Mexico is one of the top tourist destinations in the world. Americans love Mexico, and millions of Americans visit Mexico every year. If you are from the United States, I am sure you are wondering if you need a passport to go to Mexico. Since Mexico is a neighboring country to the U.S, you will be wondering if you need a passport to visit a neighboring country.
A lot of people wonder if they need to have a passport to go to Mexico. This article will cover whether you need a passport or visa to visit Mexico. If you’re looking to travel without the hassle of securing a visa but still don’t know if you need a passport for Mexico to get into the country, then read on for more information.
We are here to guide you on the requirements needed to visit Mexico if you plan to go there someday. It is nice to note that Mexico is one of the world’s most visited countries. It was ranked seventh on the World Visitor Organization’s list of nations with the most foreign tourist arrivals in 2019. Mexico is only second to the United States for annual visitors to the American continent.
All United States citizens need to hold a valid passport to enter Mexico. Whether traveling to Mexico by land, sea, or air, you are strongly advised to carry your international passport books. I will provide more details about the Mexico passport requirements in this post. If you intend to travel to Mexico anytime soon, this post will be a valuable resource for you.
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Table of Contents
- Do You Need A Passport To Travel To Mexico?
- Do Kids Need a Passport to Enter Mexico?
- Do You Need a Passport When Flying In and Out of Mexico?
- Does My Passport Have To Be Valid For 6 Months Before I Can Travel To Mexico?
- Passport Processing Times
- Do You Need a Passport To Travel To Mexico By Land (Car)?
- Do You Need a Passport When Traveling to Mexico by Sea?
- Do You Need a Passport To Enter Cancun?
- What Are The Entry Requirements For Mexico?
- How Can I Get a Mexican Passport?
- What Is a Forma Migratoria Multiple (FMM), and What is It Used For?
- How To Get an FMM
Do You Need A Passport To Travel To Mexico?
You need a passport to travel to any country, including Mexico. For babies and children, it depends on the method of travel. There’s an exception, though; children under 16 years are allowed to go to Mexico without a passport and only by sea or land; when traveling by air, children of all ages must do so with a valid passport.
Do Kids Need a Passport to Enter Mexico?
Hence, minors (babies and children of all ages) will require a valid passport booklet to get into Mexico when traveling by air. The border control authorities will check and stamp your passport upon your arrival. They’ll require proof of identity and US citizenship instead of a passport, such as birth certificates or naturalization certificates.
If you have toddlers or children traveling by sea or land, they may not need a passport. Also, the cut-off age for children traveling by land or sea in the United States is 16 years of age. If your children have passports, it is highly advised for them to carry them along when they travel to Mexico.
Children under 19 years with an adult-chaperoned organization like a cultural or social organization, sports team, school group, or religious team can use their birth certificates, certificates of naturalization, or certificates of citizenship. Nevertheless, children of all ages must have a passport book when traveling by air. So, it’s best to go with your passport to be on the safe side.
Do You Need a Passport When Flying In and Out of Mexico?
When flying in and out of Mexico as a United States citizen, you will need a valid passport. Passport cards aren’t accepted when traveling to Mexico by air. In other words, you cannot travel to Mexico without a passport. However, you can still use a Forma Migratioria Multiple (FMM) when flying into Mexico.
Any person traveling by air will receive a stamp, showing they have a valid FMT and are traveling legally. You should remember that you cannot use US passport books for international air travel. The passport card is for regular travelers who travel by sea and land to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda.
Does My Passport Have To Be Valid For 6 Months Before I Can Travel To Mexico?
The rule is that the time you spend traveling to and from the U.S must be within the validity period on your passport. However, some airlines have a three or six-month rule, meaning that the passport must either have three or six months remaining when you enter the Mexican territory.
Passport Processing Times
Typically, the passport processing time is around 8 to 11 weeks but can be longer in some circumstances.
Do You Need a Passport To Travel To Mexico By Land (Car)?
As a citizen of the United States, you will surely present a valid passport as a car permit to enter Mexico. Moreover, passport cards are accepted to enter Mexico by land. Just like air travel, you will need an FMT. If you stay more than 72 hours in Mexico, you must get an FMT.
