COVID-19 Updates for Baja California
-The U.S.-Mexico temporary land border restrictions were extended until at least October 21, 2020. U.S. Citizens and Canadian Citizens have been allowed to cross back north into the U.S. and have had no problems crossing south into Mexico from the U.S.
-Mexico has instated a national “stoplight” system allowing certain regions to begin reopening. The state of Baja California is finally into the “orange” light designation and hotels restaurants, beaches, parks, retail shops, and museums/theaters/movie theaters, will be operating at 50 percent capacity. The state of Baja California Sur has an “orange (level 4)” light designation and hotels, restaurants, beaches, parks, and shops are operating at 40 percent capacity. The stoplight designations are being assessed on a weekly basis.
-Some of the California/Baja land borders are operating on reduced hours. The following are the current hours for border crossings:
San Ysidro: open 24 hours
(PedWest is closed but PedEast remains open 24 hours)
Otay Mesa: open 24 hours
Tecate: 5am-2pm daily
Calexico West: open 24 hours
Calexico East: open 6am-2pm
Andrade: open 6am-2pm
-For up-to-date information about COVID-19 in the state of Baja California (norte) please visit the Baja California COVID-19 page. For up-to-date information about COVID-19 in Baja Sur, please visit the BCS COVID-19 website.
-For Emergency Assistance for U.S. citizens in Mexico, call 55-8526-2561 from Mexico or 1-844-528-6611 from the United States. The U.S. Embassy in Mexico has put together a COVID-19 webpage or you can follow them on Facebook for updates.
-You can find the latest updates on our Road Conditions Page. Call the DBTC office at 800-727-2252 for more information about U.S. travelers crossing the border.
Important Prepaid FMM Reminder
If you get a prepaid FMM tourist permit through Discover Baja, please remember that you must take all three sheets of paper (the front of the FMM, the back of the FMM, and the 8.5″ x 11″ full-sheet receipt) with you into the INM immigration office at the border when you get the FMM stamped for entry. If you do not take the 8.5″ x 11″ full-sheet receipt with you, the immigration officials have no idea that you have already paid and may require you to pay again.
Daylight Savings Ending
Daylight savings is ending and clocks will fall back in Baja California Sur on October 25, 2020. Daylight savings will end in Baja California (norte) one week later on November 1, 2020.
The 53rd annual SCORE Baja 1000 will take place this year from Nov. 17-22, 2020. The 1,000-mile single loop race will begin and end in Ensenada. If you plan to travel around this time, be sure to secure hotel reservations in advance. For more information about the off road race, visit the Score International website.
Price Changes for Global Entry and SENTRI
In order to make the fees and applications for Global Entry and SENTRI more consistent, the CBP has announced that the price for Global Entry will be raised from $100 to $120 for five years and the price for SENTRI will be decreased from $122.25 to $120 for five years. Minors under the age of 18 who have both parents that have either Global Entry or SENTRI will be able to obtain Global Entry or SENTRI for free (but are still subject to the vetting and fingerprinting). It’s unclear when these changes will take effect.
Loreto One Week Hotel Takeover Program
Loreto has launched a new campaign called “One Week Takeover” that invites families and small groups to rent out one of the local boutique hotels, some with as few as four rooms, for a week. This way, guests can enjoy their privacy and they don’t have to worry about sharing property amenities like pools and patios. Between takeovers, the entire hotel will be sanitized. For more information and a list of participating hotels see the Loreto tourism website.
Corazón de Vida Virtual Gala
Corazón de Vida is a non-profit that provides support to orphaned and abandoned children in Baja California by funding local orphanages, providing quality of life improvement services, and funding higher education. Their annual gala, “A Night in Baja” will be virtual this year, taking place on Thursday, October 29, 2020 at 7pm. Tickets and more information here.
“Fandango at the Wall” Documentary
A new film, “Fandango at the Wall” recently debuted inspired by the annual Fandango Fronterizo Festival, which unites people on both sides of the Tijuana-San Diego border. This festival features son jarocho, a 300-year-old folk music tradition. The film follows Grammy Award winners Arturo O’Farrill and Kabir Sehgal, as they prepare to record a live album at the U.S.-Mexico border wall. They begin their journey on a tour of Veracruz, Mexico, where this musical mixture of indigenous, Spanish, and African traditions originated. As they travel, they meet legendary son jarocho musicians and recruit participants for the upcoming festival. Their travels culminate with the annual celebration, promoting peace and celebrating unity. The movie is currently available for streaming on HBO Max. For more information: fandangowall.com
New Passenger Train Planned Between Tijuana and Tecate
A new Tijuana-Tecate passenger train has been announced as a secure, sustainable option to connect the two cities. The train is planned to have seven stations and two terminals with a minimum of 30,000 daily passengers expected to use the train for commuting.
