Travel from Mexico to the US

travel from mexico to the us

There are different ways of traveling from Mexico to the US, by air, and by land. The most convenient way to enter the US is with the ESTA US visa waiver.

The US ESTA is an electronic authorization system, which means you do not have to apply for a visa if you are from one of the eligible countries. The ESTA application form is quick and easy. You just need a passport that is valid for at least 6 months, a current email address and a debit or credit card with which to pay.

The land border between the US and Mexico has achieved notoriety in recent years because of the debate around illegal immigration. However, it’s easy to forget that most people who move between the two countries are doing so legally. In fact, the US-Mexico border is the most frequently crossed border in the world.

The border stretches almost 2,000 miles and has 48 border crossings which include roads, pathways, rail tracks, and ferries. One of the easiest and most low-tech ways to make the crossing is “El Chalan (the Barge)”. El Chalan is pulled along ropes by manpower alone. It is able to carry a maximum of 3 vehicles and 12 people at a time.

One of the most popular crossings is at Tijuana/San Diego. If you are doing the crossing on foot then once you’re on US soil in San Ysidro you can take the ‘trolley’ (the San Diego tram). It takes around 45 minutes to travel from the border stop to downtown.

Waiting times at the border can be considerable. This will depend on the time of day and also whether it is a weekend or a public holiday. There is now a wealth of websites and apps where you can easily find waiting times online.

Tips When Entering the US from Mexico

At the border crossings, those attempting to enter the US will be required to open their bags for inspection. Some items are strictly prohibited (including objects like firearms and drugs), whilst others will be taxed if they exceed the tax-free limit. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Cigarettes are limited to 200 per traveler. If you wish to bring more, then these will be taxed.
  • The limit for liquor above 24 percent proof is 5 liters. Any more than this will be taxed.
  • Many prepared foods in sealed packaging are allowed into the US. Coffee, tea, honey, and fish are also allowed. Some fruits, such as citrus fruits, are not allowed. Pork items are not allowed, and neither are items that derive from protected species. If you do not declare a food item you can be charged a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Act naturally and respectfully with the US border authorities and answer any questions truthfully. Their demeanor may be serious but they are just doing their job.

Whether you’re flying to the US from Mexico or crossing by land, check your ESTA visa eligibility before you travel. If you’re eligible, be sure to have your ESTA visa waiver ready in time, follow the above tips, and have a great trip!

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