Tuesday, February 16, 2010
U.S. travelers who cross south into Baja California at land border crossings will not be required to show a U.S. passport. Mexico's new passport laws will not apply to Baja California's land border crossings.
Beginning March 1, Mexican law will require most U.S. visitors to Mexico to show passports.
Mexico's National Immigration Institute delegate in Baja California says the rule will not be enforced at Baja California's land border crossings because the ports lack the infrastructure.
The announcement allays fears that the time needed to check southbound travelers' passports at the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa border crossings would add to traffic jams in south San Diego County.
Last summer, Mexican customs began experimenting with a program to screen all southbound traffic for illegal merchandise.
Since then, southbound backups have gotten worse.
Most U.S. citizens who travel to Mexico already carry a U.S. passport. The U.S. has required citizens show their passport or passport card to return to the U.S. since June 2009.