What Do You Need to Cross Tijuana Border?

The border crossing between Tijuana and San Diego is one of the busiest areas in the world. As such, if you plan on crossing through it, the last thing you’ll want is to get delayed or, worst, stopped because of incomplete documents. For this reason, you may wonder what documents you need to cross the Tijuana border.

The two primary documents you need are a valid US passport, which can be in the form of a book or card, and an entry permit, also known as FMM, issued by the INM. In addition, if you’re bringing your car, you’ll need other documents such as a driver’s license, driving insurance, etc.

You will be stopped and denied entry if you do not have the essential documents when crossing the country border from San Diego to Tijuana. Therefore, you must always keep the documents to ensure a smooth and quick passage.

Without further ado, let’s get into it! 

What Do You Need to Cross Tijuana Border

Requirements When Crossing the Border By Walking

Walking is convenient for crossing the border since you’ll need fewer documents, and it can save you from the fees of insurance and other expenses. Read Can You Walk to Tijuana from San Diego?

If you’re walking across the border, you’ll need the following documents:

Valid Passport or Green Card

Since you’re entering Mexico and leaving the US, you’ll need your passport. You can use a valid Green Card if you don’t have one. However, we recommend using the passport since it’s better than the two.

In general, Mexico grants tourists 180 days’ worth of FMM visas. When crossing the border, your passport or green card should be valid for at least six months after your crossing date.

If you’re wondering if you can cross the border without this document, read Can You Cross Tijuana Border Without Passport?

FMM or the Mexico Travel Card

The other essential document is the FMM which stands for Forma Migratoria Multiple (Multiple Immigration Form). This document will serve as your travel visa, and every traveler needs such when visiting Tijuana and the rest of Mexico.

You must always keep your FMM with you since it’s what you’ll show any police or immigration officer if they stop you.

There are times when you can obtain your FMM before traveling to Mexico. Most people get them at the border, which is also an option. 

You can get this much quicker than a TVIP Mexico car permit, which only takes a few minutes. An FMM costs around 600 pesos, which is around 30 USD.

Other Things You May Need When Crossing Tijuana Border

The following things aren’t documents but are essential when crossing the Tijuana border on foot.


Cash is needed for transportation and possibly a visitor’s permit from FMM. In addition, you might buy some food, drinks, and souvenirs when you visit Tijuana.

Exchange dollars for pesos is highly recommended. Although some will say it is unnecessary, I disagree. The best deals in Tijuana can usually be found when paying with pesos instead of dollars.

Both sides of the border allow you to exchange money. Some currency exchange booths are located near the trolley station in San Ysidro. In downtown Tijuana, exchange booths are also available.

Alternatively, you can withdraw pesos from an ATM once you cross the border with your credit or debit card. Please notify your bank whenever you intend to use your credit card in Mexico. Alternatively, the bank might shut off your card if it is stolen.

Besides supermarkets, shopping centers, and hotels, you can pay with your credit card. Your card issuer doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees so you can use this option. 

It’s the best way to get a reasonable exchange rate. Credit cards protect you against fraud as well. Your card issuer may disable your card if you notify them before traveling.

Comfortable Footwear

Border areas are vast and dispersed. A distance of around three blocks separates the entrance from the exit of the border zone. So at the very minimum, you’ll be walking around a mile round trip.

The border is several miles away from downtown Tijuana. It is easy to walk around the tourist zones in Tijuana. You’ll want to stroll through these areas. A comfortable pair of shoes is essential.

Travel Insurance

Likely, your U.S. medical insurance will not cover you if you have an accident while visiting Tijuana. So if you don’t want to risk going uninsured, you have to weigh your options.

Travel insurance is a necessity for most travelers leaving the country. In this way, they are protected in case of injury, robbery, or a medical emergency. In addition, in case of an emergency, they have peace of mind with travel insurance.

Requirements When Crossing the Border By Car

If you’re crossing the border by car, you’ll need more than a passport and an FMM. Here are the following documents you’ll need:

Valid Passport or Green Card

Whether walking or driving your car, you’ll need a valid passport or passport card when driving into Mexico across the border. If you don’t have a passport, your green card may do, but it’s still best to opt for the former.

Mexico Driving Insurance

Since you’re bringing your car to another country, chances are your driving insurance doesn’t include out-of-country travel. For this reason, entry across the border requires Mexico Driving Insurance. 

Driver’s License

You can legally drive into Mexico with a valid US driver’s license. Like your passport or green card, your driver’s license should also be valid for at least another six months.

Vehicle Registration

Upon crossing the border, you must show your valid car registration paperwork. Driving into Mexico is only allowed if you have this or if it has expired.

Temporary Vehicle Importation Permit

When crossing the border or well ahead of your trip to Mexico, you can get your Temporary Vehicle Importation Permit (TVIP).

The best way to save time at the border, where there can be long wait times, is to get one in advance. For example, a TVIP Mexican vehicle permit must be applied for at least seven days before you plan to go to Mexico, but you can apply 60 days ahead of time.

FMM or the Mexico Travel Card

Another essential document is the FMM, or Forma Migratoria Multiple (Multiple Immigration Form). This document will be your travel visa if you visit Tijuana or other parts of Mexico.

If bringing a car is a hassle, you can always leave it at the border and walk across. To know more, read Can You Park and Walk into Tijuana?


As long as you have the documents listed above, you can drive or walk through the border crossing into Tijuana and enjoy what Mexico has to offer. Also, having the other essential things mentioned above will help you have a convenient time in Mexico until you return from your trip.

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