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Archive for the ‘passport’ Category

Tijuana pedestrian crossing opens

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.


Tijuana Airport Bridge

 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.

Visa to visit Baja?

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.

SENTRI crossing change in Tijuana

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

Pedestrian Ready Lane at San Ysidro

Having RFID documents has helped cut down the border crossing wait times for automobiles via the Ready Lane for some time at the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa crossings.

Pedestrian Ready Lane kiosks will be available at San Ysidro starting in August. The good news is that the kiosk will read the RFID enabled cards and the RFID enabled US Passport book.

  • U.S. Passport Card
  • U.S. Passport Book (with RFID)
  • Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL)
  • Trusted Traveler Cards (NEXUS, SENTRI Global Entry and FAST cards)
  • New Enhanced Permanent Resident Card (PRC)

See the video in English and Spanish at San Diego Red
Read the CBP News Release

>San Ysidro Port of Entry Expansion Planned

>A joint US and Mexico project to expand the San Ysidro entry point is set to move forward.  The US will spend more than $575 million and Mexico will invest more than $50 million.

Construction will take place over a period of five to seven years in three phases.  The crossing will remain open during that time, but delays are expected so it will be important to keep that in mind. The expansion is planned to include realignment of the auto lanes and a new pedestrian bridge.  Many upgrades for border security measures are expected as well.

>Two-day Pride Festival in Tijuana



by Rex Wockner

Tijuana’s 15th gay/lesbian pride march hits the streets Saturday, June 19, at 5 p.m.

Participants will gather in front of the community-based Alliance Against AIDS (ACOSIDA) Clinic at 7648 Calle 1ra, five blocks west of Avenida Revolución between Avenida E (Mutualismo) and Avenida F (5 de Mayo). (Some street signs refer to Calle 1ra as Calle Artículo 123.)

To get there: Walk across the international border at San Ysidro. Exit the southern pedestrian turnstiles (not the western ones). Turn right and follow the tourists across Avenida Amistad, through the Viva Tijuana open-air mall, and across the big Tijuana River pedestrian bridge. Continue walking straight west about three blocks and cross under the huge St. Louis-style arch on Avenida Revolución.

Enter Calle 1ra/Artículo 123 — do not veer slightly left into the slanted Plaza Santa Cecilia pedestrian mall — and proceed to number 7648. (For extra fun, some buildings are marked in both old and new street-numbering systems. Pay attention only to numbers above 7000.)

To get to the border, take the San Diego Trolley or drive and park in a secure, paid lot on the U.S. side. You can ignore bus and taxi drivers on both sides of the fence who insist it’s a long walk to downtown Tijuana, because it isn’t.


Other pride events this year include a first-ever, two-day, outdoor pride festival smack in the center of downtown, stretching east, west and south from the arch. The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. both Saturday, June 19, and Sunday, June 20. Entrance is free. Festival Map

According to the organizers: “Come and celebrate together with 10,000 other people the First Annual Tijuana Gay Festival in a three-block area of the center of the city. Discover the latest in gay art, culture and music, experience a variety of diverse food and drink options, and then take over the streets with thousands of friends for a massive hip street party Tijuana-style. Residents and community leaders, with support of the local police, invite you to discover the gay side of Tijuana.”

Last year’s Tijuana pride parade was nearly three times bigger — and twice as long — as in any other year.

The turnout was all the more amazing because the city had been hit with a serious crime wave as drug cartels and dealers battled for dominance. The situation has improved notably since last summer.

In contrast with previous years, almost no gays and lesbians from Southern California crossed the border to join last year’s festivities — it was a purely local and home-grown affair. Many people from San Diego, which is just 15 miles away, have stopped going to Tijuana because of the violence.

Yet the gay parade was bigger, better, longer, more colorful and more spirited than ever. At least 1,000 people marched or rode in the parade itself — which stretched along seven blocks of Avenida Revolución, the main drag of the city of 2 million people. More than 10,000 people watched the spectacle pass.

Then, when the parade got to its endpoint, it took an unscheduled right turn, then another right turn, and headed all the way back to the north end of downtown, traversing Avenida Constitución. Police, who up to that point had made an effort to keep vehicles moving through the heavily congested downtown, gave up at that juncture and resigned themselves to a traffic jam.

“It’s been the best march that’s taken place in the city of Tijuana … the biggest and the most participants,” said organizer Lorenzo Herrera. “People have decided to come out, people no longer want to hide their sexual preference. We all have equality.”

One large official banner carried in the parade read: “Tijuana-Ensenada GLBT Pride. 500,000 pink votes also count. We all have the same rights.”

Another large official banner said: “Homophobia must end. Live your pride with dignity. Homosexuality is not a problem, homophobia is.”

A third one read: “Homophobia is intolerance of homosexuality. Equality begins when we recognize that we all have the right to be different.”

Spectators cheered the parade and smiled broadly. A single protester with a hand-held PA system, stationed at the parade lineup location, asserted repeatedly, “The price of sin is death, according to the Bible.”

Everyone ignored him.

View photos from the 2009 Parade by clicking this link: WOCKNER

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