Answer to question about passport requirements at the U.S. border


A reader posted a question recently about that new passport requirement  for U.S. (and Canadian) citizens crossing the border from Mexico: What happens if you show up without your passport?  I thought it was a good a question because it got me wondering about possible repercussions. …Is it like when you get a speeding ticket? Are we talking jail time? Handcuffs?

I passed on the message to Vince Bond, a spokesman over at U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and he provided this helpful response, which he allowed me to re-publish here: 

Federal officers will not deny entry to any valid US citizen. Travelers may experience delays while CBP officers possibly refer them to secondary inspection so that their identity and admissibility can be positively determined.

Our officers have enforcement discretion to make the determination whether to allow a non-compliant traveler to proceed into the United States , with a written warning to obtain the proper travel documents, or to refer them to the secondary inspection area. The warning document explains that the traveler is not compliant with the requirements of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) and explains what documents are acceptable and how to obtain them. Lots of information about this process is on www.getyouhome.gov .

 We continue to encourage US citizens who cross the Canadian or Mexican land border to apply for and obtain a passport book, passport card, Sentri/Nexus trusted traveler card, or Enhanced Drivers License from participating states to facilitate their travel. I want to add that the overwhelming majority of traveling US citizens crossing the border already are WHTI compliant. Mexican travelers are unaffected by WHTI.”

Thanks to Vince for setting us straight.  Here is a screen shot from a file he sent me about the notice you might get if you show up at the border without your passport:


Picture 12

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464 responses to “Answer to question about passport requirements at the U.S. border

  1. I AM GOING TO TIJUANA BAJA CALIFORNIA MEXICO FOR THIS WEEKEND IN MY CAR AND I DO NOT OWN A PASSPORT YET CAN I CROSS BACK TO THE US WITHOUT GETTING TURNED BACK?? PLEASE SOMEONE INFORM ME>??? I ONLY HAVE A CA DRIVER’S LICENSE AND BIRTH CERTIFICATE.

    • yes u can cross with no passport i just crossed on the 9th of may 2010. no hssle no inspection nothing took no more them 2 mins to cross.

    • hey im going to TJ this thursday to pick up my mom from the airport and i dnt have a passport still my question is if they would let come back??

    • To whom this may concern. I was just in Mexico 2 weeks ago and i crosses just fine with my Birth Certificate. I then had to go back to Mexico a week after I first crossed because of a family death. I was later informed that if I crossed without my Passport again i would be fined $500 and if I didn’t pay the fine I would have to stay iin mexico. I went and applied for my Passport a total cost of $55. I called the Point Of Entry in Del Rio, Texas and was informed that I could use my passport receipt to come back from Mexico with a Valid State issued Id. Just wanted to share this with you because I had no luck finding info on the net.

  2. Hi, Michelle. Hope you had a chance to read the blog post about this topic (above). Did you have a nice trip to Tijuana?

  3. Delayed does that mean a few hours or a few days? I have a passport, divers license, birth certificate to back

  4. HI, Mark. If you have a current, valid passport then you shouldn’t have a problem since you will be complying with the new requirements.

    Some people who show up without the passport – or with expired ones – may be sent over to to secondary. That means you may be there for 15 minutes – or longer – as they go over your documents and warn you to get your passport in order.

  5. hi everyone. I have crossed the tijuana border many many times without a passport. all they do is give me a non-compliant paper and tell me to get one fast. like i said i have crossed like 50+ times. they can not deny you entry to your own country.

    • Oscar, what do you use to pass thru? your I.D. from CA. only?

    • so u dont need a passaport how about if u have a birth certificate n a school ID

      • Hi,Kate. I once crossed the border with friends, and one of them had a sister in high school. The sister just flashed her high school ID and there was no problem. I am not recommending that people do this, but I’m just sharing what happened in that case.

        How old is the person? The U.S. government has different requirement based on age.

  6. Do I need. Passport to go to tj I was born in california?

  7. Hi, Jasmine. The U.S. government says you need a passport if you are a U.S. citizen coming back from Mexico. It would be a good idea to get one (I have had one since I was 18) . You want to be in line with the new regulations, though if you read the comments above there seems to be some flexibility for travellers along the border area. You might want to bring a copy of your birth certificate if you can’t get a passport in time.

  8. Thanks yeah it’s a family emergency & I don’t have a chance to get one on time I’m leaving this Friday night.

  9. Hi, Jasmine. Sorry to hear about the emergency. Let me know your border-crossing experience when you get back.

  10. Yeah,I’ll let you know how it went ,you think school ida can help to show proof too?

  11. Not sure that a school ID is going to be a convincing document, but try it – and write about it!

  12. Do you get a ticket if you do not have a passport??

  13. They are handing out these “noncompliant” flyers (see screen shot above) , but I wouldn’t call them a ticket because they don’t come with a fine.

    It sounds as if they are giving warnings to people without passports and in some cases sending them over to secondary inspection for additional scrutiny.

  14. I really want to go to Vans Warped Tour on Friday. I live in windsor and the concert is in detroit. Im 17 and i only have a birth certificate and drivers liscense, non enhanced. I will be taking the bus across, do you think they will reject me at inspection? If so what will happen?

  15. Hi Anna, I will be going down to Ensenada this weekend with two friends who will only have a drivers license and birth certificate. I will report back on our border crossing experience. Since we are all younger looking, I’m expecting to have to go to secondary (hopefully not for long). Hope all is well!

  16. Hi, Hansen. Sounds like a perfect case study. Please do provide an update – I look forward to hearing what happens at the border with you guys. Should be an adventure – have fun in Ensenada!

  17. This gives me hope! We are in the prosses of getting our passports, but we don’t have them yet and are going this weekend. I’m not so afraid anymore!

  18. Unfortunately the two people without passports canceled last minute so the other three of us all had passports. Sorry that I couldn’t get an update for everyone. I still think there would be very little problems.

  19. Hi, Hansen, Too bad the little experiment went wayward. Thanks for the update!

  20. I cross 2-3 times a week without a passport with just an ID and birth certificate. I have never been sent to secondary and just tell them the state will not issue me one currently. No problems at all.

  21. please add the state dept. I also have a couple of friends who refuse to bring/show passports on constitutional grounds. This is a stupid rule not a law might i add and does nothing to stop illiegal immigrants or terrorists.

  22. Hi, Chris. That’s really interesting, and it echoes what Oscar said earlier in this comment section.

    Thanks so much for adding your information. I think it will be very helpful for people trying to figure out what to do if they don’t have a passport.

  23. Hello :) Iam suppose to be going to Reynosa, Mexico on Labor Day weekend for school shopping. ( i get all my school clothes in mexico) , but i have a passport. the thing is iam bringing along a friend who doesn’t have a passport. She is the same age as me 17, and she doesn’t have a drivers license, so what can she show to get across the border? Also, we will cross the border about twice while down there to go shopping in the valley, also. any information would help! thank you!

  24. Hi, Olivia. Your question is interesting. According to requirements by the U.S. government on this web site – http://travel.state.gov/travel/cbpmc/cbpmc_2223.html – U.S. citizen children UNDER THE AGE OF 16, can continue crossing the land port using a birth certificate (or naturalization document).

    Children under the age of 19 can also still use a birth certificate to travel by land from Mexico IF THEY ARE PART OF SOME SORT OF FORMAL GROUP (i.e. a school group, sports team, etc…): http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/vacation/ready_set_go/land_travel/

    That appears to signify that you and your friend fall under the new document requirements. That means (most typically) a U.S. passport.

    That said, based on the comments that people have left on postings on this subject, it appears that the U.S. government is exercising flexibility in the matter. Some people appear to still be using their birth certificate copies, if anything.

    This is a classic example of how “requirements” don’t always work in reality due to the huge flow of people crossing the border.

    The fact that others are getting through without a passport, however, doesn’t guarantee that your friend will make it through ok. You might want to ask someone in the U.S. government, though they will probably recommend your friend get a passport . Unfortunately, I’m not finding a good number for your specific question. Here’s a general number for Customs and Border Protection:
    1-877-CBP-5511.

  25. i dont have a passport, and will be going to mexico on sept. 3rd and will return the 8th, now if i bring my birth certificate, D.L., a utility bill, and all the info is matching up and i am for sure a us citizen. what can they do? can they really not let me into my own country, and then what should i pitch a tent or just live in mexico??? what do you think?? thanks!

    • THE PASSPORT LAW HURT ALOT OF LOW INCOME PEOPLE IN THE SAN DIEGO AREA. I HAVE A FELONY AND ITS VERY HARD TO JOB. BUT THANKS TO LABOR READY I WAS ABLE TO LIVE OFF OF 4 DOLLARS AND HOUR. LET ME BE MORE CLEAR . WELL MIN WAGE WAS 8 DOLLARS PER HOUR AT THE TIME AND SAN DIEGO CHILD SUPPORT WAS TAKING HALF .( NO PROBLEM AT ALL CAUSE I LOVE MY KIDS.) BUT OFF OF STEADY DAY LABOR WORK AT 4 DOLLARS PER HOUR I WAS STILL ABLE TO HAVE MY OWN APARTMENT IN TJ. THERE WERE ALOT OF PEOPLE WHO WERE IN THE SAME BOAT AS ME WHO IF NOT FOR TJ WE WOULD BE SLEEPING OUTSIDE IN CHEAP WALMART TENTS DOWNTOWN SAN DIEGO JUST LIKE WHATS GOING ON NOW IF YOU WALK THROUGH AT NITE. YES THERE IS VIOLENCE IN TJ, AND YES I GOT STOPED BY THE POLICE A FEW TIMES BUT ABOVE ALL I STILL HAD A PLACE TO CALL HOME. NOW I CANT GET A PASSPORT DUE TO THE US HAS A LAW THAT CLEARLY STATES THAT IF YOU OWE MORE THAN 2,500

  26. Hi, Tony. Thanks for writing in.

    Yes, I think that they realize that there’s only so much they can do and they are trying to educate people as they cross the border without a passport.

    Sounds like you are being smart to bring those documents as back-up. In the meantime, it would be a good idea to get your passport. They are good for ten years and you never know when you might have an urge to go to Bogota, or Paris or Marrakesh…

    Have a good trip, and write back to share your border-crossing experiences here.

  27. thank you for writing back so fast, and trust me i will let you know exactly what happend when i get back. but i think i will bring a tent just in case. lol

  28. Hi, i crossed the mexicali border back in june without my passport, i got a non-compliant letter. to this day i still have not applied for a passport, but last minute family want to go to ensenada, what happens if i go and have already been warned? You think i might just get another warning?

  29. Hi, Daniel. Get your passport! You can download the application here: http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html

    In the meantime, it appears that some people who have left messages in this forum (and another one on this blog) have been going back and forth without problems. This doesn’t meant that the government won’t start cracking down more closely on repeat offenders one of these days. If you end up going again, post another message here to share your experience…

  30. My friend applied for a passport but on hold because of child support, do you know if they would lift the hold?

  31. Hi, Tony. That’s a difficult question for me to tackle here. I have no idea…he would have to ask the feds himself. Sorry I can’t be of more help. Anna

  32. hi, i have a passport; however, i lost it but have not reported it lost. (which i have to do, by the way lol) I am a U.S, Citizen so upon reading everything on here i’m sure i’ll be fine. But i have a question regarding residents. What if you have a residents card (green card) can residents still go back in to the U.S. with lets say.. just a green card, driver’s License, proof of address/work, etc? please get back to me thanks!!

  33. Hi, AHTA.
    Hope you get your new passport soon!

    The way I read the passport rules is that it only applies to U.S. citizens. So that would mean that the old rules would apply to anyone else.

    Here is an explanation from 2008. It mentions those with permanent resident cards: “Lawful Permanent Residents may continue to present their Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card.”

    Read more here: http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1200677666905.shtm

    But you should call the U.S. government to make absolutely sure. Try Customs and Border Protection:
    1-877-CBP-5511.

  34. I have an odd situation. I came to Canada two years ago when there was no passport requirement for land travelers. On the 15th of this month, my husband and I are traveling back to Louisiana. He has a valid passport and is a Canadian citizen. I am an American citizen but I don’t have a passport. I never needed one before and don’t have time to get one before I leave because to get one at the office in Vancouver I need an appt. I have my birth certificate, driver’s license, and social security number. I spoke to a border official and she told me that they wouldn’t keep an American citizen out of the country as long as I can prove my citizenship. Do I need to call back and leave my information and get the person’s name to give to the border officer when I cross the border? Also, is there a chance or Greyhound refusing to let me on the bus or forcing me off before we get to the border if I don’t have a passport but I have my other documents?

  35. Hi, Cassi.That’s good that you talked with a border specialist, because that’s what I was going to suggest you do ( Customs and Border Protection:
    1-877-CBP-5511.)

    My only advice would be to bring all the documentation you mentioned. With all the background check capabilities they have at the border, they should be able to verify your citizenship. Best, Anna

  36. Hey Anna,
    well i just got back from my vacation to San Filipe and had a blast. Check this out, all the stress and worry over not having a passport, for nothing. they let me right back over no questions asked. so i stopped at a jack in the box and ask two border patrol agents whats up with all of this… you know what they told me? they said that they cannot and will not deny any U.S. citizen entry back into the states. they said its in the constitution. they said “if you just have an I.D., you will just go to secondary and be questioned.” thats it!, they said that the passport is preffered but not “REQUIRED” its a bunch of media B.S. even they said it got alot of money moving for people were so scared to not have a passport. bottom line your a real citizen your aloud back home.
    thanks,
    Tony

    • This is one of the best posts on here. It makes sense that they cannot deny entry to an actual US citizen. Yet,….get a passport card if you can, to make things easier. Right now, I think it is $55. And it is good for land border crossings, and cruise ships, but NOT for flights. Thank You Tony

      I am going to cross the border south of Yuma on Monday with 2 people that do not have passports. ( I have my passport! ) So,…I will try and report the results.

  37. I cross 2 -4 times a week at the san ysidro crossing with nothing but my DL and birth certificate.

    If your a US citizen you have nothing to worry about its a new rule not a codified law.. The consititution forbids keeping a citizen from returning. Yes got sent to secondary once but that was within the 1st week of the new policy.

    Furthermore its a dumb rule it will not stop terrorists or border jumpers.

  38. hi i am thinking of sending my 4year old to mexico on the 18th does he need a passport to enter mexico? i requested one for him but its going to take about 2 more weeks, and his grandparents really want to leave by the 18th they are traveling by bus. Do you need one to enter mexico?

  39. Hi, Joanna. i’m on vacation right now and not really checking on the blog from where I am. I think there is a web link address in one of the previous comments on this post that answers your question. It says that U.S.-born kids under the age of 16 can still cross using their birth certificates or naturalization documents.

  40. WHY DO I HAVE TO SPEND MONEY TO OBTAIN A PASSPORT WHEN MY KIDS WHERE BORN HERE AND THEY ARE COMMING BACK TO THEIR PLACE OF CITIZENSHIP, I THINK A OFICIAL I.D. SHUOLD BE OK, I TELL YOU WHY IM A SIGLE PARENT WITH 4 KIDS BORN HERE RIGHT NOW DONT HAVE A JOB YOU THINK I WILL SPEND THE MONEY ON PASSPORTS RSTHER FOOD OR HOUSING PLEASE ATLEAS MAKE A PROGRAM WHERE FEES CAN BE AFFORTABLE TO LARGE FAMILIES. AND WHY DOESNT MEXICO IS SMART AND START ASKING FOR PASSPORT TO ALL US CITIZENS VISITING MEXICO I BET YOU A LOT OF CRIMINAL WOULD BE CUT CROSSING THE BORDER TO MEXICO RUNING FROM US POLICE BE SMART INVEST IN THOSE ACTIONS NO CHINGEN AL POBRE LIKE ALLWAYS.

  41. Hi, Magda. You bring up a good point regarding the cost of obtaining a passport, especially for large families.

    I am sorry to hear that you are struggling financially. I know that a lot of others are in the same position with the economy in such bad shape and I hope that things turn around for you soon.

  42. What is the status with crossing back without a passport? Are they still letting one pass with just a birth certificate and i.d.?

  43. Hi, Tobbie. It seems as if some people may be pulled over to secondary inspection area for additional questioning and others are being given a flyer explaining the new rules. I haven’t heard of anyone being kept from returning…but I would play it safe get a passport as soon as you can. You might want to read the comments left by others on this post to get some additional perspectives.

  44. uhh…yes i’d like to know if u can still pass w/o a passport you might be aware that the Fiestas Del Sol just began today while i write this msg….and i rlly want to see a band play on Fri.9 Oct. my niece will come w/ me too she niether has a passport because her mom has one and thats enough w/ that she said but i dont have one and would like to know if we can go or would we have to stay in a hotel and go in the morning to not make it suspicious or what i rlly ”need” help plz!….ty for your time if you read plz respond i will check back by tomarrow and the 5th or 6th ty.

