|Tijuana Gringo :
How to Get Through the Border Gate with Minimum Hassle (Legally).
ENTERING THE UNITED STATES:
N.B.: NEW SECURITY PROCEDURES ARE IN EFFECT.
To PROVE United States citizenship and be allowed to re-enter the USA, you must either have a U.S. Passport or two forms of official identification, one of which may be a birth certificate. Or participate in the SENTRI "fast-pass" program] (See also: Best times to cross.)
HERE is a quote from the U.S. Customs & Border Protection website (copied February 2009):
FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE while inflight through xibalba cyberspace,
By the way, the Gringo reminds you to: NEVER, Ever, EVER NEVER carry ANYONE else's luggage -- NO Matter WHO -- sweet little old lady, innocent-looking child, or ANYONE asks you....
WE Repeat: Carry NOTHING that is NOT Yours. Smugglers (and terrorists) would LOVE you to be STUPID and help them get something across!
Tips for easy crossing:
Other Turinfo Pages: Tijuana Maptext.
Almost all of these rules listed above also MIGHT apply when you cross into Mexico, although the inspection is USUALLY (not Always) much less rigid -- often you just walk or drive right through. You might be asked your citizenship. If you are carrying a bag or two, you might be asked to push what looks like a "Cross-Walk Signal." If it turns green and says "PASE" then you pass, if it turns red, you show your bags.
A similar arrangement applies if you drive into Mexico, the red and green lamps indicate pass or stop for revision. If an officer waves you over, you pull over and answer his questions.
Remember, to visit the border area for less than 72 hours you are not required to have any visa or special car permits (but you should have bought insurance before crossing). This is the law even as far south as Ensenada on the Pacific coast and San Felipe on the Gulf. Some gringos stay longer than the 72 hours, but....
BUT the geography is more definite. If you are going to go south of Ensenada into Baja California, or deeper into mainland Mexico, you are required to have a visa -- the tourist card in most cases. GET IT! It is an excellent form of identification in Mexico, is very easy to get, and is a statement of your respect for Mexico. WE REPEAT: Having a tourist card shows you respect Mexico, and believe me, the officials will respect that when they stop you at a drug-war checkpoint and shoot everyone who doesn't have their papers in order
o h -- you ARE awake, eh? No. They don't shoot people. Usually. Tourism is one of Mexico's biggest businesses, and if you have a tourist card you really get double respect. Once for obeying the law, and once again for coming to travel here.
that's not the problem, it was your grammar, dude, you said "shoot everyONE who doesn't have THEIR papers in order" and frankly, Mikey, after all that education you had, if you can't talk right and.... ACK ACK ACK ACK ACK ACK ACK ACK ( the sound of hands dusting off their dirty business )
THEN There is the QUESTION of vehicle permits. If you are going into mainland Mexico with your car you will need to pay fees and be licensed to drive your car beyond Baja California.
AGAIN, if you are just going to Tijuana or Ensenada, no tourist card or vehicle permit is necessary. But if you go further south, get it/them.
OH AND BUY temporary AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE in the U.S. before you cross over. Just in case. And drive carefully.
The tourist visa for Mexico costs twenty something dollars. IF YOU ARE WALKING ACROSS it is available right at the border -- in the offices on your left hand a little ways up the corredor past the info cabin, etc., after you cross from San Ysidro to Tijuana. IF YOU ARE DRIVING ACROSS PULL OVER INTO THE BIG SHADED METAL ROOF AREA on the right and ask for Tourist Card Office. You will need to show your passport or U.S. birth certificate. You will need to make the very short walk (a few feet -- right there) to the bank office window right there in the customs inspection area to pay the fee (twenty something dollars) and then return to the first official for final authorization. Normally you will then be good to go anywhere in the country -- Mexico is a huge country -- for up to 180 days (like almost six months!) or maybe 90 (three months). Enjoy! We are not responsible for the accuracy of any of this information, BUT unlike much on this site, this is NOT a deliberate fiction like shooting tourists without visas, above.
Weeknights: The last trolley north to San Diego and Mission Valley leaves the border at 11:30 pm; there are three more trains only to downtown and Old Town at 12:00, 12:30 and 01:00. After that the first train north in the morning is at 04:30. Weekends: If we little cyberbalba gringos are reading the schedule right, it looks like there are trains to downtown and Old Town at 01:30, 02:00, and 03:00 a.m. on Saturday(Sunday morning) night only. We dare you to figure it out for yourselves.
The San Ysidro trolley station at the border recently underwent reconstruction and is now reborn as a splendid example of shining postmodern architecture. Sometimes there are bathrooms available inside the McDonalds restaurant. But you gotta pay a quarter or something like that to get in the turnstyle (EXACT CHANGE ONLY).