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I have a question about crossing the border on foot. I need to return to the U.S. for a day to do some bankig busines with Wells Fargo. I plan to go by bus to the border, cross and do business and then return the same day or maybe the next. Do I need a document like I do on a plane or can I just come and go? I am a FM 3 holder.
 

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Fm3

I have a question about crossing the border on foot. I need to return to the U.S. for a day to do some bankig busines with Wells Fargo. I plan to go by bus to the border, cross and do business and then return the same day or maybe the next. Do I need a document like I do on a plane or can I just come and go? I am a FM 3 holder.
As far as entering Mexico in TJ by foot they have a red light green light button once inside Mexico but the two customs agents sitting at the table under a small steel shade roof on the sidewalk in front of the INM building usually don't even care if the pedestrians push the button and if they do and get a red light they just take a quick look in the bags and say have a good trip. I see them doing this all the time. In Mexicali they have a few steps up into the INM building right there and no one officially checking anyone, just an IMN officer or two walking around. The sign states if you have something to declare to go inside and obviously if you need an FMM card etc.
 

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Since you have a visa, a 'no inmigrante' card, you will go to INM on the way out, fill out a FMM, keep part of it for your return, stop again and they'll collect that, check your visa and passport, etc. All routine but may be unfamiliar to some agents.
CAUTION: If you should take a bus that actually crosses the border, like to McAllen, etc., be absolutely sure to tell the driver that you must stop at INM and that he'll have to wait for you.
 

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Guadalajara, México
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Since you have a visa, a 'no inmigrante' card, you will go to INM on the way out, fill out a FMM, keep part of it for your return, stop again and they'll collect that, check your visa and passport, etc. All routine but may be unfamiliar to some agents.
CAUTION: If you should take a bus that actually crosses the border, like to McAllen, etc., be absolutely sure to tell the driver that you must stop at INM and that he'll have to wait for you.
RV is correct in outlining proper procedure.

I have a confession to make. I have crossed at Tijuana/San Ysidro on foot about 10 times in each direction in the past 4 or 5 years and have never stopped. One time I left by boat from Cabo San Lucas where I did check out with INM. I returned on foot through TJ without telling INM. That time, after returning to Guadalajara, I informed INM that I was back.
 

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Trouble can ensue when you fail to check in one direction or the other. Their computer system is very good now and it is a real 'catch-22' if you go to renew your visa and they discover that you 'aren't back in Mexico', for example. It will be a very expensive surprise; especially if a profitable real estate transaction is involved. Best to do it 'by the book' & don't expect the border agents to 'know the book'; that's your responsibility.
 

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. . . Best to do it 'by the book' & don't expect the border agents to 'know the book'; that's your responsibility.
Good advice. If you end up with problems at INM, you won't be able to blame the border agents for your mistake.
 

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You don't need a tourist visa to enter border areas of Mexico for trips of less than 72 hours. That means to me you can walk back and forth without any type of visa. I would check in and out legally if your border crossing is easy. If not easy I would just skip it
 

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The OP has a visa, so is required to check in and out.
Spark's comment applies to 'daytrippers' without visas, staying within the 'free zone' for no more than 72 hours.
 

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Fm3

Trouble can ensue when you fail to check in one direction or the other. Their computer system is very good now and it is a real 'catch-22' if you go to renew your visa and they discover that you 'aren't back in Mexico', for example. It will be a very expensive surprise; especially if a profitable real estate transaction is involved. Best to do it 'by the book' & don't expect the border agents to 'know the book'; that's your responsibility.
Technically if and when I get immigrant status from the INM I will have to pay $227.00 pesos every time I cross to my house in San Diego which might be several dozen or more times a year. That could get costly. I would be getting an FMM and would then have the other part handed in when reentering Mexico, right, even if I don't travel beyond San Diego or Imperial counties and only stay a couple of weeks or so?
 

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Technically if and when I get immigrant status from the INM I will have to pay $227.00 pesos every time I cross to my house in San Diego which might be several dozen or more times a year. That could get costly. I would be getting an FMM and would then have the other part handed in when reentering Mexico, right, even if I don't travel beyond San Diego or Imperial counties and only stay a couple of weeks or so?
No. You just fill out the form. No cost either direction. With inmigrante status, there is a limit on total time out of the country each year.
 

