Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and increased activity at the border, wait times at the Mexican border have increased dramatically. As such, if you’re planning to drive across the border, you should be prepared to have to wait longer than usual. Read on to learn more.
Are Tools Available To Help With Wait Times?
It’s vital to know land border wait times so that you can decide when and where to cross the border. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Border Wait Times (BWT) app is one helpful tool to access wait-time information. This app provides estimated wait times and open lane status 24/7 at ports of entry that process commercial vehicles, passenger vehicles and pedestrians. The BWT app breaks down wait times at each crossing by lane type (Standard, Sentri, FAST, Ready Lane, Nexus, etc.) The BWT app is a free service provided by the Department of Homeland Security/U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Many travelers use the Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection program or SENTRI. SENTRI, from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Participants may enter the United States by using dedicated primary lanes into the United States at southern land border ports.
Travelers must be pre-approved for the SENTRI program. All applicants undergo a rigorous background check and in-person interview before enrollment. Currently, individuals wanting to apply for SENTRI may have to wait even longer to begin the application process, with many appointments pushed out until June 2022.
How Is Covid-19 Affecting Travel?
Non-essential travel restrictions at the U.S.-Mexico border continue due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, through November 7, 2021. Starting November 8, 2021, border crossing will resume for foreign nationals who are fully vaccinated, this requirement does not affect U.S. citizens or legal residents. As in the U.S., Mexican authorities report widespread community transmission, thousands of cases of infection, and increased numbers of patients requiring hospitalization. Mexico continues with local COVID restrictions; you can expect the continued use of temperature checks, reduced capacity, safe distance markers, use of facemasks, and hand sanitizers in public spaces. Remember that not everyone in Mexico has been fully vaccinated. Mexico continues to do an extraordinary job in sanitizing stores, restaurants, and hotels to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and help visitors have a safe stay in Mexico.
What To Know if You Travel To Mexico
Currently, U.S. citizens, U.S. legal residents, dual citizens and Mexican legal residents are allowed to enter Mexico and will be allowed to cross back to the United States. If you need to travel to Mexico, plan your route, check your destination’s travel restrictions, pack your sanitizing essentials, including a face mask, disinfectants and disinfectant gel.
These two resources can help you decide if you can safely travel to Mexico or if you should postpone your trip.
· Review the U.S. Embassy’s web page on COVID-19.
· Visit the CDC’s web page on Travel and COVID-19.
What To Know if You Drive in Mexico
If you plan to drive in Mexico, all vehicles traveling on federal highways and bridges must have third-party liability coverage issued by a Mexican insurance company. If you don’t obtain the required coverage, you can face fines up to $250, and if you have an accident without coverage, penalties can be up to $1,000.
It’s important to know that Mexican authorities do not recognize “foreign” insurance. Even if your U.S. carrier says you’re covered, this will only be for your vehicle. Any damage to other people or their property isn’t covered, and you can go to jail if you are at fault in the accident. Additionally, you will be required to pay for any damages out-of-pocket.
How We Can Help
Travelers to and from Mexico need to ensure they have all their valid travel documents, including applicable travel insurance, so you don’t encounter even longer crossing times because you don’t have the proper documentation. Sanborn’s Mexico Auto Insurance at 800-222-0158 can help you plan and protect your trip with the best coverage available. Call us today to get started!