Riding and camping Northern California and beyond, since 1965!
Documentation and Border Crossings in Baja Mexico
Before heading into Baja you need to be sure you have the following items sorted out ahead of time:
Valid Passport and Driver's License
FMM Card "Tourist Visa"
The FMM Card available is available online here (https://www.inm.gob.mx/fmme/publico/solicitud.html) and the process is pretty simple. You apply for your FMM Card, then click the link to pay for it online (it's about $24), and then when you have confirmation of payment print your FMM card and the receipt of payment. If you are going into Baja for less than 7 days the FMM Card is free. Every tourist traveling into Mexico needs to have a FMM card. Make a copy of the card and receipt. The card can be valid for up to 180 days, make yours longer than you expect to be in Mexico, just in case you can't leave when you expect.
When you cross the border into Mexico you need to stop at the border crossing and get your FMM card stamped by the INM (and it's not always clear where this office is). They will need to see your FMM Card and the receipt of payment along with your passport. (Note: there is actually some fine print on the card that indicates if you've paid or not, but still make sure you have your receipt). If you don't have the FMM Card applied for in advance, don't sweat it, you can apply at the border office, you just will have to leave to pay at a bank and return with the receipt. After you have your FMM card stamped, you're good to go! Keep it with your passport until you leave Mexico. As you leave you need to return to a border office and get it stamped again. And remember, in Mexico motorcycles get the front of the lines. This is really handy at military checkpoints and at the border! At the border just pull to the left of the loooong line of cars and ride to the front. Wait abreast of the first car and wait for the border guard to flag you forward. This alone could be the best reason to ride in Mexico!
At the border crossing look for this emblem, INM is the governing authority for the FMM Cards. It'll be on the border offices where you get your stamp as well as at the parking areas at the border crossings.
Crossing at Tecate
Here is the crossing at Tecate. The red line is the path to cross into Mexico, with where you need to park (the red X) to get your FMM Card stamped. It's ok to leave your bikes there. After you park follow the blue path to the office (the blue X). Ask the border guards if you have any questions. After your card is stamped, follow the walkway directly back to your bike, you don't backtrack along the blue line. It's pretty obvious where to go.
The crossing at Tecate is the easiest into Baja and the roads leading to it from both sides are great.
Crossing at Mexicali
Here is the crossing at Mexicali, which has the same components as Tecate.
Crossing at Tijuana