On my trip to Mexico City in June 2013, I lost my immigration pass. I didn’t realize this until I attempted to board the plane. That’s when I was asked for my immigration card. I then proceeded to a 2-hour adventure in trying to obtain another immigration pass. I missed my scheduled flight and had to book another one.
In case this happens to you, this is what you need to do to get another immigration pass in Mexico City.
Go to the Immigration Services office. There is an office located in Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. I suggest you go to Terminal 1 (I experienced Terminal 2 – but it ends up to be similar experiences without the back and forth).
Once at the immigration office, you need to sign in. You cannot just jump the line because your flight is departing. I tried, but gave up. After signing in, you wait. You wait and wait and wait.
Once they call you up, they ask “Are you sure you lost your immigration pass? There’s a 300 peso fee.” I didn’t mind the fee, but was very irritated they asked if I was sure I lost my pass. It was like rubbing lemon juice into a fresh wound. After explaining what happened, they gave me the forms to fill out. There are a lot of forms. It took 10 minutes to fill everything out.
It turns out you have to wait for each person to fill out the necessary paperwork before getting to fill yours out. Everyone in that office seemed to have the exact same problem I had. A lost immigration pass. They could have easily streamlined the process if they left the necessary forms to fill out in the open. Rather than waiting for each person to complete their form before being allowed to get a form for yourself. (Ranting)
Once I filled out all necessary paperwork, I had to pay the 300 peso fee. Which could ONLY be paid for in Terminal 1. Even though I was very irritated, I was still nice and polite to the lady at the immigration office who was helping me. Which in turn, she was very nice and helpful. She drew me a map of how to get to the Terminal 1 office. This was turning more and more into an elaborate quest to return to America.
First, I had to walk to the other side of Terminal 2 and get on to the sky train. The sky train travels between Terminal 1 and 2 exclusively and for free.
Once I arrived at Terminal 1, I would be at “Door 6.” From there, I had to take a left and head towards “Door 10.” These “doors” are not close to each other. Each “Door” is really a small terminal. It took about 10 minutes to speed-walk to Door 10.
At Door 10, I had to look for a bank. The immigration office is in the bank. Once inside the immigration office, there’s a window in the back to pay the 300 peso fee. Of course, there’s a line. And it’s a very slow line. When I got to the window, I didn’t have any more currency left, so I paid with USD. I gave them $40USD and got back $7 change. The guy working the desk completely ripped me off by $10 according to the exchange rate at the time. He then pretended not to speak English any more after that and tried to say “transaction and exchange fees.” Of course the receipt didn’t state any of this. It just fueled my anger and I just wanted to get out of Mexico City.
I then proceeded back to the Immigration office in Terminal 2. Once in the office, I had to sign in and wait all over again!
After I got called to the desk, I thanked the lady for giving me such a detailed map on how to get to the other office. She really did go out of her way to help me. Especially since I didn’t speak any Spanish. After presenting my paperwork, I was given my new immigration card. And it only took 2 hours.
I’m pretty sure this is all a scam so you have to pay for another flight out of Mexico. If they made this process much easier, it wouldn’t be as much as a pain in the ass.
I went to Aeromexico (the airline I originally ticketed) and since the flight I booked had a really cheap fare bucket, they could not give me any discounts towards another flight. I needed to go from Mexico City to Los Angeles. I originally booked a round trip ticket for $191. The quote me for the one way to Los Angeles for over $500+. I laugh and walk away. If it really is going to cost me that much, I’d rather use my airline miles and extend my vacation. After some searching online, I would lose another day in transit if I booked with miles I then checked again with the clerk to see what options I had. Luckily this time I got a different clerk and they quoted me just $250 for a “change fee.” I gladly accepted. There was some back and forth with the ticketing desk and the “ticket issuing” desk (about a 1 minute walk from each other, but both had a line). So it took another hour just to get my ticket home.
So after 3 hours and almost $300, I wait for my flight home. I only had to wait 2 more hours which wasn’t that bad, plus I got to hang out at the Mexico City Centurion Lounge. My American Express Platinum card came in super handy this day.
Other than this ordeal, I had an amazing time in Mexico City and highly recommend everyone to go. And I’m NOT being sarcastic. It’s a very modern city with really nice and helpful people. I thought it was going to be dangerous and run down but found it to be the opposite. Definitely see the Teotihuacan pyramids and luchador wrestling.