Border Crossing Card

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The front of the updated version of the Border Crossing Card

A Border Crossing Card (BCC) is an identity document as well as a B1/B2 visa that allows entry into the United States by Mexican citizens. As a standalone document, the BCC allows Mexican citizens to visit the border areas of the U.S. when entering by land or sea directly from Mexico for less than 72 hours.[1] The document also functions as a full B1/B2 visa when presented with a valid Mexican passport.[2] Section 104 of the United States Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA) serves as the legal basis for the issuance of Border Crossing Cards.


The BCC is issued only to Mexican citizens residing in Mexico and by the U.S. diplomatic missions in Mexico.[3]


The first generation of machine readable BCC's, known as "laser visas",[4] was produced from April 1, 1998, until September 30, 2008. The laminated, credit card-size document is both a BCC and a B1/B2 visitor’s visa. The cards are valid for travel until the expiration date on the front of the card, usually ten years after issuance. They are nearly identical to the previous generation Permanent Resident Card.

October 1, 2008, marked the beginning of production of a second generation B1/B2 visa/BCC. The new card is similar in size to the old BCC, but contains enhanced graphics and technology. The original BCC was produced by the now defunct Immigration and Naturalization Service but the current card is produced by the Department of State.[5] It is virtually identical to the Passport Card, which is issued to citizens and nationals of the United States for the purposes of land and sea border crossings, in its general design layout. The card includes an RFID chip and Integrated Contactless Circuit and is part of the same PASS System that the Passport Card belongs to.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". n.d. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Border Crossing Card - Who can use it?". n.d. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  3. ^ "Border Crossing Card". n.d. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  4. ^ Branigin, William (18 February 1998). "High-tech ID cards planned for use on Mexican border". The Washington Post. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  5. ^ United States Consulate, Monterrey, Mexico (October 1, 2008). "Updated U.S. Border Crossing Card Visa". Archived from the original on July 21, 2011. Retrieved February 8, 2011.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  6. ^ "Forensic Document Laboratory Alert: Counterfeit DSP-150s" (PDF). July 10, 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 28, 2011. Retrieved March 27, 2019.

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