Border Crossing Card

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The front of the updated version of the Border Crossing Card

A Border Crossing Card (BCC) is a document that allows limited entry into the United States by visitors. The cards authorize visits to the border areas of the United States for a set amount of time.[1] 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 first generation of machine readable BCC's, known as "laser visas",[dead link][2] 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.[3] 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.[4]

Border Crossing Card issuance[edit]

  • BCC applicants at the consular sections in Mexico City, Guadalajara and Mérida receive a B1/B2 visa/Border Crossing foil that is affixed in the applicant’s passport instead of a card.
  • Beginning October 29, 2012, the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City and Consulate General in Mérida will begin issuing Border Crossing Cards (often called “laser visas”) to applicants who qualify for tourist/business travel.
  • BCC applicants at all other Consulates receive the new Border Crossing Card.

Acquiring A Border Crossing Card[edit]

Border Crossing Cards are issued exclusively to Mexican citizens.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Modes of Entry for the Unauthorized Migrant Population" (PDF). Pew Hispanic Center. May 22, 2006. Retrieved February 2, 2011. [dead link]
  2. ^
  3. ^ United States Consulate, Monterrey, Mexico (October 1, 2008). "Updated U.S. Border Crossing Card Visa". Retrieved February 8, 2011. 
  4. ^ US DHS, ICE, Forensic Document Laboratory (July 10, 2009). "Forensic Document Laboratory Alert, Counterfeit DSP-150's" (PDF). Retrieved February 8, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Border Crossing Card". 

External links[edit]