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Crossing CBX and immigration

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This is a warning to residents flying to Tijuana and entering the U.S. via the CBX.  I recently flew to Tijuana and crossed to the U.S. via the Cross Border Express (CBX) to catch a cruise ship out of San Diego.  Before entering the CBX in the luggage claim area of the Tijuana airport I went to the INM desk there to turn in my FMM form as a permanent resident exiting Mexico.  I was told that I could not do that there and in order to turn in the form I had to exit the Tijuana airport and go to a land crossing at Otay or San Ysidro.  The gentleman at the entrance to the CBX told me it was not necessary for residents to "check out" of Mexico with the INM form . . . if they were also returning via the CBX.  As my cruise ended in Fort Lauderdale I would reentering Mexico via Mexico City.  As I had already paid for the CBX as well as a shuttle on the U.S. side and I was under a time constraint to be at the ship at a certain time, I decided to enter the U.S. via the CBX and deal with the consequences of not "checking out" of Mexico after my return.  I still have to talk to a lawyer about that situation so as to not jeopardize my permanente status.

I was quite surprised that there was no way to go through the proper procedure with INM at the Tijuana airport.  I had researched a lot about the CBX beforehand but never came across any information regarding this.  It never occurred to me I couldn't hand in my FMM form before entering the CBX.  So this is just a warning to those who might plan to do like I did . . . exit Mexico via the CBX but reenter through another point.  

Edited by bdlngton
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I had a friend that walked across the bridge and INM didn't want his form.  When he returned the same way, no consequences as no one wanted his form on his return either.

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I have used CBX with my RP card. You talked to the INM officials in the TJ baggage claim área. Those guy are generally there to monitor foreigners in Mexico without legal immigration documents, not to hand out FMM cards to legal residents leaving Mexico and think you still have to leave the airport and probably don´t care about the CBX. If you had taken the CBX entrance from the baggage área, bought a ticket for the CBX and walked 50 feet in the opposite direction to where you are - now you have technically left Mexico not when you are still in the TJ airport - and followed the sign to Mexico there are 2 INM desks. There with your CBX ticket, your boarding pass from a national flight,  your passport, your INM resident card they will give you a FMM card to fll out and take it. You then about turn and go back to the CBX entrance área and follow the to USA signs and leave Mexico. When returning to Mexico hand INM the larger top portion filled out with your entry info.

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13 hours ago, Yo1 said:

I had a friend that walked across the bridge and INM didn't want his form.  When he returned the same way, no consequences as no one wanted his form on his return either.

Yes, I believe I said that I was told that it you leave and return by the CBX you don't have to follow the normal procedure of checking out and checking back in through INM.

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11 hours ago, AlanMexicali said:

I have used CBX with my RP card. You talked to the INM officials in the TJ baggage claim área. Those guy are generally there to monitor foreigners in Mexico without legal immigration documents, not to hand out FMM cards to legal residents leaving Mexico and think you still have to leave the airport and probably don´t care about the CBX. If you had taken the CBX entrance from the baggage área, bought a ticket for the CBX and walked 50 feet in the opposite direction to where you are - now you have technically left Mexico not when you are still in the TJ airport - and followed the sign to Mexico there are 2 INM desks. There with your CBX ticket, your boarding pass from a national flight,  your passport, your INM resident card they will give you a FMM card to fll out and take it. You then about turn and go back to the CBX entrance área and follow the to USA signs and leave Mexico. When returning to Mexico hand INM the larger top portion filled out with your entry info.

I'm not sure I understand what you are saying.  I had the FMM form filled out in hand.  I asked where immigration was and was directed to the opposite end of the baggage area from the CBX entrance.  That was where I had entered the baggage area originally.  The official there asked if I was a US citizen when I entered.  There was a podium there with the INM seal.  That gentleman was the official I returned to in order to turn in my FMM  form.  He is the one who told me I had to leave the airport and go to either the Otay or San Ysidro land crossing to do that.  I stood by podium for awhile and another INM official approached me and told me the same thing...leave the airport and go to one of the land crossings, that they did not take the FMM there at the airport.

So are you saying I should have left the baggage area and walked out into the airport itself where I would have found another INM desk that would have received my FMM form?  It seems odd that the INM officers in the baggage area would not have told me that rather than directing me to a land crossing.  One would believe they would know that.   I'd like to understand what you are saying for future reference.  Would you be so kind as to clarify, please, where the INM desk that does receive the FMM form?