  45. I am a US Permanent Resident and have a green card, but I do not have a passport. I can return to the US using just my Permanent Resident Card, but I am not sure what the requirements are for getting into Mexico. I do not have a passport! Do they check for passports if you walk across the border into Tijuana?

  46. HI, MInIm3 Briean. You might want to check out this blog post: http://acrosstheborder.wordpress.com/2009/09/24/readers-responses-to-u-s-passport-regulations-at-the-border/

    I can’t give you any recommendations since I don’t work for the U.S. government. They will say you need your passport, but apparently people are still crossing without the passports.

    When and whether they choose to enforce this more strictly will be up to them.

  47. Hi, Cristina. I have never been asked to show my U.S. passport at the border over the past ten years I have regularly travelled into Tijuana. I may not know the exact rules, but Mexico WANTS people to travel along the border areas. Requiring a passport to go into Tijuana would deter that.

  48. Hi, my durther is going to school in Ensenada
    I go every week, geting back in to US the booth person told me that I was breaking (sorry) a federal and state law, “I wish they put him to work with pappers not people”
    Do you know where are those laws to read and know about?
    Thank you

  49. Hmmm. Sounds like it’s time to get a passport, Martin. In the meantime, you ask a good question as to the technicality of this being a law/regulation/whatever else.

    According to the government website, “The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative is a result of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA), requiring all travelers to present a passport or other document that denotes identity and citizenship when entering the United States.”

  50. i am set this weekend to check out rosarito. i have a greencard. i understand that the new passport requirement applies to US citizen only. Now my question is do i have to show a passport when i enter Tijuana??

  51. one more thing we are gonna stay at rosarito beach hotel we are 11 people.. some of our friends are concerned with safety..we are jas planning to check out the lobster village and papas&beers at nyt..

    do we have to be alarmed with security???

  52. Response to question about documents to enter Tijuana: To be honest, I have never been asked to show my U.S. passport when I enter Tijuana or when I’ve travelled around Tijuana. However, TijuanaMexicoinsider.com writes that Mexican immigration officials have started to inrease their enforcement. http://www.tijuanamexicoinsider.com/mexico-tourist-and-visa-permits.asp

    I plan on looking into this and asking around some more, but that’s your immediate answer.

    Answer to question about safety in Rosarito: I guess it depends on who you talk to. A recent contributor to this blog who had a problem in Rosarito would probably tell you to stay away. I was in Rosarito a few weeks ago at the Sand Castle Competition and everything looked ok to me. I haven’t had a problem traveling (and living) south of the border over the past decade, which isn’t to say that something can’t happen. When I was a reporter I wrote stories about bad things that happen to people in border cities, but in most cases – not all – they were involved with criminal groups. My typical advice is to keep on your toes. Don’t buy drugs from anyone, and get out of the way of caravans of cars with sirens that are traveling quickly through the streets.

  53. Hi, I was wondering if you can give me some advice on my situation? I am a naturalized citizen, I lost my US citizenship certificate. I don’t have any information that was on the certificate, therefore when I attempted to apply for another certificate I didn’t have all the necessary information. There are questions on the application that ask for a certificate number and the day i entered the US. etc etc etc and I don’t have any of that information. I really need a new certificate because I cannot apply for a passport without one. I don’t want to leave anything blank on the application or give some info that is not correct because it costs over $400 to apply for a new certificate and i don’t want to lose that money. One of the requirements on the application says it should be filled out completely. What do you suggest I should or can do?

  54. HI, Horacio. This is really out of my area of expertise. It seems as if your information should be in some computer system somewhere out there. I would suggest you contact your local immigration office to see if they can help you. I”m sorry I can’t give you a better answer. Good luck with your search. Anna

  55. Hey! Ok, so I live in Canada, and went to mexico last year, My parent had misplaced my passport when I was little, so we got a new one, we didnt have to fill out a police report or anything. I myself lost my new passport, and havent reported it lost yet, butim going to, and then I want to go to the passport offce with it and apply for a new one, im freaking out because im going to mexico again in about two and a half months. The passport also had the 5 year thing on it. Do you think it would be denied? please help! Im so scared!!

  56. I’m going across the border into Tijuana today after work. I have my birth certificate and Driver’s License. I’ll let everyone know how my experience went later on. :)

  57. Thanks, Bettye. I look forward to hearing how it goes – and I’m sure other readers would, too.

  58. Hi, Kate. I don’t have enough information to suggest what you should do. I’m not clear if you are a Canadian citzen or U.S. I’m not sure what you mean about the “five year” thing, either…Sorry I can’ t be of more help. Anna

  59. hey! Ok yes I am a canadien citizan, and my passport is valid for5 years, so if i wanted to get a new one within the five years id hae to bring in the old one…should i bring in a police report saying i lost it instead? (to make the old one not valid, thus not being refused a new passport)

  60. Hi, Kate. You might want to check with your local Canadian consulate about this one. I don’t want to give you any bad advice. I’m aware that U.S. citizens have made it through the land border ok without their passports, but am not aware of what that means for other countries.

  61. Hi I’m a college student in Michigan and a few buddies are going to Canada (Windsor) this weekend on a whim. I just checked my passport and it expired in January 2009… If I bring my valid driver’s license, expired passport, birth certificate and college ID, do you think I’ll have a problem crossing the border either direction? I’m going with a big group of kids so I don’t want to hold anyone up too severely.

  62. Hi, Kevin. My apologies. I was out of town at a conference for the first half of this week and then I got slammed work outside of work, so I am just now signing in…
    I don’t really know how things are being dealt with for travelers heading from Canada. If you see this message, can you share your experience when you get back?

  63. hi i just had a question…im 15 years old i want to go to mexico for thanksgiving holiday…i dont have a passport yet since its my first trip…i wanted to know if im gonna need one if i was born in texas….let me know if you have an answer…thanks lots!!!

  64. hi, i just had a question…i was born in texas and im 15 years old. i want to make a trip to mexico but dont have a passport.will i be able to come back with my birth certificate???

  65. Hi, Rocio. Thanks for writing…

    This is from the U.S. State Dept’s web site and it seems to say that you are ok bringing your birth certificate, or a copy of it: (http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2009/01/115270.htm)

    “On June 1, 2009, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) will go into effect requiring travelers, including U.S. citizens, to present a passport or other approved travel documents that denote both citizenship and identity to enter the United States at land and sea ports of entry. In addition to the passport, approved documents include the passport card and a trusted traveler card (NEXUS, SENTRI, or FAST).

    **Children under the age of 16 will be able to present the original or copy of their birth certificate, or other proof of citizenship such as a naturalization certificate, or citizenship card. ***Groups of U.S. citizen children ages 16 through 18, when traveling with a school or religious group, social organization, or sports team, will be able to enter under adult supervision with originals or copies of their birth certificates or other proof of citizenship. Please note that passports issued to minor children under age 16 are valid for five years.”

    However, also read this: http://gomexico.about.com/od/entryrequirements/f/kids_entry.htm

    It looks like(due to your age & according to Mexican law) you might need to also carry a notarized letter from a parent saying it’s ok for you to travel in Mexico, if you are traveling alone or with just one parent.

  66. Hi, Im flying from Australia direct to mexico then by land Im going to cross into USA (Prob San Ysidro). How intense are the passport checks? does everybodys passport get checked or do they just randomly wave people through?
    Thanks

  67. thanks for you answer,is this gonna continue till im 16 or is it just for the year 2009??I wanted to know if i go during christmas break will i be able to come back in the 2010 without a problem???Sorry about all the questions just want to make sure

  68. Hi, Adam. If you have a loaded backpack or suitcases and pretty much look like you are a traveller then I would say there is a pretty good chance that they are going to ask for your passport…that is just based on my own personal observation. Anna

  69. Hi, Rocio. I commend you for asking these questions and trying to do the right thing. However, since I don’t work for the U.S. government I don’t want to give you any bad advice.

    Based on the information posted by the U.S. government, I am interpreting it that you need a passport once you are 16 unless you are traveling in some organized group (i.e. school trip).

    So that means in your case if your birthday is June 6, 2010 then you are good to go without a passport until then… I hope that helps. :-)

  70. Not sure if this will help anyone but a group of friends and I went camping in Ensenada last weekend and one of our passengers didn’t have his passport with him. He does own a passport but it didn’t arrive in time for the trip. When we crossed, all they asked for was his drivers license and I am assuming that it showed he owned a passport so they let him through without any problems. No secondary which I thought for sure would happen because we had a giant Thule loaded on the roof and a car packed full of people and gear. Some people think the good experience can be attributed to the change of guard checking passports, the new guy was in a remarkably good mood.

  71. That’s interesting that all they asked for was a driver’s license…

    Great insight!

  72. Good info in here.

  73. Thanks for visiting, Tony!

  74. I noticed many who state they are going to cross the border and will let us know how it went, and you never hear back from them. Just concerns me how accurate this information on this blog really is. Sounds like a grwat deal of misinformation actually.

  75. i had a question! im 17 and im going to tijuana next month and dont have time to get a passport! can i come back to the US if i have my birth certificate, social, school ids and my mom with me?

  76. Hey there im going to cross the border to tijuana today later on with out my passport just my california id Im a us citizen, hopefully I wont have any problems but ill let every one know how it go.

  77. Recently several of us tried to get Naomi Wise of the Reader to join us for dinner and she begged off, saying that she mislaid her passport shortly after returning from China.

    Those of us who live south of the border know this WHTI is a crock (myself, I cross on a U.S. passport that expired twenty years ago) but the good folks north of the border are still thinking handcuffs and jail time or “A Man without a Country”. Try as we might, we could find no one to go on record to reassure Ms Wise. Ultimately, she dismissed Tijuana entirely by saying that her readers have no interest in what we have to offer.

    During the period that we attempted to arrange for Naomi’s comfortable repatriation, I learned the truth of WHTI: that it is not a law, it is merely something put forward by the initiative of the Department of Homemade Security. No one voted for it! But neither could I get anyone to go on record to correct this deliberate misrepresentation.

    Now, Anna, it looks like you’re on good terms with Vince Bond. Any chance you might get him to admit that initiatives don’t have the force of law?

    If you could do that without burning your source, damn, that would be such a scoop.

    Twenty-first-century journalism has to play by its own rules. We no longer have employers to play up to, we need only to tell the truth to our readers without frightening them.

    Ahora somos todos guerrilleros. Keep up the good work.

  78. Hi, Michael. I presume that if they never got back to the U.S. we would have heard about it – so it seems as if people are getting through ok.

  79. HI, Kelly. You might want to read the Nov. 20 response I left on this message board regarding teenagers traveling south of the border. It appears that you technically should have a passport. You may be pulled over for additional questioning, but if you are with your mom and bring other proof of citizenship, that sounds like it would help things.

  80. Hi, Abraham. Can you let us know how it went??? Some of us here would like to hear some first-hand experiences from people getting across ok.

  81. Hi, Francisco. You bring up some really good points. I tend to think that if people were being prevented from entering the country because they didn’t have a passport, we would definitely be hearing about it big time. Either that, or there is a growing colony of passport-less U.S. expats stuck in Tijuana somewhere that we don’t know about.

  82. Thank you, you proved my point with nothing more than a sarcastic response. I was hoping a little more from you , but I guess the bar was set to high.

  83. Hi, Michael. Sorry you interpreted the comment as sarcastic. As far as I was concerned, it was simply an observation.

  84. Hi I am going to mexicali and I have my CA ID and birth certificate and I also have my passport receipt from the post office, would the receipt help to croos back

  85. Here is an observation you are an idiot.

  86. I will be traveling on Thursday December 3, 2009 to Mexicali, BC but the passport cards we applied for are still being processed and will not arrive by Thursday according to the U.S. Department spoke person that I spoke to. My questions is I have a 5, 2, and a 6 month old. I read on the CBP website under answer ID 724 Travel Documents/Infants it has

    (Driving into the United States: If you have not yet received a birth certificate for a U.S. or Canadian citizen infant, CBP will accept either the birth record issued by the hospital or a letter on hospital letterhead providing details of the birth, including the name of the child, time and place of birth, and parents names. Birth certificates should used for children over 1 year old. Infants and children from countries other than Canada and the U.S. should have a passport.)

    It also has: (Children under the age of 15 will have a blanket exemption from this requirement – although they will be required to present a copy of a birth certificate and, if not traveling with both parents, a consent letter from the other parent(s).)

    I just want to double check with someone about this. Since, I sent the birth certificate will the application for the passports, does that mean I will need to go spend another $19 for each child’s birth certificate again? How about for my husband and I will I need to get a copy of our birth certificate as well, or will our California ID’s and the proof that we applied for a passport be ok? Do you still think I can use the birth record issued by the hospital for my 6 month old, since the copy of the birth certificate went with the passport application? That would save me $19. Please let me know what I should do.

    Amazing how the people at the post office told us that the passport cards are only to travel by land but didn’t tell us that our children really didn’t need a passport card if traveling by land since children under 15 are a blanket exemption, that was just a waste of money!

  87. i plan on going to Mexico dec. 11, i cant find my passport and i lost my ID 1/2 a yr ago… i do have a temporary id and my birth certificate. should i still plan on going?

  88. Hi, Fred. It sounds like the receipt would be a good demonstration that you are in the process of trying to be in compliance.

    If you can, write back upon your return and let other readers know how your experience was at the border!

  89. Hi, Gina.
    I wish I could give you a definite answer, but I don’t work for the U.S. government and I don’t want to give you any incorrect information – so my guess is as good as your guess.

    I would recommend bringing whatever documentation you do have to provide to the border officials, if they ask. (including proof of applying for the passport, if you have that) And please try and write about your experience on this blog when you return from your trip.

    Sorry I don’t have more time to look into this …it sounds like you are leaving very soon for Mexicali! Anna

  90. Hi, Joel. Yikes. I hope you can get your documents in order soon. Do you have a driver’s license? If you decide to go through with your trip, try and bring the other documents you mentioned. And please write back to this blog when you return to tell us how it went.

  91. Hello, I am currently in San Diego and am contemplating going to a concert in Tijuana this Saturday, I don’t have a passport as I have never needed to leave the U.S. before and only have my Oregon driver license with me. I was wondering what the worst thing that could happen to me is, since I have to be back in San Diego on Sunday and cannot risk any major delays. From what I understand from reading these posts, the worst thing that can happen is that I’ll be stuck waiting for a little while.

    Is that correct?

  92. Hi, Kyle. I wish more people would post what their experiences have been crossing without a passport so that it can be documented better. Your conclusion is as good as mine…If you decide to go, can you leave a message on this blog about what your experience was like?

  93. Hi Kyle, My wife and I have passports. Our friends are coming to Tucson this weekend and we want to go to Rocky piont (puerto penasco) 3 hrs from here. They don’t have passports but have drivers liscense, voters ID, aand birth certificates. They are coming sat nite. Can we get in and back across?

  94. Hi, David. Looks like we are going to see how Kyle’s trip goes…

    The official word is you need your passports and that you may be subject to additional scrutiny by border officials if you don’t have one. But it appears they are exercising some flexibility with this, issuing people informative flyers as an “advisory.” Best idea it to bring whatever proof you got.

    Any information helps, so please consider revisiting this blog upon your return and sharing your experiences. Thanks! Anna

  95. Hello everybody, I was just going to Tijuana so I left my car in the US and walked across the boarder. I ended up going back across twice with little to no delay. The first time the guy asked me why i didnt have a passport and told me to get one asap. The second time i came back through the guy was even more laid back about it and made a joke about me being to cool to get a passport and was very friendly, I asked him what they can do if you don’t have a passport and he said the worst they will do is send you to secondary inspection, but he said under no circumstance will they deny a citizen entry to the United States, so i’m very confident you will have little if any delay getting through as long as your friend is a citizen of the US.

  96. Hi, Kyle! Thanks so much for sharing that info…Hope you had a good tirp to Tijuana. I was there, too, and snapped some pictures of some very colorful Christmas trees I saw on sale south of the border. Will post soon.

    David: How did it go for your group getting back into Arizona?

  97. Yesterday my son went to Algodones, Mexico and crossed back into Arizona with only an ID card and a birth certificate. I called the Port of Entry and asked if he would have problems getting back in. They said he would be sent for a secondary check and they do not refuse to let them re-enter. He said the secondary check would take about 15 minutes. When my son returned, he confirmed what they agent told me. They do not refuse you entry.

  98. Hi Everyone,

    I’ve read a lot of comments and it seems as though I’ll be good without a passport but I still don’t want to risk it. Do you guys think I’ll be good with just my ID and a receipt that I already applied for a passport?

    Also, a lot of you guys are crossing from California. Do you guys think they’ll be just as flexible in Laredo, TX? And especially during the holiday seasons? Thanks for your help! :)

  99. ALSO, although I have a receipt for applying for a passport, I don’t have any proof other than citizenship other than that. I am a naturalized citizenship and they kept my certificate for my passport. I’m a bit worried about this.

