Crossing the Border into El Salvador

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From Antigua to the border of Guatemala the drive took longer than anticipated due to getting lost in Guatemala City while trying to find the Panamericana highway. There are absolutely no road sides in Guatemala City and after becoming hopelessly lost we finally pulled over to pay a taxi $10 to lead us to the Panamericana. After that ordeal the drive to the border passed uneventfully. The road was paved, if a little bumpy at times.

Entry Point: Valle Nuevo, Guatemala/Las Chinamas, El Salvador

Paperwork:

  • Passport
  • Copy of vehicle owner’s passport
  • Copy of vehicle owner’s driver’s license (DL)
  • Copy of vehicle title
  • Canceled Guatemalan vehicle permit

Cost:

  • No cost

Leaving Guatemala:

  • A little past the town of Valle Nuevo, but before the border is the immigration/custom buildings, park to the right of the buildings.
  • At the Delegacion Migracion building look for the 3rd door after the open window in the middle. There get your exit stamp on your passport plus a slip of paper with a cancellation stamp.
  • Next go back to that open window in the middle of the building, a sign will say “SAT Confirmacion de Exportaciones.” You will need: title, DL of vehicle owner, passport of vehicle owner, and vehicle permit.
  • The official will process your paperwork and give you two copies of the Permiso de Importacion Temporal. Get in your car and head out.
  • You will pass a security official who will collect one copy of the Permiso de Importacion Temporal and he will check in your vehicle. Keep the second copy of the Permiso for El Salvador.

Entering El Salvador:

  • Pass across the bridge into El Salvador. Once across an official will stop you asking if you need a 24 hour or 60 day vehicle permit. We asked for a 24 hour permit as we were only spending one night in San Salvador.
  • The official collected: copies of driver’s passport, driver’s DL, title, and canceled Guatemalan vehicle permit. While he checked the documents he had us park to the right, then he took us to the customs/aduana building. He brought the paperwork inside, left it with another official and told us to wait outside until our name was called.
  • We waited outside next to a long line a men clutching paperwork. This line worried us, but after about 20 minutes the official inside called us in.
  • Once inside at the counter the official processed the paperwork (slowly). He will have you sign several forms. You will receive: Direccion General de Aduanas Division de Operaciones, Auto de Prevencion, and the original and several copies of Direccion General de Aduanas de El Salvador Documento de Transito de Vehiculos Usados.
  • Return to your car and drive out, stop at the first table to give an official the slip of paper with the canceled Guatemalan stamp.
  • Continue driving to a speed bump with a second official who will check all the paperwork you received, stamp it, and give it back.

The drive to San Salvador was surprising quick and easy. The road was well paved with a few speed bumps in towns, we reached the city in two hours.

Any questions about the border crossing? Ask in the comments below or email me at shanontheroad@gmail.com.

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