|Crossing the Border :
VEHICLE ENTRY INSPECTIONS:
Just like crossing into Mexico on foot, they employ the green-light,red-light system for random searches. When you cross into Mexico, there will often be a traffic-light signal for you to press (if on foot) or it'll activate when your car pulls through the lane.
- Green Light: We drive right on through
- Red Light: We pull over to the parking spaces in the center for inspection of the contents of the vehicle's contents
Returning to the U.S.
When we re-enter, you'll may be asked what you purchased - declare everything you are bringing back from Mexico.
Authorities have the right to search your vehicle. Don't give them a hard time.
All occupants in the vehicle must be able to prove U.S. Citizenship, or legal entry into the U.S. You are technically required to have proof of citizenship - and a US driver's license is NOT proof of citizenship. You should carry a U.S. passport, a birth certificate, or a voter's registration card -- as well as a photo ID, such as your driver's license.
Have receipts for any big ticket, high dollar items.
Liquor and smokes!
You are allowed to enter free of duty any purchases with a combined value of up $400 per 30 day time period. Every visitor over 21 years old may bring into the United States, duty-free, the following:
... and while we're on the subject of cigars , if U.S. Customs catches you with Cuban cigars, they're taking them. They might fine you. They're gonna yell at you, that's for sure. We hereby refer you to this site for some more info on the subject, lest we get into the specific details of how Cuban cigars are distinguished from non-Cuban cigars.
- 1 liter of wine or hard liquor
- 200 cigarettes, OR 100 cigars (but not from Cuba), OR 3 pounds of smoking tobacco
- $100 worth of gifts
It is becoming more and more popular for US Citizens to buy prescription drugs in Mexico as the prices are cheaper. Canada is another popular alternative source for prescription drugs.
As a rule, you need a U.S. prescription for any prescription drugs you pick up in Mexico , even though you probably won't have to use said prescription to buy the drugs. Certain limitations on quantity (usually a 3 month supply) may also apply.
Even though the rules and legislation on the prescription drug situation is changing pretty frequently, U.S. Customs agents are aware of the 'good' and the 'bad' drugs out there, and will strictly enforce the current law. If you're picking up Retin-A, it probably won't be a problem. If you've got a bunch of Valium or Viagra, expect to be asked for your U.S. prescription. As they say, 'US Customs reserves the right to use its judgment in allowing the transport of prescription drugs. '
For more info, the University of Arizona Department of Pediatrics, oddly enough, has a well-written writeup that covers some of the specifics on picking up prescriptions in Mexico, and the U.S. Customs website has more up-to-date details.
- Desert/Marine Wildlife or Plants
- Coral/Whale skeleton parts
- Pork products
- Avocados (with seeds/pits) or mangos
- Firearms - Weapons