Click here for HOT NEWS

TJ, San Ysidro issued FMM visas not valid for sea transit

Troy Williams at Mex Tour Assist told that FMM visas obtained at the border at San Ysidro and Tijuana ARE NOT valid for anglers visiting Mexico by sea. 

"They only issue terrestrial visas at the border," said Williams. "Only in Ensenada can the visas for sea be issued."

The visas are stamped "land" or "sea." Only the "land" stamp is used in Tijuana and San Ysidro. 

Dana Landing is the only place in the U.S. that anglers heading into Mexican waters can get a visa. Cost is $35. Getting a visa in Ensenada at the port INAMI office is the other option. There are no handling fees from Mex Tour Assist or Dana Landing, so the cost of the visa, if obtained in Ensenada, is $21. 


Usually New Year's Day is a popular day to fish. Especially in Mexico, seeing how the California waters from Point Conception to the Mexican border are closed to rockfish and other bottom fish like whitefish, sheephead and lingcod for the first two months of the year. 

But no private boaters have gone into Dana Landing to purchase a visa yet. John White at Dana Landing told that they didn't sell a visa the first day of the year. Dana Landing is the only place--currently--selling the $35 visa to private boaters in the US. The visas can be purchased at IMANI facilities in Mexico for $21. 

No 3/4-day boats have ran trips to the Coronados since the new visa requirements went into effect. Rick Marin at H&M Landing said the Malihini is online to fish U.S. Waters Monday through Thursday on its 3/4-day trips. Friday, Saturday and Sunday it's online to fish the Coronados. The ticket price to fish the islands--with permit and visa--is $123. 

Here's what the visa looks like: 


Details and answers to the countless questions that have risen out of the new Visa requirements for fishing Mexico--which are now in effect--continue to sprout up. 

Brass tacks: if you are fishing Mexican waters within 24 miles of land, you first need to obtain a visa. 

One of the big questions was whether a passport would be needed on top of the visa and a Mexican permit or fishing license. The answer is that the Mexican government is not requiring a passport. In fact, an ID as simple as a credit card can be used to obtain a visa. 

The visas are in place but private boaters CAN NOT  purchase them at the four sportboat landingsmentioned at the bottom of this blog (Fisherman's Landing, Point Loma Sportfishing, H&M Landing, Seaforth Landing).  ONLY Dana Landing is selling the visas to private boaters at this time. Visas can also be purchased in Tijuana and Ensenada. At $21, which is the cost without the handling fees (it's $35 at Dana Landing, and $28.03 for sportboat anglers that will have the visa fee added to their ticket price). 

Private boaters will more often than not utilize Dana Landing, versus the only other option, which is going to Mexico. Dana Landing is right next to the launch ramp where more private boats launch in Mission Bay. (Across the street from Seaforth.)  Visas must be returned, and it's the responsibility of the angler. Mailing the visa is the most practical option, aside from dropping it off at Dana Landing. As of Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m., John White at Dana Landing said they hadn't sold a visa yet. He said it will take less than 5 minutes to process a visa. Easy. 

Anglers fishing outside of 24 miles will not need a visa, so during the tuna season, both private boats and sportboats will not need a visa if fishing 24 miles from land (including islands like the Coronados). International safe passage laws allow for transiting through the 24 mile buffer. 

See below for more information. More updates will be posted to this blog, and complete story will run in WON this week. 

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2011 just talked to Troy Williams at Mex Tour Assist. He had more insight into the new Visa process that all anglers fishing in Mexican waters will have to adhere to with the new year.


Mex Tour Assist is a 3rd party company that is Mexican owned, outside of the Mexican government. Troy Williams is an American who works for the company, essentially serving as a liaison. Mex Tour Assist was set up to help assist with the visas that will new be required for all anglers visiting Mexican waters as of Jan. 1. On May 25, 2011 a new immigration law in Mexico was enacted by INAMI (Mexico’s Immigration Department).


All anglers will need a FMM Visa while fishing. All foreigners entering Mexican Waters, which include Mexican territorial waters, and contiguous waters within 24 miles must have a visa.


San Diego Landings will be able to issue the visas to sportboats. While it has yet to be confirmed, sources close to WON said the all four landings and Dana Landing will issue the visas to private boaters. The official word is expected on Thursday. Visas will have to be returned to the place of issue within 24 hours of returning to the U.S.


Here is how the pricing will work out. Prices are set to the pesos, and will be adjusted on the first of every month. Visas will be issued per trip, with three tiers: one- to three-day trips, four- to nine-day trips, and trips from 10 to 30 days.


