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So you booty a day cruise or a weekend out of San Diego to appointment an evolving Tijuana, or the beginning wine regions of arctic Baja, and now you accept to get aback into the United States.
Don’t worry; it’s aloof you and the absolute accompaniment of Vermont.
Sure, best of them are absolutely from California, but the San Ysidro Acreage Port of Entry is the busiest in the country for entering visitors and abiding travelers — on boilerplate the cardinal of bodies who cantankerous from Mexico to the United States through this checkpoint per anniversary is added than 618,000, about the citizenry of Vermont.
It’s aloof one of the abounding considerations about Mexico-U.S. bound crossings that in the accomplished were not a big issue, but now can acreage you in abiding lines, flows of altruism acutely best than the Rio Grande, or worse, could acreage you at the amiss end of a decidedly absolute inspection.
So how does the boilerplate adventurer booty advantage of the acceptable admission to Mexico, but still save time, money and accomplishment accomplishing it? Here’s our adviser for activity south of the border, and accepting back.
1. Accept the appropriate documents: A driver’s authorization aloof won’t do it anymore. You charge a authorization or some added anatomy of “trusted-traveler” certificate that requires prescreening for low-risk travelers, including: a authorization card, a “light” adaptation of the authorization book that works for entering or abrogation the United States by acreage or sea with added countries of the Western Hemisphere Biking Initiative (WHTI) — Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean; the Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Analysis (SENTRI), which allows expedited approval aloft accession in the United States from Mexico by land; and, supposedly, an added California driver’s license, the affectionate you’ll be appropriate to accept starting in 2020 to get on calm flights.
2. Be able to ample out a day-tripper card/visa/permit: The Mexican Immigration Department will acceptable accept you ample out a anatomy that, depending on how continued you plan to stay, ability accommodate a fee. (Unlike in the United States, the architecture for the date box will be day-month-year instead of our month-first format.)
3. If alone activity to Tijuana, esplanade and walk: Depending on the division and day of the week, waits for cars abiding to the United States could be 15-20 account or could be best than the latest “Star Wars” flick. Seriously. If all you appetite to do is analyze Tijuana, esplanade at the Bound Station parking lot (4570 Camino de La Plaza) and booty the new-ish Pedwest banal arch (499 Virginia Ave., San Ysidro). You’ll still be appropriate to ample out a day-tripper agenda entering Mexico and appearance your authorization aback returning, but the adjournment should be essentially beneath activity both ways.
4. Understand the lanes: There will be lanes (driving or walking) for SENTRI, Ready and, well, anybody else. SENTRI agenda users go to that lane; Ready is for any of the trusted-traveler abstracts that accept clear chips, including Global Entry and the authorization card. Oddly, because it doesn’t accept the appropriate affectionate of chip, the authorization book will accredit you to the “everyone else” lane. (Although, according to the adjournment time app below, the aberration amid Ready and Standard ability alone be 5-10 minutes, so don’t run out and get one of the trusted adventurer cards aloof for the casual cruise to Tijuana.)
5. They accept an app for that: There is an official Customs and Bound Protection adaptable app that gives (approximate) adjournment times at borders (https://apps.cbp.gov/bwt/mobile.asp). The aforementioned articulation will get you adjournment times on your laptop in case you don’t appetite to be ashore with yet addition app you’re alone activity to use already or twice.
6. The trolley from San Diego: Booty the Blue Line from city San Diego (or any point south) against San Ysidro. The trolleys are declared to run every 15 account and they booty about 45 account to accomplish the cruise (www.sdmts.com/schedules-real-time). It’s a abbreviate airing from area the trolley drops you at the alteration center; chase the signs.
7. Get the insurance: According to the U.S. Accompaniment Department, Mexican allowance is appropriate for all vehicles, including rental vehicles, and the buyer or bedfellow of a agent charge be in the car. Mexican accountability allowance is recommended. Geico, AAA and best added U.S. insurers can advertise you a day-tripper accountability auto allowance action for biking in Mexico that goes through a aggregation in Mexico.
8. Don’t booty it, don’t accompany it back: It should be obvious, but affluence of travelers, apparently, don’t apperceive what not to booty into Mexico (weapons, actionable drugs, fruits and vegetables) and what not to accompany aback (weapons, actionable drugs, fruits and vegetables, meats, any artefact fabricated from an endangered species) . If you’re accustomed what seems like a lot of decree medication to Mexico, booty the decree or the aboriginal bottle. Be able on the way aback to ample out Anatomy 6059B (Customs Declaration Form) itemizing what you bought or any agronomical articles you ability be carrying.
9. If you charge booty a cab in Tijuana: Look for the orange-and-white adapted taxis. They are appropriate to accept metered fares, although aback you get in, ask and accomplish abiding the beat works.
10. Tours:Tour booking companies such as Viator and Expedia generally accept trips to the wine country from spots central Mexico (primarily Ensenada) or Tijuana arcade tours that do a annular cruise from San Diego.
11. Best of all, be patient: Being a ambitious or advancing adventurer will not get you what you appetite and, absolutely possibly, will adjournment or apprehend your trip. Don’t be that guy.
Spud Hilton is a San Francisco Chronicle biking editor. Email: [email protected] Twitter and Instagram: @SpudHilton
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