Mexico, like most other countries, is tightening its border crossing requirements. Most visitors do not need a Mexican tourist visa to visit Baja California but now (since September 2015) the law requires all visitors that do not have Mexican Citizenship or a valid Mexican immigration visa to buy an FMM Tourist Card on crossing the border. There is no longer a “free zone” for tourists – if you cross the border to visit Tijuana, Mexicali, San Felipe or anywhere in Baja – you need a Tourist Card!!! Even if you are only visiting for a few hours, you need a tourist card!
Every non-Mexican citizen in your vehicle must stop at the Immigration Office immediately on the left as you cross from downtown Calexico into Mexicali and present their Passport or passport card to the immigration officials. You will pay at the bank next door (332 pesos or approximately $20 us dollars) for each card which will be valid for multiple crossings for 180 days. You can renew the FMM tourist card for another 180 days at each expiry by paying the current fee. If you are staying in Mexico for less than 7 days, there will be no charge for the tourist card – but you are still required to have it.
The Mexican Immigration Service is setting up a website to enable visitors to purchase their FMM forms online when they are planning their trip. The website, in Spanish, is here.
You must have documents (preferably a US passport or birth certificate with picture ID such as a driving license) to return to the USA. Foreign residents of the USA will need their Green Cards and passport from their country of origin. Note that passports or passport cards are required of all persons entering the US (both citizens and non-citizens) starting in June 2009. (see more details here).
If you wish to get a permanent resident visa to live in Mexico, for example, if you are a retiree from the USA that wishes to rent or build a house in San Felipe, or you want to start a business in Mexico, the procedures are now much more standardized but also very complicated. Almost certainly you should talk to someone knowledgable in this area. Check our Business Pages for Visa Services.
For information on the immigration process, please contact the San Felipe immigration office located at the Glorietta (traffic circle) on the right-hand side of the street as you are heading out of town. The phone number of the office is (686) 577-1083 They are open Monday – Friday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Revised October 2015