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One of the biggest advantages of Sam Dental is its accessibility. It is very close to the USA-Mexico border, and that you have plenty of options to get the dental treatment you need at a price that you can surely afford.
To get to Sam Dental, you currently have two good options:
1. Park near the US Border Customs, and walk across the border, where we will meet you and pick you and transport you to our clinic.
2. Drive across the border, and we can give you a medical pass for the car lane to cross back to the US in under 30 minutes. Please look at the page for Driving Instructions, also make sure to see our Crossing the Border Quickly page.
Crossing the border is actually a lot easier than you think. The Mexican Customs will not ask you for a lot of identification documents, not even a passport. But because you will have to walk back into the US, make sure you bring your passport, or other valid I.D. to show the American Customs officials.
Walking Across the Border
Of the two, though, we highly recommend that you choose option 1 for a number of reasons. First, Tijuana may be in Mexico, but it’s certainly not far from the United States. In fact, it’s one of the nearest as it’s barely 20 minutes away from San Diego, California. You may not even feel as if you’ve left the city! By merely walking and passing through the pedestrian lane, you can get to the pick-up point in just 5 minutes.
Sam Dental can handle everything for you. That’s our TLC to all our clients. Before you decide to cross the border, do let us know if you need accommodation or a shuttle. We can arrange them for you. We also suggest calling us ahead before you cross since being in Mexico may prevent you from using the U.S.-oriented phone. We have our able customer service staff always ready to take care of your needs. You may simply call 619 600 5587. Again, call ahead, especially around 20 to 30 minutes before you eventually cross the border. This way, we can guarantee someone can be there to meet you.
Walking through Mexican Customs, and making your way to our pick up point
The pedestrian path in Tijuana starts at the end of the Trolley tracks, on the East side of US Customs. Follow the people who are getting off the Trolley, and walk past the McDonald’s by the Trolley tracks. You will go up a ramp, and at the end of the ramp is a turnstile gate with a sign above it that says, “Mexico”. Once you go through the turnstile gate, you’re already in Mexico!
Once you go through the gate, enter Mexican Customs. As a visitor, you will have to go to the line where you will have to present your passport, and get a tourist visa. If you are coming for a week or less, there is no charge. After they give you your tourist visa, continue through the exit of Customs, and walk down the sidewalk until you come to the street. Directly across the street you will see a sign of a pharmacy, “Super FARMACIA Milenio”. Cross the street and stand in front of this pharmacy, and that is where our white van, with the name “Sam Dental” on the door, will meet you. (Make sure you call us from the US side, before you enter Mexico, so that our van will get there to meet you).
Driving your Car and Parking at the Border
To cross into Mexico, you will need to get to the East side of the freeway going to Mexico. Take the “Last USA Exit”, exit 1-A, for “Camino de la Plaza Ave.” Turn left at the light, go over the bridge to the east side, and turn right at the light, heading toward US Customs. Find a place to park in one of the pay parking lots. Before you leave your car, please make sure you call us so we can send the van to meet you on the Mexico side. (Your cell phone may not work in Mexico).
Taking a Car through the Border
If you want to drive your car toward the border, you have to take the 805, also known as Interstate 5, then proceed toward the exit that says last exit in the USA. It is also designated as exit 1-A. Look for Camino de la Plaza Street, pass over the bridge, and cross the freeway. Proceed to San Ysidro Boulevard, go right, and find a parking space. You can then disembark from your car and proceed to U.S. Customs. Follow the same procedure above to use the pedestrian lane.
Using the Trolley
The San Diego Trolley goes from downtown San Diego, clear up to the US Border crossing in San Ysidro. If you are coming from the airport, just take the 992 Bus from the airport to downtown, and get on the Trolley at the American Plaza Station. Tell the bus driver, and he will tell you when to get off. The trolley station is across the street from where the bus drops you. Make sure you get on the train that is labeled “Blue Line – San Ysidro/Tijuana”. At the end of the line, get off the train, and walk into Tijuana.
New Border Crossing Regulations:
1.- You must now have a US passport to cross the border:
Just like the US Government requires everyone crossing the border into the US to have passports, the Mexican Government also now requires all persons crossing into Mexico to have a passport. Things have historically been a little lax, but now they are tightening up on the regulations. Make sure you get your passport before crossing into Mexico, to avoid any delays or hassle, by the US Customs, as well as Mexican Customs.
If you haven’t yet gotten a US Passport, we strongly recommend that you get the “Passport Card”, rather than the “Passport Book”. You can actually apply for both, or either one. But the reason the Passport Card works better than the Book, is because it has the RFID electronic chip, which qualifies you to use the faster moving “Ready Lanes” either as a pedestrian or riding in a car. Here is a link to the government website: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/apply.html
2.- You will need to get a Tourist Visa at the border:
Pedestrian Crossing: If leave your car parked at the border, and are walking into Mexico, you will need to present your US passport, and fill out a tourist permit form. It will just take 5 minutes. However, make sure you keep your tourist permit on your person. In case you are stopped in Mexico for any reason, you will now have proof that you entered into the country legally. The cost of a tourist permit, to visit Tijuana for a week, is free. But, if you plan to stay for more than a week, plan to return for a second trip, or are thinking of going on to Rosarito or Ensenada, you will need to get the 180 day permit, costing $25.
Crossing the border by car: If you are stopped in Tijuana, you will need to show that you have legally crossed the border. So, even though you could just drive through Mexican Customs, and they don’t ask you for any documents, don’t neglect to first stop and get your tourist permit. The process will just take a few minutes.
When you first cross into Mexico, do NOT get into the lines of cars that are going through the lanes through for inspection. Rather, keep to the right, and go straight ahead to the area for Voluntary Declaration. Most of the cars going in here, and parking, are stopping to declare products that they purchased in the US, so they can pay the “Importation Tax”. But this is the same area where you will find the “Immigration” office, in order to get your tourist permit. Just park your car next to the others, and go into the building. Inside you will find the Immigration office, and tell them you want a tourist permit. It will be easiest if you just tell them you are coming to visit and shop, otherwise they will ask you for the exact address of the clinic, and hotel address where you are staying. Just a little less hassle.