  100. My relatives are visiting from South Korea with a e-passport (visiting nonimmigrant passport) and we want to go to tijuana by car for a day. What procedures do they need to follow? What would they need to come back into the US?
    Thank you!

  101. Geneva: Thank you for sharing your son’s story!

    Ilse: I can’t give you any advice as to what to do (since I don’t want to give you any bad advice) ,but it appears that many people are bringing whatever documents they do have . You might want to refer to some of the recent posts I just put up from readers.

    HRA: Hi, that’s a good question. I would suggest trying to contact someone with Customs and Border Protection. Here is a link to a page with their contact info: http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/toolbox/contacts/customer_service.xml

  102. Alright, this is straight from CBP:

    CBP Commits to Flexible, Practical Implementation of June 1 Document Requirements for U.S. and Canadian Citizens at Land and Sea Ports of Entry

    (Wednesday, May 27, 2009)

    Washington – U.S. Customs and Border Protection assured U.S. and Canadian citizens today that, if otherwise admissible, they will be able to re-enter the United States when the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) is implemented for land and sea travel on June 1.

    “CBP’s mission is to protect our borders,” said CBP Acting Commissioner Jayson P. Ahern. “WHTI implements a key 9/11 Commission recommendation by requiring secure travel documents while facilitating entry. We will be practical and flexible in implementing WHTI using the same informed compliance approach that proved successful during other major changes at our borders over the last two years.”

    CBP is committed to working with travelers to ensure they have access to and can obtain appropriate travel documents. U.S. and Canadian citizens who lack WHTI-compliant documents are encouraged to continue with their travel plans and to obtain WHTI travel documents as soon as possible to further expedite future border crossings.

    http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/newsroom/news_releases/may_2009/05272009_7.xml

    There ya have it

    Tony S
    Nor Cal

  103. Hi Anna

  104. My husband is from veracruz mexico and his mom is sick we are traveling by car there. i have a passport and so does my husband but my daughter does not. She is not a biological daughter from my husband she was born here in the US. what will happen when we go to the border in TJ to come home. Can they not let my daughter come home. So scared what will happen.. they have to let us come home dont they?????

  105. Tony Nor Cal: Thanks so much for sharing that, Tony! I believe that’s what Vince Bond of CBP was saying, too (in the original post). But I’m sure that press release will help readers address their own concerns.

  106. Cristy: The child should be ok (with other documents) under the new regulations. This was what I was able to find from an information search from the U.S. State Department’s web site (read the 5th paragraph there…) http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2009/01/115270.htm

    Upon re-entry….”Children under the age of 16 will be able to present the original or copy of their birth certificate, or other proof of citizenship such as a naturalization certificate, or citizenship card. ”

    Read additional info. here: http://gomexico.about.com/od/entryrequirements/f/kids_entry.htm

  107. Hi,

    Somebody knows how is crossing the border without passport?

  108. Sorry, how is crossing the border in Laredo, Tx, without passport.

  109. hello plp. im planning on crossing the san ysidro border in jan.2010,u c i been in mexico for like almost 2 years wit my husband and now im planning on going back home wit my family and this new law of having a passport has me trippin all i have is my i.d and birth certifacate. im reading these blogs and believe it or not you guys made me feel at ease on crossing the borber. so wat u guys are saying is i will just get sent to 2 expection thats it no fine

  110. Marie: Hi. I think that if you read some of the posts on this blog you will see that people are crossing back into the U.S. without their passports. I have yet to hear from someone (U.S. citizen) who has been denied entry. I don’t know how tightly things are being enforced in Laredo, but I’m told that the worst that can happen to you is you are sent to secondary inspection where you might be delayed while they check your status.

    Martha: As long as you are a U.S. citizen, I think that my reply to Marie also can be applied to you.

    Good luck to both of you. If you can, write back to share your experiences at the border so that you can help others with similar questions who are visiting this site.

    And… I personally recommend you get your passports in order so that you won’t worry the next time around!

  111. Otay parking has gone out of business. Does anyone else know of a service that allows you to park your vehicle on the US side and they will shuttle you to and from the tijuna airport? I am going to Cancun in March for 14 days flying out of Tijuana. A friend yesterday drove to Tijuana airport and drop off a family member without a passport and went right through to the US without any delays.

  112. Hi, Michael. Thanks for sharing your friend’s experience of crossing the border without a passport.

    As to your question about the Otay parking option, maybe someone who reads this has an answer? If not, I’ll snoop around over the holiday break and report back.

  113. Damn, Anna, you’ve really turned into Travel Central for Tijuana, haven’t you?

    Michael, we can offer you a few ideas but please understand that those of us who live in Tijuana are looking through the other end of the telescope.

    One option would be to park at the Border Station and take the Mexicoach shuttle or walk across. There are busses and taxis in the Zona Federal (just past the pedestrian entry) that will take you to the airport. We deal with this option in more detail on our blog.

    Another might be to fly Volaris … I’m pretty sure they still run a bus out of Union Station in San Diego to shuttle their passengers straight to the Rodríguez Airport in Tijuana.

    Fifteen or twenty years ago, when I lived on your side of the border, I once took my car across to get repainted while I vacationed in La Paz. For me, this worked out “a todo dar” because the painter wanted several days for his work to set, meaning that the car was parked for free while I hung out in the oldest Chinatown on the West Coast. In your case, of course, your car will need a paint job for the idea to be of any value.

    Finally, if you’re used to leaving your car in Otay, you can still do that and take a taxi or the local bus to the airport.

    Transportation in Tijuana is much more flexible than it is in San Diego. We tend to use our cars only to haul lots of groceries or to visit friends and family outside the city. It’s like living in Europe only closer, très chido ‘mano.

  114. Ilse: (sorry, I didn’t see your posts until now) you will be dealing with the same part of the U.S. government that naturalized you, so they ought to clear you once they send you to Secondary. These are not particularly bright people, so bring as much data as will assist them in accessing their own databases of citizenship.

    You must have learned already that the U.S. government destroys your original documents. So just bring copies. The numbers on your copies can be confirmed by the the DHS computer system.

    If you’re really concerned about your passage, you can always enter the DHS building backwards (from the U.S. side) and ask the folks at the Secondary desk about your status. This will annoy their rent-a-cops no end but you will at least receive a definitive answer. And, boy, do they deserve your annoyance.

  115. Well thanks to this blog I am soooo relieved about going to Mexico tomorrow!!!! I have an expired passport, birth certificate, DL, and SS. According to this blog i think i will be more then alright when i cross back into the US. Would have renewed my passport but i wasnt 100% sure if i would be going or not until today.(yes i am a very last minutes planner or decider lol )
    Thankyou! for the great info or news!
    Leon!!! Here i come!

  116. Hey Jamal. Thanks for your note, and try and remember to write us back here upon your return to share your border crossing experience and help others who find their way to this blog.
    Happy travels!

  117. hello,

    I’m a filipino currently holds a B1/B2 visa im planning to spend the new year in san Felipe, I was wondering if will i be issued another I94 upon entry from mexico to the U.S. ? My current I94 states that i have until March 1, 2009 to stay in the U.S. , I’ll be staying until mid Feb but I haven’t bought my tickets going back home yet. I’m afraid that they might give me another I94 with an earlier Date.

    Thanks!

  118. Hi, Dab. This is what I found on the U.S. Embassy site (Denmark office), regarding B1/B2 visa holders:

    “visitors applying for entry under this program are allowed to remain 90 days; no extensions are granted, and travelers may not change their status. Travel to contiguous countries (Canada, Mexico, or Caribbean countries) is permitted during the 90 days, but travelers will not be granted an additional 90 days after re-entry. ”

    http://denmark.usembassy.gov/visa/nonimmigrantvisa/visawaiverprogram.html

    I would suggest contacting the government agency that issued you your visa, just to be sure…
    Anna

  119. will they accept regular drivers license or a proof my birth certificate

  120. Hi, Kenny. Based on the comments I’ve been receiving on this blog post, it appears the US government isn’t keeping US citizens or legal residents out of the country if they show up at the border without their passports. Some travelers are relying on just the drivers license or the copy of the birth certificate – or both.

    Hope you have a nice trip to Mexico!

  121. If I get off a plane in Mexico without a passport, but with a valid us drivers license will they let me come in for the christening I am supposed to attend sunday or refuse me entry? Will the airline even let me on the plane in the first place? Continental

  122. im 18 years old and i want to travel from the U.S to MEXICO, but my passport is expired and i got a valid california I.D and all my information about me school i.d,birth certificate,ext…can i travel even if i got that problem? what can i do?

  123. hows crossing the border by el paso tx without passport?

  124. i’m 17 and traveling to mexico tomorrow without my passport just birth certificate and texas ID……..scard outof my mind!!

  125. Hi, I am American citizen, but have been working in Mexico for couple of years, about a year ago I walked thru the border with just my CA.I.D. and a few questions with no problem, does anyone has an experience like that more recent?since I am going to my hometown in Feb. and do not hold a passport?I also do not have a birth certificate on me, lost it some time back and need to be reordered, please help!

  126. Sorry for my delayed responses! I was on a road trip in Mexico and didn’t have Internet access…

    BHayden: I think you already left on that plane by now, so I hope you found the answer to your question. How did it go? IF you can, share your experience here and help other travelers in a similar fix.

    Catherine: I can’t recommend that you cross the border without a passport, but some people on this forum appear to be doing just that. IT appears that the more documentation you have with you – the better. If you go, you might want to consider bringing your old passport and a copy of your birth certificate.

    Write back and let us know how it goes!

  127. Clarissa: I am posting your comment here with hopes that someone responds from El Paso. all I know is that several people have posted that they seem to be getting back ok from the Baja Calif. part of Mexico.

    If you can, tell us how your experience goes.

  128. Ashley: Sorry, you are another person who I wasn’t able to respond to in time because I was on a road trip in Mexico and not checking my emails. Did everything turn out ok?

  129. Carlos: Where are you in Mexico? Your question might be worth a trip to the local U.S. embassy or consulate. You might want to get that taken care of for future travels, especially if your driver’s license is set to expire anytime soon.

  130. bhayden’s question: Traveling by air is different than traveling by ground. Before the airline lets you onto their plane, their ticketing desk will confirm the adequacy of your documentation. If you have any doubts, contact your airline beforehand.

    catherine and ashley: Take Aimee Mann’s advice, “The best thing that anyone can ever do is make a choice not to be afraid anymore.” Several of us cross using expired passports and have never been sent to Secondary (two of us did so yesterday); a few of us have witnessed U.S. citizens crossing through Secondary without any documentation whatsoever.

    Those of us who cross on visas need to keep our visas up to date. But those of us who cross on citizenship, there is no expiration date. Once a citizen, always a citizen. Y con safos.

    Carlos: You have an absolute right to enter your own country as established by the UN in 1948. You obtained your California ID by proving both your identity and your legal right to reside in California, so your ID is sufficient even if the border guards might wish to confirm its validity with the DMV. That would be their job, not yours.

  131. I have a 14 month old. My husband and I want to see family in Mexicali. Does he also need a passport? Should his birth certificate enough?

    • Hi, Sayde. This is from the U.S. government’s page on the subject:

      Upon re-entry….”Children under the age of 16 will be able to present the original or copy of their birth certificate, or other proof of citizenship such as a naturalization certificate, or citizenship card. ”

      Go here for more information: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2009/01/115270.htm

      Happy travels!

  132. Hello I am currently 16 yrs old && im traveling with my 18 yr old cousin to tijuana on sat feb 13;; we are traveling on our own && have no passports;; we are US residents && have school id,,birth certificate,, && California id….we will only be there for 4 hours to shop for goodies;; will I be back home safe && sound with out any problems??…oh by the way my cousin && I have no identical last names…thank you

  133. HI, Lyzz. About six years ago I went down to TJ with a group of friends and among them was a 16 year old. While the rest of us showed our ID’s, she flashed her school ID and there was no problem.

    The U.S. government provides these parameters for people UNDER the age of 16.

    Upon re-entry….”Children under the age of 16 will be able to present the original or copy of their birth certificate, or other proof of citizenship such as a naturalization certificate, or citizenship card. ”

    So , it looks like you fall under their passport “requirement.” However, it appears that the “requirement” is being treated more as a “recommendation” at this point. You may want to scan some of the traveler’s responses on this blog as to how other’s have addressed this (i.e. showing alternative forms of documentation, such as driver’s license or birth certificate)

    Go here for more information: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2009/01/115270.htm

    As to conforming to Mexican laws, it appears your 18 year old cousin qualifies as your guardian. For more info. on that go here: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_970.html

  134. Thannk you soo muchh acearley…. ;D….I really appreciate your help!!!…its very nice && releaving that I can count with your help!!….ill write back && talk about my experience down at the border line…till then!!…hopefully I return safe && sound!!…(:

    • Look forward to hearing about it! I would like to write a post for this blog with first-hand accounts from people like you…

      I used a frequent border crosser card (SENTRI), so this issue never comes up for me.

  135. well everyone im going to Tijuana on Feb 4-8 with out a passport just D.L and birth certificate. Im not so scared now that I have read all these blogs Thank’s Guy’s I’ll post what happens when I get back

    • Hi, Judy. Definitely write back. As I told Lyzz, I would like to write a new post with “first hand” accounts from people like you.

      I never get to test it out because I use my frequent border crossing card (SENTRI), so I don’t need a passport.

  136. Midway through february I’ll be crossing the Canadian border and back with an expired passport — I just can’t get it replaced before then. Unlike everyone else here I *will* report back with the results. Really! :) I’ll also have my DL and (fingers crossed) my birth cert, if it comes in in time.

    • Hi, SmallTown. This blog has gotten a few messages from people going into Canada, so your input would be very valuable!

  137. Hi acearley, can go to US if I have a permanent resident visa in Canada? I’m not yet a canadian citizen.

  138. Hello again;;..well I have one more question to ask…since its just going to be my cousin && I do I like need some parent/guardian permission letter to proof that I am allowed to go or can I just go && return as if it were “Disney Land” with my legal proof??…because my friend came back from there last week w/ her 17 yr old cousin&& her 10 yr little brother;; && she said that all they asked her was “where are you going?”;; “where are your parents?”;; && “Do you speak english? Do you go to school?”….&& its surprising to me that all these times she has gone w/o her parents && an under age “guardian” they have never asked her for parent permission && have never made a bigg drama…..well thank you again && I hope someone could help me with this before my trip______;DD

    • Hi, Lyzz. I can’t really give you travel advice on these matters (I’m not a U.S. immigration official) … but it seems that your friend’s experience is probably a valid frame of reference.

      The “guardian” thing, I believe, is more of a Mexican regulation – but I would venture to say it’s probably not regularly enforced.

  139. hello my question is .. I want to go to tijuana but I don’t have a passport . I would like to know if ill get a ticket this year .. ? i read everything but this is from july 2009 … Do you think I can get a ticket now in 2010?

  140. hello my question is .. I want to go to tijuana but I don’t have a passport . I would like to know if ill get a ticket this year .. ? i read everything but this is from july 2009 … Do you think I can get a ticket now in 2010?

  141. hello my question is .. I want to go to tijuana but I don’t have a passport . I would like to know if ill get a ticket this year .. ? i read everything but this is from july 2009 … Do you think I can get a ticket now in 2010? I have my birth certificated, my California ID, college ID, social security ..WHAT DO YOU THINK?

    • Hi, jlo. I haven’t heard anything from anyone saying they are having problems with traveling with or without their passports along the border.

      The best way we can keep the information accurate, however, is if people like you go and then write back to tell us what your experience was like at the border.

      So, I encourage you to do that. To be sure, you might want to whatever documents (maybe a copy of birth certificate) to see if they ask you for any of them.

      And it doesn’t hurt to get a passport – you never know when the travel bug might bite , and they last 10 years. Besides, someone famous like you should have a passport for your next global tour :-)

  142. haha Thanks for the “famous” …. well yeah ill write back .. and yes i know it doesn’t hurt to get one. I went to the post office and they told me it takes 4-6 weeks and if you want it faster its more money. I want to go to the Carnaval Ensenada this Feb 11 and also pay the taxes of my house in Mexico … so yeah don’t worried ill write back .. thanks for everything ….let see if Im lucky….. bye

    • No problem! Have a fun time at the Carnaval. I have never made it there, and it would be great if you could write a guest post on this blog and share with us how it was like w/photos. Just an idea…

  143. Hi all, Just a concern. I have planned on crossing the U.S Border from Ontario Canada this weekend, Feb 12 and just found out that my Ontario Driver’s licence is not an EDL and I do not have a passport. Can I still cross the U.S. Border with my Driver’s licence, Birth Certificate? I don’t want to travel 3 hours to the border to get turned away but would hate to miss the family gathering in Ohio. what are my options? Any help please?

