usa border control

After a long vacation traveling the verdant Mexican countryside and lounging on the scenic beaches, you may be exhausted and looking forward to getting home. Make sure you don’t encounter any hiccups on your journey north by ensuring you’re properly prepared for the border. Here’s everything you’ll need to enjoy a smooth transition back to the U.S.

Required Documents for Re-entry

For entry back into the U.S., you’ll need several documents. Fortunately, most of them are the same documents you needed to enter Mexico in the first place.

All U.S. and Canadian citizens will need to have their passports or passport cards ready.

Children under the age of 15 will need their birth certificate or a copy. Children between the ages of 16 and 18 will need adult supervision and their birth certificates or other proof of citizenship. Parents of newborns can use the hospital birth certificate if they haven’t received their official birth certificate yet.

When entering Mexico, an immigration officer tore off the bottom portion of your immigration form. You’ll need to return it upon re-entry.

Lastly, if you have any goods to declare, you’ll need a completed CBP Declaration Form 6059B, which is discussed below.

Completing a CBP Declaration Form 6059B

The acronym CBP refers to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. This is the agency you’ll be interacting with upon re-entry to the U.S. Their job is to keep U.S. borders safe and secure.

A CBP Declaration Form 6059B is the form you’ll use to declare any merchandise, food, and agricultural products you obtained while in Mexico. This includes gifts and souvenirs.

It’s a good idea to keep all your receipts from your purchases together in an envelope. This will make filling out the itemized form easy.

You can obtain and fill out the form in one of three ways:

  • Fill out a paper form that you can obtain at the port of entry, or on your flight or cruise ship
  • Complete an online declaration form at a Global Entry kiosk, but only if you’re a Global Entry member
  • Fill out the online form at an Automated Passport Control kiosk

Paying Duties

If you have under $800 worth of merchandise in your possession, you are exempt from paying duties when returning from Mexico.

You qualify for the duty-free exemption if:

  • The items are not for resale. Only personal items and gifts qualify for the duty-free exemption
  • You’re declaring all items to the CBP. Any items not declared may be forfeited
  • The items are not on the list of prohibited and restricted items by the CBP

Note: When returning from Mexico, you are allowed to bring 1 liter of alcohol.

You Will Have a CBP Interview

Be sure you honestly declare all items in your possession, as the CBP inspects everyone at the border and is authorized to search your luggage and vehicle.

You can expect the CBP officer interviewing you to ask questions about your citizenship, the nature of your trip, and any items you’re declaring.

While this may sound intense, CBP officers are expected to treat all travelers with courtesy and respect. If you don’t feel you received due courtesy from your CBP officer, you may ask to speak to the supervisor.

There’s No Place Like Home

The process for re-entry may seem daunting, but it’s usually a smooth process as long as you’re prepared with all the proper documents. We hope you have an incredible trip to Mexico and a safe drive home.

If you have any questions, please contact us and we’ll be happy to answer any questions.