Border Crossing Update

COVID-19: Updates On Crossing the Border

Updated on July 8th, 2020

The border restrictions are currently in place until July 21st, 2020.

After it was announced that the USA and Mexico would restrict non-essential travel between the two countries, many people were left wondering what exactly that meant. With the news changing by the hour, it can be hard to keep up with the most current information. Below are answers to some frequently asked questions regarding crossing the USA - Mexico border.

What is "essential travel"?

According to the Department of Homeland Security, essential travel through land ports of entry and ferry terminals includes, but is not limited to:

  • U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents returning to the United States;
  • Individuals traveling for medical purposes (e.g., to receive medical treatment in the United States);
  • Individuals traveling to attend educational institutions;
  • Individuals traveling to work in the United States (e.g., individuals working in the farming or agriculture industry who must travel between the United States and Mexico in furtherance of such work);
  • Individuals traveling for emergency response and public health purposes (e.g., government officials or emergency responders entering the United States to support Federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial government efforts to respond to COVID-19 or other emergencies);
  • Individuals engaged in lawful cross-border trade (e.g., truck drivers supporting the movement of cargo between the United States and Mexico);
  • Individuals engaged in official government travel or diplomatic travel;
  • Members of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the spouses and children of members of the U.S. Armed Forces, returning to the United States; and
  • Individuals engaged in military-related travel or operations.
What is "non-essential travel"?

The Department of Homeland Security defines non-essential travel as individuals traveling for tourism purposes (e.g., sightseeing, recreation, gambling, or attending cultural events).

How long will the restrictions on border travel last?
I am an American citizen returning from Mexico. Will I be abe to cross back into the United States?

Yes, American citizens returning to the US would be considered essential travel according to the Department of Homeland Security.

I plan to travel to Mexico. What can I expect when crossing the border southbound?

According to the Instituto Nacional de Migración, people entering Mexico may be subject to:

  • A medical revision in which a laser will be used to measure your temperature
  • An interview regarding your current state of health and the countries to which you have recently traveled

What's going on in Baja?

As of June 1, 2020 Mexico has begun its phase “Nueva Normalidad” or the New Normal, allowing for a gradual, orderly and cautious reopening of the country. Every week, each region in Mexico will be assigned a color which will determine the level of permissible activity.

The colors are as follows:

  • Red - Maximum Alert: Only essential activities are allowed. Essential activities include mining, construction, and auto manufacturing.
  • Orange - High Alert: Essential activities are allowed and restricted non essential activities are allowed. Vulnerable workers require maximum precautions.
  • Yellow - Intermediate: All economic activities are allowed and limited activities in public spaces.
  • Green - Normal Daily Activities: Resumption of scholastic, social, and leisure activities

To check out Mexico's interactive map, click here.

Below you can find some of the latest info on what measures select cities in the Baja California Peninsula are taking.

Baja California


On March 26th, the mayor of Tijuana signed the Emergency Declaration of Sanitary Risks in which the city outlined steps to take in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. All residents are encouraged to stay home and to avoid going out in public. Essential businesses are open, which include: hospitals, pharmacies, medical clinics, financial services, markets, supermarkets, restaurants (take-out or delivery only), among others.


Rosarito hotels and restaurants are open at 30% capacity. Restricted activities include going to the beach, hiking, and aquatic sports. Masks are required in public.


Restaurants are open at 30% capacity and alcoholic beverages may only be sold until 8:59 pm. Public and recreational spaces, including beaches, are still closed. The curfew from 9:00 pm to 6:00 am is still in effect.

Mexicali Municipality

Mexicali is following the guidelines set forth by the state and Mexican Federal Government.

Baja California Sur

On June 1st the following sectors may open: construction and mining as well as federal, state and municipal offices. It is still recommended to stay at home if possible. Only two people are allowed per vehicle, the passenger must ride in the backseat.


Loreto has begun its reopening plan. Private and public construction may resume as well as indispensable businesses for its operation. Municipal offices will also reopen. All other non-essential activities must continue to socially distance.

The following restrictions are in place:

  • Supermarkets, restaurants, autoservice stores, and food preparation stores will close at 10pm.
  • Vehicle inspections will continue in the municipality.
  • Beaches within the municipality will remain closed until further notice.
  • Only two people are allowed per vehicle
  • Parks and recreational areas are only open for physical activity and bicycles. Group gatherings, family reunions, and walking children is not permitted.
  • The boardwalk is open to individuals for physical activity; cars may drive along the boardwalk but may not be parked.

La Paz Municipality

On June 1st, construction and mining operations were allowed to resume, as well as indispensable businesses for its operation. Starting June 15th, the following realms of businesses were permitted to open:

  • Hotels and restaurants are allowed to open at 30% capacity
  • Boutiques, shoe shops, and department stores

All municipal beaches are once again closed to the public and alcohol may only be sold until 6:00 pm.

Los Cabos

Los Cabos is following the guidelines set forth by the Mexican Federal Government and Baja California Sur State Government.

Federal Register
Department of Homeland Security
Gobierno de México