Do You Need a Passport to Go to Mexico?

Planning a trip to Mexico by land, sea, or air? Learn if you need a passport, COVID restrictions, and essential travel documents for U.S. citizens.

Tobi Miles
July 16, 2024
Planning a trip to Mexico by land, sea, or air? Learn if you need a passport, COVID restrictions, and essential travel documents for U.S. citizens.

Mexico has been a tourist destination for travelers throughout the world for decades. It is close enough to the U.S. that you can visit Mexico by land, air, and sea. So, do you need a passport to go to Mexico?

You need a passport to go to Mexico if you are a U.S. citizen whether you fly, drive, or take a cruise. The only exception is that you don’t need a passport if you go to Mexico on a closed-loop cruise. Mexico doesn’t require you to have a vaccine card or take a COVID test to enter the country as a U.S. citizen.

You can get into Mexico with a birth certificate if you are under 16 years of age. United States citizens can drive across the border with a valid ID, passport, and vehicle registration. Follow along as we explore what it takes to get into Mexico.

Is Mexico Open for Travel?

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Mexico is currently open for travel to U.S. citizens with valid documentation. Residents of some countries cannot travel to Mexico if the purpose is considered non-essential. Non-essential generally refers to traveling to Mexico for anything other than business.

What Documents do You Need to go to Mexico?

You need to bring a driver’s license or government-issued ID and passport to go to Mexico. U.S. citizens must also obtain a Multiple Migratory Form if they intend to stay for 72 hours or longer. Your passport is only valid if it won’t expire within 6 months of your travel date.

Airlines allow you to fill out your Multiple Migratory Form while you are on the airplane. This saves you time so that you can precede customs right away instead of filling it out when you land. Travelers must have enough space in their passport book for a new stamp to visit Mexico.

You have to provide your flight itinerary that shows what date you intend to return from Mexico to your country of origin.  This shows Mexican officials that you are truly visiting as a tourist. They also need information about your departure date, so they know if you need to apply for a visa.

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Mexico COVID Restrictions

You don’t need to be vaccinated against COVID to go to Mexico as a U.S. citizen. Mexico is allowed to impose strict COVID travel restrictions once again if there is another spike in infection numbers. Many establishments in Mexico still require patrons to wear a protective face mask to gain entry.

However, that is left up to individual businesses and is not a country-wide regulation. While you aren’t required to be vaccinated to go to Mexico, the CDC still recommends that you are. They consider full vaccination to be both rounds of the vaccine with the last one being from 14 days before.

You aren’t required to take a COVID test before you fly to Mexico. They initially required a negative COVID test when they began lifting restrictions, but not anymore. However, it is a common practice for hotels and resorts in Mexico to take their guest’s temperature upon entry.

Related Read: Best Time to Visit Tulum, Mexico

Can You go to Mexico With a Birth Certificate?

You can go to Mexico with a birth certificate if you are under the age of 16 years old. Adults cannot use a birth certificate to go to Mexico unless they are on a closed-loop cruise. Otherwise, a birth certificate is not considered a valid form of documentation to enter Mexico as an adult.

Mexican border officials will generally accept the original birth certificate or a copy of it. Both photo and digital copies of birth certificates are considered valid according to Mexican border officials.

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Do You Need a Passport to Cross the Border by Car?

You need a passport to cross the border by car when you go to Mexico. They also require you to fill out a Multiple Migratory Form which they can provide at the border. Travelers who cross the border by car must also provide a valid driver’s license.

The passengers in the car must also have a valid driver’s license or government-issued ID. Mexican border officials are entitled to request your vehicle registration to verify that it is your car. You risk having your car seized by Mexican officials if your vehicle registration is expired or under a different name.

Border officials are allowed to search your car at random or if they suspect any illicit activity. In that case, they will ask you to pull over, park and exit the vehicle. You can proceed through the border if the traffic light turns green.

Related Read: Best Time to Visit Mexico's Riviera Maya

Do You Need a Passport to go to Mexico by Bus?

