Passport Requirements for Los Algodones, Mexico
Over the years, the reasons for coming and going between Los Algodones in Baja California, Mexico
, and the United States
have changed drastically. It used to be merely a tourist destination or just a stop along the way further into Mexico, as this border crossing is only 10 miles away from the city of Yuma, Arizona. However, today, its importance has changed quite a bit due to the different laws in Mexico and the United States. Many cross the border to get cheap medicine without prescriptions or get cheap medical work done. Still, Los Algodones also has its attractions for tourist as well, as festivals are constantly held throughout the year. While the rules for medicine are lax in Los Algodones, the passport regulations have stayed as stiff as ever.
Americans and Mexicans Entering Los Algodones
It's very easy to say that most of the people entering or leaving Los Algodones are Americans coming in from Yuma or another city around Arizona, or Mexicans returning home from visiting somewhere in Arizona or working in the United States. For both nationalities, no passport is required for entry into Mexico until June 1, 2009. Before that date, the only documents needed for entry into the country are a valid government ID such as a driver's license and a proof of citizenship such as a birth certificate. After the laws change, a passport will be needed to cross the border for everyone.
Americans and Mexicans Departing Los Algodones
For many American tourists, Los Algodones is a day trip, something they do for a little bit of shopping. For many Mexicans, Los Algodones is a gateway into America. The American Customs Service has a reputation of being extremely strict and a bit brusque in its actions, so make sure that documents are in order when coming into America. The rules are pretty much the same as entering Mexico. A driver's license and birth certificate will do as identification until June 1, 2009. Then a passport will be necessary for crossing the border. Beyond that, Mexico and the United States have devised ways to make crossing easier for the constant travelers. The SENTRI system allows travelers to apply for pre-screening so their trip across the border will be expedited.
Los Algodones is a somewhat out of the way location for people coming to Mexico or America that aren't Mexican or American. Still, the area's excellent festivals are reason to come. Los Algodones is best served for international travel by the United States. It is a short drive away from major metropolitan areas such as Phoenix, Los Angeles and San Diego. Also, Yuma has an airport with connections to hubs like Dallas, Phoenix and Los Angeles. International travelers will have to follow the rules of both the US and Mexico. Both countries allow citizens from the EU, Oceania and other North and South American countries to enter their borders without visas, though they will need a passport. The maximum length of stay in each country is 90 days.
Vincent Runyon is a writer working out of Portland, Ore. His work has been featured in "The Oregon Voice" and "Portland Monthly." Runyon received two bachelor's degrees from the University of Oregon. His greatest passions are traveling to new and different places and enjoying a good basketball game. Usually the two are mutually exclusive.