How to use the CBX Bridge – Blue Eyed Compass (2022)

Fly from the Tijuana airport easily & save yourself money on your flights!

How to use the CBX Bridge – Blue Eyed Compass (1)

Did you know that American based travelers can fly to Mexico for cheap? This alone is one of my favorite conveniences for using the CBX to get to the Tijuana airport.

By using the CBX Bridge in San Diego, California passengers can book a flight to Mexico with a Mexican airline for nearly half the cost (if not less) than it would cost to fly out of San Diego or Los Angeles directly. However, there is a lot of confusion on what this bridge actually is, where to go to cross it and if it is safe for travelers.

Read below for my experience and all of the information that you will need to use the CBX bridge at the Tijuana Airport.

Read More: Nine Reasons to Visit Mexico

What is CBX?

CBX stands for Cross Border Xpress. It is a pedestrian facility located on the San Diego/Tijuana border that allows people to walk straight into the Tijuana airport from the United States. People call it the CBX bridge, as it is technically a covered, indoor, pedestrian walkway.

To clear away some confusion: NO, CBX is not an outdoor bridge. The facility is entirely indoors. You purchase your ticket to cross (read below), check in to your flight and walk down a hallway that marks where the border of the United States meets the border of Mexico. Once you exit this hallway you will be inside the Tijuana Airport.

Where is CBX & How to get there from the United States?

Surprisingly, the CBX bridge facility is not the same border that you drive across when trying to get to Baja California. It is located in San Diego and is approximately a 15-minute drive from the border patrol area into Tijuana.

From central San Diego (Mission Valley/USD area) it will take approximately 20 minutes to drive to the Cross Border Xpress.

It is very easy to park or drop off travelers as it has a clearly marked entrance and roadway to the front doors. And offers large open parking lots with security driving throughout.

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Photo credit: CBX Website

Preparing to use the CBX bridge & the costs of crossing

  • Make sure you have a boarding pass available; this proves that you have a reason to be crossing into the airport
  • Purchase a ticket to cross through CBX in advance; this can save you time by not having to purchase in person at a kiosk (really it’s not that much time saved, but more convenient for ease of access)
  • Tickets for CBX are $30 for a round trip crossing, $16 for one way, or $105 RT/$55 one way for families (four to six people)
  • Just like any other trip to the airport, prepare how you will get there. Whether that is having a friend drop you off, parking your car (see detailed information below) or a ride share service.
  • Parking is $17/day, and you pay when you return. It will most likely be cheaper to order a Lyft or Uber to take you to CBX rather than park a car.

[New to ride-sharing? It is one of the most convenient ways to get around if don’t want to or cannot drive. Use these links to receive discounts on your first ride with them! Lyft // Uber ]

How to Cross the Cross Border Xpress

Walk inside the set of doors that are closest to the drop off area (if you drive past the cross walk speed bump you’ve gone past the correct doors). With your boarding pass and CBX ticket in hand, walk to the tables inside to complete immigration forms. At the inside entrance, an agent will scan your CBX ticket, ask if you have your passport and boarding pass then will allow you to walk across the pedestrian sky bridge.

Every staff person we spoke to/with spoke English and was kind, friendly & efficient. Which makes any travel anxiety lower quickly.

The bridge itself is modern and covered, and there is an official line marking where you actually cross from the United States into Mexico! At the end of the bridge you enter directly into the Tijuana airport terminal. Find your airlines ticket counter if you need to check any bags. If not, head to security as you normally would at any other airport. Except this time you’ll be walking over with a smile of satisfaction that you not only very easily crossed into another country, but that you most likely saved yourself a lot of money flying out of Tijuana to your destination!

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What airlines fly into & out of the Tijuana Airport?

These are the airlines that fly into and out of the Tijuana Airport. Travelers who live near San Diego and Los Angeles in Southern California can search for flights with these airlines to save some serious money when flying to Mexico or Central America.

