I crossed the border to El Salvador through Valle Nuevo today, 5th of April, on the motorcycle, and it only took me 1h 30min. Coming from Ciudad de Guatemala or Antigua, you may pick between two border crossing points: Valle Nuevo (road to Jalapatagua) and Jerez (road to Jutiapa).

Exiting Guatemala via Valle Nuevo – time 10min

Guatemala border import permit office

Guatemala border import permit office

There is only one big blue building in the middle of the road. As you approach it, there are about 10 “helpers” or “fixers” running to help you. I asked them for 20Q if they want to help me, for the trouble. It was well worth to see their faces, but they left me alone. I parked before the building on the right side, took my papers, and boldly went further.

First, I went to the middle corridor and got my passport stamped for exit. No questions asked. Along with the stamp in the passport, they give you a small paper with the stamp – don’t lose it until entering El Salvador!

Then you need to cancel the import permit for the vehicle. This is done at the opposite corner of the building (on the side you would enter Guatemala from El Salvador).

Papers needed to exit Guatemala:
– the import permit for the bike/car (original)
– 1 copy of the passport (photo page)
– 1 copy of the driver’s licence
– 1 copy of the vehicle registration
They will print some info on the import permit and ask you to make two copies (both sides) at the office across the street. That’s 2 quetzales. As I came back, the copies were too dark to read, so the officer went inside another office and made two good copies for me (for free). One of them he kept along with the other papers, and one gave it to me. That was all on the Guatemalan side. It took 10min including the time I took to make the copies. No police checks or passport checks.
On the way out, as I read I needed a copy of the passport with the stamp inside, I stopped again and had a copy done (for the Salvadorian border). Useless – was not needed.

Entering El Salvador
– time 1h15min

El Salvador booth

El Salvador booth

Rode further to El Salvador, about 200m. Right after the bridge, I was told to stop on the right side and go to the booth right at the end of the bridge. There were 4 people waiting. As soon as I got there, I was asked for copies of the documents.

Papers needed to enter El Salvador by motorcycle:
– the copy of the Guatemalan cancelled import paper
– 1 copy of the passport
– 1 copy of the driver’s licence
– 1 copy of the vehicle registration
After all the papers were presented, the man came to the bike to check the VIN on the frame. Then he went inside and told me to wait. The wait was about 30min (few other trucks and cars brought the papers and left faster than me), time needed to check some stuff online and fill out a 1-page form in handwriting. Then, another person came out to check the VIN code on the bike, and ask me for the email address. With that form he led me by foot to the customs building in the valley (the big building in blue with “Aduana” written on the side). Another 30min wait for some checks and I was presented with the import paper. That was all. I took the bike and kept the papers at hand. The first check is 10m from the bridge – he takes away the little piece of paper with the exit stamp from Guatemala and checks the length of the visa. 50m further, a military post checks the import paper (he pretended to read it while holding it upside down and staring at my bike). Once passed these controls, you’re done. Don’t hit the gas too hard, as there are a few more speed bumps before the road clears.

Total time: 1h30min (10 min in Guatemala, 1h20min in El Salvador). Started at 12:45pm.
Total money spent: 2 quetzales for 2 copies
Difficulty: easy!