A traveler gets a red light at Customs. A traveler gets a red light at Customs.

Customs to phase out traffic light lottery

New procedures to simplify process for travelers entering Mexico

The traffic light lottery utilized by Mexican Customs will soon be a quirk of the past.


Changes intended to improve service to travelers include elimination of the traffic signals that randomly select people for a baggage search at Customs entry points.

At present, travelers must press a button when passing through Customs, and those who get a green light are free to go. The unlucky minority who get a red have their bags searched.

The changes will be implemented at Mexico City airport’s Terminal 2 as a pilot project and will include the elimination of Customs declarations forms that are completed by travelers coming from abroad.

At airports, baggage will be inspected by x-ray scanners while in transit between planes and baggage carousels in coordination with the Federal Police.

Following the pilot, the new system will be introduced gradually at Terminal 1 in Mexico City and at the international airports in Cancún, Los Cabos, Guadalajara and Monterrey, through which 85% of international travelers arrive in Mexico.

Authorities say the new procedures, which are standard practice internationally, will make it simpler and safer for those travelers, for whom control and inspection measures will be imperceptible.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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  • Ronny

    About time!

  • pedrochapala

    a lot of people enter at puerto vallarta so i hope they include that too. a lot of us canadians land there to go to the guadalajara area to avoid entering the charming excited states.

    • Jack Akers

      “charming”? There’s a fine line between politeness and passive-aggressive.

      • pedrochapala

        ok then no fekking politeness and there is nothing passive aggressive about “charming excited states” aka the great paranoid elephant in the middle.

        • David Nichols

          Jack Akers.
          How about plain old tell it like it is: He prefers to avoid those border and intervening Narcostates that are completely controlled by criminal gangs and corrupt government officials…

  • MortimerSnerd

    “At airports, baggage will be inspected by x-ray scanners while in transit between planes and baggage carousels in coordination with the Federal Police…”
    What an opportunity for theft of stuff out of your baggage, and opportunity for extortion int one of the more corrupt countries of the world, especially for passengers on or connecting to or from domestic flights. In the Phillipines, the Manila International Airport, and sometimes at connecting airports it is common practice for baggage handlers to slip a .22 bullet into a travellers baggage, where the contraband will be ‘found’ by an X-Ray scanner and customs official who will then take the ‘offending’ passenger aside to an interview room and threaten them with jail or detention causing them to lose an expensive international connecting flight unless they immeadiatly pay a large ‘fine’ for the serious ‘offense’.
    It won’t be long before the cartels or criminal element picks up on this opportunity. I think I’ll keep on driving down.

  • K. Chris C.

    Customs is to X-ray luggage?!
    Got to get their thieving up to the level of the TSA’s by the application of technology.

    There’ll be a spike in demand for “security ink” around these airports–For the screeners to mark the “notable” bags with.

    An American citizen, not US subject.

  • MizRispee

    This should be in ALL airports within Mexico.
    I have 3 clients who were “randomly selected” TOGETHER and their luggage searched. The immigration people extorted $20 each from them to “let them go” even though they found nothing (contraband, etc.) in their luggage. They paid because of the fear of being sent to jail without knowing the language and laws. And Mexican’s know this and use it for their financial windfall. Extortion and bribery are rampant in the country.

  • Francis Dryden

    Control and inspection measures will be imperceptible… and so will the ungodly theft. Travel with dirty laundry and maybe it will be left alone.

  • michael

    Really, how many things are stolen from luggage? 1%. Of course all you folks know people who know people who said they heard some guy’s brother had something stolen. But you can’t convince these people. They think it is all a lie.and a scam.

  • Güerito

    MS, thanks for your report on the Philippines.

    I’ve been thinking about traveling there for quite some time. I’ll take your info under advisement.

    For now the Pancit and Lumpia will have to wait.

  • lang_eddy

    Puerto Vallarta’s airport should also be included….Its a system which is outdated and not necessary. Hopefully, the red light/green light system will be gone by Christmas….I hope.

  • Valentin Buzatu

    really mexico cancun airport is horrible for 0.1 kg on our luggage over the limit put us 3 times to remove and chuck items bought in mexico , and they were letting others pass with over the limit weight .. never again , will probably go in domenica or something like that

  • Güerito

    César, it looks like someone flagged a comment below for no reason. It’s not all that important, since the interchange seems inane, but it does seem we still have a censor amongst us.

  • flamedoil

    I have no problems with the red light-green light system. Had red once in 35 or so entries into Mazatlan airport.