Border Crossing Update

COVID-19: Updates On Crossing the Border

Updated on December 4th, 2020

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

Please be advised that you may experience longer border waits when crossing back into the US. US Customs and Border Protection has begun operating with fewer lanes during peak crossing hours and will be conducting more secondary inspections.

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?

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

I am an American citizen returning from Mexico. Will I be able 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

Baja California hotels are now permitted to open at 50% capacity.


Tijuana is in phase two of their economic plan to reactivate the economy.

Tijuana restaurants have received national recognition for their effective implementation of the "Mesa Segura" protocol - food safety and sanitization measures set forth by Mexican authorities.


Rosarito hotels and restaurants are open at 50% capacity. Masks are strongly encouraged in public.

Beaches are open Monday - Sunday from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm for the following activities: walking and running, swimming, and surfing.


Due to the surge in COVID cases, the mayor stated it is likely he will implement another curfew and begin conducting random checkpoints throughout the city. Additional details have not yet been announced.

Restaurants and bars, casinos, gyms, and movie theaters are open with limited capacity..

Check out the restaurants and hotels that are certified by the Clean & Safe protocol.

Beaches are open at 50% capacity. The recreational hours are from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm and for sporting activities, the hours are 6:00 am to 9:00 pm.

Guadalupe Wine Valley

Up to 90% of the wineries are back open at 50% capacity indoors. Check out the wineries, hotels, and restaurants that are certified by the Clean & Safe protocol.

Mexicali Municipality

On October 28th, Mexicali will begin setting up sanitary filters at the border and throughout the city to verify travelers are there for essential reasons.

Restaurants in Mexicali and San Felipe are open at 50% capacity.

Baja California Sur
Looking to see which establishments have complied with the sanitary protocols and are permitted to open? Check out the approved businesses here on the Baja California Sur government's official website. Simply choose the locality and type of business you're looking for.

Did your FMM expire while you were waiting things out in Baja California Sur? If so, you can get a new one at the Mexican Immigration offices. Just bring your passport and your expired FMM. Many offices have limited hours from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm; it is recommended to arrive as early as possible.


Loreto has begun its reopening plan. Hotels and restaurants are open at 30% capacity. Aquatic and land tourism is back open. Masks are required in public.

The following restrictions are in place:

  • Alcoholic beverages may be sold between the hours of 10am and 6pm. Hotels can sell alcoholic beverages during their normal hours of operation for guests only. Reunions and parties are not permitted.
  • Beaches are open from 8:00 am to 7:30 pm
  • Parks and recreational areas are only open for physical activity and bicycles.
  • The boardwalk is open to individuals for physical activity; cars may drive along the boardwalk but may not be parked.

La Paz Municipality

All commercial activity is allowed to resume in La Paz.

Beaches and the boardwalk are back open at 30% capacity! Masks are required.

  • Physical activity is permitted from 6am to 10am and then from 5pm to 8pm at the beaches off the boardwalk, El Caimancito, La Concha and El Coromuel.
  • Balandra, EL Tecolote, Pichilingue and El Comitán are open from 11am to 8pm for recreation.

Los Cabos

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


Puerto Peñasco aka Rocky Point

Puerto Peñasco aka Rocky Point is allowing visitors, although there are restrictions. For more detailed information, check out the Entry Protocol for Tourists.

Federal Register
Department of Homeland Security
Gobierno de México