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So you had a great time in San Felipe Mexico and it’s time to head back to the U.S. – What you’ll need.

In my last posting on traveling to San Felipe Mexico from the U.S., we covered Mexican travel documents for your trip to San Felipe – I recommend you read the post, if you haven’t already to learn about the reality of these travel documents. We shall now review travel documents you will need for your return journey to the U.S.

Because there are more people trying to enter the U.S. from Mexico, as opposed to vice versa, you know already that getting into the U.S. is stricter than getting into Mexico. The good old days where you could drive to the Mexico – U.S. border, show your drivers license and proclaim your U.S. citizenships are long gone. Not to worry though, there are a whole host of acceptable documents to the U.S. Customer and Border Protection folks who check the docs of every traveler coming into the U.S.. Basically, the documents presented was be one that is acceptable under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) The goal of WHTI is to facilitate entry for U.S. citizens and other lawful residents and visitors while maintaining border security.

U.S. PASSPORT

For U.S. citizens, the U.S. passport is the first and easiest document that usually comes to mind of travelers wishing to enter the U.S. from Mexico. Easiest because this is one document that works not just for crossing from Mexico into the U.S., but this travel document can be used for arriving in the U.S. from any country around the world. New U.S. passports costs $140 plus a processing fee of $25. You should read about the Passport Card below before deciding if this is the best option for you as there are cheaper options.

If you have a U.S. passport – Great, you are covered. But if you don’t have a U.S. passport, ordering a one right before your trip to San Felipe may not work due to the passport processing times which can last weeks. If you are in this category, don’t despair, you can continue with your San Felipe vacation plans as there are other options.

Unites States Passport

Unites States Passport

U.S. PASSPORT CARD

The next best option is the U.S. Passport Card. This one is my favorite. I like the U.S. passport card because it is the size of credit card and thus fits conveniently into wallets. First-time applicants pay $55, while renewal costs $30. For Minors cost is $40. Very important – note that the U.S. Passport Card is for land travel only. So if you are planning to fly to San Felipe, instead of the Card, you will need your Passport. Passport Cards are cheaper than the U.S. Passport as well as more durable, so get this one if it meets your needs.

U.S. Passport Card

U.S. Passport Card

ENHANCED DRIVER’S LICENSE

If you are a U.S. citizen and live in either Michigan, New York, Vermont or Washington State, you can apply for an Enhanced Driver’s License from your DMV. Enhanced Driver’s License also double as a you citizenship identifier and are thus acceptable U.S. border crossing documents.

TRUSTED TRAVELER PROGRAMS

The trusted traveler programs has two types; NEXUS and SENTRI. Nexus is for frequent travelers between U.S. and Canada, while SENTRI is for travelers who frequently cross the U.S. – Mexico border. The advantage of these programs is that you get to use the express lane when crossing the border. Both programs arose out of the complains by frequent border crosser and the time spent trying to cross into the U.S. Qualifying for the Nexus traveler program requires the applicant submitting himself for more advanced screening and therefore takes a little longer to obtain. Most vacationers to San Felipe will not fall in this category

LAWFUL PERMANENT RESIDENTS

The above examples have gone over documents needed by U.S. citizens. Having a U.S. green card shows you are a lawful resident of the United States and is acceptable for border crossing. When presenting a Green Card, you do not need to present this in conjunction with a passport.

There are many other permanent categories such has foreign workers with H1-B Visa, or students with F-1, etc, all these are sufficient for re-entry into the U.S.. As will all documents, your U.S. Visa and passport must be valid at the time you present your travel documents for re-entry into the U.S.

Should you have any other questions before embarking on your San Felipe vacation, do no hesitate to ask in the comments section. I will respond as soon as possible.