    • Hi, George! I can’t tell you what to do because this forum is mostly used by Mexico-bound travelers. Hopefully, someone here has an idea. I have gotten a couple questions from people with similar concerns who are crossing the border on the other side of the U.S…

  144. I just called the Blaine border crossing and they said pretty much the same as the post above. They can’t legally deny me entry into my own country and I will be just delayed and possibly have to “go inside” to make sure I am who I say I am.

    I’m tentatively going to try to drive to Canada to the Olympics and drive back with only a Wa license and a birth certificate. I’ll report back.

    • Hi, Blake. That would be great if you did write back. Thank you so much for the information…I’m sure our Canadian border crossers will appreciate. Anna

  145. I will be going to Tijuana on Wednesday. I don’t have a passport, but do have current drivers license, and my naturalization certificate. I will be going due to a medical emergency. My Doctor said he will write me a letter for medical neccesity to show when crossing. I don’t know if that will help. Any advice greatly appreciated.

    • Hi, Nica. Seems like you are doing your due diligence by getting a letter from your doctor – just in case.

      So far, however, it seems that most people who are crossing without passports are getting through ok. Let us all know what they tell you.

      Anna

    • Hello,
      I just got back from crossing the border!!! I came up to the line, and just showed my naturalization certificate, and drivers license. I was even prepared with the note the Doctor gave me, but did’nt need it. The agent didn’t even ask for a passport. He was actually very friendly. He just jokingly scolded us for not having ash on our forehead, since today is ash Wednesday. I am happy! Will aply fpr passport tommorow.

  146. Well, I just got back from my trip to Toronto (as a US citizen). I did not have my birth cert – didn’t come in on time – so all I had was my DL and a passport that expired last October. I had no real problem anyway; the Canadian guard was pretty cool about it. Going back into the US I got more of an evil eye, but didn’t get sent to secondary. So, while the experience was stressful since we had a lot of money tied up in this little vacation that I was afraid of losing getting turned back at the border, it was really not much of a hassle in reality. Still, first thing I will be doing is getting my darn passport renewed!

  147. I will be crossing into Mexico from South Padre area on March 13th, with no passport to return, just I.D, birth certificate, and SS card. I will write back and let everyone know. So if you don’t see me pop up before the 20th, I’ve pitched a tent in Mexico. Safe travels to you all.

  148. Mexico has announced that they will now require US CITIZENS to present a passort to enter mexico on and after 3/1/2010. I have checked the ebassy webpage and its there

    • Hi, Paul. Actually, that’s not quite true.Read this article by reporter Sandra Dibble, who I trust because I worked with her in Tijuana for many years:

      http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/feb/16/passport-mandate-loosened/

    • hmmm Wonder if that will be the same across the entire Frontera or only TJ and Ensanada. Thats kinda strange they have it posted on the Mexico Embassy Website but then again it is Mexico the land of you can but then again you cant jejeje ;-)

      • Good point ! For now, I can just offer my own recent anectode: When I crossed into Mexico this weekend (along Tijuana), I got the red light signal so I had to pull the car over to the area where Mexican customs checks over your stuff. No one asked me about my passport.

  149. It’s just stupid for people to argue that they don’t need a passport to travel abroad because they are US Citizens, in every country all over the world you need a passport to exit the country, and it’s the law, if the US Government is asking you to get a passport you should do it, it’s lame and ignorant to argue about it, if you are traveling to any other country you MUST have a passport no matter what, for example, if you are going to Brazil, you will be asked for your passport to get on the plain even before getting on the plane, so please, stop being stupid and just get your documents right.

    • You bring up some good points, Suede. I think the issue is that in the past the U.S. government had no problem with people using their driver’s license to cross back into the U.S. from Mexico by foot or car (presuming they were just taking short trips along the border area). People got used to doing things this way.

    • It would be more effective to argue from evidence than to characterize those you don’t agree with as “stupid”, “lame”, and “ignorant”. Suède is evidently unaware of the original intent of the passport. Its purpose was to facilitate one’s entry into foreign countries, not to authorize repatriation into one’s own country. Not every country requires a passport of all its foreign visitors; here along the border established by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo no passport has ever been required. Furthermore, no U.S. law requires its citizens to produce a passport on their entry into the U.S., it is only a Homeland Security regulation under WHTI that presumes to do so. To change the purpose of something in keeping up with the times is not always a bad thing, but such changes ought to be made consensually.

  150. Hi just to let you know, we made it in and back just fine with only birth certs and drivers licenses, we got grilled by the US agent, told us “last minute is good enough” and that “we’ve been telling people about this for a long time now” then he had a roll down our back window and he rummaged through our stuff, didn’t take more then 5 min overall.

    Wanted to tell the jerk that we just got heckled alllll night wearing US flags in downtown Vancouver after the US beat Canada in hockey so let us back home and stop giving us guff!!

    • Wow, that’s interesting! Thank you so much for sharing your experience crossing back into the U.S. from Canada. Glad to hear you had a great trip, and survived the heckling and border grilling. :-)

  151. Hello people .. well Im back from Ensenada, Mexico. I had the best time ever in the Carnaval. I cross the border walking this Sunday night with no problem. The border agent didn’t do or ask anything I pass the line in one minute or even less….. I had my birth certificated and my California ID. To be honest they even did more drama to a woman that had her passport in front of me.

    So thank you so much this blog really help me and definitively I don’t think its stupid. Suede! its a way to express and know what is true and false you just have to respect… … Plus also the government should understand that if they want a “NEW LAW” or a “Requirement” they should at least charge less for the passports for low income people… and not be charging for everything to have some extra $$$ to save the economy

  152. I will be traveling to Canada with my Friend (both 17) and her father for a week vacation. We have gone for four years now, but this is the first time since the June, 1st 2009 law change. I have never had a passport and always used my birth certificate and drivers liscence (once I got it), and a signed letter from my own father. I am wondering if I am going to have problems at the border because of this new law and the fact tht I am over 16 now. From what Ive read, things seem to be more leanient than I had expected. I will let you know how it goes.

    • Hi, Shannon. That would be great if you could report back- that information would be so helpful for other readers here. It will be interesting to see if they wave you on through or ask you a bunch of questions.

  153. Hi Acearley, just came across this site and first of all i just want to say a thank you to you for all the work and effort you are putting in for people. One thing that is letting the site down is not enough feed back from people when they return so hopefully more of that soon. Ok i have a Californian D.L. and a B,Certificate. Iam going over to Tijuana for a few days. Will this be ok with what i have as i do not have time for applying for a passport. Also what is secondary inspection about , and if you do not know if someone one on the website wants to tell us all that would be great. It’s one thing meeting a agent and another to then get passed on. I am quite concerned when coming across border agents i just get a bit nervous and reading through this site has helped.

    • Hi, Jaz. I am also looking forward to more people writing in to share their experiences! A couple people wrote in over the past few days with insight of this type, so that’s a good sign.

      Based on what people are writing here, it seems as if you will be ok. Definitely write back to share your experience!

      As to secondary inspection. It happens when the frontline border agents decide – either at random or because they see something suspicious – to have you go to a separate section where they (or perhaps their drug-sniffing dogs) go over your belongings more carefully. It can delay you anywhere from 5 minutes to half an hour.

      Sometimes agents can be a little gruff, but most of the time they have been courteous to me.

  154. Hi, i have a little problem,i was born in McAllen Texas, but im living in mexico almost 15 years,but i want return to my country n the question is, what i need???
    can i pass whit my birth certificate??
    and i have certificatin of birth is a little green peper, i need more papers???
    tanks

    • Hi, Marin. If you have your birth certificate, that should work ok for you, if you decide to base your decision based on some of the comments being left on this site. Several people have used birth certificates to cross instead of their passports (and others are just using their driver’s license).

      Where are you in Mexico? Is there a U.S. consulate nearby? You might also ask them for advice. Good luck and keep us posted. Anna

  155. I just wanted to thank you also for this website. I just made plans to go to Tijuana, purchased plane tickets and hotel (to San Diego), and had totally forgotten about the new passport rules. Not enough time to get a passport, even with the rip-off “expedited” agencies’ help. Not to mention, as jlo pointed out, the ridiculous amount they charge for a passport. Something I may use once or twice before it expires. ??? I’m going to take all of my forms of ID including Birth Certificate with me. Heck, I’ll even have my Nursing License on me. Which I had to be fingerprinted, FBI and State-checked, (and had to give my first-born for) in order to get. Just kidding. But it was an extensive/thorough process. Surely they’ll let me back in. Plus, Mexico doesn’t want me…trust me! LOL Can anyone tell me if it’s easier to walk across? Or drive? I’m wondering if I should even bother with a rental car. It may be more hassle than it’s worth. ???

    • Hi, NurseJess. Sounds like you are being very pro-active and covering all your bases! i would be surprised if you run into trouble getting back to the U.S., based on the comments that have been left on this site.

      That being said, I try and suggest to people to get their passports in order when they get a chance. It’s a good idea to have one in case you get invited to a wedding in Fiji with 30 days’ notice. But that’s just my personal opinion. :-)

      P.S. As to whether to drive or walk, I guess that sort of depends on what your goals are when you go to Tijuana and if you plan on doing a lot of travelling in the outskirts of the city or even further south. Another thing to consider is that Tijuana has a decent taxi system, the Taxi Libres, that I have used on occasion.

      How long are you planning on being in TJ? Maybe I – or other readers – can recommend some things to do.

  156. Do they do the finger and eye scan? I just want to be prepered.

  157. Just found out i gotta shoot off to mexico and i only have a Californian D.L. would that work i cant fing my birth certificate? Also i could order a copy would that work my d.l. and copied birth certificate?

    • Hi, Steve. Based on the comments people have left here on this blog, some people are using their driver’s licenses and other bringing copies of their birth certificates. For not having your passport, you may face the following scenarios:
      1) Get scolded by an annoyed Customs agent who will remind you that you should have known about this.
      2) Breeze on through the border without a single comment from the Customs agent.
      3) Get pulled into secondary inspection area where officers will poke around your car/belongings and delay you anywhere from 10 minutes to half an hour.

      So far, I haven’t from anyone being prevented from re-entering the U.S. This passport regulation appears to be difficult for Customs agents to really control, but I also try and remind readers to get their passports when they have a chance. It’s always a good idea to have one for peace of mind (that’s my personal opinion) and so that you can be free to travel the globe at a moment’s notice. Anna

  158. Hi i am a mexican but born in California i am going over mexico to see my aunt who is sick i have my Driving License and lost my b,certificate. But nothing else can i use that to cross the border. I only gotta walk i do not have time for other documents as it might be to late to see her.

    • Hi, Alexandra. First of all, sorry to hear about your aunt. That’s got to be rough.

      Some people in this forum have used just their driver’s license. I’m not recommending that people keep doing that in light of the new passport “regulation” but I’m just pointing out that it appears that it is being done. As you may have read, the “regulation” appears to still be loosely enforced. I haven’t heard back from anyone who has been prevented from re-entering the U.S.

      When you have a chance, you should try and get those other documents in order so that you don’t have to worry about this in the future! Anna

  159. Thanks for the reply , so is it possiable to use my driving license and i will be walking across.

    • Hi, Steve! I can’t recommend that you do that because it’s not really my role here and I don’t work for the U.S. government. This forum is hopefully providing people with a way to share their experiences to make their own personal decisions. If you go – please write back and share what ID you used, if any, and what your experience was. Thanks! Anna

  160. Hi!!! again jejejejeje, sorry for the question is incomplete, i went to the consulate n they told me i need more papers, i was show my birth certificate, nuesery bands, some pics of my short stay in USA and the passport of my mom(is mexic(4 or 5 years)an but my dad is american) but the consulate want papers of my dad, but i dont see my dad in almost 15 year, i dont know if is alive dead i dont know n im really want go to USA
    but the consulate dot want give me my passport
    n i wonder want ask you, can i pass the border only whit the papers i have???
    Tanks really tanks

  161. I just recently became a US citizen. I have to go to Tijuana this weekend and I do not have a passport yet. I have read comments about birthcertificates but not the certificates. Since I am a naturalized citizen not a birth citizen will they still let me come back?

    • Hi, Maria. I assume that if you have just become a US citizen you should have some documentation of that? If you are a U.S. citizen , it shouldn’t matter if you are born here or naturalized. while I can’t advise you what to do, it appears (based on comments on this blog) that U.S. Customs agents are allowing people into the US. without passports as long as they are otherwise convinced you say who you are. I hope that provides some context.

      Please write back to share your experiences, assuming that you do go to Tijuana this weekend. It will be of help to others in your situation. Thanks! Anna

  162. Passports. You really dont need a passport though that is prob the best to use.
    EXCEPT flying, you DO need one to fly. They are checking passports leaving the US, However for Land and Sea the new rules are from the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative or WHTI. They want you to have a WHTI document. There are several you can use.

    U.S. Passport

    U.S. Passport Card

    or

    WHTI-Compliant Travel Documents

    Trusted Traveler Cards (NEXUS, SENTRI, or FAST)

    State Issued Enhanced Driver’s License (when available)

    Enhanced Tribal Cards (when available)

    U.S. Military Identification with Military Travel Orders

    U.S. Merchant Mariner Document when traveling in conjunction with official maritime business

    Native American Tribal Photo Identification Card

    Form I-872 American Indian Card

    see link here for full list and info

    http://travel.state.gov/travel/cbpmc/cbpmc_2223.htmlhttp://travel.state.gov/travel/cbpmc/cbpmc_2223.html

    What I find amazing is the TEXAS (where i live)which borders mexico has not come up with an ENHANCED DL yet??? Several Northern states have already implemented the ENHANCED DL’s

    Now having said that Ive also read all over the place that people are returning to US with only DL and or Birth Certif.

    Hope this helps.

  163. When I crossed the border by foot last week, I just showed my drivers license and certificate of naturalization. I crossed without any problems.

    • Hey, Nica. Thanks for sharing your story with us! ( If I could, I would give you a special online badge for your active contributions)

  164. Is it true that US citizens that get sent to secondary innspection get there fingers scanned?

  165. Sorry i should have been a bit more detailed. I am crossing the border at tijuana by foot and heading back the same day. This is my first trip. I am a US citizen and have a copied B.C. Now reading the page i maybe good. But i also read that secondary may scan your fingers whats that about?

    • Hi, Carlos. haven’t heard anything about people getting their fingers scanned when they cross back into the U.S. through the land ports of entry. I’m sure there would have been a lot of news stories about that, if that were the case.

      Let us all know about your experience crossing back into the U.S.!

  166. I am a US citizen living in Monterrey since I was 13(now 35), everything had been fine until recently where this country is total caos and I am very frighten now living here, however I am married and have 2 non-us citizen kids, couple years ago tried to get their naturalization done but I was told that I needed to have lived in the usa till age of 17, not a problem at that time as I wasn’t planning to move to the usa, but now I do feel that anything can happen anytime. I certainly don’t want to leave my kids alone and go to the usa to work and wait 6-9 months or more to get their residence, isn’t there any other law that protects this kind of situation to get us out of here together? My husband could wait alone but not my children.

    • Hi, Lori. You have the kind of question that would be best answered by someone who specializes in naturalization/immigration issues in regards to your kids. Most of the comments on this blog area about people wondering if they can cross the land ports of entry without a passport.

      I wish I could give you an answer, but this is not my specialty.
      Maybe there is an immigration attorney who is reading this who can offer you some insight?? Have you gone to the consulate in Monterrey?

  167. Hello.. I had no problems crossing the border at all. The immigration officer did state that it would be best for me to get a passport. He also mentioned that Mexican immigration might start asking for passports..

  168. Hi Acearley,

    Im going to Algodones Mexico To see a dentist Im hearing that The US Immigration are detainining US citizens for 3 days and charging a $450 fine. Is that true?

    • Hi, Amber. I haven’t heard anything about that!!! I doubt that is true, and i wonder how that rumor got started….

    • Amber, I actually asked an immigration officer if it was true that they can detain citizens. HIs answer was no they can not. His answer was they can not deny entry to a us citizen as long as they have valid identification and proof of the fact. He also stated that he has heard people saying that they will not allow us citizens back he stated “how can we deport somone to a country that they are not citizens of”.

  169. I just learned of my grandfather’s death today. I don’t have a passport. I called the National Passport Information Center (1-877-487-2778) and spoke to an actual representative. After I explained my situation, he said that I would need to make an appointment for an “expedited passport.” The next available appointment will be in 4 days. Can’t wait. After reading this blog, I plan on going to TJ to be there for the service. I’m taking my DL, SS, and expired Army military ID. I’ll let you all know how it goes.

    • The National Passport Information Center is a call center, a for-profit company contracted by the government to handle the chaos created by WHTI. People who have used them reported having been sold expensive “expedited” services that they didn’t receive.

