The United States is one of the most visited countries in the world, either for tourism, business or other purposes. Its most frequent visitors are its first neighbors, Canadians and Mexicans. To facilitate and track entry of the residents of these two countries, the US immigration authorities have established special entry permits and cards.
The Border Crossing Card (BCC) is a document introduced by the US Department of State in May 1998 for Mexican citizens. Following in this article, you can learn everything you need to know about a BCC, who needs it, what it serves for, and how it can be obtained.
What is a Border Crossing Card?
A Border Crossing Card, also known as a DSP-150, is the equivalent of a B1/B2 visitor’s visa, for Mexican citizens. It is issued in the form of a card, with enhanced graphics and technology. It was first issued in 1998 in a technologically simpler version and was known as a “laser visa”, until September 2008. From then on started the second generation of the B1/B2 visa/BCC, which is more advanced than the previous.
A BCC gives the opportunity to its bearer to enter the US for purposes as visiting, shopping or conducting commerce. However, it does not permit them to work, or stay more than 3 days (72 hours).
Its holders are also restricted to traveling only 25 miles beyond the border into California and Texas. Whereas, in New Mexico, you can travel up to 55 miles from the border, and up to 75 miles into Arizona.
Still, if you wish to go further and remain longer, you can. You only need to ask for an I-94 form, which will permit you to remain in any of the states, within an appointed period of time.
You can enter the US from Mexico with a BCC, through land or a cruise ship / ferry.
What does a BCC look like?
Below you can find a quality image that shows how the BCC looks:
Who can apply for a Border Crossing Card?
There are specific qualifications that must be met by a person, in order for him / her to be eligible to obtain a Border Crossing Card. These qualifications are as following:
- the applicant should be a Mexican citizen living in Mexico
- the applicant must show strong proof that he or she have no intentions to remain in the US, and that they have to return to Mexico after their visit
- the applicant must meet all the eligibility standards for B1/B2 visas, including:
- have enough finances to cover their stay in the US
- possess a criminal records or letter from authorities stating that they do not have prior convictions
How to apply for Border Crossing Card
The application process for a BCC is the same as for a B1 Business Visa or B2 Tourist Visa. You will have to collect all of the required documents, including the Form DS-160.
You will also have to pay the BCC fee, which is $160.00 just as for a visitor’s visa. Whereas, the fee for a Border Crossing Card, for Mexican citizens under age 15, if their parent or guardian has or is applying for a BCC, is $17.00.
Save the receipt that confirms you have paid the fee, since you will have to present it to the consular officer during the interview.
All cards issued after October 1, 2008 are valid for a period of ten years. BCC for children under 15 expire after ten years or when they become 15, whichever comes first. On the other hand, cards issued prior to this date, are valid until the expiration date that can be found in the front of the card.