If you are not a regular border crosser, it is normal to wonder if you can enter from any line, however, whether you are American or Mexican with a tourist visa, you have to consider the following:
To cross into San Diego there are three types of lines: the normal lane, the ready lane and the sentri lane, and for the last two you need specific documentation, otherwise you run the risk of being sent to secondary inspection or being sent back to the border to go through the regular line again.
1. Normal line
The normal line can be used by anyone with any type of visa, even people with Sentri and Ready Lane can use this one. Most of the time it is the slowest of the three, however, sometimes it can be surprising and move quickly.
Where to access it? If you take it by car, you can take it from where the Centro Cultural Tijuana (CECUT) is located on Paseo de los Heroes 9350 Boulevard, Zona Urbana Rio.
2. Ready Lane
According to the Border Patrol (CBP), travelers who can use this lane are those who transit with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) enabled cards and can receive benefits of use in the "Ready Lane" to expedite the inspection process while crossing the border.
Where can I access it? This is the one located in the East Fast Track.
Remember: if you take it and do not have the necessary documents you could be sent to secondary inspection and sometimes even lose a whole day trying to clarify your visa status.
3. Sentri Line
The fastest of all and acquiring this document is the most difficult. We can guarantee you that taking it by accident or intentionally without the proper documentation could get you into a lot of trouble. According to CBP:
"There is no citizenship or residency requirement to apply for the SENTRI program. Membership is valid for 5 years unless revoked for being guilty of a crime, charged with a customs or immigration offense, or declared inadmissible to the United States under immigration law."
If I have Sentri, where can I access it? This is located in the direction of the checkpoints on Padre Kino Boulevard. It is important that you access it only if you have the required documentation.
VIDEO: Become a wildlife ally at San Diego Zoo