What you need to know when crossing the border

Published On:
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Printer-friendly version

In order for students to have a successful and happy trip down in Mexico, there are certain things to know for crossing the border. Below are tips that Arizonaguide.com and border patrol agents recommend for student travelers.

The first thing to know is to pack one of the following documents in order to cross the border: a passport, a birth certificate (it can be a photocopy) and a valid, government-issued photo I.D. or a voter registration card and a photo I.D. As of June 2009, all travelers will be required to have a passport to get into Mexico. But until then, any of the previous forms will work for crossing.

“When I drove down to Mexico, I kept a folder with photocopies of all the important documents I would need. That way they would be easier to keep track of and hand over to the border control authorities,” Tyler Morris, a computer science sophomore says.

Another good tip is to know what items will need to be declared. Students don’t need to declare personal belongings — which include 20 cartoons of cigarettes. Mexican regulations limit the value of goods into Mexico. If driving down, only $50 of valued goods are allowed over the border.

Certain items are not allowed into Mexico. Those items include: fire weapons, bullets, explosives and related chemical substances, recreational drugs, narcotics, psychotropic and other illegal substances (heroin and cocaine are considered illegal) and vegetables. Transporting any of these items may lead to 10 to 25 years in prison.

While certain items are not allowed into Mexico, there are also certain items that are not allowed out. Wild plants, animals, archeological treasures and documents or historic objects belonging to the national patrimony without the appropriate authorization are to be kept within Mexico’s border. It is also wise not to bring back any firearms, recreational drugs or illegal substances.

Souvenirs are always great to bring back home. Some great souvenirs in Mexico are a sombrero, some seashells from the beach, jewelry, t-shirts, shot glasses and authentic tequila as along as it is no bigger than a 1 liter, sealed bottle and the owner of the bottle is 21 or older.

“When I went to Mexico last summer, I picked up seashells at the beach and turned them into candles using wax and wicks. It’s one of my favorite souvenirs,” Flora Lopez, a sophomore studying art history, says.

When it comes to driving in Mexico, it is highly recommended to buy short-term Mexican car insurance. Mexico only recognizes vehicle insurance issued by Mexican businesses and most U.S. insurance policies do not provide coverage in Mexico. A coverage plan can be viewed and bought in advance at www.mexpro.com.

Reach the reporter at theresa.dillon@asu.edu.