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Discuss culture, living, traveling, relocating, dating or anything related to Latin America, Mexico, or Central America.
Somehow I doubt I'd be approved for SENTRI if they delve into my US customs past. They always pull me aside when I come back from Latin America. First time I had some naked photos of young women, and they wanted to accuse me of importing pornography. Luckily they didnt try to make me prove they were 18 and over.
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One thing I really like about living in Baja is their transportation system. It's cheap and convenient. They have vans called "collectivos" which hold up to nine people. The vans operate 24 hours a day and you rarely have to wait more then 5 minutes for a van to come your way. They are different colors and you learn where they are going by the color. They aren't on the Internet so you need to learn the system by asking people. For example, to get to Rosarito Beach from Tijuana, you take the yellow vans which start out at the alley between fourth and fifth street on Madero Avenue and drops you off at the Rosarito Beach Hotel. The ride is 16 pesos (about $1.25). A cab would cost you $40. You can get on the vans at any point, when you see a van you just flag it down. They also will let you off anywhere. I have seen people get off on the main highway in the middle of nowhere. Once you know the system, you can go anywhere in Tijuana and various surrounding cities without a car. The transportation is more convenient then anything I have experienced in the US or Europe.
Furthermore, you can get to the San Diego Airport without a car. You just cross the border and take the trolley on the American side which starts at San Ysidro. You take the trolley to the San Diego city center, and switch to the 992 bus. The cost ? - A $5 day pass - that's less then parking your car for one day at an American airport. Also, I have my banking and a PO box in San Ysidro, and also American grocery stores to pick up things I can't find in Mexico - all within walking distance of the border.
You don't need a car to live in Mexico.
Cool, that's good to know. I don't keep stuff like naked pictures with me. You can always send stuff ahead using Dropbox or keep them from seeing it with Bit-Locker which means they would need a warrant to see what's in that folder.
One thing I like about living in Mexico is you can avoid all that Kabuki Theater at US Airports. You can also fly out of Mexico into Cuba. Let fools in America believe Mexico is all dangerous.
The Tijuana Airport is close by. They will want to see a six month tourist visa, which you can get at the border for around $25.
Another advantage of living in Mexico is that simplicity of getting a visa. In fact many people live here without visas, however I recommend at least getting a six month tourist visa at the border for about $25. If you decide that you like Mexico and want to live here for the long term, you can then apply for the FM3 Resident visa while living in Mexico. You can get this done relatively inexpensively in Mexico without a lawyer, for example many agencies who sell auto insurance will fill out the visa forms for you as well. Once you have the visa, you can also apply for cheap Mexican medical insurance. If you don't like Mexico, you can just leave while on the six month tourist visa. If you have a car, don't even think of driving in Mexico without Mexican auto insurance.
I had never heard of Dropbox back in 2006. I had been overseas to Europe 4 times between 01 and 06. So getting stopped for a non-random search was the last thing on my mind. I thought it'd be routine. But I do think it is only Latin America. They dont want anyone competing with the CIA and they want to put everyone behind bars. I also must just fit a profile they dont like (but they wont say what it is).
I don't know, I didn't ask.
If you apply on line, it takes about 2 weeks to see if your application is conditionally approved, but then you have to book an appointment for an interview at the border. An office recently opened in San Ysidro right next to the entrance where you walk into Mexico, but they haven't advertised it on their site yet. Don't apply unless you can do the in person interview. Also, they have announced that they are going to drop the fee to something like $42, but they haven't said when they are going to do that.
For the On line enrollment system google "GOES Online Enrollment".
The interview is in the truck crossing office in Otay. It takes 5 minutes. You show up with your vehicle, pop the doors and trunk, he slips the rfid sticker on the windshield, he talks with you for 2 minutes at his small desk inside and that is it.
"Why do you want a SENTRI pass?"
"I am thinking of buying property in Rosaritio."
I crossed the border 15 minutes later in my own car, the return trip is a no-brainer. 10-20 minutes at most compared to 3 hour wait in the other line.
When you cross they photo you and your pass as you cross.