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Fmm

No. You just fill out the form. No cost either direction. With inmigrante status, there is a limit on total time out of the country each year.
That is good news. It is very easy to stop at the IMN office at either the TJ or the Mexicali border office. In TJ they have a driveway off a major blvd. and small parking lot and I never see many people there usually.

In Mexicali you just park on the street and walk less than 1/2 mile and go under the multiple traffic lines in a sort of tunnel coming up to the US booths where you cross.

I handed in my FMM card last weekend that I got at the Mexicali airport the beginning of Dec. on my way to San Luis Potosi this time at that office when going to San Diego. It took 20 minutes all together.
 

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The payment is for a tourist permit. The FMM is a 'Forma Migratoria Multiple' with multiple uses. When a visa holder uses it to simply register his exit or entry, there is no charge, as indicated above.
Some folks lose sight of the 'multiple' uses of this form. Each type of usage has its own specific rules.
 

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I cross the border all the time and have never been asked for anything. Except going into the USA. never going into mexico. And i cross at three different ports
in ca. and az. I have even taken all of my furniture and household items into
mexico and never been stoped but one time was asked how much the items
were worth and then told to proceed. That is all and we made about 6 trips with
the truck full.
 

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Many are confused by geography and the 'zones' within Mexico. There are free zones along the border and in the Baja states & some of Sonora. You may visit those zones without permits or visas and without serious concerns for customs inspections. There is a 72 hour limit in some areas.
However, the interior of Mexico is a different story and the rules are different. In the interior, you must have a 180 day permit or a more permanent visa and an established address.
Readers without experience of traveling in Mexico should become familiar with these differences and the interior checkpoints that they will encounter as they travel.
 

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FMM is required for tourists and other visitors to Baja California Sur. In the northern Baja California border zone, it's not needed for stays less than 72 hours. The "free zone" includes both states, but the "border zone" only reaches a short distance from the US, something like 30 km. The two are very easily confused.
 

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The big loophole is that in order to measure a period of time one must have a known start time and end time. Since brief visits to border areas do not require FMM there is likely no documentation of time of entry or exit. Therefore, any authorities that might question you on length of stay have no way to know you didn't arrive "yesterday".

The whole issue of checking in/out on FMM is an example of the difference in theory and practice. It may be required but there are no means of enforcement for those who do not voluntarily comply. Computers may be excellent at tracking documented entries and exits but they cannot track what was never recorded. Therefore they can't discover that you 'aren't back in Mexico' if you never checked out. And they can't discover that you never checked out since your immigration documents aren't checked until after you are back in Mexico. To do so would require them to check documentation right at the border prior to entry, as the U.S. does.
 

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Under 'normal circumstances' that is all true. It is the unusual circumstances that can cause the 'Catch-22' situations. Those who are on foot, seldom run into those, but it can happen by simply hopping on a bus and heading south. Oops!
 

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Under 'normal circumstances' that is all true. It is the unusual circumstances that can cause the 'Catch-22' situations. Those who are on foot, seldom run into those, but it can happen by simply hopping on a bus and heading south. Oops!
How so?

Seems to me there are two groups of people who don't check in or out. Those who are ignorant of the requirement and those who are aware of it but choose to not comply. The ignorant ones may get caught by "sometimes" checking in/out or not and by leaving other trails of evidence. But the knowing ones would know to be consistent in not checking in/out and not to anything stupid.

All I'm saying is that a person from Chapala can visit Nvo Laredo and cross into Laredo and then return back to Chapala, while making himself completely indistinguishable to authorities from someone in Chapala visiting Nvo Laredo and staying solely in Nvo Laredo and then returning back to Chapala.
 

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One can 'get away with' speeding, or any of a long list of things.
If you want to 'work the system', have at it. You may 'get away with it' for ever. Maybe not.
I won't bring you food.
But ...... Why do you want to do it the 'wrong way'?
 

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I don't know, ask the 12 million illegals in the U.S.

People will generally do things the 'right way' when that way is available and relatively easy. Make it a pain in the royal behind and they'll skirt around it. That's human nature and no amount of righteousness will change it.

At least we have clarified that your advice is based upon your moral view of what is the 'right way' versus the 'wrong way', rather than your initial implication that there was a high probability of getting busted.
 
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