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Old 12-19-2021, 01:17 PM
 
Location: Dessert
9,121 posts, read 4,849,766 times
Reputation: 23313

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What kind of ID is really needed for a US citizen to walk across the border from Mexico back into the US?

I've been using a passport, but it has expired and will take up to 11 weeks to renew. A passport card will take as long. I'm sending off the paperwork, but would like to cross sooner.

US Government site says you must have a passport.

But some people here say they know somebody who crosses all the time with no passport.

Have YOU crossed without a passport or passport card recently? What ID did you use? Was it a hassle?
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Old 12-19-2021, 01:20 PM
 
Location: Tucson AZ
1,900 posts, read 2,471,829 times
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Land or Sea Travel: U.S. citizens entering the United States by land or sea are required to present a valid WHTI-compliant document, which include:

- U.S. Passports

- U.S. Passport Cards

- Enhanced Driver's Licenses

- Enhanced Tribal Card (ETC)

- Trusted Traveler Cards (Global Entry*, NEXUS, SENTRI, or FAST

- Military Identification Cards (for members of the U.S. armed official maritime business)

* The Global Entry (GE) card is only an ENTRY document and may not be used to enter Canada, Mexico or Adjacent Island.


https://help.cbp.gov/s/article/Artic...language=en_US


I have three of the above so have never tried to cross without.
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Old 12-19-2021, 04:57 PM
 
Location: Dessert
9,121 posts, read 4,849,766 times
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Thanks

I have been researching online, so I'll share what I learned:
Only four states offer enhanced licenses: Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Vermont, plus Washington DC. (I have licenses from AZ and HI, not good enough)
You need a passport to get SENTRI (I was filling out the application for this when I realized my passport is expired).
NEXUS is for the Canadian border, and I think a passport is required.
FAST is for commercial truck drivers.
I'm neither tribal nor military, so that's out, but maybe explains the stories I hear of people crossing without a passport.
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Old 12-19-2021, 05:22 PM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ
6,244 posts, read 8,147,037 times
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Play it safe and wait for the passport. Sometimes the wheels of bureaucracy will move faster than anticipated.
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Old 12-19-2021, 06:30 PM
 
Location: Tucson/Nogales
22,066 posts, read 26,375,234 times
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Do you really think, for one minute, they can hold an American citizen in Mexico for not having a passport to cross?

Ever heard of that happening? Shouldn't it be a no-brainer?
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Old 12-20-2021, 09:12 AM
 
Location: Dessert
9,121 posts, read 4,849,766 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tijlover View Post
Do you really think, for one minute, they can hold an American citizen in Mexico for not having a passport to cross?

Ever heard of that happening? Shouldn't it be a no-brainer?
Coming back the other day, I saw a guy get put in a holding tank. I have no idea why, but I'd rather not spend time in one. I am hassle-averse. I can afford a passport, and will wait if I have to.

I keep hearing about people who know somebody who crosses all the time without a passport, I'm looking for people who have actually done it. Nobody has come forward yet.
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Old 12-20-2021, 05:57 PM
 
Location: Tucson/Nogales
22,066 posts, read 26,375,234 times
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If you're one of these people who follow the letter to the law, I would strongly encourage that person to invest in a passport for their peace of mind.

Holding tank? Could you be more explicit? I've crossed in Tijuana some 80+ times and have never seen one. If you're a Mexican or Mexican American without a passport, I might understand it. At the Tijuana/San Ysidro crossing, they had a special lane for those that didn't have a passport, the line went slower but you'd get through.

You could talk to a half-dozen customs guards and you'd get different opinions.

When I lived in Las Vegas, I'd walk my ferret on the Strip at night, and at one point, they made it a law you could only walk a pet on the Strip between 4am and noon, which was no problem for this night owl. I talked to 2 officers one night, and they were completely unaware of the law.

Last edited by tijlover; 12-20-2021 at 06:15 PM..
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Old 12-21-2021, 05:50 PM
 
Location: Cape Cod/Green Valley AZ
1,110 posts, read 2,577,098 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steiconi View Post
Thanks

... You need a passport to get SENTRI (I was filling out the application for this when I realized my passport is expired).
NEXUS is for the Canadian border, and I think a passport is required. ....
I have a SENTRI and it's fine for my purpose (dentist visits Nogales). None the less, you are better off getting the Global Entry card. Cheaper and good for any of our borders and for overseas international travel.

Rich
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Old 12-22-2021, 10:17 PM
 
Location: Talmadge (aka Sh**ty Heights), San Diego, CA
14,955 posts, read 30,312,209 times
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You can cross with your DL and a birth certificate if you have a copy of it. There are people that cross with just a DL all the time from Tijuana back to San Diego, and don't have any problems.
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Old 12-23-2021, 12:24 PM
 
998 posts, read 269,379 times
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Never know, your face might wind up on a milk carton. I wouldn't do it. The Mexicans authorities at the very least try to extort all your cash to let you back in.
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