  • Aeromexico
  • Interjet
  • Volaris
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Flying into the Tijuana Airport, to cross back into the United States

Almost identical to how you can cross from the United States into the Tijuana airport through CBX bridge facility, you cross back. After the baggage claim area, there is a clearly marked area for the CBX bridge. Show your CBX ticket to an agent and then cross back over the pedestrian bridge.

*Do NOT exit the airport into Tijuana– an airport agent will guide you to the CBX exit, however, be present and aware regardless.

Customs at the CBX bridge facility has little to almost no lines to wait in. They scan your luggage, but you don’t have to take anything out. Declare anything you bring back with you, and then walk across the bridge and outside to your ride back home.

How to use the CBX Bridge – Blue Eyed Compass (4)

Utilizing the Cross Border Xpress in San Diego is a wonderful way to travel for cheap to and from Mexico. It is set up to be convenient and easy for travelers, and as someone who has used it, i can attest to its convenience and ease of use. Have any questions — feel free to leave them in the comments below!

Happy travels!

Related: Interested in planning a trip to a Mexican destination?

Check out my travel guides for Mexico City and San Miguel de Allende to gather some inspiration!

TIPS for Using the Cross Border Xpress (CBX) in San Diego, California

  • Flying out of Tijuana airport is cheaper than another US based airport if you are flying to a location in Mexico or Central America. This isn’t always 100% true, but 90% of the time you will find a much better deal
  • People often say to leave time for traffic, however I drove down to the CBX facility a couple of times (different days of the week and different times of the day) and never had a traffic issue. It is almost in the middle of nowhere so is not a traffic heavy area. And with there not being much to do in the airport I wouldn’t suggest showing up very early as you’ll arrive and go through the facility quickly and then be bored at your gate.
  • The security lines are much shorter here, so no need to stress the time spent waiting to go through
  • Currently there are not many food options in the airport (this also depends on where your gate is/which airline you are flying), however we saw signs stating that new eateries are being added in 2019.

If you’re curious about the CBX bridge being at the Tijuana border crossing, I captured screenshots of the distance between the two. It’s about a 15 minute drive between the two.
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Hi! I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing online brand strategist. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

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FAQs

How do you use a CBX bridge? ›

Before entering the CBX bridge, you will need to scan your CBX ticket at the electronic gates and your boarding pass if you have not linked it to your CBX ticket. Once everything has been scanned and the door opens, you will be able to cross the bridge. The CBX bridge is completely enclosed and 390 feet long.

Can you cross the CBX bridge without a passport? ›

To access the CBX Bridge, each passenger must scan or present their boarding pass and CBX Ticket, as well as official travel documentation, such as a valid visa, passport, and I-94 form, when requested to do so by CBX staff.

Can we cross over the CBX bridge with birth certificate? ›

You will need a boarding pass, a CBX ticket and official valid travel documents. You may only use the bridge within 24 hours to your flight departure. Mexican Nationals: Passport, INE credential, birth certificate, consular card o Mexican nationality certificate.

How long is the walk at CBX? ›

The CBX bridge is 390ft, times vary...but the average person gets to their boarding gate in 30-40 minutes. Have a safe trip!

How much does it cost to use the CBX bridge? ›

Passengers must have a plane ticket and passport to use the CBX. Only travelers may use the bridge; the CBX is not an open border entry. There is a $30 fee to use the CBX, which can be purchased online or on-site.

Can Uber pick me up at CBX? ›

Ridesharing. Enjoy the convenience of Lyft or Uber. Download the apps and request a ride from CBX terminal in San Diego.

How early do you need to get to CBX? ›

You must arrive at CBX counters 60 minutes before your flight with the documents indicated in the following table. In case of crossing CBX from Mexico to the United States, you must do it within two hours of your arrival to the Tijuana International Airport.

Can I cross the Mexico border with just my ID? ›

U.S. citizens must present a valid U.S. passport book or card, in addition to an entry permit (Forma Migratoria Multiple or FMM) issued by Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM). Travelers should be sure to enter Mexico with valid proof of automobile registration, even if remaining in the border zone.

