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Mexico Ready Lane Border Crossings

  • If you have a RFID enabled card to cross the border the Ready Lane is a faster option for you when driving your car back into the United States from Mexico.
  • Ready Lanes are clearly marked via signs at the border.  Navigate your car into the Ready Lanes and have your travel card in hand.  Once you display your card to the in-lane reader you will be ready to to proceed to the CBP officer.
  • Ready Lanes are typically faster because the cards are scanned prior to you reaching the CBP officer, this means the officer does not have to type in your information. When you get close to the agent booth you will see signs and a scanner.  Simply hold your card up and the scanner will scan your cards.
  • All passengers over 16 years of age in your car must have a valid card approved for using the Ready Lanes.  Children 15 years old and younger may travel in the Ready Lane with adult travelers if all adults in the vehicle have an RFID-enabled travel card.
  • Ready Lane-eligible cards contain Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, and include the following: U.S. Passport Cards, Enhanced Drivers Licenses, Enhanced Tribal Cards, Enhanced Border Crossing Cards, Enhanced Permanent Resident Cards, and Trusted Traveler Program (NEXUS, SENTRI, Global Entry or FAST) cards.
  • Currently there are over 15 Ready Lane border crossing available.  California:  San Ysidro, Otay Mesa, Calexico East, Calexico West. Arizona: Douglas, Nogales, DeConcini, Lukeville. Texas: Del Rio, El Paso, Ysleta-Zaragoza Bridge, Progreso, Eagle Pass, Gateway Bridge, Hidalgo, TX
    Laredo, Pharr.

The Ready Lane offers a compelling solution for efficient and streamlined entry into the United States at the Baja Mexico border. This dedicated lane is specifically designed to expedite the crossing process, making it an attractive choice for travelers seeking a hassle-free experience.

Utilizing the Ready Lane presents several advantages. First and foremost, it significantly reduces wait times. This is particularly valuable given the often congested nature of border crossings, where long queues can lead to frustrating delays. By utilizing this lane, travelers can expect quicker processing and a smoother transition, allowing them to save valuable time.

Moreover, the Ready Lane employs advanced technology, including Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and automated systems, to enhance the border crossing process. This translates to improved accuracy and security in verifying documentation, minimizing errors and potential complications. Travelers can have confidence in the reliability of these modern systems.

In addition, opting for the Ready Lane demonstrates a commitment to compliance and efficiency. Travelers using this lane are expected to have all required documents readily accessible, contributing to the swift processing of their entry. This promotes a sense of order and responsibility among travelers and contributes to the overall effectiveness of border operations.

The Ready Lane offers a range of benefits for individuals crossing into the United States from Baja Mexico. From reduced wait times and advanced technology to streamlined processes, choosing this lane can lead to a more seamless and pleasant border crossing experience.

FAQs about Ready Lane Border Crossings:

Can I pull a trailer though the Read Lanes?

Yes you can.  Be aware that some of the Ready Lanes are not that wide.  We have had reports of some narrow lanes making it hard for over-sized trailers that are wider than normal to pass through.  The Otay Mesa Ready Lane is the most trailer friendly exit if you are crossing the border into the San Diego area. 

Can I use the Ready Lanes with a SENTRI Card or Global Entry Card?

You can use your Global Entry or SENTRI card to cross the border in the Ready Lanes.  It would make sense to do this if you have individuals in the car that do not have a SENTRI or Global Entry card and you want to cross together.  It might also make sense if you are pulling a trailer.  No trailers are allowed in the SENTRI lane but you can pull a trailer in the Ready Lanes.  Be Aware!  If you represent your SENTRI or Global Entry card in the Ready Lane you are bound by rules of the SENTRI and Global Entry card, not the rules of the Ready Lane cards. 

Why are the Ready Lane lines longer than all other lines? 

More people every day are getting the required RFID cards to cross in the border in the Ready Lanes.  With that being said there are more Ready Lane lines than any other line type.  Also, since the customs agent does not need to manually type in any information the entire process is much faster.  The traditional regular lines have been cut down to 1 or 2 lanes and seem to be the longest wait lines to cross now.  It is our guess they might be doing this to encourage people to get the more modern card with the RFID technology.  Having the RFID card type makes the entire border crossing experience faster. 

What is an RFID card?

A Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag is embedded in a card and allows information to be transmitted electronically to border officials through RFID card readers.  Once you reach the CBP officer he already has all your info pulled up.  This makes the entire border crossing process faster!

Are Ready Lanes Motorcycle friendly? 

YES.  Most border exits allow lane splitting so motorcycles riders can quickly get to the front of the line and exit Mexico.  Motorcycles are not build to idle in a line for 2 hours and will over-heat in this environment.  Some border exits like Calexico West now have dedicated motorcycle lanes that support a fast exit for motorcycle riders. 

Does the Ready Lane require any special decals or stickers that I need on my car?

No.   The RFID card is the only requirement. 

Does every border exit in Baja have Ready Lanes? 

Almost!  The only border exits that do not have Ready Lanes are Tecate and Andrade - Los Algodones.  Both of these border crossings are very small and have only 2 lanes going north into the United States.

Is there a website that offers real-time Ready Lane crossing wait times?

The US Customer and Border Protection site is the most accurate option to get real time border wait times.   The BWT site has the wait times for all border crossings and breaks it down for each lane for commercial vehicles, passenger vehicles, and pedestrian crossings.  These reports are created from physical line of site at each border, so they are not 100% accurate during heavy traffic times.  

What is the most common Ready Lane card and how do I get it?

 A passport card is the most popular card used in the Ready Lane.  You can apply for a passport card the same way you apply for a tradition passport book.  The main difference is the passport card is designed like a credit card and it is only valid for Canada, Mexico, The Caribbean, and Bermuda.   The passport card can not be used for international air travel.   Passport card are $65 so they are cheaper in cost than passports, and very easy to get.  For more information on getting a passport card click here.   

Do they also have Ready Lanes for pedestrian crossing?  

YES.  There are Ready Lane dedicated lines for when walking across the border. When you arrive at the border crossing look for Ready Lane signs so you can walk across the border through those faster dedicated lines.  

What items do I need to declare when entering the United States. 

Food and Agriculture
You must Declare all foods, plants, and agricultural items when entering the United States.  All agriculture items must be declared and are subject to inspection by a CBP Agriculture Specialist at ports of entry to ensure they are free of plant pests and foreign animal diseases.

One liter (or three beers) is allowed per traveler each month, duty-free. Anything in excess must be declared.  Traveler must be 21 years of age.   Alcoholic beverages purchased in duty-free shops are subject to duty and Federal Excise Tax when accompanying you into the United States.

One carton of cigarettes (200 cigarettes or 100 cigars) is allowed per traveler each month, duty-free. Anything in excess must be declared.  This includes cigars, cigarettes, e-cigarettes, smokeless tobacco (snuff or chewing tobacco), pipe tobacco, and roll-your-own tobacco.

Currency or monetary instruments in excess of $10,000 USD must be declared.

Medications (up to a 90-day supply) must be declared, and should be in their original package with a prescription in the travelers name.  If your medications or devices are not in their original containers, you must have a copy of your prescription with you or a letter from your doctor.  A valid prescription or doctors note is required on all medication entering the United States. 

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