Passports to Mexico

Passports to Mexico are required in order to enter the country from the US and to leave at the end of your trip. This didn’t used to be the case, which is why many travelers may be unsure of the regulations, but the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which began on June 1, 2009, requires all US citizens, including children, to present proof of citizenship via a valid passport when returning from Mexico to the US by air, land, or sea. (A passport is also required for all US citizens traveling to the Caribbean, Bermuda, or Canada.) No longer will multiple documents such as a valid US drivers license and birth certificate be accepted materials in lieu of actual passports to Mexico .

The question of do I need a passport to Mexico is one of the most commonly asked questions among travelers, and whether you arrive by air, cruise ship, or your own vehicle, the answer will most likely be yes. The US Passport Card is an acceptable option if you’re arriving by land or by sea—meaning it cannot be used for air travel—for trips to Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. Enhanced Driver’s Licenses are acceptable as well, though these are not available in all 50 states. Thus far, only Washington, Michigan, New York, and Vermont have the option for EDLs in addition to Passport Cards.

In addition to a passport, some travelers may also need a visa to go to Mexico. The Mexican Visa requirements are quite simple: If you’re visiting for fewer than 30 days for business or 180 days for tourism, you can fill out a card at the border and get your visa for about 22 USD. This option is open to citizens of the US and many European and South American countries. Citizens of other countries may need to apply for a visa in advance, so check with the Mexican consulate if you’re concerned.

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