As of January 1 the costs will be, per person:

Three days or less: $28.00

Four to nine days: $33.06

10 plus days: $38.06

As of February 1, the costs will be, per person:

Three days or less: $33.06

Four to nine days: $38.06
10 plus days: $43.06


Crewmembers will have to have a FM3 work visa, which can be obtained through Mex Tour Assist for $250.00.

“A FM3 trumps a FMM visa,” said Williams, so anyone with a FM3 (which is good for one year) will not need a FMN. Anyone getting a FM3 will need a sponsor, which Mex Tour Assist can be for crewmembers.


The visas are going to hit the ¾-day and overnight fleet the hardest, what with $28.06 being added to ticket prices in January and $33.00 being added on come Feb. 1.

Mexican permits/license will still be needed, as license and permits are a separate (CONPESCA) branch of Mexican government from immigration (INAMI).


Long range boats will no longer have to check into Ensenada to fish Guadalupe Island. Nor will tourists’ cards be needed for anglers taking flights home from Cabo.


More details are expecting in the coming days.

Here is the release from Mex Tour Assist.

On May 25, 2011 a new immigration law in Mexico was enacted “in order to create in our country a framework of guarantees to protect the rights of the individuals in our country, facilitate and manage the migratory flows to and from Mexico, favoring the protection and respect of human rights of Mexicans and foreigners, regardless their origin, nationality, gender, ethnicity, age and immigration status.” Source INAMI (Mexico’s Immigration Department).


INAMI has informed us that Articles 33, 44, 46, 50, 153, and 154 of the new immigration law require that all foreigners entering Mexican territory which includes Mexican territorial waters and contiguous waters (24 miles) from shore must have a Visa.


There are two primary options provided by INAMI that allow anglers to apply for a Mexican Visa if they intend to enter the Territorial Waters of Mexico:


• Boaters can appear at the Mexican land border points of entry and obtain a Visa through an INAMI designated facility.


• Boaters may report to the Port of Ensenada point of entry and contact the IMANI Office at the Port to obtain a Visa.


A third new option for the SAC member vessels is to obtain a Visa through a program sanctioned by INAMI.This program will permit the application process to be administered through a company approved by INAMI. 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 facts:


• All US or International tourists travelling to Mexico must have Visa to enter Mexico. This is called an FMM permit. This permit must go through a different process depending on whether one is entering by land or by sea.


  INAMI has authorized a 3rd party organization to initiate the water entry Visa process at the 5 San Diego landings for tourists with passage on any SAC member vessel.


• The SAC landings will only be facilitating the Visa.All other Visa’s must be obtained in Mexico.


  The cost of the Visa will vary depending on the length of the trip and the value of the Peso


  INAMI will monitor the border and execute random inspections of all vessels crossing into Mexican territorial waters, including monitoring the private marine recreational sector


  If you are boarded by INAMI, they will ask you for a National ID and your Mexican Visa


• The Visa must be processed and paid for ahead of time


• All FMM Visas are to be returned within 24 hrs upon return to the U.S.


• Vessels traveling through the territorial waters of Mexico, not engaging in activities, but seeking only “innocent passage” while enroute to international waters, will not be required to have a Visa.


• Crew members will be required to have a FM3 which can be obtained through the 3rd party company or in a INAMI office


The Visa Applications may be made through the following locations:



Fisherman’s Landing

2838 Garrison Street

San Diego, CA 92106

(619) 221-8500

H&M Sportfishing

2803 Emerson Street

San Diego, CA 92106

(619) 222-1144


Point Loma Sportfishing

1403 Scott Street

San Diego, CA 92106

(619) 223-1627


Seaforth Sportfishing

1717 Quivira Road

San Diego, CA 92109

(619) 224-3383


Dana Landing

2580 Ingraham Street

San Diego, CA 92109

(619) 226-2929


Got questions?


Reader Comments
Finally some "clarity" and it sounds like the amount will vary per length of trip is possible good measure of hope for private boaters and San Diego boats doing inshore trips all winter with the California MLPA closures. Thanks Brandon-Good Job!
Ron Stender
So will you need your passport AND the Mexican Visa upon crossing any boarders in to Mexico - land or water with in 24 miles?
Capt. Wendy
For the local San Diego angler, this visa for fishing Mexican waters I see alot of anglers not fishing on private boats because of the high cost of the visa and hassle to obtain one. Also after I get the visa where do I park my truck and trailer? I dont know about you but there is no parking availible for a truck and boat trailer around Point Loma landings where you obtain the visa in USA, and within 24 hours of fishing I have to go back to the landing and hand it in. I dont think so. With MPLA closers and now Mexican vis...time to sell your boats
Steve Stachelski
Leave a Comment
* Name:
* Email:
Website (optional):
* Comment:

Buy a WON Tshirt
The Longfin Tackle Shop