It is quite evident that America is one of the most visited countries in terms of tourism, business and medical, and so on. This country has thousands of visitors annually from neighboring countries, Mexico and Canada. Due to such traffic, the US government defines some arrangements, such as specific cards, to facilitate transit. The Border Crossing Card (BCC) is one of the facilities that was characterized by the US Department of State in 1998 for Mexican nationals. In the following sections, you will learn what the BCC is. Who uses it, and how can it be gained?
What is the definition of a Border Crossing Card?
The BCC (known as DSP-150) is a combination of B-1 and B-2 visas that is printed as a laminated card with specific graphics features. From April 1998 to September 2008, laser cards were issued. From September 2008 until now, a new generation of these cards has been rendered using more sophisticated technology. The first and second-generation cards have the same size, but the newer ones have better graphic quality. The size of this card is almost similar to a credit card. Its time validity is around ten years after the issue, but there are exceptions for children.
The holder of this card can enter the US from the Mexico border by land or sea and is only permitted to enter the US borders (for instance, 25 miles farther to California or Texas). The holder is authorized to stay in the United States for less than 72 hours to do some activities such as shopping or visiting. For more extended stays, you need to apply for I-94 Form.
Who is eligible for the BCC?
A person should meet the following requirement to obtain the card:
- The applicant must be a Mexican citizen and reside in the country
- The applicant must demonstrate that he/she does not intend to stay in the United States
- The applicant must be able to cover the expenses of temporary residence in the United States
- The applicant must indicate that he/she has no conviction records by a letter from the home country authorities.
How to apply for the Border Crossing Card?
The procedure of visa application for BCC is similar to the B-1 or B-2 visa and requires precisely the same documents.
The applicant must provide a valid Mexican passport at the time of application. In this case, filling out the online form DS-160 is also the first step. You can find out more information at https://www.usembassy.gov.
How much does it cost to apply for the Border Crossing Card?
- The application fee for a BCC card with 10-year validity for people over 15 is $ 160.
- The application fee for people under 15 years of age whose parents have a BCC or are applying for is $ 16. The card is valid until the applicant reaches 15 or after ten years, whichever comes first.
Remember to keep the payment receipt because you will need it on the day of the interview.
When does the Border Crossing Card Expire?
Its validity is around ten years after the issue, but there are exceptions for children. “Laser visas” issued prior to October 1, 2008, are still valid for travel until the expiration date on the front of the card.
How Far Can You Travel Within the US on a Border Crossing Card?
- In California: within 25 miles (40 km) of the border.
- In Arizona: within 75 miles (121 km) of the border.
- In New Mexico: within 55 miles (89 km) of the border or up to Interstate 10, whichever is further north.
- In Texas: within 25 miles (40 km) of the border.
If you want to stay longer or travel farther, you need to request an I-94 at the US port of entry from the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer there. You might have to pay some money for this.
The I-94 will tell you how long you can stay in the US and the type of status you have. For example, in the case of a BCC, you will get B-1/B-2 status.
Although I-94s were once issued as cards, they are now issued electronically at air and sea ports. However, if you enter by land, you will be issued your I-94 in paper form. You are expected to look up electronic I-94s and download them after your US entry online.
Let’s sum up…
In this article, we provided a brief overview of the BCC. On the Visa Library website, you can learn about other US visas as well as ways to immigrate to other countries. In case you have some experience, please write it down in the comment section. Your comments let the readers choose better and avoid mistakes. Conveying your experiences in comments is a great help for applicants.