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Author: Subject: Re-entry to the USA Without Passports?
ElCazadorAZ
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[*] posted on 3-20-2017 at 05:40 PM
Re-entry to the USA Without Passports?


Friends headed to Rocky point without passports passport cards, nor "enhanced" driver's licenses. Can you still re-enter the USA by auto from Mexico without a valid passport?
Spent an hour on Google and down the rabbit hole at the State Dept website without a definitive answer.
Thanks for your recent experience.

[Edited on 3-21-2017 by ElCazadorAZ]




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[*] posted on 3-20-2017 at 05:52 PM


I'm sure they will be OK returning to the USA....maybe get sent to secondary for verification.

If they don't have a passport or a passport card, how will they get their FMM?????.....not a good time to be in Mexico illegally
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[*] posted on 3-20-2017 at 05:55 PM


A couple of years ago, June 2014 I believe, a couple guys with us didn't have them. We made 'em walk across ahead of us driving in case there was any issues. Took them like 5 minutes to get thru, spent an hour and a half waiting on us driving thru.

I've thought about just handing over my DL one of these trips just to see what happens but haven't done it yet.

As always YMMV.
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ElCazadorAZ
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[*] posted on 3-20-2017 at 06:00 PM


Quote: Originally posted by bajaguy  

If they don't have a passport or a passport card, how will they get their FMM?????.....not a good time to be in Mexico illegally


Saw an article recently that said that 61% of USA citizens are in Mexico illegally...
They're just headed to Puerto Penasco. An FMM is required to go there?
Thanks for the replies.




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[*] posted on 3-20-2017 at 06:07 PM


Required as soon as they cross the border.

Really irrelevant regarding the 61% if your friends have a problem and don't have the FMM


Quote: Originally posted by ElCazadorAZ  
Quote: Originally posted by bajaguy  

If they don't have a passport or a passport card, how will they get their FMM?????.....not a good time to be in Mexico illegally


Saw an article recently that said that 61% of USA citizens are in Mexico illegally...
They're just headed to Puerto Penasco. An FMM is required to go there?
Thanks for the replies.
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[*] posted on 3-20-2017 at 06:31 PM


While they want you to have a passport to enter the US they will still let you in with just a driver license. My grandson did it a couple of months ago. At some point they probably will start getting tougher.

The question about getting an FMM tourist visa is another story.
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[*] posted on 3-20-2017 at 06:38 PM


The passport is for Mexico more than for coming home. They won't issue a tourist card without it. Yes, anywhere in Mexico requires it. No, they don't stop every car and tell you that when entering Mexico.



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[*] posted on 3-20-2017 at 08:26 PM


A few years ago after parking our truck in Tecate and getting on our bikes I realized at the first taco stand I had left my passport on the seat of the truck (I still had a valid 180 day FMM). Rather than go back we elected to finish our trip. I presented my DL crossing back into the USA. I was asked if I had a passport and explained it was sitting in my truck a 1/4 mile away. It was strongly suggested I remember it next time and then I was sent on my way north.

As a US citizen you cannot be denied entry to the USA. How long it takes for the agent to accept and/or verify that you are a citizen is anybody's guess.
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[*] posted on 3-20-2017 at 08:37 PM


if your friends have their birth certificate, that would probably make their return a breeze.

But I do agree with what was said above: rush order the passport so that they can get their documents to legally be in Mexico.




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[*] posted on 3-20-2017 at 11:26 PM


I just crossed with one person in the car only having a drivers license and they didn't question it all. Just verified the address on the DL card matched what she answered and we were through.

My friend though crosses a decent amount and they just yell at him or call him an idiot for not knowing about the passport situation then let him through. He knows, just doesn't want to pay for a new one after he lost his.
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[*] posted on 3-21-2017 at 05:47 AM


Quote: Originally posted by LukeJobbins  

My friend though crosses a decent amount and they just yell at him or call him an idiot for not knowing about the passport situation then let him through.


Extreme vetting! :lol::lol:




[Edited on 3-22-2017 by BajaNomad]
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[*] posted on 3-21-2017 at 06:51 AM


My 2 cents here - travellers are completely illegal in Mexico w/o FMM and passport. Travel at your own risk. However my understanding is that re-entry to the USA will not be denied to a citizen returning to the country regardless of whether or not a passport is presented. If they are not citizens, well who knows?
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[*] posted on 3-21-2017 at 02:57 PM


I emailed US Customs and they replied:

A United States citizen traveling back to the U.S. by land cannot be denied entry to the U.S. The U.S. will not refuse entry to a U.S. citizen; even one without a passport or other valid travel document. However, U.S. citizens without valid travel documents could be delayed at the port of entry until a CBP officer can determine their admissibility. At the very least, travelers are advised to bring their valid driver's license and birth certificate to assist in expediting reentry to the U.S.

