we can help out each other. Wish you luck.

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