The Border Crossing Card (“BCC”) qualifies as both a BCC and as a B1/B2 visa. The BCC (also referred to as a DSP-150) is issued to citizens of Mexico as a laminated card, similar to the size of a credit card, and has enhanced graphics and technology. By including enhanced scanning features, border officials can quickly authenticate the entrant’s identity by comparing their biometrics, photos, and fingerprints. This vastly reduces the amount of time it takes entrants to cross over the border.
A BCC is valid for travel until the expiration date on the front of the card, usually ten years after issuance. To qualify:
● Applicants must be a citizen and resident of Mexico;
● Possess a valid Mexican passport;
● Must meet the standard B1/B2 requirements;
● Demonstrate, through documentation, very strong ties to Mexico that would compel them to return;
● Pay a $160 application fee. For children under the age of 15, this fee is reduced to $16;
A BCC application is highly scrutinized and requires travel history, strong ties, and a good interview. The application will be thoroughly vetted by the Department of State, and you should expect to undergo the following process:
● Taking fingerprints
● Submitting photographs
● Providing information regarding your current residence
● Employment history
● Reasons for entering the United States
● Security Checks including a review of any possible links to terrorist organizations, criminal history, or previous immigration violations. If any of these are found, they will be considered criteria for disqualification.
● An interview in which you must express yourself well to impress a normally skeptical Consular Officer
This type of entry document is normally not eligible for extension, however, entry on a BCC can lead to other opportunities including Change of Status and/or adjustment of status in the immediate relative category. As a BCC qualifies as both a B1 and B2 visa, they are intended for people with regular short-term business trips in the border areas or for Mexican nationals who enjoy leisure activities across the border.
A BCC acts as a multiple-entry visa, allowing Mexican citizens to enter the United States border areas an unlimited number of times during the ten-year period for which the card is valid. However, card holders may only stay within U.S. borders for a 30-day period and cannot travel farther than 25 miles from the border.
However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. If entering through Arizona, cardholders may travel within 75 miles of the border, and if entering through New Mexico, they may travel within 55 miles of the border. Mexican citizens who enter the U.S. with a BCC are not required to obtain a form I-94, which states the terms and conditions of entering and leaving the United States.
For Mexican citizens who are members of the Texas Band of Kickapoo Indians or the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma, it is advised that they apply for a Form I-872 and enter using an American Indian Card. Anyone entering the United States by these means must abide by the same time and distance restrictions, but the application process and interview will be more specific to the individual’s situation.
For BCC card holders who wish to travel beyond the 25-mile border area or who intend to stay longer than 30 days, they will be required to obtain a form I-94. To do so, they must undergo a secondary inspection, involving a thorough assessment of their belongings, a review of their travel documents, a biometrics scan, a database query, and another in-depth interview. Applicants applying for a Form I-94 will be expected to pay a $6 processing fee, as well.
BCC cards are valid forms of identification while traveling within U.S. borders and are applicable at air, sea, and land ports of entry. If entering by sea and requesting a form I-94, this documentation will be issued electronically. If entering by land, it will be issued by paper.