Under the new rule, you will need the following documents to re-enter the United States after traveling to Mexico by land:
- US Passport Book.
- Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) Card: Nexus, SENTRI, Global Entry, or FAST card.
- Enhanced Driver’s License US Passport Card (EDL).
Do You Need a Passport When Traveling to Mexico by Sea?
There are no exceptions, as you will need a valid U.S passport when entering Mexico by sea. However, you can still use a valid passport card if you don’t have a passport book.
U.S citizens on a closed-loop cruise will be required to produce the following documents:
- A driver’s license or any valid government-issued photo ID.
- An original or copy of documents such as their birth certificate, naturalization certificate, or certificate of citizenship to re-enter the country.
Several cruise lines strongly recommend travelers come along with a valid passport, even for closed-loop cruises. An emergency may require you to change your travel plans quickly, and when this is done, you will surely need your passport.
Do You Need a Passport To Enter Cancun?
Of course, you need a passport to go to Cancun. The Cancun Airport website says that travelers from the United States can enter Cancun with alternate forms of ID, including a driver’s license and a birth certificate. If you ever need to return to the United States, you must have a passport.
What Are The Entry Requirements For Mexico?
When traveling to Mexico, you need a duly completed health declaration form and a Mexico Forma Migratoria Multiple (FMM card).
The Mexican Coat of Arms is in the center of the front cover, with the country’s official name “Estados Unidos Mexicanos” (United Mexican States) surrounding the coat of arms. The name “Pasaporte” appears below the coat of arms, followed by the international biometric sign and “Mexico” (as the country is recognized). The Mexican passport has a variety of security elements, some of which are only visible under a black light.
A biographical information page and a signature page are included in every passport. The right side of the passport shows a biographical information page and signature page illustration. Mexico’s passport is currently in the ‘G’ series.
Here is an example of the identification information page of the Mexican passport of the 2016 edition. A consulate in another country issued this passport.
- Passport holder’s photo (digital).
- Type (P).
- Country code (MEX).
- Passport number.
- Surnames (include Father’s and Mother’s maiden names).
- Personalized names.
- Year of birth.
- Personal identification number (CURP).
- Location of birth.
- Authority Date of Issue.
- Expiration date.
- National insignia and a hologram picture in the center-right corner of the biographical page.
The photograph, full name, nationality, CURP, and signature of those who have custody of youngsters (18 and under) are also included in their passports.
The Machine Readable Zone concludes the biographical information page. The passport has 32 visa and stamp pages, each with the coat of arms of one of Mexico’s 31 states and Mexico City.
How Can I Get a Mexican Passport?
To get a Mexican passport, you will need to, first of all, meet the following requirements.
First-time candidates above the age of eighteen should do the following:
1. Schedule an appointment with any Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores (SRE) delegation or SRE-connected office.
2. Fill out the application for a regular passport book in black ink by hand and in print (Form OP-5). The application is free of charge at any SRE branch, the Office of State, or Municipal Liaison SRE.
3. Presenting an original and a photocopy of any of the following documents as proof of Mexican nationality:
a) A certified copy of the Mexican civil register office’s birth certificate. Birth registration should not be time-barred (must have occurred within the first three years of life), but if it is, see section “Additional Documentation for Birth Certificates with Untimely Registration,” which is known in Mexican law as “Registro extemporáneo.”
b) A certified copy of your birth certificate from a consular office in another country.
c) Copy of Mexican nationality certificate.
d) Declaration of Mexican nationality by birth certificate.
e) Naturalization Certificate; and
f) Certificate of Citizenship Identity issued by the Secretary of the Interior.
4. Provide an original and a photocopy of any of the following official documents with the holder’s photograph and signature; the data should closely match those of the document confirming nationality:
a) Cédula de Identidad Ciudadana issued by the Secretara de Gobernación.
b) Matrcula Consular (Certificate of Consular Registration, Consular ID card).
c) Naturalization Certificate.
d) Certificate of Mexican Nationality.
e) Declaration of Mexican Nationality by Birth.
f) National Electoral Institute Voting Card.
g) A valid identity card issued by the Instituto Nacional de las Personas Adultas Mayores.
h) Professional Certificate.
i) Professional Degree.
j) Letter of Internship.
