U.S. Embassy to Enhance Services with Border Crossing Cards for Mexican Visitors.
MEXICO CITY – Beginning October 29, the Visa Units of the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City and the U.S. Consulate General in Merida will join the other U.S. visa issuing offices around the country by issuing Border Crossing Cards (BCCs) to applicants who qualify for 10-year, non-immigrant visas for tourists and business travelers known as a “B1/B2 visa.” The BCC is a credit card-style document with new security features and business and tourist travels will no longer receive a visa attached inside their passport. All current visas will remain valid and travelers do not need to apply for the new Border Crossing Card visa until their existing visa is due to expire. There is no additional charge for the Border Crossing Card and travelers will continue to pay the $160 application fee currently in effect. Travelers will need to travel with both a valid passport and the Border Crossing Card.
Border Crossing Cards were issued in Mexico City and Merida previously. With the reintroduction of BCCs in Merida and Mexico City, all visa issuing posts in Mexico can now offer the same convenient product to visa applicants.
Travelers with current tourist visas need not reapply as a result of this change. Previously issued visas, including – the paper visas affixed to the inside of a passport called “BBBCVs” issued in Mexico City from 2007 through 2012, will remain valid for travel until the expiration date printed on the visa. The Visa Unit will continue to issue visa inside of passports in cases of emergency travel, and for visa classes and validity periods other than 10-year, B1/B2 visas.
The new BCC is more convenient for many travelers and will not change the application process. Qualified applicants will receive their cards two to three weeks from the time of their application.
An added security feature of the new BCC will enable card holders to use the Ready Lanes introduced by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as a way to expedite motorist travel across the border. A number of land border crossings now have a special Ready Lane for motorists who have a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) enabled card such as the BCC. The CBP border crossing stations are able to scan the card from 10 to 15 feet away. Motorists and their passengers simply need to hold their BCCs up to the windshield while driving through the crossing.
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The Department of State manages the visa process strictly but fairly in order to best protect the United States. We are committed to the essential openness for which the United States has always been known. Travel to the United States is welcomed and encouraged.
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