  170. Hi, we are trying to take a family vacation to Puerto Vallarta, but my husband does not have a passport. He is a US Citizen with California DL and Birth Cert (I have a passport). We want to fly to Puerto Vallarta but don’t have the time to get him a passport. We are thinking about walking across the border at San Ysidro, flying out of Tijuana, and then walking back across the border to San Diego when we return. Will this work?

    • Hi, Cindy. I haven’t travelled through the Tijuana airport lately (in the past I just used my Mexican FM3 visa for my id – not my CA driver’s license) so I can’t speak from personal experience. I believe it’s possible that the driver’s license will still suffice – as long as you are just flying within Mexico.Mexico is more interested that you get your tourist card.

      Have any other readers flown out of TJ airport lately with this kind of information???

      • It could work, but i wouldn’t recommend it, because when you enter the Puerto Vallarta airport, there are some immigration check points and if they are traveling without any document they could be deported, trust me, it is not a nice experience, also, when you cross the San Ysidro border you MUST get a permit to travel in México, because you can only be for 3 days without this permition from the mexican immigration institute. When you are about to cross you go the declaration lane and there you go to the INAMI office, there you’ll get all the information about the forms and how to pay for them.

      • Hi, Cindy. Good thoughts from readers here. The Real Tijuana is right about mentioning that passport “requirement” in Mexico and in noting that it’s unclear how that will actually function in practice.

    • The Mexican government announced that, beginning this month, they will be requiring passports from U.S. and Canadian tourists visiting outside of the “franja fronteriza” (the border region). What that means in practice … well, it’s too soon to tell. Your best bet would be to ask your chosen airline what documentation protocol they’re following at TIJ. Or maybe call the nearest Mexican consulate and give them a piece of your mind.

  171. Back from TJ. I took my SS, Calif ID, and birth certificate. My sister and I were traveling together. The borger inspector didn’t ask us for our passports at all. We explained to her the situation, she asked us if we brought over anything, then she flagged us through. Nothing more. No lecture, no “ticket”, no secondary inspection. What a relief!

    • Hi, Gil. Thanks so much for sharing your emergency situation with readers here – and then for explaining the outcome.

      I’m so sorry to hear about the death in the family. That is always difficult. Glad to hear you made it back without any problems.

  172. hi nd im so happy that there’s people like u to help us out my only thing is this friday im traveling to coahuila mexico nd i dnt have a passport i dnt have the money r the tyme to get it i mean from reading alot of comments here im more then positive i’ll be coming home but it is scary thinking bout it but i mean really nothing bad could happen to me ryte? i mean they have to let me come home ryte i have an i d n s.s nd birth certificate do u think i should take more papers with my name on them?

    • Hi, Diana. I have yet to hear of someone being prevented from entering the country of they are a U.S. citizen. I am suggesting readers to get their passports in order, just in case. But people seem to be getting back home ok with whatever documents they have on hand. Please write back and share your experience with us!

  173. I am a Canadian citizen and would like to cross the American border but I am not sure if I can without a passport if any one has any info pleez help I don’t want to drive all the way to the border and them find out I cannot cross

    • All citizens of foreign countries must present a valid passport and if it is required by the US Government you must have a valid visa also.

  174. Hi, Cory. I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful, but I’m more familiar with the border crossing situation along Mexico. you might want to contact the U.S. consulate/embassy in Canada…
    I’m not sure if this information is the most current:

    http://ottawa.usembassy.gov/content/content.asp?section=can_usa&subsection1=borderissues&document=border_inspection

  175. hi..im from canada..i have a friend who is a us citizen and lives in new york..he once went to canada but got delayed in getting back to US coz his passport has expired and under renewal…he was marked in US border as non compliant..now he has to cross the border again..my question is will they allow him entry to US?or can his birth certificate suffice for proof of citizenship?need ur opinion guys…thanks

    • Hmmmm. That’s interesting. I wonder when he was marked as “non compliant” and if it would show up in the system if he tried to get through now. It seems like lots of people are getting through the southern part of the border without having their names run through a system, but I’m not personally familiar with how things are handled along your part of the border.

      Readers: Any thoughts?

  176. Hi. My friends want to go to mexico over spring break, in like 3 days, and i dont have a passport. i live in texas. i have like 4 ID’s, including a military and DL, a SS card, and a birth certificate. has anyone recently crossed the border in texas without a passport that could tell me what happened to them? i’m just wondering because most of the stories seem to be about TJ.

    Thanks!

    • Hi Trevor. Let’s see if anyone has any thoughts on this from border crossing in Texas. I’m just assuming things are being dealt with similarly along the entire length of U.S. -Mexico border.

      • I was just wondering when you go throught the mexican border and come back to face us border booth do they look at your D.L and birthcertificate and just wave you through if ok or do they scan your D.L.? Please help first time crossing the border without passport and kindda nervous. Already got the hint that will be enough to pass.

  177. hi, I HAVE TO GO THIS WEEKEND TO REYNOSA AND I DONT HAVE A PASSPORT JUST MY DRIVERS LICENCE AND MY BIRTH CERTIFICATE AND OTHER DOCUMENTACION LIKE THE LEASE OF MY TOWNHOME I REALLY HAVE TO GO ITS IN EMERGENCY AND PASSPORTS ARE EXPENSIVE AND THEY TAKE FOREVER DO YOU THINK THERES GOING TO BE AN ISSUE IF I DONT HAVE MY PASSPORT?? DO YOU THINK THEY WONT LET ME PASS TO UNITED STATES?? IM SCARED I NEED TO KNOW THANKS.

    • Relax melissa, the driving licence and birth certificate will be fine getting back in. When you do come back though do get a passport and it will save you worrying for next time. You never know when the goal posts will move so just be prepared. Worst case scenario they will remind you to get a passport. Hope everything goes well for you and report back on the site with the out come and what was said by the agent. Have a safe trip.

  178. I ALSO FORGOT TO MENTION IM GOING ON THE GRAYHOUND BUS GETTING A ROUND TRIP TICKET U THINK THAT MIGHT HELP??

  179. hey acearley my names aldo and i have a tough question for u im going to coahuila mexico next week and im taking my girlfriend my daughter and my girlfriends son buyt he doesnt have a passport just us 3 so whats gonna happen on te way back ? i mean at the border? can his birth certificate help? hes 5 years old and we dont have any contact with the biological father he knows me as his daddy what can i do? should i just go and come back with his birth-c? please help me thank you.

    • Hi, Aldo. No need to worry. Children aren’t required to have the passport. His birth certificate should suffice.

      The U.S. government provides these parameters for people UNDER the age of 16.

      Upon re-entry….”Children under the age of 16 will be able to present the original or copy of their birth certificate, or other proof of citizenship such as a naturalization certificate, or citizenship card. ”

      Go here for more information: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2009/01/115270.htm

  180. thank you jaz!!! ill be leaving tonight!!! iwill let yall knwo how it went thanks i feel much better know,,

  181. I was just wondering when you go throught the mexican border and come back to face us border booth do they look at your D.L and birthcertificate and just wave you through if ok or do they scan your D.L.? Please help first time crossing the border without passport and kindda nervous. Already got the hint that will be enough to pass.

    • Hi, Marlon. I’m not up to speed with this proces since I used a special SENTRI pre-approved card to get across the border. So, I hope someone can answer your question who reads this post!

    • Marlon, were you able to find out if they scan the Driver’s License or do they just simply look at it along with the BirthCertificate and hand it back?

      I want to visit my grandmother in Tijuana who is sick but I’m not supposed to because I’m on parol.
      I wana take that chance but I’m worried they will scan my driver’s license when crossing back and notice, hope you can please let me know.

      • Yes they scan your DL and the system looks you up for warrants. It will also tell them things like how often and where you cross. I am unsure if parole records would be in the system.

  182. Hi acearley,

    my name is Jorge (U.S. Citizen)…. i have a family emergency. My grandma just passed away and i need to go to Guadalajara Mex. I am flying from Tijuana Airport and will be in Guada. for 5days. When i fly back to Tijuana will i have any issues entering back into the U.S. with my Cali D.L. and Birth Certificate?

    I am leaving Tuesday March 16,2010

  183. Hey everyone,

    Im 20 years old, and I go to Tijuana every once in a while. I have NEVER been denied entry back into the US, and all I bring with me is my CA drivers license. You will be very likely be questioned on your whereabouts and what not, but I was never even sent to secondary. Hope this relieves many of you.

  184. I went this weekend again to TJ.. Just my luck I get a not to nice officer when crossing. He told me that if I cross over again without a passport that I will get fined $500.00. I asked him why this information was not given to me the past two times that I crossed and when I called the customs and border patrol center. He told me that the people at the border patrol center do not know what they are doing. I laughed. Of course, I will be calling the Border Patrol center to find out if they can actually fine me for not having a passport. I hate it when I get rude officer.. and the sad part is that most of the officers that are very rude are Latinos as a matter a fact this officer had such a heavy accent.. sad just sad…

    • Hi, Maria. This is an interesting development. I wonder if the border agents are deciding to talk tougher now.

      Can you explain how he knew you had crossed without your passport in previous visits?

      Let us know anything else you glean from calling the Border Patrol Center! Thanks for your report. Anna

      • Couple of times I crossed the immigration officers would take my citizenship paperwork and type something in the computer. Funny thing is I called the border patrol office and the person who answered said “well I don’t know how they work at the border we are in Washington” My answer was “your kidding right”

  185. My GF and I are planning a trip to Northern Baja over spring break, I have a valid passport, while hers is expired.
    Thanks so much for the information on this website, its helped very much.
    With her expired passport, CA i.d. and birth certificate, I see no problems crossing the border back.
    I’ll let you know if a problem arises.
    -Matt

    • Hi, Matt. Please do write and let readers know how your border crossing went. Thank you for joining the conversation! Anna

  186. Hello,

    I saw something about needing a passport to even get into Mexico and wanted to see if there is any truth to that. I am not worried about getting back into the US but it would be a shame to drive a couple hours then have to go home. Thanks

    Also I will be crossing the border in AZ

    • Hi, Andrea. where will you be going in Mexico?

      Baja california says you don’t need one unless you go past Ensenada, and Mexico’s Immigration Agency says that in other places you are ok to travel along the border zone, which, according to the link below, means you could travel without a passport 12 1/2 miles south of the border. Read more in the story, but also realize that that in reality this may not be very clear-cut.

      Even if they aren’t enforcing it that much in the border areas, it might be a good idea to have one to avoid giving any Mexican authorities an excuse to try and extract a bribe from you.

      http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/feb/28/mexicos-passport-rule-in-effect-tomorrow/

  187. hi my name is ciara & me & my husband r going to mexico in july & he only has a driver linces & his ss number will they let him pass???

    • Hi, Ciara. Thanks for writing in. I can suggest that you scroll the comments on this blog post and get a sense of how people are getting across the border and with/without what documents.

      I can’t really tell you if they will let him pass because I don’t work for the U.S. government, so I have no official “say” in the matter. All I can say is that it seems that most people posting comments appear to be getting back home ok without their passports.

  188. Can anyone tell me please, when the look at your licence do they scan it or just look at it and hand it back to you, I have a birth certificate also. Its my first trip over the border back and fourth and very nervous.

  189. Can anyone tell me please, when the look at your licence do they scan it or just look at it and hand it back to you, I have a birth certificate also. Its my first trip over the border back and fourth and very nervous. Please let me know thank you

    • From what I recall from using the “regular” crossing lanes, sometimes they look at it very carefully and other times they just glance at the ID. As to scanning it, I’m not sure about that..

      When do you leave on your trip?

      • I leave next week and i am nervous i have never left the country and border agents scare me as some of my friends did not have a good thing to say about them.

    • Marlon, were you able to find out if they scan the Driver’s License or do they just simply look at it along with the BirthCertificate and hand it back?

      I want to visit my grandmother in Tijuana who is sick but I’m not supposed to because I’m on parol.
      I wana take that chance but I’m worried they will scan my driver’s license when crossing back and notice, hope you can please let me know.

  190. Hi! I have a son who’s 1f months old. Based on what I’ve read here as long as I have his birth certificate I should be able to take him freely from Canada to the US, is this correct?
    His father and I are in a huge dispute at the moment and he won’t sign for his Passport, we’ve had non-refundable plane tickets from Buffalo to Halifax, NS for a year and I was under the impression that he needed a passport. I was really worried that I wouldn’t be able to go and would be out the $700.00 for the ticket :s if possible would you be able to send me an email with some sort of Link for where you find all of your information?

    I’ve also heard that sometimes they require 2 pieces of government issued I’d for children, due to his age his picture is not on his health card, would they accept it still along with his birth certificate?
    Thanks :) Alysha

  191. Hi everybody…
    I was wondering if somebody has been stopped for secondary inspection and what were the questions they were asked there ? Were they searched or anything ? Also..does anybody know what happens to OTM (other than mexicans) when they get stopped at the border check point ?
    Thank you all in advance !!

    • Hi, Elysian. I have been pulled over to secondary inspection a number of times . They asked me for my driver’s license, car registration and car insurance card. They poked around the engine area and the trunk, looking for places where people might hide contraband. It can take anywhere from 15 minutes to almost an hour, depending on how busy thing are.

      As to OTM’s, the U.S. authorities will want to make sure they have some sort of proof that that they can enter the country legally.

  192. Thank you Ana for your quick response here….
    My question about the OTM (other than mexican) persons referred more to what happens to them when they get stopped and denied entry based on their ineligibility to enter the US. Do they get arrested if they lie about it and where do they get deported ? For example : someone might have a US driver’s license but not be a citizen or in legal status anymore and trying to get back in. from Mexico…Wonder how they address that ?!?
    Thanks anyways….

  193. I am leaving for Mexico tomorrow and I do not have a passport. All I have is my ID and College ID hopefully they will let me back into the states, I am also bringing my dental records and court papers. I will let you know if I make it home.

  194. hello, i am just wondering if i could still go to vegas in May when my permanent resident card will expire in june. i am a permanent resident in canada. as far as i understand my I.D. should be atleast 6 months valid prior to the expiration before i could cross the boarder. I renewed my PR card already and will probably get it by june or july. i’m just wondering if i could present just my passport, my “almost expired” card and the receipt of payment i made for renewing my PR card or should I still need to wait until i get my new PR card? heeeeeelp!

    • Hi, nikki! Wow, this is a little far from my part of the border and area of expertise. I would think that under logical circumstances as long as you are back in Canada before the expiration date on you card, then you should be fine. But, then again, I’m not familiar with Canadian immigration laws…

  195. i am underage and im from hermosillo mexico and i wanted to know if i could cross to the usa with my cousin that is above age in mexico but not usa but if my mom wroght a permision note can i cross

    • Hi, Nikol. This is a good question, but oft the top of my head I don’t have an answer. How old are you?

  196. Just returned from Mexico, there were 15 of us without passports. All we had were I.D.s and birthcerficates and we had no problems crossing the border. We were asked a few questions and that was it.

  197. Also, some of the group did not have birthcertificates, and the other documents I brought along with my address was never looked at.

  198. so i live in mexicali and my boyfriend comes and visits me, but he ALWAYS lives his car in american land, and I would like to know what EXACTLY he needs so he can come with his car and have no problem crossing over. He has a passport and an CA I.D. but NO DRIVERS LISCENCE, do you think there would be problem if he has no liscenece???

  199. I AM A PEACE OFFICER FOR THE DEPT OF CORRECTION. COULD I USE MY PEACE OFFICER I.D. TO RE-ENTER THE USA?

  200. We went to baja for spring break and all of us had passports except for one person. He only had his ID and birth certificate. The customs agent just told him to get one for next time and then let us pass

  201. i suppost to be in mexico may 6 2010… my two kids 5yr, 2yr dont hav passports yet! can they go to mexico without a passport?

  202. hi acearley, i need help!!!! i am not sleepin due to the situation i am in.. I have a trip for my daughter and myself for May 07, 2010 to Mexico city. i applied for our passaport. i received mine. the next day i received a letter stating that my daughter needs more proof that the birth certificate is insuffient due to the fact i got it a year later after her birth… what are my other options? do i really need a passaport for my daughter even if she is 2?

  203. Hi – This is such an informative forum! Thank you for keeping it up! I have a question: my husband does not have his passport and will not be able to get one in time for our trip to Mazatlan. We are planning to drive all the way from San Francisco. I and our kids have the passports and the car is in my name, so it won’t be a problem getting a permit and stuff. After reading all of the posts here, I am sure he will be able to get INTO the US, but what about getting into Mexico? We are planning to cross in Nogalez, AZ. Do you think it will be possible for him to cross the border into Mexico on foot with just his DL and birth certificate? Can the Mexican officials refuse him entry? Will we get in trouble later down the road when we drive pass the border zone? I am so worried!!! Thank you in advance for any advice!

  204. Hi,
    I have a cousin that is in mexico but doesnt have a passport yet!! and hes planing to come back in the summer, what does he need to cross back to the USA??

