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New Cruiser: Expeditions

The travels of an all aluminum Land Cruiser and its owners…

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USA to Mexico Border Crossing

Written by Robin on Tuesday, September 30, 2003
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This crossing from USA to Tijuana was quite simple, though it caught us a bit by surprise. After all the messing about, the whole process took us about 2 hours. From San Diego on the I-5 South, you start seeing border signs about 2 miles prior. All of a sudden, the border appears. Expecting to declare our vehicle at a typical border booth (it must be done if travelling to any part of Mexico other than the Baja) we were surprised to find ourselves rolled straight through, without any contact with anyone. The traffic goes through the border at about 30 km/h and then you are in Tijuana.

Here is where we made our mistake. Instead of searching for the Banjercito which is the Mexican government place to register imported vehicles, we decided to turn around, head back to the USA and take the right hand lane back into Mexico. This is the lane where you should go if you have any goods to be declared. The right lane ends in a covered parking area, followed by a bunch of booths with semi-official people sitting in them. These “officials” do not wear government uniforms, but they have an ID card around their necks.

Vehicle Importation Permit. Here we received a multiple entry tourist visa which cost us $20 USD each. We were then told (in Spanish which we don’t understand yet) to go to the Banjercito to get the vehicle imported. We headed into town, and after consulting with an english speaking police officer, found our way there. I won’t try to give directions, because Tijuana is a zoo in general. We were happy to ask for directions. This office had good service, and fully uniformed people – we could have received our tourist visa there. After a bit of paperwork, and $24 USD for the vehicle permit, we were on our way. The permit is a holographic image that sticks to the inside of the driver side windshield and is valid for 6 months.

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