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No don´t exit the baggage claim área into the lobby of the TJ airport and see those INM officials at the kiosk because they will not take your FMM cad and will tell you only at the border willl they take it. I enter from the TJ baggage claim área the CBX área, get my ticket for the CBX at the CBX counter about face walk 50 feet following the "To Mexico" sign where there are 2 INM desks for people using the CBX to enter Mexico from the.US. Then I about face walk 50 feet back to the CBX entrance área from the TJ airport baggage claim area and follow the sign "To USA" by giving my CBX ticket to the security at the entrance to the CBX.

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16 hours ago, AlanMexicali said:

No don´t exit the baggage claim área into the lobby of the TJ airport and see those INM officials at the kiosk because they will not take your FMM cad and will tell you only at the border willl they take it. I enter from the TJ baggage claim área the CBX área, get my ticket for the CBX at the CBX counter about face walk 50 feet following the "To Mexico" sign where there are 2 INM desks for people using the CBX to enter Mexico from the.US. Then I about face walk 50 feet back to the CBX entrance área from the TJ airport baggage claim area and follow the sign "To USA" by giving my CBX ticket to the security at the entrance to the CBX.

That sounds like what I did but they refused to take the FMM form and told me I had to go to Otay or San Ysidro land crossing to do that.  Beats me . . .

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Sorry I’m late to the convo.  I find that I often get conflicting information from officials depending on the individual official or which border crossing.  

Anyway, I will be using the CBX tomorrow.  Here’s  my plan.  I will cross to San Diego without the FMM.  When I come back to the Tijuana airport, I will have a friend drive me from San Diego.  So I won’t even have to deal with Mexican Immigration.  I realize I’m not supposed to do that.  But there’s know way they would know I even left the country.  Make sense?

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Do you not get your US Passport stamped when you go and come?

 

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About 3 years ago, I crossed using the CBX at Tijuana for the first time.  What others have said is exactly what happened to me: got my baggage at baggage claim, walked back a few feet and got my CBX ticket, and walked across the bridge, showing my USA passport to the INM desk on the bridge.  Because it was my first time using the CBX, a USA government employee actually took me across the bridge, asked if I wanted to see how to get back into the bridge on my return trip to Mexico, walked me through the whole process, showed me every detail, and walked me to the door, where my friend was waiting to pick me up.

I was amazed by the extraordinary service I received--without asking, just as a favor--from the USA government.  

Bdlington, I'm sorry your experience was less than excellent.  That guy you talked to didn't know what he was talking about and caused you a bunch of problems.  

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RickS,

At other points of entry US Immigration  doesn’t stamp my passport.  I’m a US citizen.  They have never stamped my passport entering the US.

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On 6/7/2018 at 11:50 PM, bdlngton said:

I decided to enter the U.S. via the CBX and deal with the consequences of not "checking out" of Mexico after my return.  I still have to talk to a lawyer about that situation so as to not jeopardize my permanente status.

I don't think you can jeopardize your permanente status simply by not "checking out", in fact some permanentes who drive back and forth to the US don't even bother to check out. The way you jeopardize your status is by reentering Mexico and checking the "tourist" box on the FMM, or not making sure that the INM officer understands that you are not  tourist, but a resident. 

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We have never checked in or out of Mexico, and simply cross the border. If asked, we have our Residente Permanente cards with us at all times, and are prepared to show them. Our passports have no stamps, and never have had any for Mexico.

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On 6/4/2019 at 6:59 AM, MDB said:

RickS,

At other points of entry US Immigration  doesn’t stamp my passport.  I’m a US citizen.  They have never stamped my passport entering the US.

MDB said, " So I won’t even have to deal with Mexican Immigration.  I realize I’m not supposed to do that.  But there’s know (sic) way they would know I even left the country."

My question of 'do you not get your US Passport stamped...' was in reference to dealing with the Mexican authorities, not US Customs folks. And, no, the US doesn't stamp my passport either.... although they surely want to see it!....but Mexico surely does as I am 'checking in or out'. 

YMMV

 

 

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The US runs your passport through an electronic reader.  They have a record of your comings and goings but it's not evident by your passport. 

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I would think that the Méxican officials are also tracking the time spent out of the country, as this is a criteria used in determining eligibility for citizenship.  Or, perhaps they just take your word that you haven't been out of the country more than 180 days in the 2 years prior to applying for citizenship?  That would be concerning.  Not unbelievable, but concerning.

