US to Mexico: Tijuana Crossing

1.) Fill out the paperwork at customs (Aduana) for the Toruist Card (FMT Card)
2.) Pay for the FMT Card at the Bank. (20 USD)
3.) Return to the Aduana with receipt to get stamp on FMT Card.
4.) Make copies of Passport, Vehicle Title, and FMT Card.
5.) Pay fee for Vehicle Import Fee and Vehicle Import Deposit at Bank (Banjercito).  (50 USD for Vehicle Import Fee, just under 400 USD for Deposit which was returned once leaving Mexico)
6.) Apply sticker to top right hand part of windshield, next to your rear view mirror.

 

I crossed at the San Ysidro crossing, which is the busiest crossing in the world.  Don’t get overwhelmed, I have crossed going both north and south, and while not always fun, it is certainly do-able.  Before crossing I stopped at the San Ysidro exit just before the border to get Mexican Insurance, you can take care of this on your own elsewhere, probably a bit cheaper, but this is fast and convenient.  Since I have zero faith in ever getting any help if there is a problem, I went with the cheapest I could get, and received coverage for a year as it was virtually the same price as something like 1 or  months coverage.  I Then jumped back on the 5-South and continued towards the gates of hell as the media would say.  When arriving at the border stay towards the right park in the section for declaring items (The sign says Buses/Declaration Lane).  Walk over to the Aduana (Customs) to begin your process of obtaining an FMT Card (Tourist Card).  This is needed if you plan on leaving the free trade zone, and you will certainly want to go farther than that if you want a true taste of Baja.  Take your paper work 50 feet to the left to the bank, and pay for your FMT card, and then return to the aduana to complete the process.  Once that is complete you need to get an inspector to take a look at your stuff, you will see everyone in a line declaring items.  once approved you can drive out into Tijuana   Now, you are legally in Mexico, but you vehicle is not.  I also imported my car into Mexico in Tijuana, some people are wusses and do it elsewhere, I think it is easier and more convenient to do it here.  This also avoids any problems with cops or crossing from Norte Baja to Sur Baja as I was charged a penalty the 1st trip, though that seems questionable from what I have read.  Eitherway, this is done over at the banjercito.  I was told it was just a few blocks away.  You can either walk, which I think you need your passport to return to this area where you parked for the Aduana so bring it with you, or you can drive over as I did.  Walking is probably easier, I feel like I got lucky in finding it the first try as there was a fair amount of traffic and madness going on at the traffic cirlce.  The bancinerto is on the street just behind the McDonalds, you can pull right into the walled structure so you don’t need to park on the mean streets of Tijuana.  I parked on the streets, cause I am badass, plus I didnt realize there was a secure lot.  Go in, pay some dude 2 bucks to photocopy your stuff.  He then directed me over to the bank to pay the import fees and collect my sticker.  Fill out some paper work and pay your fees.  Once your car is imported you are good to go for 180 days of Mexican madness!  You must return your FMT Card and Sticker when you finally leave Mexico either to return to the US, or enter Belize or Guatemala in order to get your deposit back, which is heft if paying with a credit card (400ish USD) for deposit.  You can re-enter the US and no one will ask for it at this crossing, so its up to you.  I do not know about Belize or Guatemala as the last trip was such a failure and I didn’t even make it that far haha.  Once you are ready to drive again you will need to have them “Inspect” your vehicle, which consists of them poking and prodding a few things and deciding its not worth looking through all your crap since no one has ever smuggled guns into Mexico unless they are an American President.  You are then officially in Mexico, congrats!  Eat as many fish tacos as you can, no matter how many you eat you will regret not eating more once you are out of Mexico.
Banjercito GPS Coordinates according to Liferemotely and Google Earth:
32°32’24.19″N 117° 1’54.76″W