Crossing the U.S. – Mexico Border by Land

If you are a U.S. citizen crossing into the United States from Mexico by land without a U.S. passport, you may be slowing down the lines and increasing your wait time.

Adults and children with US VISA FROM MEXICO LAND BORDER can save time at the border by using designated Ready Lanes that read the passport card’s Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology.

How to use Ready Lanes with a U.S. passport card: 

  • Navigate to a lane that has the Ready Lane logo,
  • Keep your passport card in hand,
  • Display the passport card to the RFID card readers, and
  • Proceed to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer.

You can find a complete list of Ready Lane acceptable documents on CBP’s website.


Applying for a Passport Card in the United States or Mexico


U.S. citizens living along the U.S.- Mexico border can apply for their U.S. passport in the United States or Mexico. U.S. citizens living in Mexico can apply for their passport at the nearest U.S. consulate. U.S. citizens living in the United States can apply at one of more than 7,000 locations which include post offices, libraries, and clerks of court.

Learn more about how to apply here!


Driving to Mexico


Temporary import permits for cars registered in the United States are needed in order to drive beyond the border zones in Mexico.   Permits are enforced when driving approximately 20 kilometers into Mexico.  Permits are NOT needed in the Baja Peninsula.

Banjercito is the government authority that issues vehicle permits.  The process can be done online, at the Mexican border, or at certain Mexican consulates in the United States. The process involves leaving a monetary deposit that will be returned upon the cancellation of vehicle permit when leaving Mexico.

  • U.S. citizens must present a valid US VISA FOR STUDENTS passport book or card, in addition to an entry permit (Forma Migratoria Multiple or FMM) issued by Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM).
  • Travelers should be sure to enter Mexico with valid proof of automobile registration, even if remaining in the border zone.  Entering Mexico with an expired U.S. vehicle registration may lead to the confiscation of the auto by Mexican authorities.

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