Can you cross the CBX from Tijuana to San Diego without a passport? ›

Pedestrians crossing into Tijuana at the San Ysidro crossing need to complete a Mexico Visitor's Permit (FMM ‒ FREE if the trip is 7 days or less and you cross by land) and present a passport. This form will be provided by the airline or at the port of entry. You can also complete this form online here.

What documents do I need to cross the Ambassador Bridge? ›

Passport Information

A valid passport (or other supporting documentation) is needed to cross the border between Canada and the United States.

How does the cross border Xpress work? ›

Cross Border Xpress (CBX) is a pedestrian bridge exclusively for passengers of the Tijuana International Airport that allows passengers to cross the border between Mexico and the United States. The bridge is 390 feet long and connects the Tijuana International Airport with a service terminal in San Diego.

What documents do I need to fly out of Tijuana? ›

Mexico. Photocopied and digital documents are not accepted. All passengers must present a valid passport and visa if applicable. Check out the full list of countries that do not require a visa.

How many bottles can you cross through CBX? ›

2 liters is the limit. Yes, you'll need to declare it.

Where can I park if my CBX is full? ›

CBX parking alternative at Delta Truck Parking for just $15 a day with free shuttle service to and from Cross Border Xpress (CBX bridge). Reserve online to guarantee a parking spot for your vehicle. Reservations are not required but are highly recommended.

Can I cross CBX with passport card? ›

Yes, you can travel with only your passport card. For more information please dial 1-888-CBX-INFO Thank You.

Do I have to print my CBX ticket? ›

You can simply scan either your CBX ticket or your boarding pass to access the CBX bridge. If you purchased your ticket through Aeromexico's website you will need to retrieve your CBX ticket from the Aeromexico counter in the CBX San Diego terminal.

How do you pick someone up from CBX? ›

Passenger pickup at the CBX-Tijuana airport bridge crossing is available 7 days a week during business hours. The shuttle service is free of charge. Call the telephone number printed on the parking ticket and ask for shuttle service. First-come, first served, and one-on-one basis, unless otherwise noted.

Is cross border Xpress worth it? ›

It is definitely worth every penny considering the flight savings and time savings at the border crossing. We saved about $100 round-trip per ticket and our CBX family packet was only $105 which totaled a savings of $295. In my books, that means more cash for vacation margaritas or a massage.

Can I fill out FMM at CBX? ›

They have the fmm at the cbx bridge to fill out its all right there it takes on the avg 5 mins to fill out. Just don't bother. The online FMM is not actually a time saver. In the time you spent asking about it you could have filled out the form at the desk—and then they will check all the correct boxes for you.

Can I use my birth certificate to come back from Mexico? ›

When U.S. citizen children under the age of 16 arrive by land or sea from Canada or Mexico they may present an original or copy of their birth certificate, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or a Naturalization Certificate.

Can I get back into the US without a passport? ›

Arrival From Other Countries

All travelers entering the United States from all other countries need a passport upon arrival (regardless of their country of citizenship). Permanent residents and foreign nationals may also need a U.S. visa.

Can you use birth certificate to cross border? ›

United States and Canadian citizen children under age 16 arriving by land or sea from contiguous territory may also present an original or copy of his or her birth certificate (issued by the Vital Records Department in the state where he or she was born), a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, a Naturalization Certificate, ...

What happens if you go to Tijuana without a passport? ›

The use of a passport is recommended to go to Tijuana. However, if you do not have a passport and have to travel urgently to the city, customs admit secondary documentation: Valid identification.

How long of a wait at the Ambassador Bridge? ›

is updated at least once an hour, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
...
Current border wait times.
CBSA OfficeAmbassador Bridge Windsor, ON/Detroit, MI
Commercial Flow5 minutes
Travellers FlowNo delay
Updated2022-10-23 15:34 EDT
25 more columns
1 Oct 2022

Does the Ambassador Bridge take credit card? ›

Trucks inbound to the U.S. from Canada will be tolled by transponder or license plate cameras only – no cash or credit card. The bridge has implemented the A-PASS program for commercial vehicles and has an “A Card” which provides a toll discount for frequent bridge users.

