Paisano, Welcome to Laredo
City of Laredo Welcomes Mexican Citizens Returning Home for the Holidays
LAREDO, Texas— The City of Laredo for the past 22 years has hosted a Paisano Rest Stop to help Mexican citizens returning home from throughout the U.S. and Canada, with a brief pause during 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This unique bi-national project is offered only in Laredo, Texas. The City of Laredo Convention & Visitors Bureau works with the Mexican Consulate General to set up the rest stop; however, there are many city, state, and federal departments and agencies from both sides of the border who come together to help the paisanos.
The Paisano Rest Stop will be once again at IH-35 southbound, just off Mile Marker 13, beginning Friday, December 17, at 12:00 PM and closing at 8:00 AM on Sunday, December 19, 2021. “We look forward to welcoming the paisanos back to Laredo and together with several agencies provide the services they need for a successful holiday trip,” said Laredo Convention and Visitors Bureau Director, Aileen Ramos.
The rest stop has individuals who help review and provide documents and guidance necessary for travelers. Information on bridge wait times, directions, simple mechanic assistance, refreshments, restroom facilities and simply, an opportunity to rest and stretch their legs, all is free and offered at the site.
The Mexican Immigration authorities will have computer workstations for travelers to process their documentation electronically. Visitors are encouraged to make sure they have all the proper documentation with them; this will help provide for a smoother and faster experience.
Additional information provided at the Rest Stop includes:
- Hotel and restaurant listings;
- U.S. Customs regulations for the return trip;
- Legitimate nationalization processing business listing;
- Complaint and crime reporting procedures with Mexican Consulate and local agencies;
- Volunteer mechanic on-call to do an initial inspection, minor car repairs;
- Mexican immigration and consular regulations and forms;
- Free copies.
The staff from the City of Laredo, Mexican Consulate, and the different agencies participating will be onsite providing helpful information and assisting in any way possible to help make their stop at the rest area a pleasant one.
“We look forward to welcoming all of our visitors to Laredo, coming for leisure and shopping, or making their way to Mexico for the holidays, we want them to have a great time while in our city. For more than two decades the Paisano Rest Stop in Laredo has helped facilitate the crossing experience for paisanostraveling south, in an example of bi-national and multi-agency coordination,” said Laredo Mayor, Pete Saenz, Jr.
Signage and electronic messages will be posted from San Antonio on the south. Local, state, and federal officials patrol the roadside on IH-35 South, to offer assistance to paisanos that need help, including security, traffic control, and roadside assistance. The exit to the rest stop will be marked with extra signage, especially for those traveling at night or who may not be familiar with the turn-off to the facility.
Paisanos traveling to Mexico through Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas should take Bridge I, “Gateway to the Americas”, to avoid traffic congestion along IH-35 at Bridge II, “Juarez-Lincoln”. Motorists exit Del Mar Exit #4 to Santa Maria Avenue; follow it south to Bridge I, as they arrive closer to downtown, additional signage will be in place routing them through to the international bridge.
Along the alternate route to Bridge I, off of Santa Maria Avenue, portable bathroom facilities at various locations along the route will be marked with specific Paisano signage. Hours of operation begin Friday, December 17, and will remain in place through the peak travel period.
Paisanos wishing to avoid congestion all together can take Colombia Solidarity Bridge (Bridge III) into Nuevo Leon, MX. The extended holiday hours of operation for Bridge III will be December 17, opening at 8:00 AM and continuous until December 19 at midnight or until all the traffic clears the span. Colombia Solidarity Bridge’s normal business hours are from 8:00 AM to midnight.
For regular AVI motorists who cross daily, there will be a specially designated crossing route for them to take to Bridge II, to avoid the downtown paisano and shopping traffic congestion beginning the morning of December 19 and will remain in place until December 26. Local motorists should be aware of the additional holiday traffic in the upcoming days and exercise caution and patience when traveling in the downtown areas and around major retail centers.
Finally, for up-to-date changes to laws regarding Mexican citizens returning home to Mexico for the holidays and vehicle importation laws, as well as, for the U.S. or other foreign nationals traveling into Mexico, concerning the documents they must have to facilitate this process, please consult Mexican authorities. For more details, follow the link https://www.gob.mx/paisano for up-to-date and accurate information.
For more information about the Paisano Rest Stop, paisanos should call the Laredo Convention & Visitors Bureau at 800-361-3360 or visit Facebook at www.facebook.com/welcomepaisanostoLaredo.TheLaredo CVB will have phone calls forwarded into the tent from December 17-19, and the 800 number will be answered throughout the 48-hour operation of the Paisano Tent.