Thursday, July 11, 2013

Nicaragua-Honduras Border Crossing at Las Manos, Northbound

Border town: Las Manos
Direction: Northbound
Costs:
  • US$2pp – Nicaraguan exit fee
  • US$3pp (L122) – Honduran visa
  • US$35/car (L676.14 or L700) – vehicle permit fee
  • US$1.10 (L22) – copies (US$0.10/copy or L2/copy)
Copies:
Two (2) copies of
    • vehicle registration or title
    • driver’s license
    • driver’s passport
    • driver’s Honduran stamp in passport
Three (3) copies of the vehicle permit
Tips:
  • Paying in Lempiras and at the bank saves money (albeit only a few dollars).
  • Avoid being there between 12-1pm, as aduana and the bank are closed for lunch then.
  • I printed several copies of the driver’s passport and vehicle registration and driver’s license beforehand to save money and time.
  • Besides the three items mentioned in the tip above, I found it counterproductive to get a copy of anything before they request it—sometimes they don’t request it or sometimes it needs a stamp you haven’t gotten yet.
  • To save more money and paper, I put the registration and driver’s license on the same page since they both fit on a single page. They have been happy with that.
  • They often request the title (título), but I first try to give them the registration as it has the plate number on it. Most often they are happy with that.
  • Always ask the agent where you must go next if you have a vehicle. They are generally very knowledgeable and helpful.
  • Out of the 3 guides I have experienced, two of them were mistaken on the process in one way or another. Since I speak Spanish, I haven’t found it necessary to get a guide.
  • You can bypass the parked semis. They often wait for hours or days before getting permission to cross the border. (Just make sure you can avoid hitting oncoming cars.)

Procedure

Nicaraguan side:
  1. There is a cable barring the entrance to the border. You will be stopped here and the vehicle permit requested. They will sign the permit, hand it back to you, then let you pass.
  2. There is a blue and white building immediately on the right. That is the Policía. Stop here to get your vehicle inspected and the second signature on the vehicle permit.
  3. Next building down is the immigration offices. Go to the “Salida” window. They will stamp your passport and request US$2 per person for the exit fee and provide you a slip of paper to be given to the last border official.
  4. Next building down from immigration is Aduana. There is a window labeled “Vehículos de Turismo.” Here, they will take your permit, cancel it, and inspect your vehicle. You are given a small slip of paper with your vehicle information written on it to give to the last border official.
  5. Get back in your car and start heading to the Honduran side. Before you are allowed to cross over, there will be one last official who will inspect your passports and receive slips of paper (one from your passport and the canceled vehicle permit).
  6. Proceed to the Honduran side

Honduran side:
  1. Park on the right next to the immigration building (white part of building on the right).
  2. Proceed to the “Entrada” window. Fill out the entrance form. They will stamp your passport and staple the yellow copy of your entrance form to your passport. The entrance fee is L61(~US$3) per person (they don’t make change, but there is a bank right next door to the right). (It is cheaper to pay in Lempiras.)
  3. Next proceed to aduana, which is a few windows down the same building, but it is painted beige instead of white. Go the window which says “Importaciones” above it.
  4. Fill out the customs form at some point. The agent will request it at some point during the process (probably the end).
  5. Along with needing the originals, the agent will request two copies each of: title (or vehicle registration), driver’s license, and driver’s passport (if you don’t have these copies already, there is a copy place next door—it is just around the corner of the aduana building and slightly behind it, no signs, just an open door where you can see the copy machine). She will then ask whether you want to pay her or the bank (the bank is cheaper and you get a receipt, but she is faster with less lines—up to you). She will inspect the vehicle.
  6. After you pay (if you chose the bank option, the bank—BAC—is in the same row of offices, but the door that is closest to the Nicaraguan side), she will ask you to take your permit and your passport to get copies.
  7. The copy shop is just around the corner of the aduana building (to the Honduras side), and located slightly behind it. There are no signs, just a sidewalk that leads to an open door where you can see the copy machine. Cost is L10 per copy. You need 3 copies of the permit and 2 copies of the Honduran stamp in your passport.
  8. Return to aduana with the copies. They will take them and issue you the permit and return all your documents.
  9. Return to your vehicle and begin driving to Honduras. There will be one more stop to inspect your documents (passports and permit) and then you will be free to travel in Honduras. (Don’t worry, the roads get better soon).

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