k) A valid identification card issued by the Instituto Nacional de las Personas Adultas Mayores.
l) Medical credential from a public health institution or social security badge with a photo that has been sealed with the institution’s official seal. Even if the seal does not overlap the photograph, credentials in digital format can be accepted.
m) Badges for retired or pensioned credentials granted by a social security institution must bear the official seal and the signature and title of the person who issued them. Even if the seal does not overlay the portrait and the credentials are in digital format, they can be accepted.
n) The Sistema Integral para la Familia issues a National Credential for Persons with Disabilities (DIF).
o) Foreign embassies and consulates may accept identity documents issued in the country or region where they are located, such as driver’s licenses, passports, residence permits, or visas.
There are other important documents one needs to have when traveling to Mexico asides passport. One of them is the Forma Migratoria Multiple (FMM).
What Is a Forma Migratoria Multiple (FMM), and What is It Used For?
FMM sounds strange, but it is also a very important document for traveling to Mexico. The Forma Migratoria Multiple Card, FMM, or the Mexican Tourist Card, refers to a permit that gives foreign travelers the legal right to enter Mexico. FMM is commonly known as a tourist visa, but it is not an actual visa and is not a substitute to it.
Mexico’s National Migration Institute (INM) issues the FMM as a travel document. It’s a tourist card that allows foreign visitors to enter Mexico by land, sea, or air. Anyone traveling from the United States to Mexico must apply for the Mexican Tourist Card. It is worth noting that you can only apply for a Mexican Tourist Visa if only you are going for vacation, pleasure, leisure, or recreational purposes and not for employment or work-related purposes.
Adults and children from the United States must obtain an FMM to enter Mexico. Unless you’re merely passing through the border zone and want to stay for less than 72 hours. You may be asked to show your FMM permit by INM officers outside the border area, so bring it with you.
Thinking about how to get an FMM? Keep on reading!
How To Get an FMM
You can apply for an FMM online or at the border while traveling to Mexico. You’ll have to wait about an hour for a copy to be ready to print if you use an online application. However, you must still have it stamped by Mexican immigration officials at the border. It only takes a few minutes to obtain one at the border.
You’ll need to present a passport book or card to get an FMM. Each visitor, including minors, receives their tourist card, so bring all of your identifying documents. The FMM card, which costs around $30 per person, must also be paid for. If you’re only there for seven days or less, it’s free.
The FMM is good for only one trip to Mexico. You’ll be compelled to surrender the card upon re-entry to the United States—keep it safe—and you’ll have to apply for another one on your next visit. Don’t be concerned if you misplace the card. Apply for a replacement straight away at a local immigration office.
Is VISA also needed to go to Mexico?
If you’re a US citizen visiting Mexico as a tourist for less than 180 days, you won’t require a visa. Only your tourist card (FMM) and passport are required. The same is true for citizens of nations that do not require a visa to enter Mexico.
Suppose you’re from a country that requires a visa to enter Mexico. In that case, you may be excused from the restriction if you hold a valid visa to Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, or other Schengen countries. You will also be exempt if you have documentation of permanent residence in Japan, the United States, Peru, Chile, or other approved nations.
But what if you stay longer than six months or come for a cause other than tourism, business, or transit? You will need to apply for a visa at a Mexican consulate or embassy in such a scenario. If you plan to live in Mexico, it is pertinent to get a CURP card.
There’s no reason why you shouldn’t love your trip to Mexico as much as they do. Bring your passport or other necessary papers at the border or airport before attempting to obtain a tourist pass. If you’re driving into the country, bring your car paperwork. You’ll be on your way to a stress-free trip if you plan for everything relating to immigration.
The bottom line is that you will need a passport to get into Mexico. It just doesn’t matter how close or far your country is from the United States; every single foreigner needs some form of photo identification to get into Mexico.
Mexico is one of the most visited places in the world, and it’s definitely on my list of places to visit. If you’ve ever been to Mexico and remember your trip fondly, you may want to make a return trip. But before you do, if you don’t already have one, you may want to apply for a passport.
If you already have your Mexican tourist VISA in hand, simply bring it along with your US passport when you go to the border. If you don’t have a Mexican Tourist Visa, you must apply for one first at a Mexican consulate.