Sue Perkins “Along the U.S.-Mexico Border” TV Show
Sue Perkins from “The Great British Bake Off” has a new travel show where she traverses the 2,000 miles of the U.S./Mexico border from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, meeting people on both sides of the border along the way. It’s a journey through the cultures and traditions of vibrant cities, and rugged landscapes, and lives manifesting human triumph and tragedy mixed with joy and celebration. The two-part program originally aired on BBC but is available to watch in the U.S. on YouTube: Part 1 and Part 2.
Cross Border “Walls” Urban Art Exhibition
“Walls,” a binational exhibition of street art in San Diego and Tijuana, was a collaboration between the Front Gallery from Casa Familiar in San Diego and the Municipal Institute of Art and Culture of Tijuana (IMAC). The collection brings together the talents of muralists from both sides of the border and can be seen in various spots throughout each city. The original idea was for the artists from San Diego to cross down to Tijuana to paint on walls and vice versa, but COVID put a damper on the plans. For now, the artists have painted murals in their own cities, leaving room for artists from the other side of the border when conditions allow. For more information on where to find the murals or to see them virtually, visit The Front Arte Cultura Facebook page.
Register to Vote
Message from the U.S. Embassy in Mexico about registering to vote:
Registering to Vote and submitting a ballot is fast, easy, and can be done from anywhere in the world! Follow a few simple steps to vote in the 2020 U.S. elections:
1. Register to vote: Start by confirming your voter registration with your state. Some states require absentee voters to register annually, so you may need to re-register. Go to FVAP.gov to connect to your state’s voter portal to register to vote, request a ballot, and more.
2. Request Your Ballot: Most states provide the option to request ballots through their state election portals, which you can easily access via FVAP.gov. You can also choose to complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), which we recommend you do each year, or each time you move, in order to ensure you are registered and receive a ballot. The completion of the FPCA allows you to request absentee ballots for all elections for federal offices (President, U.S. Senate, and U.S. House of Representatives), including primaries and special elections, during the calendar year in which it is submitted. FPCA forms that are correctly filled out and include a signature and date are accepted by all local election officials in every U.S. state and territory. FVAP’s easy online assistant can assist you with completing the FPCA.
Whether you request your ballot through your state’s portal or the FPCA, we encourage you to select the option to receive your ballot electronically (by email, internet download, or fax) when available. This is the fastest way to get your ballot and ensures you have it in time to return a completed form before your state’s deadline.
3. Receive and Complete Your Ballot: States are required to send out ballots 45 days before a regular election for federal office, and states generally send out ballots at least 30 days before primary elections. Most states allow you to confirm your ballot delivery online.
4. Return Your Completed, Signed Ballot: Some states allow you to return your completed ballot electronically. If your state requires you to return paper-voting forms or ballots to local election officials by mail, you can do so through international mail, professional courier service, or through the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Mexico using the instructions below.
Returning your FPCA or Ballot through the U.S. Embassy or Consulate: You can return your completed FPCA or signed ballot to the United States via the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
In order to mail election-related materials to the United States, you will need two envelopes. Address the first envelope to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate at the mailing address below. Address the second envelope to your local state election office and enclose your FPCA or ballot inside. The second envelope needs to be postage-paid or have sufficient U.S. postage to be delivered to your local election office from the U.S. sorting facility where it will be mailed. Seal the second envelope, place it inside the first envelope, and mail the package to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. It can take up to four weeks for election-related materials to reach their final destination in the United States.
You can download and print a U.S. postage-paid envelope from the FVAP website.
U.S. Consulate General Tijuana
Voting Assistance Officer
Paseo de las Culturas s/n
Mesa de Otay, Delegación Centenario, 22425
Tijuana, Baja California
If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Mexico at +52 (55) 8526 2561 or via the e-mail address listed above.
Remember, your vote counts!