Cross Border Xpress Makes Flying From Tijuana Airport Easy

Cross Border Xpress, Otay Mesa, USA to Tijuana, Mexico airport

Traveling between the United States and Mexico has never been easier. The border between Tijuana in Mexico and San Diego in the United States is one of the busiest in the world. It is estimated that there are more than 30 million crossings every year. To facilitate transit between these two cities and if you are going to fly to / from Tijuana airport, there is the Cross Border Xpress (CBX), which opened at the end of 2015. I will explain all the details below.

The Cross Border Express in San Diego, California.
The Cross Border Express in San Diego, California.

1. What is the Cross Border Xpress?

The Cross Border Xpress (CBX) is a direct pedestrian bridge for passengers wishing to fly from Tijuana International Airport (TIJ) without having to go through the congested and well-known border crossings or checkpoints of Otay or San Ysidro.

Indeed, as per my experience, you can, for example, fly from Tijuana to Cancun (via Mexico City) with Aeromexico or use another Mexican airline.

A Boeing 737-800 at Tijuana airport. A flight TIJ-MEX with Aeroméxico.
A Boeing 737-800 at Tijuana airport. A flight TIJ-MEX with Aeroméxico.

From San Diego or Los Angeles airports an air ticket to Cancun or other cities in Mexico may have a higher cost because they are international flights to popular destinations. Hence the CBX is a good alternative to save, flying domestically from Tijuana to many Mexican destinations.

Users of the bridge will be able to access the more than 30 destinations within Mexico that TIJ offers, many of which are not served by other Southern California airports. TIJ also has direct flights to Shanghai and other destinations.

It is also possible that with the CBX, you can land in Tijuana and cross into the US through San Diego to then fly domestically within this country, as thousands of Mexican residents or visitors do every year.

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2. What are the requirements to use the CBX?

To transit the Cross Border Xpress, it is necessary to have a confirmed flight and boarding pass that leaves or lands from Tijuana Airport within 24 hours and pay the 16 USD for a one-way ticket or 30 USD for a return ticket.

To do this, you must pass passport control on both sides. Within the CBX facilities, you will find the US Customs and Border Protection office if you go north (northbound) and the Customs and Border Protection Administration of Mexico if you go south (southbound).


If you want to cross the border without flying, you must do so at the corresponding border posts, as the CBX is purely for those arriving or departing from Tijuana Airport.

3. Checklist of Requirements for the CBX

General requirements for foreigners

– A boarding pass for your flight. In case of not being able to print it or if you are going to check-in luggage, at the CBX there are the Check-in agents for the Mexican airlines that operate from Tijuana airport.

– A valid passport and visa if necessary for either Mexico or the USA.

– FMM form (Forma Migratoria Múltiple). .

– A CBX ticket, you can buy it online or at the CBX. I recommend you buy it online. The process is simple and you can pay with bank cards.  of the Cross Border Xpress.

Mexican Nationals

– Passport, INE credential, birth certificate, consular card o Mexican nationality certificate.

– Boarding pass.

– CBX ticket.

When you purchase you will receive an email that you can present at the CBX and scan the barcode. From there you can walk and you can cross from one country to another and you will notice when you see the border limit.

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4. Important notes when crossing from the US to Mexico

– In the CBX you must fill out a , on this, you have to put that the route is Terrestrial.

– When you are in Mexico and before going to the boarding area, you will pass through the border and customs control agent and your passport will be stamped.

– If your trip to Mexico (and you are not Mexican) has a duration of less than seven days you will not have to pay any fee.

Steps to cross from San Diego, California to Mexico.

– In the case of seven days or more, the fee to be paid is 500 Mexican pesos or approximately 25 USD, which is valid for 6 months. They will give you a receipt that you must keep with your passport.

– Regarding the reason for the payment of the fee, the explanation is that when you have an international flight to Mexico, taxes are included in the corresponding ticket. As the crossing is by land and depends on the length of stay, it is paid at the border.

– In the case of not paying in Tijuana, because after you decide to stay longer than your initial plans, you will have to do so when leaving the country at any border controls such as airports.

5. Steps to cross from Tijuana airport to San Diego, California

– After landing at the Tijuana airport, head to the baggage claim area or if you only have hand luggage, look for places to buy your ticket or CBX ticket that are very close.

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– Follow the CBX signs without leaving the airport. If you leave that area it would not be possible for you to use the bridge.

Steps to cross from Tijuana to California.

– It is important to use the bridge that you keep your boarding pass from the airline, in addition to having the CBX ticket and passport (or Laser Card if you have Mexican nationality).

– In the bridge, you will find the agents of Migration and Customs of the United States and you will pass through passport control. After this process, you will be officially in the United States and can continue with your travel plans.

– If you are going to travel more than 25 miles from the border or you will stay in the USA for more than 30 days remember to process your I-94 permit.


If you decide to fly from Tijuana without using the CBX you can cross at the checkpoints or border crossings and from there take a taxi or bus. This option can cost you more time and money. Therefore, I think the Cross Border Xpress is a very good alternative for your air trips.

If in doubt, you can enter the  section of the CBX for more details.

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