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If you are planning to become naturalized, it is up to you to keep track of your entries and exits from Mexico, and to retain evidence in the form of tickets, receipts, passport stamps, etc.  SRE will probably check those details to be sure that you meet their requirements.

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For citizenship, the authorities absolutely do not take the applicant's word for time in and out of Mexico. One must submit a photocopy of each page of passport  (or passports, if one had a renewal during the last two years) showing all Entry and Exit stamps for the last two years. Then INM returns with a printout of their records. Then the applicant matches (they won't) the three docs: passport stamps, actual proven trips, and INM FMM records, swears to the corrections, and that document gets submitted. In my case, sometimes there was an INM record and no passport stamp (or vice versa) for either direction. The noted time out cannot add up to 180 days in the last two years: their form has a spot for each trip (exit, reentry, days out) and your total shows at the bottom.

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If one has a travel letter it is very difficult at Tijuana to obtain the necessary stamp when you leave Mexico and when you return. But it is a must. If not your visa process will be cancelled.

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On 8/28/2019 at 1:13 PM, RVGRINGO said:

If you are planning to become naturalized, it is up to you to keep track of your entries and exits from Mexico, and to retain evidence in the form of tickets, receipts, passport stamps, etc.  SRE will probably check those details to be sure that you meet their requirements.

Not true. They do not ask for receipts, tickets, nor even see your passport at the time one requests time out of country for the purpose of applying for citizenship. Nor is this a role of SRE.

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No, they won't ask for those things, but it is up to you to be able to list your exits and returns. They will check the details and add up the time out of country, confirming that with any existing FMMs and passport stamps, etc.

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2 hours ago, RVGRINGO said:

No, they won't ask for those things, but it is up to you to be able to list your exits and returns. They will check the details and add up the time out of country, confirming that with any existing FMMs and passport stamps, etc.

Not true. The first step in citizenship is asking INM for a letter which  includes history of visas and time out of country in past 2 years. INM does that without looking at your passport, FMM's are any other documents one has. They do not even have your passport. The letter is generated in Mexico City. And on a side note INM in Mexico City has not processed such a letter in 4 months since the person who does the letter died.  I have processed several of these letters. 

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On 9/1/2019 at 5:36 AM, Sonia said:

Not true. They do not ask for receipts, tickets, nor even see your passport at the time one requests time out of country for the purpose of applying for citizenship. Nor is this a role of SRE.

SRE 100% requires 2 color copies of every page of your passport, and to see the original with your application for nationalization by residence or marriage

  • 5. Present original and two photocopies of all the pages of the foreign passport or, where appropriate, of the valid identity and travel document;
  • 6. Present a letter, under protest of telling the truth, clearly stating the number of departures and entrances you have made to and from the country within two years prior to the submission of the application, for the computation of absences, referred to in article 21 of the Nationality Law, (accompany two photocopies);

https://sre.gob.mx/carta-de-naturalizacion-por-residencia

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On 9/2/2019 at 10:46 AM, Mostlylost said:

SRE 100% requires 2 color copies of every page of your passport, and to see the original with your application for nationalization by residence or marriage

  • 5. Present original and two photocopies of all the pages of the foreign passport or, where appropriate, of the valid identity and travel document;
  • 6. Present a letter, under protest of telling the truth, clearly stating the number of departures and entrances you have made to and from the country within two years prior to the submission of the application, for the computation of absences, referred to in article 21 of the Nationality Law, (accompany two photocopies);

https://sre.gob.mx/carta-de-naturalizacion-por-residencia

Obviously you missed the point when I stated i response to: "but it is up to you to be able to list your exits and returns. They will check the details and add up the time out of country, confirming that with any existing FMMs and passport stamps, etc."  You do not provide that to INM!!!!! And SRE accepts what INM provides. Does SRE ask for copies of course. 

I have processed several citizenships. 

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I’m hoping someone can answer the following: I have a permanent resident visa that has NOT been activated, in other words I have NOT entered Mexico using my permanent resident visa - which expires soon. I plan to enter in a few days at Otay Mesa / Tijuana airport and use the CBX bridge to enter Mexico. My Question - Does the Otay Mess / TJ passport control stamp and activate my visa? I know once activated and in Mexico I need to go the immigration office to continue the Permanent Visa process - but I’m concerned that passport control in Otay / TJ won’t properly stamp my entry into Mexico. I’ve gone through the airport before without mexican passport control even looking at my passport. Anyone have info on this? Thx/DA 

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