On September 25, 2015 Baja Bound attended a forum hosted by the Otay Mesa Chamber of Commerce. Rudolfo Figueroa, a federal delegate for the Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM or National Institute of Immigration) for the Baja region was the guest speaker. Rudolfo presented new operational changes that have been enacted for frequent visitors to maintain valid FMM immigration status.
Important results from the forum:
Beginning in 2015 Baja Bound had heard intermittent reports of increased enforcement of immigration laws in the northern state of Baja California. These are mainly directed towards U.S. and Canadian citizens residing in or visiting Mexico. We understand that there may be the occasional presence of officials on federal highways asking for immigration documentation. Mexican immigration officials have also confirmed visiting retirement communities in Baja California (Norte) checking for immigration documentation.
As mentioned, certain changes to the operational procedures of the FMM only apply when crossing by land into and out of Baja California (Norte). To clarify:
Driving: Visitors driving their vehicles across the border will not be asked to stop and complete an FMM, however the FMM is still required by law once you cross into Mexico. INM offices are generally located right at the border crossing and the current cost of an FMM is around $24 US dollars.
Pedestrians: Visitors walking across the border at the El Chaparral port of entry are now required to have their passport or passport card and are asked to fill out the FMM and pay the fee if necessary. The Otay Mesa crossing will follow suit as soon as the new border facility at that location is completed.
No. More media attention has been focused on the FMM since INM is now requiring those who walk across the border at El Chaparral to have a valid FMM.
The tourist zone/72 hour exemption was never actually part of Mexican immigration law.
No. At this time officials are not checking for FMMs when driving across the border. However, the FMM is still legally required once in Mexico.
Only a valid passport or passport card is accepted to get an FMM. Drivers licenses, enhanced drivers licenses, birth certificates and SENTRI cards are not accepted.
Please visit our guide on Mexican Tourist Cards/Visas (FMM) for more information about how and where to obtain your FMM.
Where to get a Tourist Card (FMM) at El Chaparral Crossing in San Ysidro.
If you have any questions about immigration requirements, contact the Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM).
Sources: Rudolfo Figueroa, INM, Baja Bound staff.