Many people who cross the border between San Diego County and Tijuana at the San Ysidro border crossing do so on foot. The pedestrian crossing allows countless people who want to visit Mexico for a day or work in Mexico get across the border and back without the terrible wait that people driving to Mexico and back have to deal with. Typically, walking to Mexico has no stop at all.
Interestingly, Mexico is changing its policy and now requiring that people walking across the border into Mexico need to carry a passport. Of course, you need your passport to get back into the United States after visiting Mexico, so this doesn’t seem like it should be much of a problem. However, there are also a lot of people crossing the border who hold Mexican passports or US green cards. There are certainly also people crossing who do not have any documentation, which could cause serious holdups in the pedestrian line.
New Policy Inciting Criticism
Many people on both sides of the border are critical of the new policy, worrying that it will cause delays for people who need to get across the border on a regular basis. Currently, the new policy of checking for passports is only being enforced on a random basis. Immigration officials will pull people to the side who are walking across the border and ask to see their passport. This random spot check will be replaced in the coming weeks with a formal inspection station.
Any visitor who is staying in Mexico for more than seven days or who is being paid to work in Mexico will also be required to pay for a Mexican visa on the spot. The visa is currently priced at 332 pesos, or about $21. Again, this policy is only being implemented on a random basis at the moment, but that is likely to change soon.
Despite criticisms, it seems that this policy will stay in place. We will certainly keep you updated if anything changes, and in the meantime, remember to bring your passport with you whenever you leave the country. Whether you’re traveling to Mexico or Canada or across the globe to India, your passport is an essential tool for properly identifying yourself and safely returning to the United States.
If your passport is soon to expire, if you’re interested in obtaining a passport card, or if you have question about the Mexico passport requirements, contact Swift. We can provide you with expedited passport services, getting your new passport in your hands in a matter of days.
Rob Lee is co-founder of Swift Passport and Visa Services. Originally from Michigan, Rob is an avid fisherman and SCUBA diver who enjoys adventure travel.