Expect Tijuana border crossings to take longer, Mexico says. Here are nearby places to cross instead

Immigrant Caravan Members Gather At U.S.-Mexico Border
Traffic at the San Ysidro Port of Entry came to a standstill Sunday after the U.S. temporarily closed the border with Mexico. The Tijuana border is the busiest land crossing in the world.
(Mario Tama / Getty Images)

Be prepared for longer than usual wait times at Tijuana’s San Ysidro border crossing in wake of the arrival of a caravan of migrants last weekend. That’s the word from the Ministry of Tourism for Baja California, Mexico, which is advising travelers to allow extra time to cross at Tijuana or consider using a different point of entry for their U.S.-Mexico crossing.

The U.S. temporarily closed northbound and southbound lanes of the border for about five hours Sunday, after conflicts erupted with some migrants from Central America who were seeking asylum.

For the record:
12:00 AM, Nov. 29, 2018 An earlier version of this story incorrectly said California’s Real-ID driver’s license would qualify travelers to use the Ready lane. They do not.

You can check on the border’s status and wait times 24/7 at the Customs and Border Protection’s website or mobile app. For example, most lanes Wednesday afternoon at the San Ysidro Port of Entry showed a 65- to 75-minute wait time. The pedestrian bridge, the Cross Border Xpress from Tijuana’s airport, showed no delays.

For a quicker crossing, you may want to get a SENTRI card, which allows you to use dedicated lanes. SENTRI card holders ($122 for five years) have been pre-screened by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.


Ready Lanes expedite travelers who carry U.S. passport cards, SENTRI cards and enhanced driver’s licenses, which are only available in Michigan, New York, Vermont and Washington state. (California’s Real ID licenses are not Ready lane compliant.).

Don’t want to cross at Tijuana? You can use Otay Mesa, which has 13 lanes and is about 9 miles east of San Ysidro. Other border crossings are available in Tecate (two lanes), Calexico (which has eastern and western sides, 18 lanes) and Los Algodones (three lanes).

For more information, go to the Customs and Border Protection’s website. For updates, follow the agency on Twitter (@CBP).



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