The Nogales Border

Getting there, crossing and coming back

nogales international street

The international border between the United States and Mexico is a unique place that is often used as a symbol for immigration policy, national defense and racism. And most who use it for those purposes are not only unfamiliar with the border, they simply misunderstand it.

The border bifurcates Nogales in obvious and unavoidable ways, with the primary means being the 18-foot-high wall that separates the two cities. However, it is not a barrier to tourists and other visitors who want to cross the international border from Nogales, Arizona to Nogales, Mexico and back again.

Pimsleur Spanish

Crossing the border into Mexico is much easier than crossing back into the United States. After a short walk through one of the two downtown pedestrian crossings, you will pass by a Mexican Customs table where they may want to look inside your backpack or shopping bags. Read more.

Coming back into the United States can be a bit trickier, and not just because of the oftentimes long waits in line. Since 2010 the U.S. State Department has required citizens entering the U.S. to have a valid passport, border crossing card or other form of internationally recognized travel identification. Read more about this requirement and its actual enforcement.

This has not only put the brakes on many border travel plans, it has led to a great deal of confusion, especially since it is unconstitutional to deny U.S. citizens entry back into the country.

Recently re-entry lines have been set up by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) specifically for those who are entering with a birth certificate or other form of documentation, which may delay your crossing but will not result in your being turned away. Read more.

The best advice is to relax and enjoy the border atmosphere, and be patient with authorities. And have a great trip to the Mexican border at Nogales!

Map of the Nogales, Mexico Border Tourism Areas