    • HI, connie. What nationality is your cousin? If he’s U.S. then there has been a lot of discussion on this comment thread regarding what people are using to cross back in to the U.S. Seems as if some are using driver’s licenses & copies of birth certificates when they don’t have their passports.

  205. Do I need a passport to go into Mexico by land?
    Or is it just that ”red light, green light” thing.

  206. Hi everyone. Im going to Algodones Mexico this Friday 05-07-010. My passport is still being processed. i was hoping to get it time. so im going with my i.d., birth certificate, passport reciet, and a print out from the travel.state.gov page that gives you your passport finding number and says its being processed. I will let you guys know how it all went when i get back 05-12-010 cuz i know i’ll be back :).

  207. how old do you need to be to pass the border to the U.S with a passport

  208. oh ok thanx
    he’s a U.S citizen
    i was wondering if he already there for 1 month and he only has a State I.D and his brith certificate. will that be ok? for him to cross the bored on a bus?

    • HI, Connie.
      I can’t give you any authoritative advice since I don’t work for U.S. govt. But , if he’s a U.S. citizen he should be able to get back to the U.S. ok, especially if he brings his birth certificate. He might want to bring proof that he’s applying for a passport, if that makes him feel better. He might want to check in with the nearest embassy/consulate.

  209. Hi i dont have a passport and i am trying to go to mexico to pick up my sister that stayed their. i heard that if you do not have a passport they will give u a fine. is this true?

    • HI, Marie. Read Melissa’s post – which is right after yours. She shared her recent experience without a passport. Other people have written into this blog that the are crossing the border using other documents (i.e. driver’s license or birth certificate copy).

  210. So it turns out that all i had to cross back with was my i.d, and the paper i printed out from the web page, along with my pasport reciet, and my shot record. i also took my tax forms just in case. you see i didn’t get my pasport in time, and they keep your birth certificate and mail it along with your pasport. so my uncle crossed the car early in the morning so we could just walk across later with out having to wait about 2 hours to cross. when it was my turn, i went up to the man speaking english ( i thought it was a good move ) telling him i didn’t have my pasport and gave him my i.d. He asked why i didn’t have it, and i responded that i didnt get it in time but i have a paper saying that it’s in process. so he said “oh, so you applied for one.” i said yes. then when he saw the paper he said, ” you didn’t have to go through all this, do you have your reciet?” i said yes and handed it to him. then he asked questions, where was i born, where did i work, where was i going, and why i was there. less than 3 minutes or about, he handed me back my i.d. and my reciet and said ok. :) yay! now here is where things get a lil intresting. my uncle was before me. he crossed earlier to park the car across. so the second time he crossed, when we were all leaving, the same guy that i got, gave him a hard time. My uncle had crossed a bottle earlier, and was now carrying my mom’s. the officer said “didn’t you cross earlier?” my uncle said yes, to drop off the car. The officer said “why dod you have another bottle?” my unlce said he was holding it for my mom. that there is a law; for i think a litter ( or certain amount) per person. and there was three of us. the officer seemed bothered, but my unlce had nothing to hide. so we left. as soon as we pulled out to head on to the road, on the other side, my uncle is mad and says ” see this F!@#$% behind us?” ( a cop), he’s gonna pull us over!” sure enough. My mom wasnt wearing her seat belt, but there was no way he could have seen that because it’s a van and the seats are hight. so he says that my uncle’s tags are faded on the month it expires! then gets my unlce’s papers. when he comes back my uncle asked him ” did you see that she didn’t have her belt when you were behing me?” he said no. that he saw it when he came to the car. my uncle told the officer to his face that he was profiling. because faded tags are not a goog reason to pull him over, we weren’t not even a mile away from the border! my mom was getting settled. the cop didn’t admit to it of course, but my unlce was mad. the cop just wanted a reason to pull us over cuz we’re Mexican. i guess you had to be there to really understand, but just be carefull. if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear, but they are looking for anything. specially if you’re crossing from Arizona, or next to it. we crossed right in between AZ and CA. Stay strong, and be calm. This is your country too!

  211. I AM 20.. BORN IN AMERICA..
    I CAME DOWN TO MEXICO CITY A WEEK AGO WITH MY BOYFRIEND. I DONT HAVE A PASSPORT, JUST MY ID.. I WANT TO GO BACK TO THE USA ASAP!!!
    WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF I TRY TO CROSS THE BORDER WITHOUT A PASSPORT BY LAND OR AIRPLANE??? PEOPLE ARE TELLING ME THEY WILL CHARGE ME A BIG FINE IF I TRAVEL BY PLANE.. IS THAT TRUE? AND ALSO BY LAND?? I DONT HAVE THE MONEY FOR IT AND I REALLY WANT TO GO HOME… SOMEONE PLEASE REPLY ASAP! I REALLY NEED TO KNOW..

    • Hi, Nicole. Thanks for writing in. I think that you might get a good idea of what’s going on at the land port of entries if you take a look at the comments in this blog post where you posted your question, as well as here: http://acrosstheborder.wordpress.com/2009/05/29/u-s-tourists-crossing-the-u-s-mexico-border-by-land-need-travel-documents-june-1/

      Basically, in these land crossings, it looks like people are still crossing the border without a passport, though they are using other documents (ie. drivers license/copy of birth certificate). U.S. authorities appear to still be taking an education approach to all this. You might get questioned more carefully and waste some time with your car being inspected, but I have yet to hear form a U.S. citizen being prevented form returning home.

      As to the plane question, honestly i haven’t flown to and from U.S. and mexico lately. I typically do the land crossing and then fly out of Tijuana to places within Mexico. Here is what the U.S. state department says about entry-exit documents : http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_970.html

      Perhaps someone reading this who flies back and forth more frequently might have an answer???

  212. hi everyone im going on a fishing trip to mexico for a couple of days but i dont have a passport what i do have is my ca dl and birth cetificate and i am am american citizen will i be let back in the us?

    • Hi, Jose. Did you leave for your trip yet? If you have read the comments left on several of this blog’s posts, you will find that a number of people are still using their driver’s license and/or birth certificate to get across the land ports of entry. I have yet to hear back from someone who hasn’t been allowed back into the country that way. You may expect to get lectured, though, for not having a passport.

  213. Hello, love this blog… my brother used to live in US (he’s american citizen ) but never got a passport, he went back to live in mexico for 2 years so now he wants to come back.. but the process in mexico city to get a passport its very slow..DO u think if he tries he will make it without passport only birth certificate, drivers liccense.. and maybe a passport receipt… thanks

    • Hi, Karla. If your brother is a U.S. citizen, then it’s unlikely he will be denied entry into the country. People are still crossing the border with their driver’s licenses along the land crossing points, though I don’t encourage that myself. The passport “regulation” is a difficult thing to enact there because so many people are going back and forth.

  214. hi,my husband had already applied for the passport and his passport was rejected.now he want to apply again.can he apply the passport based on my passport adress proof.if so,what r the documents that he need to submit

  215. Hi I am a US citizen but I don’t have a passport, only CA Driver’s License and Birth Certificate…

    My grandma is very sick in Tijuana and I feel the need to go see her =( but I am under parol and I am not suposed to…

    Do Officers Scan your CA Driver’s License when crossing back into the US or just look at it along with your BC??? That’s my only worry is they scan it…

    Can anyone inform me on this, please help, it would mean a lot to me to take that chance.

    • I unfortunately can’t advise you, Max, because I am not with the U.S. government and I’m not familiar with the details.It sounds as if there would be a risk involved in this if they looked up your records and found that you weren’t supposed to be out of the country. They do run licenses through their system, and you never know when.

  216. I’m scared if they do scan California Driver’s License that my info would show up and that would be a problem for me, that’s what I’m worried about.

  217. i applied for a passport 4 weeks ago and they took my birth certificate and said i would receive it back in the mail with my passport but that my receipt should be fine with my id. After looking it up however i see you need a birth certificate too. but its not a possibility for me to get another one in time. would a passport receipt, id, and school id be okay without a birth certificate

    • Hi, Whitney. Not sure what your exact situation is (are you a minor?). All I know is that some people on this forum have crossed the border ok with their passport receipts. Good luck and write back on your experience…

  218. I know a photo does show up with the new enhanced driver’s licenses on the database when crossing the border, but what about the normal ones? I have a California Driver’s License which is NOT an enhanced driver’s license, what happens when they scan it, does a photo still show up or just info?

  219. im going to rocky point in 1 week and im really worried i wont be able to get through all i have is my I.D. and birth certificate and im going with a friend!!!!!!! Will they let me through?????

    • Hi, Bubblez happi! The best info. I can give you is on this forum with the comments people have left from their own experiences crossing the border without their passports. I haven’t heard from any tourists prevented from returning to the U.S. Let me know how it goes…write back when you return. 

    • Hi, Bubblez happi! The best info. I can give you is on this forum with the comments people have left from their own experiences crossing the border without their passports. I haven’t heard from any tourists prevented from returning to the U.S. Let me know how it goes…write back when you return.

    • Did you know that you are required by the Mexican government to have a valid passport when you are visiting for more than 3 days and or outside of the free zone? Being Rocky Point outside of the free zone, the free zone is considered the cities near the border like Tijuana, Tecate, Ensenada, actually the whole Baja California peninsula is a free zone, but Rocky Point is in Sonora and is after the customs check point so if they want to give you a hard time they will give you if you don’t have proper documents being a foreign traveler in México.

  220. Hi!! I am really glad tht you’ve invested your time answering concerns about traveling to mexico. we will be traveling to chihuahua in one or two weeks, my grandmother will be getting heart surgery. My husband doesn’t have a passaport. I read the article tht u provided about mexican requirements for us citizens..we will only be there for two days..i want to know if we can go as far as chihuahua without being retained…..help us please!!!

    • Hi, Ebseidy, I’m not sure how the Mexicans are enforcing that. Sometimes these kind of things are not put into practice in reality. I wish I had answer for you, but I was just checking on the Internet and couldn’t find one. If that’s the case, then you could fairly make the argument that this was unclear information. I would highly doubt they would force your husband to return to the U.S. Maybe someone reading this will have some insight…

      • What is the port of entry in México? and how far from the border are you going?
        Let’s say you are crossing through San Ysidro in Tijuana, when you cross the border you MUST go to the immigration officers and ask for a tourist form, you will have to pay around $20 for it, the thing is that for this you would have to have your passport, if you are not going more than 20 km south from the border you are still in free zone but if you are going to travel around the state of chihuahua you are required to have your passport with you.

  221. hi im jesus im fifteen and i wanted to go with my dad to piedras negras coahuila….. i was wondering if i was guna have a problem coming back because all i have is my us birth certificate…… would they tell me anything…. and my dad has his passport but i dont…. would they ask me for a passport…..

    • Hi, Jesus. This was a question that was brought up by someone else on this comment board. Here is part of the response I left for that case, which would also apply to you:

      According to requirements by the U.S. government on this web site – http://travel.state.gov/travel/cbpmc/cbpmc_2223.html – U.S. citizen children UNDER THE AGE OF 16, can continue crossing the land port using a birth certificate (or naturalization document).

      Do double check to make sure that information remains current…Have a great trip!

  222. You definitely need a passport if you fly from mexico to the US! Otherwise they won’t let you on the plane.

    I crossed the border in tijuana last weekend (6/6/10) with just my CA driver’s license without any hassle. It probably just depends on your border agent luck.

  223. if i walk across the border of mexico can i catch a cab to the airport and buy a ticket and fly to cancun for a week and then fly back to the border from cancun? without a passport? i have a birth cert. and DL and ss card. i suppose i just need to know if i can travel throughout mexico without a passport. please please help

    • This is a good question, and since I haven’t done it in a while – i’m not sure how to answer it accurately because I don’t want to give you bad information. However, if you are traveling anywhere outside of the border zone in mexico you are required to have a tourist card. this is from u.s. dept. of state: ” U.S. citizens do not require a visa or a tourist card for tourist stays of 72 hours or less within “the border zone,” defined as an area between 20 to 30 kilometers of the border with the U.S., depending on the location. U.S. citizens traveling as tourists beyond the border zone or entering Mexico by air must pay a fee to obtain a tourist card, also known as an FM-T, available from Mexican consulates, Mexican border crossing points, Mexican tourism offices, airports within the border zone and most airlines serving Mexico. The fee for the tourist card is generally included in the price of a plane ticket for travelers arriving by air. Please note that travelers not in possession of their FM-T card at the point of exit from Mexico may face a fine from Mexican Immigration (INM).”

      Whether or not airlines accept a driver’s license vs. a passport or other documents to issue you the tourist card and board the plane is unclear to me for this current travel period.

  224. Will a temporary enhanced driver’s license along with birth certificate work to cross the border to Canada and back into the US?

    • Hi, Patty. I’m not familiar with the situation in Canada, but maybe some other people are who read this blog?

  225. What do i need if someone in my family has crossed several years ago and is currently living in mexico without identification and may want to come back. I have a old passport and a birth certificate. they are not mentally well so any delays on either side of the border would cause problems. I having the missing persons report filed with the city but i cancelled it after we finally got in contact with them. any advice would be great!

    • HI, Josh.If you have their birth certificate and the old passport, that is probably going to be very helpful to border authorities. As you may have noted on this blog message chain, a number of people continue to cross with with limited identification. It appears that not all U.S. citizens are bringing their passports to cross back into the U.S. ports of entry.

  226. Traveling to Mexico,next week. My question is if I travel to Guanajuato,Mex.When I apply for the get the tourist permit do I require a passport to get one?

  227. Hi. I am wanting to go to Canada and visit with friends having rough times. I don’t have a passport and I was wondering if there was anyone else who has done this recently, to tell me how officials are handling people with passports at the Bellingham, WA crossing in Canada. Is it at all conceivable I will be allowed entry with a drivers license and US birth certificate, or am I dreaming? Being detained is no problem, I have no bad record or anything, I just want to know how high the probability is I’m going to be refused.

  228. Sorry, without passports, not with. Anyone who has any answers would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    • Hi, Alex. I hope someone comes across your question and can answer you. I believe we have had some comments on the passport-related blog posts regarding this questions, so maybe you might want to scroll the answers to see what people have already said…good luck! Anna

  229. Ok, so I thought I would update this, after a week of digging on the internet and getting everything from absolutely not it cannot be done, to ya sure you can.. maybe. I took a drive up to Houlten, ME today just to ask them first hand. It turns out neither side can refuse a United States citizen without a passport, as long as you have a Birth Certificate and photo ID you are all good. However Canada can still refuse you for other reasons of course. Hope this helps some other poor soul tearing their hair out in confusion and worry!

    Alex~

    • Thanks for that extra leg-work Alex!! I’m sure the readers of this blog who have the Canada questions will really appreciate this! Thanks, AGAIN! Anna

  230. So my family and I are going to Ensenada in September. I wanted to take my best friend but she doesnt have a passport. I know a lot of you said you were able to come back with just a birth certificate and I.D. Are you 100% positive thats all she will need? Help please!!

    • Hi, Michelle. There are no guarantees in life…

      That said, I have yet to hear from any regular travelers prevented from returning to the United States from Mexico.
      :-)

  231. Hi(: i have two friends who want to go with me to TJ this weekend but their passports are expired. Is it ok if they take their college school ID and birth certificate, one is 18 years old and the other one is 19. Will they be held back if their passports are expired?

    • HI, Yoselin. Sorry I didn’t get your message until now. I assume you all went to TJ . How did it go? Can you share your experience to let other travelers know how it went? Thanks!

  232. I am planning on going this weekend to Agua Prieta. I do not have a passport nor do my children. Reading these comments has made me a little more comfortable on crossing without a passport. As for my childrem (ages 6 & 8). Will I need to get photo ID for them as well? They are too young to have school ID’s

    • Hi! Sorry I missed your message until now and I hope you had a great trip to Agua Prieta. I’m putting this up for future reference:

      The U.S. government provides these parameters for people UNDER the age of 16.

      Upon re-entry….”Children under the age of 16 will be able to present the original or copy of their birth certificate, or other proof of citizenship such as a naturalization certificate, or citizenship card. ”

      Go here for more information: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2009/01/115270.htm

  233. hello how are you ? i have a question please … im illegal here and i have no green card no social number i have just my passport so where can i get driver lisence without green card and no social only with passport where please and thank you so much .. ?

    • Hi, Moisses. Sorry I don’t have any insight to answer to your question. But maybe some of our readers might have something to say about this?

  234. i have just passport of my country and its suspended so how can i do for get a driver lisence .. ? plz some one help me

  235. hi,my baby was born in july 8 2010 and i want to know if he could cross the border with his birth certificate or he wil not be able to cross back or he needs another paper to prof that hes the one name in the certificate?

    • Hi, Nallely. I’m reprinting this answer from a previous message exchange with someone else. Hope it is of help:

      The U.S. government provides these parameters for people UNDER the age of 16.