For more information on legally compliant documents, please see
https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/74




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[*] posted on 3-21-2017 at 03:05 PM


I had my passport stolen in Acapulco and flew back to Tijuana, then crossed by foot at Otay Mesa. The CBP agent grilled me more than usual and insinuated I was an idiot but ultimately waived me back in. Not a fun way to end a vacation. I agree that it's not a good time to be in Mexico without a tourist visa; that's the bigger issue.
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[*] posted on 3-23-2017 at 06:26 AM


Quote: Originally posted by JoeJustJoe  
The Goat needs to fix his quote, because part of his quote got deleted, the whole thread is unreadable


The Goat needs to fix a lot of things.




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[*] posted on 3-23-2017 at 12:10 PM


There should be a sticky on these types of threads, because this question about re-entry from Mexico, back to the US, with or without a passport, comes up all the time, and the question, about if you need a FMM ( Mexican tourist card) is now starting to come up a lot too.

The answers are also predictable, with a few saying, yes absolutely you need a passport to re-enter the US, and you better go get a passport, before you even try.

Others, will say, yes you need a passport, but if you are a US citizen, you can't be denied entry back to the USA, but if you don't have a passport you will be sent to secondary, and you could spend hours in secondary.

Others will say, you also need a passport to get into Mexico, and you will need to get a Mexican tourist card anytime you go to Mexico, including day trips over the border.

Then there are a few enlightened ones like JoeJustJoe, that say, yes it's the letter of the law that you need a passport to go to Mexico, and back in the US, and the FMM card is also required for trips to Mexico, including short day trips, But, and this is big.


There are hundreds if not more Americans, mostly Mexican-Americans, that visit Mexico's border cites like Tijuana, everyday without a passport, and they are armed with only a driver's Licence, and birth certificate, and they have no trouble driving into Mexico, and back to the USA. No there are not sent to secondary, and rarely do US Customs officials tell them anything about the US Passport requirements.


Who bothers to get an FMM card for a day trip to Mexico? Maybe, If i'm walking in Tijuana, and the Mexican officials fill out an FMM for me, then I'll carry if around.

In fact a few trips to Tijuana, I was asked how long am I going to stay, I told them one day, and they waved me right through without the bother of filling out an FMM form.

In Mexico like all places in the world, there is the LAW, and there is a PRACTICE. Many US citizens, can't afford passports for all family members over a certain age, and some can't get a passport for other legal reasons.







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[*] posted on 3-23-2017 at 01:34 PM


All true Joe...
What we on Nomad should do is inform on what is the law and what is enforced... then let the reader decide.


I know from family members that Americans can come back to America without a passport... and there was no extra questioning or trip to secondary. Maybe it's attitude, or that some of us look and talk like Americans? Having a passport just makes the border process a guaranteed success and complies with the government request. Obviously, to make the border officer's job happen quicker without guessing. None of us want's terrorists easily entering America.

I also know that they do not stop every car driving into Mexico and tell them to get an FMM. Also, that you can spend weeks in Baja and never get asked to provide the FMM. Does that mean you don't need to have it to comply with laws? No.
I have never been asked for my driver's license during trips... does that mean I don't have to have one?

I want as many reading this forum to know that a trip to Baja is a fantastic experience and not a horror story possibility like the media and friends tell us going to Mexico is.

I also want people to know the reality of having (or not having) passports and FMMs. Yes, you can have a trip without either (if you aren't pulled over at the border) and yes, you may be asked for it later and fined for not having an FMM, as our friends have (edm1 at Guerrero Negro, July 2011, US$100).




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3-24-2017 at 09:27 AM
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[*] posted on 3-24-2017 at 01:56 PM


Regarding entry to Mx without an FMM. A sad story once one enters into the justice system. The result of one case I know of the simple appearance in court resulted in deportation and the court process was terminated. It was several years before the guy dared to return.
The question is what if you get in an accident and the cop asks for your papers? What he will want is see is your registration, Drivers licence, and FMM.
Your experience probably will be difdferent/
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[*] posted on 3-24-2017 at 02:01 PM


Forgot my passport heading north once and the Border Customs guy said here is a pamphlet of what is required. And I showed him my drivers license and he waved us thru.
The pamphlet included a list which drivers licensees have RFID and are legal for reentry to the US. My license was not on the list but was still accepted.
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[*] posted on 3-24-2017 at 02:07 PM


Do the police have any enforcement authority over immigration status?

Baja Bound has already dispelled the rumors that Mexican auto insurance is nullified by the lack of a tourist card. Not an excuse for not getting one, we are already clear that we are supposed to have one. Let's just base information on facts.

Has anyone here been asked to show their tourist card by anyone other than INM officers, as they once did near Guerrero Negro?




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