had mentioned the new-ish Honduran visa procedures in a previous post, but I am getting asked a lot of questions from readers planning to visit, move to, invest in, or retire to Roatan.
Let me first be VERY CLEAR that I am not an expert, a lawyer or any other kind of official. I am simply someone ‘on the ground’ who has been through the procedures and has seen how it has been working since it’s been put in place (late August 2014). I am also not making any sort of statement of what I personally have been doing one way or the other, this post is for informational purposes only. You should consult a Honduran immigration lawyer for advice.
**Update to the information below as of SEPTEMBER 2015: The 90-day visas are only being issued sporadically. Tourists should now expect to receive a 30-day tourist visa upon arrival. I have heard on good authority that if all three of the following conditions are met: 1) proof of exit flight in 90 days, 2) proof of booked + paid for accommodation, AND 3) are senior citizens (65+), then explain that to the immigration officer on arrival (bring proof for all 3 conditions) and they are supposed to issue you a 90-day visa. If they don’t, it’s possible (but not guaranteed, because nothing is guaranteed in Central America) that you can get a 30-day extension at the immigration office in Coxen Hole before your original one is up. Right now people are saying that you should be able to get 3 subsequent extensions for a total of 120 days, but no one has tried this yet, so I can’t say for sure. If you continue to enter and exit staying the maximum allowable time, the immigration officers will crack down. (Those up in arms over this need to remember what would happen if you were from Honduras and tried to do all this in the States. They would kick you out and not let you back in, ever. We can’t get mad at Honduras for stepping up out of government corruption.)
So – here are the changes.
Now: the government has implemented fingerprint scanners at airports and some land border crossings and your fingerprints will be scanned at entry and exit. Apparently the info will be shared with the US Department of Homeland Security, which the US expats are in an uproar about but I’m not exactly sure why. Anyway, visa ‘extensions’ from within the country are no longer permitted and you must leave Honduras for at least 72 hours before re-entering to get a new visa. Overstaying your visa comes with some hefty fines… there is no ‘official’ number anywhere but I have heard of people 1-5 days over being charged around $160 and up.