Passports are required for all U.S. citizens traveling to or from the United States via land as well as air or sea, regardless of destination. Nationals of countries other than the USA and Canada should verify requirements that apply to them with the Embassy of Mexico in their home countries, or with the website of the Mexican Embassy in the United States.
What generally happens when you arrive in Mexico from the USA and Canada is that you’re issued a tourist card, frequently referred to as an FMT. The cost of the travel card is typically included in the cost of your airline ticket. If you arrive in Mexico at one of the many USA/Mexico border crossings other procedures apply and you are required to obtain the FMT immediately after crossing into Mexico (ask one of the Mexican immigration/border control agents where you should do this).
If you plan to live and or work in Mexico
there are several different visa classifications which may apply and you should confirm the requirements with the nearest Mexican Consular office closest to where you live. For citizens of the United States, additional information can be obtained from the website of the United States Embassy in Mexico. Canadians can obtain further information from the Embassy of Canada in Mexico.
U.S. and Canadian citizens bringing gifts to friends and relatives in Mexico should be prepared to demonstrate to Mexican customs officials the origin and the value of the gifts. U.S. and Canadian citizens entering Mexico by the land border can bring in gifts with a value of up to $50.00 duty-free, except for alcohol and tobacco products. Those entering Mexico by air or sea can bring in gifts with a value of up to $300.00 duty-free. Tourists are allowed to bring in their personal effects duty-free. According to customs regulations, in addition to clothing, personal effects may include one camera, one video cassette player, one personal computer, one CD player, 5 DVDs, 20 music CDs or audiocassettes, 12 rolls of unused film, and one cellular phone. Any tourist carrying such items, even if duty-free, should enter the "Merchandise to Declare" lane at the first customs checkpoint. The tourist should be prepared to pay any assessed duty. Failure to declare personal effects routinely results in the seizure of the goods as contraband, plus the seizure of the vehicle in which the goods are traveling for attempted smuggling. The recovery of the seized vehicle involves the payment of substantial fines and attorney’s fees. Mexican customs authorities enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Mexico of items such as trucks, and autos, trailers, antiquities, medications, medical equipment, business equipment, etc. It is advisable to contact the Mexican Embassy or one of the Mexican consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements. U.S. and Canadian citizens traveling to Mexico with goods intended for donation within Mexico, or traveling through Mexico with goods intended for donation in another country, should be aware of Mexican Customs regulations prohibiting importation of used clothing, textiles, and other used goods into Mexico. These regulations apply even to charitable donations. Individuals or groups wishing to make such donations should check with Mexican Customs for the list of prohibited items, and should hire an experienced customs broker in the U.S. to ensure compliance with Mexican law. The charitable individual or group, not the customs broker, will be held responsible for large fines or confiscation of goods if the documentation is incorrect. The website for Mexican Customs, or “Aduanas,” is in Spanish only. Mexican authorities require that all international transit through Mexico of persons and merchandise destined for Central or South America be handled only at the Los Indios Bridge located south of Harlingen, Texas on Route 509. The American Consulate in Matamoros is the closest consulate to Los Indios Bridge and may be contacted for up-to-date information by calling 011-52-868-812-4402, ext. 273 or 280, or by checking their website, which lists in English the most common items prohibited from entry into Mexico. Additional customs information can be found on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website.
Please Note: There is NO border charge to enter Tijuana.
By Bus: (800) 231-2222 Greyhound Bus Lines offer daily service from San Diego to Tijuana. Cost is between $5 and $9.
By Car: Drive to the border, park at one of several pay parking lots on the U.S. side, and walk across. Parking rates average $2 per half-hour, or between $6 and $10 for 24 hours.
By Trolley: (619) 231-8549 The San Diego Trolley is an excellent alternative; regular service is provided from downtown San Diego. The trip takes approximately 45 minutes, and the cost is $2.00. The last stop is San Ysidro. From there, you can walk directly across the border, or you can take a Mexicoach bus to Rosarito from the Border Crossing Station.
By Mexicoach: If you have hesitations about driving into Mexico, you can park your car at the Border Station Parking, just off the last U.S. exit, and take Mexicoach to Rosarito.
Mexicoach is America's number one international border-crossing shuttle bus company making over 96 crossings daily with it's fleet of 15 bright-red buses and departures every 15 - 20 minutes from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM, 365 days a year. By parking your car at Border Station Parking it will be safe and sound...and you won't have to deal with Tijuana traffic, driving laws, getting lost, searching for parking, etc.
Enjoy Mexico while Mexicoach does the driving for you, and drops you off in a secure, clean, and modern Tijuana Tourist Terminal in the center of Revolución Avenue (Downtown Tijuana), where you will transfer to another Mexicoach that will take you directly to Rosarito.
By Air: Tijuana International Airport is located 5 miles east of downtown. The front of the terminal is across the street from the fence separating Mexico and the United States. Several commercial flights arrive and depart daily, including Aerocalifornia, Mexicana, and AeroMexico. Air traffic is generally light all day long.
The terminal offers several main floor restaurants, an upstairs restaurant and bar with a view of the runway, several retail shops, 3 money exchange booths, telephones, a fax, and an ATM machine. Car rental booths are located inside (Avis, Budget, Hertz, and National) and taxis, as well as buses, are outside. A travel agency is available in the terminal on the ground floor. Luggage and arrivals are located at the far east end of the terminal (left side when facing the terminal). Ticketing and most departures are located at the west end (right side). Parking is easy and located nearby, on the west end of the terminal.
For further information, telephone 011-52 (66) 83-2418. AEROMEXICO Tel. 011-52 (66) 85-4401 and (800) 237-6639. MEXICANA AIRLINES Telephone 011-52 (66) 85-7879 and (800) 531-7923 * Diego Rivera #1811, Enificio Fontana. AEROCALIFORNIA Telephone 011-52 (66) 81-7211 and (800) 237-6225 * Paseo de los Heroes.
If you plan to take your car into Mexico, you must purchase Mexican automobile insurance prior to crossing the border. Most U.S. policies are not valid in Mexico. In the unfortunate event of an accident, only a Mexican insurance policy will be recognized as valid, even if your insurance company says they will cover you within a certain number of miles in Mexico. In Mexico, you can be detained in case of an accident until you provide proof that you can pay the damages.
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When calling Mexico from the United States, dial the international code and country code, 011-52, then the 2 digit city code ( ) and 6 digit local phone number.
Medical Emergency: 01 (800) 633-42 Mexican Consulate: (619) 231-8414 Mexican Government Tourism Office: (310) 203-8191 Mexican Ministry of Tourism: (800) 482-9832 Within Mexico: 01 (800) 903-92 San Ysidro Border Station Tourist Information: (619) 428-6200