      Upon re-entry….”Children under the age of 16 will be able to present the original or copy of their birth certificate, or other proof of citizenship such as a naturalization certificate, or citizenship card. ”

      Go here for more information: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2009/01/115270.htm

  236. I need to go to T.J with my 11month baby and he dosnt have a passport or i.d only birthcertificate..can he enter back to U.S with just birthcertificate?

    • Hi, Lourdes. Have a good trip to TJ. Several readers recently have had your same question. Here is a reprint of the answer:

      The U.S. government provides these parameters for people UNDER the age of 16.

      Upon re-entry….”Children under the age of 16 will be able to present the original or copy of their birth certificate, or other proof of citizenship such as a naturalization certificate, or citizenship card. ”

      Go here for more information: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2009/01/115270.htm

  237. I only have my drivers lience. And I haven’t recived my passport . Will I have any problems coming back to california. I have no prove Im a U.S. citizen

    • Hi, Angie. Hope you had a chance to read some of the comments on this forum! I can’t really advise you , since I’m not working for the government. But you will find a number of comments from people who are crossing without their passports… I have yet to hear from anyone prevented from returning to the U.S. if they are a U.S. citizen.

      P.S. I HIGHLY encourage people like you to write back and share your experiences so that your information can help others who have the same question. Thanks!

  238. hello , my name is nayeli i am 17 years old and i plan on going back to dallas next week on bus well, the poiint is n my question is do i need any permission for my little cousin we would be travelin by ourselves or do we have to travel with an adult?

    • Hi, Nayeli. Are you coming from Mexico to the U.S. or vice versa, and how old is your cousin and what is your nationality?

  239. hi i have a friend in mexico right now her nd her family bearly went 2 visit but shehas no passport but she does have id nd birth certificate will they let her bk 2 the united states or wut will happen she supposed 2 come back in 2 weeks but with the immigration thing going on idk what will happen do you have any answers 4 me or help me out .
    PLEASE and THANKYOU

    • Hi, Candy. So I’m assuming your friend is a U.S. citizen and she wants to come back in two weeks. Did I get that right?

      It sounds as if id and birth certificate seem to be working for people who don’t have their passports. At least, that’s what you will read from messages left by people on this forum. I have yet to hear from a U.S. citizen being kept from returning to the U.S. at the border.

      Write back and let others know how it goes…

  240. we are curretly going camping this weekend and i had a question if we can take our dirt bikes and quads even if 3 out of 4 have expired tags of june 2010 only one is up to date and the dmv said they were getting mailed on july 14 can we still cross them back over? or do they have to be to date?

    • Hi, Henry. I hope you are having a fun time going camping this weekend! Sorry, I just got your message today (Saturday).

      All I can say is that during my many years crossing the border in my car, I’ve seen a number of cars make it across the border just fine with expired registration tags. I don’t get the feeling that it’s something that is actively checked unless for whatever reason the cars get pulled into secondary and they have to show their registration and car insurance. I can’t tell you for sure what might happen in your case, but I would doubt it would create any problems.

      Write back, if you get the chance, and share how that went. I’m sure other travelers my run across the same question and your contributions would help them. Anna

  241. hello okay i have a ? im a perminate resident of the us im jus waitin to get my citizenship but i came to mex n got into a fight with my mom n she left me here n took all my papers n everythin so im left here with no papers n no id of any kind but i need to get bak home i have my other family to take care off can someone please help me

    • HI, Daniel. Uh- Oh. this is a question that is way beyond my knowledge base.

      Sounds like it might be a good idea to make peace with your mom. Whatever it takes. Promise to name your next child after her. To clean up after her dog for the rest of your life. To buy her groceries for a year. Or just grovel and apologize.

      I am trying to find something online about this, but haven’t had any luck. So far it looks like it could be a problem and your entry to the U.S.could be delayed.

      Perhaps you have found some additional information since you posted this note? If so, PLEASE write back and let us know how things are going for you and what you end up doing.

      Good luck, Anna

  242. Hi I was reading some of the comments and din’t find a recent update to my concer. I do not have a passport. I would like to plan a trip of a week of more to Cancun by flying out of TJ to Cancun via Mexicana. Has anyone done this recently? As far i know the latest from Mexicana airleine is I do not need a passport flying within Mexico. If anyone has any insight it would be appreciated. I just want to make sure I am not going to have any issues with a tourist card or being denied entry onto the flight. i habe booked anything yet. I am still just planning right now.

    • Hi, Michael. Since I haven’t travelled out of TJ aiport lately (and in the past I used my FM3 Mexico visa) I have sent out your question to my Facebook contacts & friends, which includes people who know Mexico and may have travelled recently. So far, this is what I have from Hansen Hunt, who blogs over at

      http://www.unomos.com/

      From Hansen: “To be honest, travelling via airport is getting really strict down in TJ. It could be possible but with their high security checks a passport might help you skip any unnecessary interrogation. Overall my answer is yes I think you can, but with higher risk than crossing the border and you take a chance of losing your flight if it doesn’t work… TJ airport had the highest security I have ever seen in an airport when I went through it at the end of June. Maybe it was a random thing because I remember in March having no problems getting aboard. But technically a passport is not needed to travel on domestic flights.”

      UPDATE: Have another message from a contact of mine who warns you about the documentation for the tourist visa. As far as he knows you would need to have either a passport or birth certificate (from what I’m finding online, possibly certified copy) to get your tourist visa. A third contact notes that what’s a “requirement” in some of these situations may not always reflect the reality of what happens. UNFORTUNATELY, I have yet to find someone who has a recent case story. Sorry…

      I personally would highly recommend you get a passport for peace of mind, but if the airline has something in writing that says you just need a driver’s license to get your tourist visa through them…then you can always refer back to that. Still checking around and will let you know if I hear anything else…Anna

      ADDITIONAL UPDATE from someone who has travelled from Tijuana recently to the interior of Mexico, Mike Harris…” I believe there are no statutes in Mexico requiring US citz to carry a passport. However since Mex knows we need a PP to return, traveling w/o PP could alert officials that something’s amiss. I’ve driven around the interior w/PP at home base, but was never stopped. Never asked for PP getting on a plane. BUT always asked for “documents” upon flying into TIJ. Short answer, probably can travel w/o PP, but not advisable.”

      http://www.BorderTours.net/

      (Note from Anna: only comment I have about Mike’s info. is that people are still crossing back into the U.S. OK without their passports per information left on this blog. )

  243. i am trying to go to mexico asap to live with my husband….i dont want to waste my time and money on a passport if i dont need it. When i was 17 i went and they werent going to let me into mexico because i didnt have a passport but i just got on the bus and they didnt say anything (spring break 2010) can i do that again now that im 18???

    • HI, Stephanie. Where are you heading to in Mexico? It would be a good idea to get your passport if you are planning on staying there because you could run into trouble in Mexico without it. Spring Break is short – living with your husband implies a longer stay.

  244. I am planning a trip to Rosarito…I have two daughters one is 7 and the other is 4 …we are planning a car trip…do they need a passport

    • Hi, MaryCruz. This is from the U.S. State Dept’s web site, which indicated that passport isn’t necessary for kids of a certain age.

      **Children under the age of 16 will be able to present the original or copy of their birth certificate, or other proof of citizenship such as a naturalization certificate, or citizenship card.
      More info here: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2009/01/115270.htm

  245. Sounds like you really know nothing about this subject…Opinion sprinkled with disclaimers that you know nothing. What a waste of 20 minutes when I could have read the first post with the “warning photo” and been on my way. Barf

  246. I have friends who have recently crossed back into the US w/o a passport. Though returning to the US officially requires a PP, the logistics of US officials enforcing the requirement at the world’s busiest land port (San Ysidro) makes enforcement near impossible. US officials can make it uncomfortable for the US citizen who does not have a PP while they presumably (or while they pretend to) research the citizenship of the traveler, which could take hours depending on the circumstances.
    As Anna stated, I have traveled quite a bit lately in Mexico. I have never been specifically asked for my PP by Mexican officials; they ask for documents, but I always present my PP. The important thing to a US traveler in Mexico is to have current Mex tourist or immigrant papers. In the past few years I have driven and flown about a dozen times as far as Chiapas, and not once did anyone ask for a PP, even when I was caught speeding. BUT upon return to Tijuana airport, I am always asked for documents, and my tourist visa is always checked for validity.
    So the short answer is: it’s more convenient to have a US passport while traveling in and returning from Mexico. Mexico appears safe to me, and I still have fun down there, once I’m away from the border area.

    • Great information, Mike! Thanks for sharing your “on the ground” experiences. The border is definitely a different world, but it’s as much a part of my life experiences as it is yours – and I’m grateful for that. :-) Anna

  247. Im a canadian citizen with a british passport which doesnt run out for four years. Twice we have travelled to the usa as we have family in Georgia. They have given us a hard time saying we should have a canadian passport, we do have a picture on our citizen card. We are going again in sept to visit my american cousin will I have problems? Before the change we had no problems. Thank you.

    • HI, Ann! I’m thinking of starting a section in the blog for Canadians because I’ve gotten a few of these questions over the past few months. I”m not really up to speed with what’s happening with Canadians traveling within the U.S. . Maybe someone might be able to answer your question by me posting it. If you get any information, please write back and share what you learned. Anna

  248. UPDATE FYI flying inside MX
    Just to see what would happen I tried to get on an aeromexico flight from TJ to GDL with my DL They requested to see my passport and fmm. I asked if I had to and was told that americanos must present a passport and fmm even on internal mx flights. They (all airlines) were ordered by la migra to check these things. She said they (along with me) could be fined if someone was caught without these papers.

  249. Hi, Paul. Thanks so much for the information from your first-hand experience! Whether or not that “fine” is an actual fine or an excuse for bribery is a little unclear to me. Hmm. Did you do this test by going directly to the Tijuana airport?

  250. OH sorry The “fine” i was not clear about. She was telling me that if they got caught allowing that by mexican officials the airline could be fined by the government. She was not saying anything about me being fined.

    Yes I went directly to TJ airport. I just wanted to see what would happen. I have ample ID I just have read so much about it I wanted to see what would happen.

    That was aeromexico.

    Now, I am going again this tuesday but on Interjet not Aeromexico I get the same treatment from Interjet.

    And by the way I am flying into San Diego this time. Can anybody tell me the best way to get to san yasidro from the san diego airport? Taxi? or Shuttle? I have always driven down from Camp Pendleton.

    PS
    I travel to GDL or really zapopan to see my wife who recently finished medical school and her required social work. And it is a lot cheaper to cross into TJ and fly than from US to GDL. Especially if its last minute. The MX airlines do not penalize you as much as US ones on last minute travel

  251. Oops…. I was saying that I am going again tuesday but on interjet and I will see if they do the same as aeromexico

  252. Thanks for being our Tj airport guinea pig, Paul :-)
    Are you heading to SY to cross the border? You could take a cab to the nearest trolley stop and then head south. I imagine the shuttle would be pretty affordable, though, and maybe worth the extra money for the convenience. Hmm. worth a call to them.

  253. I am going to MEXICO by land this labor day weekend WITHOUT a passport. I have been waiting for it for the past two months. I am going to go with my Status letter and Birth Certificate. WISH ME LUCK!!

  254. thank you , WHAT DO YOU THINK THEY THEY ARE LOOKING FOR WHE N THEY MAKE THE DETERMINATION WHEATHER YOU LOOK SUSPICIOUS OR NOT/

    • Tough to say. Maybe if you have shifty eyes or see your hands are shaking at the wheel. Sweating profusely. And probably other things that aren’t so immediately obvious to the rest of us.

  255. I have been invited for a Taco Run for lunch tomorrow into Tecate from San Diego my US Passport expired in August 2010….any advice? or help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    • HI, Anne. Sorry wasn’t able to respond sooner. I hope that reading the comments on these blog posts helped. How did it go? Anna

  256. hey there
    my girlfriend wants to fly to vancouver from nyc on october 1st she just relised her us passport expired, do u think she should risk it

  257. Hey acearley, just wanted to ask the new issued californian driving license is that like the EDL that you can cross with the new license instead of having a passport?

    • I think US Customs prefers the passport to any license, but I haven’t yet heard from anyone (U.S. citizen or lawful resident) being banned from re-entering with other documentation.

  258. I have been in Canada way over the time I should be and just want to go home to the US. I have birth certificate, social security card, driver license. I’m sure they will detain me because I’ve been here so long and have purchased a vehicle. Do you think I will have any more serious problems??

    • Hmmm. If you are a U.S. citizen then I don’t think there is much of a case for being prevented from returning to the U.S., whether you’ve been gone 5 minutes or 5 years…unless you’ve been banned from the country!

  259. Hi,
    I’m a Canadian citizen and need to update my employment status for my FAST card. I have had my fast card now for two years now. And I have changed employers a few times since then and not informed the FAST offices about it. I need to update my employment status now because of my new job. My question is will my card be revoked if I go to update my status? I have all of the information regarding past employment, including addresses and the dates from which I was employed at those locations.

    • HI, Aaron. I really wish I could answer your question, but I”m not sure…DId you find the answer to your question somewhere else? Anna

  260. I just crossed the mexicali border in march 2010 and they didn’t even ask for a passport I just showed my birth certificate and I.D. We are going to mexicali in december and will let you guys know how it goes !!!!!

  261. Hey!! i would like to know if i can cross the border by land without my passport or original birth certificate.I do have my S.SN card & I.D & some other proof that i am a U.S citizen.IM 16 yrs old..Im planning to go soon to the U.S.A & i dont have much information about my situatation….

  262. I am a resident alien , do I need a passport to come back from mexico or just my drivers license and my resident card I am going for christmas to monterrey

  263. Hi,

    What will happen if someone is refused entry on vwp at San Ysidro with Australian passport? Do they just get sent back to Mexico?

  264. Hi, my fhater’s permanent resident card has expired on jan/22/2011, he applied for a replacement in december 2010, USCIS give him an appointment on feb/9 for biometrics, before his card was expired he went to one of the service office in San diego to ask for an extension, and they told him that he needed a mexican passport, the problem is that he is 76 years old and he is living in Tijuana with his family, and he had to ask for another date for the appointment because he had some troubble geeting the mexican passport, now he as mexican passport, his green card is expired, he has not received the new appointment yet, he only has a copy of the first appoinment notice, my question is, can he cross the border from Tijuana to San diego with his expired green card and his mexican passport and a copy of his firts appointment to go to the service office and ask for an extension of his green card?

    Thank you very much
    Enrique E.

  265. Hey all , would like to head accross the border of Mexico for shopping , would like to know if i can use my driver license and greencard to cross for a period of 24h only , also > who am i facing ? american custom or only mexican custom ? ( when i leave US ) , i’m from TX heading to El Paso .

  266. Hi, im 17 and will be going down to ensenada,mexico and i was wondering,do i need a passport to go there? or can i use only my birth certificate and ID? please help me

  267. So i have to travel to Durango, MX this weekend, March 13, 2011, for a family emergency. One of my grandmas is sick and my mom wants to see her since it’s been a few years since she last saw her. Neither of us has a passport but we’re both citizens. Would we be able to get back in the US okay or would we still need to apply for passports?

  268. People…the lines at the border would go a lot faster if everyone would have either a passport book/passport card, certified birth certificates for travellers under the age of 16 with their school IDs.

    If travelling by land, pay the $55 to get the passport card. It is well worth it! It gets frustrating when we have to sit in line for 3 hours to come back to the U.S. from an outreach work weekend because people don’t have the proper documentation.

  269. Hi, I’m hoping that someone who as crossed the order recently can give me some advice. I want to know when walking across the border into the US, do they just look at your passport and then allow you to go through or do they actually run it through a machine (like when you enter the US through an airport)? The last time I crossed the border was back in the day when you only needed a driver’s license and I recall that they used to swipe or tap in some stuff as you crossed. And what about when returning via car? Is it a different procedure in regard to the passport?

    • Anyone out there got a response? Since I use a pre-approved SENTRI “fast card” at the border, I don’t have the personal experience of using a passport at the land ports of entry.

  270. Hello,
    I cant sleep or do anything for the stress I got..
    I have an emergency and i need to fly to Guadalajara Mex. sunday 17
    I’m worried because I dont have a passport i do have many other doc. that assure that i was born here..I’m really broke right now and cannot afford to pay for my passport.. Now my question is will I be questioned and then able to board the flight?? Can U please help me As Soon As Possible..=)

    • HI, Yesenia. Sorry – i was on vacation. I’m not clear as to whether you are a U.S. or Mexican citizen, and if you are planning on flying out of Mexico or the United States. The last I heard, if you fly into Mexico from the US, and you are a US citizen, you would need to have your passport.

