Sign at Otay Mesa crossing
  • Sign at Otay Mesa crossing
  • (El Mexicano photo)
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Beginning on November 1, U.S. citizens planning to stay for more than seven days in Mexico must pay a $23.50 entry fee if crossing at the Otay Mesa port of entry, according to multiple accounts in Baja newspapers.

The 306 peso fee applies only to foreigners who plan to stay more than 7 days but less than 180 days. For tourists staying longer than 180 days, other visas are available from the Mexican government. For those staying less than seven days, no visa is required.

It remained unclear exactly what effect the new rule would have on the estimated 300,000 U.S. citizens currently living in Baja California.

The program will be tested at Otay Mesa, then expanded to all border crossings along the northern border, authorities said. The entry lines in Otay have already been marked to identify them.

“This is more of a security measure,” an unidentified Mexican customs agent told El Mexicano. “It's like saying to visitors: 'We don't want to bother you and we aren't going to block your passage but we want to know who you are and where you are going.'”

For Americans who want to reside in Mexico on a permanent basis, there are other types of permissions available from Mexican consulates.

Immigration officials emphasized that Americans who plan to come to Mexico for a few hours, overnight, or for the weekend would not be affected by the new rule.

There was no indication of when the program would be expanded to other border crossings in Baja California.

UPDATE 11/19 6:50 a.m.

On November 18, Mexican authorities discontinued the requirements for crossing at Otay Mesa due to protests among business and political leaders.

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Comments

dwbat Nov. 15, 2014 @ 3:30 p.m.

I wouldn't spend 10 minutes across the border, let alone days or weeks! There's no good reason to go there.

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Visduh Nov. 15, 2014 @ 4:17 p.m.

Hear, hear. Oh, and this is a "security measure?" A security check might warrant a fee of $5. No, they want the revenue. Just like any government, they'll legally pick your pocket whenever/wherever the opportunity exists. Just one more reason to avoid visiting Mexico.

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AlexClarke Nov. 16, 2014 @ 6:12 a.m.

If you want to go to "Mexico" and don't want to cross the border just go to San Y Skidrow (San Ysidro)

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matashari Nov. 17, 2014 @ 12:40 p.m.

DWBAT...Dude, as a writer for The Reader, have you not read any of the fantastic articles the mag has been printing about the amazing things you can see, eat and do south of the border! Let me change your mind! La Sirena Sightseeing!

None

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shirleyberan Nov. 16, 2014 @ 9 a.m.

San Ysidro is our city in San Diego Alex. Don't be cockamamie. You cross the line.

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shirleyberan Nov. 16, 2014 @ 10:18 a.m.

I flagged but not on purpose. So forget it, I'm not your mother. San Diego belonged to Mexico between 1821-1850, Originally to Kumeyaay Indians. Border areas are now our responsibility under law. I love this town.

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MichaelValentine Nov. 16, 2014 @ 4:40 p.m.

Perhaps an exit fee, like Canada has, would be more appropriate. They could charge more too.

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jnojr Nov. 17, 2014 @ 10:14 a.m.

Can we charge Mexican citizens who come here to stay? Oh, no, that would be terrible and racist!

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