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Do you have an upcoming trip to Mexico? If you do, you’ll need a valid passport to go. Here are the travel document requirements for several travel scenarios that answer the basic question, “Do You Need A Passport To Go To Mexico?”
Passport Requirements for Mexico
Similar to Canada, it wasn’t all that long ago that U.S. citizens were able to travel to Mexico without a passport. But the realities of our world and requirements around safety and security have changed. As of 2010, if you’re a U.S. citizen, you must have a valid passport with enough blank pages for entry stamps to visit the Mexico by air, land, or sea.
Passport requirements when flying to Mexico
All foreigners, regardless their nationality, are required to present a valid passport or travel document when entering Mexico (traveling by air, land or sea).
The Mexican government only requires that your passport be valid during the entirety of your trip, however the United States has a six month validity rule for passports, so make sure your passport has at least 6 months of validity from the date of your return from Mexico.
Passport requirements when driving to Mexico
As a United States Citizen, you must present a valid passport when traveling to Mexico by car. Passport cards are also accepted when traveling to Mexico by land, but they are not allowing when flying to Mexico.
Passport requirements when on a cruise to Mexico
If you’re planning a cruise to Mexico, you’ll need to bring bring one of the following documents:
- U.S. passport book,
- Passport card,
- Trusted Traveler card (Nexus, SENTRI, or FAST), or
- Enhanced driver’s license.
If you’re cruising to Mexico on a closed-loop cruise, (a journey that starts and ends at the same U.S. port), you can enter without a passport and show a state-issued ID and an original birth certificate instead. However, you should still bring your passport, just to play it safe.
The Mexico FMM
An entry permit or a “Forma Migratoria Multiple” (FMM) is required to enter Mexico. This permit can be obtained through your airline or at a port of entry for a fee of $24 USD (included in your airfare). Immigration will then stamp the form and return the right-hand portion of the FMM to you.
This form is necessary when traveling into and leaving Mexico, and is typically provided to you while on the plane to complete for each passenger on your trip.
The fee for the FMM is included in most airline prices, but you can also apply for it online up to seven days in advance of your trip. If you do apply in advance, the FMM for entry by air must be printed and presented along with the passport.
The form can only be used for a single entry with a maximum validity of 180 calendar days and is processed and stamped by an immigration officer upon arrival, provided all requirements for entering Mexico are met.
Do you need to save the FMM after you go through immigration?
You will need to hold on to your FMM for your entire trip. DO NOT THROW IT AWAY! You’ll have to surrender it when you leave Mexico. If you’re departing Mexico on a flight, the airline will require you to surrender your stamped half of the Visitors Permit to them before they allow you to board.
If you lose your Visitors Permit (FMM) while you’re in Mexico, you’ll need to visit one of the local immigration offices situated in towns and cities across the country, or at the airport, and apply for a replacement before you can leave the country. This will involve completing some forms and paying a replacement fee. It will take time and create headaches, so try not to lose it and definitely don’t throw it away!
FMM – By land, air or sea
You will need to present your FMM at your point of entry into Mexico.
- If you arrive in Mexico by land, you will need to get a visitors permit at the port of entry;
- If you fly to Mexico, air crews on international flights hand-out the visitor permit forms before the flight lands, and they are also available at Mexican airports, near the immigration desks
- If you are visiting a Mexican port(s) as part of a cruise ship, you’ll need to get a visitors permit at your first Mexican port of call.
Visa Requirements for Mexico
There are no visa is required for U.S. citizens staying in Mexico up to 180 days.
If you are a Permanent Resident of the following countries: Canada, United States, Japan, United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, any of the countries of the Schengen Area, and any of the countries members of the “Pacific Alliance”, you do not need a visa to enter Mexico for tourism, business or transit purposes.
If you need more information, the U.S. Department of State provides detailed information, including travel advisories and passport validity requirements for traveling to Mexico.
How do I get a Passport?
Below are a couple of articles that will provide all the information you need to apply for a passport.
Additional Passport Information
Here are some other articles that address passport requirements of popular destinations for U.S. Citizens