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Crossing the Border into the U.S. from Nogales, Sonora, Mexico

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Crossing the Border into the U.S.

I had my passport in hand but the border guard behind the desk, in a jovial mood, prodded us to respond to his unasked question. The answer was “U.S. Citizen,” and the question, which he never asked, was “What is your citizenship?” He asked if we were bringing anything back into the U.S. We told him about our purchases, and he waved us through. During the day, there are short lines from time to time and documents are examined with a little more interest.

Border Crossing Hints:
  • If you are a U.S. citizen, border crossing is fairly uncomplicated. To walk across the border and return to the U.S. is fairly easy. Read this helpful summary on recommended documents. As of June 1, 2009 American citizens will need a passport or passport card to cross the border back in to the U.S., even on foot for the day. State Department Passport Updates.
  • If you are not a U.S. citizen, be sure to have your passport in hand.
  • If you wish to drive over the border, you can do so but there are important regulations that must be followed. Our Student Travel writer has an excellent article. The Nogales, Arizona Chamber of Commerce also provides good information on how to drive in Mexico.
  • In general, you can bring back up to $400 worth of goods without being taxed. Our Student Travel writer has a listing of restrictions that is helpful to review before shopping in Mexico.

Yes, You Should Go to Nogales, Mexico

The restrictions are minimal, it is fairly safe during the daytime in the shopping areas of Nogales, and you can eat at the better restaurants and drink the bottled water that will be offered to you. It would be a shame to miss the color and culture of Nogales, Mexico due to border conflict worries. Just keep your eyes open, carry your purse or wallet safely, don't wear expensive jewelry, and enjoy a day of shopping and dining in this fun, Mexican border town.

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