The US and Mexico have been working for several years to modify and upgrade the crossing points in to Tijuana for several years. The US has fully rebuilt the San Ysidro crossing going North to the US and continues to expand with additional auto lanes and streamlined pedestrian crossing.
Likewise in Mexico the El Chaparral crossing has created numerous additional auto lanes but not so much for pedestrians until now. The new Puerta Este for pedestrian crossers looks much more like you are arriving at an airport than any pedestrian facility seen before at a US border crossing.
For the most part the crossing is simple and crossers may be requested to push a button that will give a green light or red light. The green light means go on your way while the red light means you will be asked a few simple questions such as how long are you visiting Mexico, where you will visit and if you have anything to declare. The majority of people passing through the facility will have little scrutiny.
What is true, no matter if you are crossing by vehicle or on foot in to Mexico that there is much more scrutiny than ever before. The number of Customs Officials has increased dramatically. Click here to view a previous post regarding visa requirements to visit Tijuana.
Full story at San Diego Union Tribune.
The long awaited bridge to walk from parking in the US to the Tijuana airport has been built. It is expected that the customs and immigration facilities will open by the end of 2015. The enclosed bridge is 390 feet long and has divided north/south corridors. Ticketed passengers will be able to walk across between the United States and Mexico, avoiding lines at the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa ports of entry.
The bridge was built using private funds and cost an estimated $120-million USD. The developer, Otay Tijuana Venture, LLC, is calling the project “Cross Border Xpress.” A fee for using the bridge has not been released but previous estimates run as low as $13 USD up to $20 USD, per passenger.
Question: Do I need a visa to visit Baja California
Answer: No, or perhaps Yes.
Answer – No:
If you are going to be within 20km (13mi) of the border and/or for less than 72 hours. There is an exception to the 20km rule that applies when you are traveling within a designated tourist corridor listed below such as Tijuana to Ensenada, Mexicali, or Sonoyta to Puerto Penasco.
There is some disagreement if Ensenada and Valle de Guadalupe are part of the tourist zone. What is very clear is that there are immigration check points south of Ensenada and tourists found without proper paperwork will be sent back to the immigration (INM) office in Ensenada or may be detained.
Answer – Yes:
Anything other than what is listed above.
Visa form FMM (Forma Migratoria Multiple) is required if you are a non-Mexican citizen and you will be traveling in Baja for longer than 72 hours and/or will be traveling outside of the border region or tourist corridor area.
If crossing on foot or by car via San Ysidro stop at the INM office at the El Caparral point of entry. If you are staying for less than 7-days be sure to mention that as there will be no fee for the visa. If staying more than 7-days the multiple entry visa fee will vary between $25-$40 USD depending on the exchange rate. Always ask for the full 180 day visa period as it will allow you to leave Mexico and reenter multiple times.
You will need your passport to apply for the visa. Be sure to return your visa before exiting Mexico for the final time.
If you have every felt mistreated by a CBP (Customs and Border Protection) officer you should know that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has launched Dignity Crossing. This program is in cooperation with other organizations and provides a platform for anyone who has felt mistreated to file a complaint.
Complaints can be lodged by clicking here or calling 619-233-4114.
See the Tijuana places map for recent updates.
Seven additional lanes are now open at the San Ysidro crossing from Mexico in to the US. The opening of these lanes has dramatically decreased wait times.
See the full story at U~T San Diego
SENTRI crossing was moved to Av Padre Kino effective March 3. This is an easier route for many and eases traffic congestion on Paseo Centenario. The big problem is there was little to no advertisement of the change and very few signs show the way to the new lane.
More about the changes at San Diego Reader and Discover Baja