Instructions for taking the MEXICOACH into TIJUANA
With all the construction going on at the US Customs building, the lines to walk back across the border to the US, or to drive back across, are very long, especially on Saturday and Sunday. The best alternatives are either to drive into Tijuana, and we will give you a FAST PASS for driving in the special lane for Medical/dental tourists, or you can take the MEXICOACH bus into and back from Tijuana.
How to take the MEXICOACH bus:
You can catch the MEXICOACH bus at the “Border Station Parking Lot” located on Camino de la Plaza Ave, on the West side of Interstate Highways 5 and 805. As you are traveling south on the freeway, watch for exit 1-A. There will a green highway sign with flashing yellow lights that says: “Last USA Exit” “Camino de la Plaza Ave”. When you go down the ramp, you will come up to the traffic light at Camino de la Plaza. Turn right at the light, and then take an immediate right into the “Border Station Parking” lot. Parking is $7 per day. You will find the booth for Tourist information. Inquire there about the MEXICOACH. The bus will come every 30 minutes.
Once you get on the bus, and before it goes into Mexico, please call Samaritan Dental at 619-600-5597. The receptionist will get your description, and will alert the driver to go over to the MEXICOACH bus station on Revolucion Blvd to pick you you up.
The main benefit of taking the MEXICOACH is, you won’t have to do much walking. if you walk into Mexico for us to pick you up on the Mexico side, it is a walk of several blocks. Taking the MEXICOACH eliminates that walk. If you go back on the MEXICOACH, you won’t have to stand in that long pedestrian line at the border. The bus will take you to a special side door at US Customs. This door goes to a designated line for bus passengers, and the line is normally about 25 people long. Once you exit US Customs, the Mexicoach will be waiting to take you back over to the Border Station Parking lot.
New Border Crossing Regulations:
1.- You must now have a US passport to cross the border:
Just like the US Government requires everyone crossing the border into the US to have passports, the Mexican Government also now requires all persons crossing into Mexico to have a passport. Things have historically been a little lax, but now they are tightening up on the regulations. Make sure you get your passport before crossing into Mexico, to avoid any delays or hassle, by the US Customs, as well as Mexican Customs.
If you haven’t yet gotten a US Passport, we strongly recommend that you get the “Passport Card”, rather than the “Passport Book”. You can actually apply for both, or either one. But the reason the Passport Card works better than the Book, is because it has the RFID electronic chip, which qualifies you to use the faster moving “Ready Lanes” either as a pedestrian or riding in a car. Here is a link to the government website: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/apply.html
2.- You will need to get a Tourist Visa at the border:
Pedestrian Crossing: If leave your car parked at the border, and are walking into Mexico, you will need to present your US passport, and fill out a tourist permit form. It will just take 5 minutes. However, make sure you keep your tourist permit on your person. In case you are stopped in Mexico for any reason, you will now have proof that you entered into the country legally. The cost of a tourist permit, to visit Tijuana for a week, is free. But, if you plan to stay for more than a week, plan to return for a second trip, or are thinking of going on to Rosarito or Ensenada, you will need to get the 180 day permit, costing $25.
Crossing the border by car: If you are stopped in Tijuana, you will need to show that you have legally crossed the border. So, even though you could just drive through Mexican Customs, and they don’t ask you for any documents, don’t neglect to first stop and get your tourist permit. The process will just take a few minutes.
When you first cross into Mexico, do NOT get into the lines of cars that are going through the lanes through for inspection. Rather, keep to the right, and go straight ahead to the area for Voluntary Declaration. Most of the cars going in here, and parking, are stopping to declare products that they purchased in the US, so they can pay the “Importation Tax”. But this is the same area where you will find the “Immigration” office, in order to get your tourist permit. Just park your car next to the others, and go into the building. Inside you will find the Immigration office, and tell them you want a tourist permit. It will be easiest if you just tell them you are coming to visit and shop, otherwise they will ask you for the exact address of the clinic, and hotel address where you are staying. Just a little less hassle.