  271. hi, i dont know if you keep up with this site anymore but i’m an american born citizen and i’m going to tijuana this weekend with friends who all have passports except me, all i have is a CA ID. no birth cert which is the reason i’m having second thoughts. was wondering if you had any updated answers for 2011

    • i also have my Social Security Card

    • HI, Erik. Sorry, I was on vacation and not checking my messages here. I have yet to hear of a US citizen being prevented from re-entering the country at the land port of entry. THat doesn’t mean it isn’t happening, but If that were we probably would have heard about it on the news…. Might be a good idea to bring your social security card, and make an effort to get your passport. If you are planning on doing more visits in the future to Mexico, it might also be a good idea to bring a print-out of your application. Can you write back and let us know how it goes?

  272. Hi i was just wondering if i could come back to the usa without a passport.

  273. Hi i was just wondering if i could come back to the usa without a passport by land.

  274. Going to mexico by land , do i need a passport to stay in the border areas ( mexican side ) like eat at a restaurant visit a friend for couple hours and come back into US ?? or can i just use my greencard and driver license ?

    • HI, Jason. You might want to read what Jlo just recently wrote about crossing the border without a passport. In her case, it looks like they asked for her passport but she gave them a reason why she didn’t have one and she got back ok. I can’t guarantee this will happen all the time, but all I can do is share what others have said about their experiences. I have yet to hear from a US tourist being prevented from re-entering the US. I”m sure it would make news headlines.

  275. Anyone knows if they check for warrants as you cross back?

    • Hi, Jim. Not sure if that happens in all cases, but they certainly have the capabilities to do so and I have heard of people getting detained at the border after such checks. Anna

  276. just cross the mexico us border last wekend for the 2nd time no passport only my nevada dl birth certificate ss card no problem only sugested to get my passport soon

    • Thanks for sharing, Rick! Appreciate the contribution and thanks for helping out others who come to the blog seeking this kind of information.

  277. My cousin is getting married on June 18th but my passport is literally going to expire on June 16 but is in the process of coming in through the mail. Are there any alternatives to claim that I actually am a U.S citizen ?
    What can I do or say ? Can I bring my birth certificate or drivers license or even a school ID ?
    I will be crossing over by foot, not flying or anything.
    I don’t want to miss this wedding =/

    • HI, Rosario. Based on what people have written here about their personal experiences, you will probably be ok . Especially if you show proof that you have applied for a new passport. If possible, you might want to bring a copy of your application, if you have one. Several other readers have brought copies of their birth certificates, or just used their driver’s license. Read the recent comment left by “JLo” below, as well as one left by Rick. I can’t give you any professional advice, since I’m not a professional. I can just share what people have said about their border crossing experiences and I have yet to hear from a US tourist being prevented from returning to the US along the border. That would probably make headlines. That said, it’s a good idea for people to have their passports whenever they travel abroad, regardless of whether this “policy” is being enforced or not.

  278. Hi im planning on moving to cabo to open a tattoo parlor and to live and also have no passport i was jus wondering if i was sent to secondary what is secondary all about what do they do? jus search through ur stuff or what?

  279. hi
    am going to mexico in three weeks and i nt have a passport do yall think i can come back with my birth certificate, state id,school id and socal security or am i gonna have to get an id.

  280. i got this message from CBP regarding entering mexico WITHOUT a passport a couple of days ago..

    “Mexico allows US citizens to enter by land and travel within 25 miles of the border with a driver’s license and your birth certificate, but I am not sure if they will let you enter without a birth certificate. If they do let you enter Mexico, you will be allowed to return to the US, but you will be delayed while your information is verified. I hope this answer helps.”

  281. Just crossed over the border in Nogales without a passport and without a problem. I own a passport, but did not have it with me. When I went through the border back into the US, they looked my passport up from my name on my driver’s license. Didn’t take more than a couple of seconds!

  282. hello i would like to know what will happen if i dont have a passport am leaving this week to mexico for a family emergaancy and me or my son (3years old) dont have a passport what will happen if we dont have one

  283. Hi acearley, just wodering. I am not a US citizen but I do have a valid 10 years multiple entry US visa. Will there be a problem when I go to back to US on the San Diego – San Ysidro US-Mexican border? Your inputs are highly appreciated.

  284. COMPLETELY CORRECT ANSWER as of July 2011: After reading about two dozen forums I was terrified to cross while on vacation. Here is my experience. A passport is required/desired, but Tijuana 1) does not check you going in (unless you look suspicious) 2) When leaving they have two distinct lines setup . . . One for those with WHT documents and another line for those without. The line for those without equates to those traveling with only basic documents i.e. (State issued drivers license and a birth certificate. When I came back across it was the easiest time I have ever had. My documents were looked at, I was asked maybe 2 questions and nothing was searched . . nothing at all . . . it was simple. BTW: I walked across, I would never driver across for many reasons.

    Additionally: It is best to park across from the border gate at a cost of $8 and walk -in, it is safer and much quicker and easier. Should you choose to drive in, 1) make sure you have a Mexican Insurance policy. 2) Expect long waits to get back into the US

  285. MoniqueSerenity

    Hi My Name is Monica. i Have to go to Tijuana Mexico to see my Grandma im leaving on monday but i not gona stay there im just gona see her then leave but i only have my birth certificate and my social security will the let me come back to the us .? Help ASAP

  286. hey guys i have a question my niece wants to go to TIjuana with me to a party thi weekend and she’s a minor do i need a letter from her mom or dad ? stating its ok for her to travel with me? or can she come without a letter or can she just write it by hand and give it to me would that be suffcient? or does it need to be written by a notary? can anyone help?

  287. hi Acearley i have a question im a u.s citzen and im 21 and iv been here in mexico for about 3 years and came in with no problem just birth certificate but now i need to go back but i have no id just my birth certificate and my social and a bunch of school records and school fotos that i brought with me down here.you think they would let me pass wit just those things.

  288. hi, I will be going to TJ from California on Tuesday and will be back either Thursday or Friday. I dont have a passport but I will bring my dl and birth certificate…. I’m actually kind of nervous because this will be my first trip out of the US and I hope the BP is nice on my way back. if you don’t hear from me by Saturday, I’ll probably be living there…lol

  289. Back in March, when to of us crossed into Nogales, all we were asked for was ID upon reentering the U.S. We had birth certificates, but all we showed them were drivers’ licenses. They checked them up on some sort of database they had in front of them, and let us go back through. I believe that the border patrol definately profiles. Neither of us have Mexican sounding names nor look Mexican. But as far as I know, and through experience, an American citizen cannot be legally denied reentry into the U.S.

  290. Hi. I will be crossing through Tijuana tomorrow. All I have is my U.S. citizenship certificate, issued two weeks ago.
    I got my citizenship derived from my father, and I have always lived in Mexico. I don’t have any other US ID.
    Can you give me any advice?
    Thank you.

  291. Don’t believe that you will not be refused entry to the U.S. if you are a citizen. I was bringing some of my things back from Canada, where I have been living and working for about 7 years, in preparation for retiring back in the U.S. All my children live there and I would like to be near them. Included in my belongings were 3 black powder revolvers. These are not regulated firearms. They are used in historical re-enactments and cowboy action shooting–you can buy them via mail-order from Cabellas. I declared the revolvers at the border and ended up being refused entry. The agent (agent Keller at Metaline Falls port of entry in Washington) told me that I would have to import them through BATF. I had already gone through this taking them to Canada–they are not regulated by BATF and therefore can neither be exported nor imported. Agent Keller told me to bring a letter from BATF verifying this. It seems ridiculous to me that I or any other citizen should need to educate border patrol agents on the fine points of their job, or satisfy any ersatz and ad hoc requirements they pull out their hats to hassle us with, but apparently we do. I’ve reported the incident to the Border Patrol, who have done nothing to date. I still don’t know what I am going to do, nor what will happen the next time I try to enter the U.S., now that I’ve been refused entry. I think I need to find a good lawyer.

  292. I had a trip planned down the Las Gaviotas and realized as I was packing the night before my passport was expired! I found this blog after trying to figure out what to do. Decided to chance it and went anyway. I brought the expired passport and my license. The passport has been expired for less than a month. When we got to the border to come back home (to the US) I handed my passport to the agent and told him it was expired. There was NO PROBLEM! I wouldn’t recommend it but if you happen to be in the same situation I was in, you could more than likely skate by but don’t make it a habit…they do swipe them at the border so if you are a repeat offender they may not like that.

  293. Hi, I will be going to Rocky Point, Mx for my sisters wedding on November 11th, 2011 and my appt. for turning in my passport isnt until October 12th, 2011. If I bring my receipt and a copy of my birth Certificate and my I.D. do you think they will let me back across the border if my passport is not back by then?

  294. I live in Monterrey Mexico and I want to come back to the states. I have unpaid child support. Will it show up when crossing the border to the united states?

  295. Hi, I have a cousin that has a son but his girlfriend didn’t put him on the birth certificate. Will it be a problem for him to take his son from Arizona to Nogales just to the border so his son can see his grandma?

  296. Well. I ‘ve no passport nor any traveling documents. But it as been my wanting to leave africa. With a view of starting my life. What do think is the best thing for me to do? Causing I really want to be independed.

  297. im under age and i wanna kno if i go across the border can i come back with my birth certificate and my school i.d??

  298. I noticed all the comments are from 09 well i personaly having a hard time getring a passport i owe 2900 to the goverment n i cant get it unless i pay about 400 to get it down to 2500 then i will get my passport the prob is i am a professional boxer and have a hard time in my weightclass geting fights in the u.s everything is over seas n across the border so i havent fought in a year and a half and im going crazy i finaly decided the hell with it i will go with my ca id and birth certificate and utility bill to the border will see what happends u will post again soon!

  299. I’m not sure how old this “forum” is, but today is saturday december 17th 2011, I’m born and raised a u.s. citizen, I do not have my passport. I am going to mexico on monday with a friends family, I have a CA Drivers liscence, birth certificate and that’s it. Will I be able to cross and re-enter the united states???

  300. This is a great website! Thank you for the help! I am frustrated at the system. I don’t feel it protects us more, just gives agents a license to harass us. I am singing on New Years Eve at La Mision near Puerto Nuevo, MX and I have a passport. My boyfriend and his friend want to come to see me sing, but both do not have passports. There are both obviously American with d/l and birth certificates. I purchased mexican insurance for my car online and had it faxed to my boyfriend, as I am already in Rosarito now. He is going to drive my car here with his friend to stay a few days. Then we are driving back to Las Vegas on Monday. I will report on here about the border incident after we get home. I noticed this website needs a current post. I doubt it will be a problem. They SHOULD only be focused on people who are smuggling and trying to sneak in. I used to come to Tijuana about 3 times a week when I was 18-21 with nothing more than my CA i.d. and some money. That system was great and I suspect they only changed it because they wanted more money and the authority to harass! Ah well, I’ll play by their stupid rules. Because I HAVE TO! Monday or Tuesday, I will post another response.

  301. Is it possible to cross the border to Rio Bravo if the only thing you have is the recepit showing you apllied for a passport card,birth certificate,and license?

  302. I just crossed back from Mexicali w/ a California I.D. and B.C. and had no problem. My girlfriend’s nephew and Son do it all the time w/o Passport.

  303. Can I go to Mexico and back with my green card and my military card done one please help me with this ? Thank you.

  304. Since this site was helpful in my deciding to cross without my passport I thought I’d post my experience.
    I crossed March 20th, 2012, had a copy of my expired passport that I had mailed in to get renewed (my new one didn’t make it yet in the mail!) and my CA driver’s license. They gave me absolutely no trouble.
    They may have been more inclined to be flexible since I we were pushing my friend’s disabled vehicle across the border after it died in Tijuana on our way to the border line… they even helped us push out and told us where to wait for AAA.
    Anyway, go for it without a passport, it was the least of our problems!
    And here’s to finding awesome generous and helpful people on the street in Tijuana, which we are taught to think should be the worst of the worst… I love Mexico!

  305. hi there just want to make sure if u go to mexico and u only have your drivers liscence and social security with uwill they let u in???

  306. I only want to know if I could cross the border from Tijunato CA with my I.D and birth Ceertificate only and my Daughter witer school I.d??

  307. abdul mohammed

    Hey, I have a birth certificate and a tanzania passport and a londage would they allow me to pass for my basketball tournament to cross the border to united states?

  308. if im a U.S citizen able to cross through the ready lane but my wifes visa doesnt have the ready lane, can she still cross through the ready lane if shes in the same car as me knowing that I am a U.S citizen

  309. Hey guys… this is my experience with our Federal Agents at the Border Crossing in Laredo TX. A few months ago, we found out my grandma in Mexico got cancer. I live in Baton Rouge, and for four weeks in a row, I drove to Mexico four times, (like every weekend for 4 weeks), the 1st and the second time, there was no problem at all, they asked me like 2 or 3 questions each time, nothing harrassing or out of the ordinary, and I was there like for 1 minute and then they let me go. The third time, I actually had the same agent from the week before, and she was actually nice, she let me know she remembered me from the week before, she politely asked if she could look at my trunk, she took a quick look and then let me go. But for some reason, the last one was Horrible !!!! I got to the bridge, and the guy was F***ing Rude, when he ran my passport through there little scanner thing he asked me why I had been crossing the border so often lately, and I told him that I was visiting my grandma, then he gave me a horrible look, like saying I don’t believe that, he typed a bunch of things on his computer, while looking at my passport, and my drivers license, and my car’s registration.

    Then he sent me to secondary inspection, and LORD !!! Those dudes unscrewed things in my car that I had no clue you could unscrew, while removing the back seat of my car, and checking with a flashlight the rims and the tires. I asked them if there was anything wrong,or what, and they told me that they are required to check certain number of cars throu secondary inspection every hour. They let me go, and when I got home I noticed that the MoFo’s lost one of the screws of my back seat, and it was loose.

    I really wish I could talk to there superiors for loosing that screw !!!!

  310. hi I’m leaving for Mexico on Monday early morning and all I have is a receipt that my passport is coming in the mail. The passport services have my birth certificate and everything is closed mon-fri if I were to get another copy of my birth certificate. Would using my receipt be valid at the border when I leave ? Im only 15 so I don’t really have a license or a I’d or much. Is there anything else I can bring that would help me ?

  311. Hello, I am writing because I was looking to go to Mexico by the end of July but have a family emergency and need to leave by the end of this week. I applied for my passport card but still haven’t received it, and as you know, when applying for one you must send your proof of citizenship along with the application. So now all I have is my SS card and a DL.
    Will I have problems coming back into the U.S?
    Really nervous!!

  312. My daughter is a dual citizen (Canadian born, got US citizenship last November) and has lost her citizenship paper, prior to getting a passport. She plans to attend a family function in Canada using only her Canadian passport, and will be travelling with her husband who has a valid US passport and her three children (who have proof of ID). I think she will be able to get into Canada, but do not know if they will keep her from re-entering the States, even though she is an American. She has no proof of this (though she does have a state driving license), because it takes 6 months to replace the naturalization paper (WHY? in this age of data bases), and she is still waiting for it, though they have cashed her check. Will they let her back home?

  313. My mother recently became a US Citizen and applied for a US passport a Two weeks ago, they took her naturalization certificate so she doesn’t have any solid proof of citizenship. My cousin’s wedding is in a week and her passport probably won’t arrive on time; will she be penalized if she crosses the border (by land) with the California Drivers License and the receipt for her passport application?

  314. Ok, so today is August 17, 2012. I am crossing into Juarez from El Paso on Monday Aug 20 to have dental work done. I will be taking my New Mexico DL, Birth Cert and Social security card. I will surely repost and let everyone know my experience. With this dentist, they pick you up in the US and drive you back so you don’t have to bring your vehicle over. I sure hope it all goes easy.. I guess the one fact that encourages me to “risk it ” is the repeated fact on this blog that US Citizens cannot be denied entry back. Period. That is enough for me. I’ve gone to Mexico several times in my life but not in the last ten years so I wasn’t even aware of the required passport issue. So, since this seems to be the only post in 2012 I will re-post next week and let you all know how it went..

  315. can i cross back into the United States WITHOUT A CALIFORNIA ID but with a birth certificate and two school ID’s ??

  316. No problem crossing into Juarez or coming back with only a DL and birth certificate. I didn’t get a warning note or anything like that.. We didn’t have to go to secondary either. No sweat at all.. Plus FYI, Juarez was really safe and everyone was friendly. The locals seem to really want people to know its ok to come. Great experience.

  317. I’m goin to Tijuana in October and I don’t have time to get my passport mailed and ready. What documents could I take as back up? I don’t have a drivers licence because I’m under age! Someone please help!

  318. That’s nice of you to provide that info, RT! Hopefully people will be able to use that as an additional resource and maybe we can team up and do some collaborations on this kind of thing in the future.

    I find that the reader comments on these posts have been incredibly valuable in helping to address each other’s questions and concerns and I encourage readers to continue leaving comments here so they can help out others who are traveling along the border. Their shared and collective realities are what brings great value to forums like this one.

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