Is there a fee to cross the Ambassador Bridge? ›

prepay an initial amount of $150.00 U.S. by credit card that will automatically replenish when the balance reaches $25.00. $8.00 $4.75 U.S. NOTICE (B) Important: A $10.00 fee plus tolls per trip will be charged for non-active DIBC/CTC account holders.

Can I cross the TJ border with a real ID? ›

Q: Can I use my REAL ID card to cross the border into Canada and Mexico and for international travel? No. REAL ID cards cannot be used for border crossings into Canada, Mexico or other international travel.

Do you need Covid test to enter Mexico? ›

To this day, there are no entry restrictions in Mexico and no obligation to carry a COVID test or to do quarantine. Check the current status of the pandemic in Mexico and follow the sanitary rules to prevent contagion (information only in Spanish).

What can you not bring back from Mexico? ›

To avoid hassles, it is best to not bring back fruits, vegetables, meat or dairy products from Mexico unless you know they are allowed. Read our article about Bringing Food Back From Mexico.

What items are prohibited to take into Mexico? ›

Arms and ammunitions. Live fish. Predators of any size. Images representing children in a degrading or ridiculous way.

How much cash can I take to Mexico? ›

If you enter or leave Mexico, you must declare any sum of money equaling US$10,000 or more that you bring in cash, checks, money orders, other cashable documents or a combination of them. Failing to declare carries a fine ranging from 20% to 40% of the exceeding amount.

How do you pick someone up from CBX? ›

Passenger pickup at the CBX-Tijuana airport bridge crossing is available 7 days a week during business hours. The shuttle service is free of charge. Call the telephone number printed on the parking ticket and ask for shuttle service. First-come, first served, and one-on-one basis, unless otherwise noted.

Where does the CBX shuttle go? ›

CBX provides its passengers with frequent shuttle bus transfers to and from San Ysidro, San Diego, and Los Angeles. The shuttle fare for a ride from CBX to San Ysidro is $6, and the shuttles run to the San Ysidro bus station. The airport transfer from CBX to San Diego operates to and from downtown and costs $11.

How early do you need to get to CBX? ›

You must arrive at CBX counters 60 minutes before your flight with the documents indicated in the following table. In case of crossing CBX from Mexico to the United States, you must do it within two hours of your arrival to the Tijuana International Airport.

How does cross border pick up work? ›

HOW IT WORKS
  1. Sign up to receive your own FREE U.S. address.
  2. Shop online at any U.S. retailer.
  3. Ship the package to your FREE U.S. address.
  4. You'll be notified by email your package has arrived at our U.S. address. ...
  5. CrossBorder Pickups takes care of the painful paperwork and clears it with Customs.

Where can I park if my CBX is full? ›

CBX parking alternative at Delta Truck Parking for just $15 a day with free shuttle service to and from Cross Border Xpress (CBX bridge). Reserve online to guarantee a parking spot for your vehicle. Reservations are not required but are highly recommended.

What documents do you need to cross through CBX? ›

I-94 Tourist Permit for the U.S.

All passengers, with the exception of U.S. citizens and residents, traveling more than 25 miles (approx. 40 km) from the border or staying more than 30 days in the United States will be required to prepay and complete their provisional I-94 permit before crossing through CBX.

How much is a taxi from CBX to San Diego airport? ›

The quickest way to get from San Diego Airport (SAN) to Cross Border Express, San Diego is to taxi which costs $80 - $100 and takes 26 min. Is there a direct bus between San Diego Airport (SAN) and Cross Border Express, San Diego?

Does CBX connect to Tijuana airport? ›

Cross Border Xpress (CBX) is a pedestrian bridge exclusively for passengers of the Tijuana International Airport that allows passengers to cross the border between Mexico and the United States. The bridge is 390 feet long and connects the Tijuana International Airport with a service terminal in San Diego.

Can I fill out FMM at CBX? ›

They have the fmm at the cbx bridge to fill out its all right there it takes on the avg 5 mins to fill out. Just don't bother. The online FMM is not actually a time saver. In the time you spent asking about it you could have filled out the form at the desk—and then they will check all the correct boxes for you.

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