You don’t need a passport to go to Mexico by bus if the route departs from and returns to the United States. However, this only applies if you aren’t stopping to stay in Mexico and the bus simply passes through the country. Otherwise, you need to bring a passport and valid ID to go to Mexico by bus.

Mexican border officials also require you to provide your travel itinerary and proof of where you are staying. This includes a hotel reservation, rental booking, or address of a Mexican resident you intend to stay with. Failure to provide any required documents can prevent you from getting back on the bus.

Do You Need a Passport to go to Mexico on a Cruise?

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Mexican recommends that you travel with a passport to go to Mexico on a cruise no matter what country you departed from. However, you can travel to Mexico on a cruise without a passport if it is a closed-loop cruise.

Closed-loop cruises refer to a travel route that begins and ends in the same country. You still need a valid ID or driver’s license to enter Mexico even if you travel via a closed-loop cruise. They will also require an original birth certificate in this case to verify your identity.

It is still a great idea to bring a passport if you travel to Mexico through a closed-loop cruise. Any extra form of identification that you bring can work as a failsafe even if they don’t require it. You always need a passport to go to Mexico on a cruise if it isn’t a closed-loop route.

Related Read: 20 Best Beaches in Mexico for Families

Do You Need to be Vaccinated to go to Mexico?

You don’t need to be vaccinated against COVID to go to Mexico, but the CDC recommends it. They also recommended that you are vaccinated against hepatitis A, hepatitis B, polio, measles, chickenpox, and malaria. However, you aren’t required to provide proof of vaccination against any of the aforementioned ailments to go to Mexico.

Many ailments in Mexico, such as Zika cannot be prevented with a vaccine. The CDC and WHO recommend that you stay up to date on vaccines for common ailments, such as influenza. You are no more or less likely to contract such illnesses in Mexico as in any other country.

Rabies shots are important as well because there are many rabid dogs in Mexico. An unvaccinated human can easily contract rabies from a rabid dog and that is the most common cause of transmission.

Will I Have to Quarantine After Flying to Mexico?

You aren’t required to quarantine after flying to Mexico or returning to the United States. The CDC only recommends that you quarantine if you experience symptoms or had contact with someone infected. Mexico only requires you to take a test, quarantine, or show a vaccine card if you aren’t from the U.S. or Canada.

Can You Bring Your Dog to Mexico?

You are allowed to bring two dogs or cats per person to Mexico as long as they qualify. United States residents and Canadians don’t need to provide veterinary information about their pets. All other travelers must bring a health certificate to prove that the animal is vaccinated against rabies.

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They also require the pets to be microchipped for tracking purposes if they go missing. The veterinary exam must have been performed within the last 15 days to be valid. Border officials will only accept the document if the description and appearance of the pet match what is on the paper.

A dog won’t be allowed into Mexico if it hasn’t been dewormed within the last 6 months for non-U.S. travelers. Additional fees apply to bringing a dog into Mexico, so you should contact the airline in advance.

Related Read: 21 Best Beach Clubs in Tulum

Do You Need a Visa to go to Mexico?

You only need a visa to go to Mexico if you stay for over 180 days as a tourist or for business. Travelers still need a Multiple Migratory Form to go to Mexico whether they need a visa or not. A Mexican tourist visa costs $36-$44 and is valid for 180 days.

Many travelers can extend their tourist visas for the same cost, but you need to contact the INM office. You need to apply for a Mexican Temporary Residence Permit if you stay for 6 months or longer. Contact the Mexican Embassy if you plan to stay in Mexico for over 6 months.

Tobi Miles
Article updated:
July 16, 2024 10:15 AM

Tobi Miles is a University of Florida graduate turned globe-trotting culinary explorer and digital nomad expert. As the founder of "Bytes & Bites," he combines his passion for international cuisine with practical advice on remote work, inspiring others to experience the world through food and cultural immersion. With 32 countries under his belt and a knack for uncovering hidden culinary gems, Tobi is redefining the intersection of work, travel, and gastronomy for a new generation of adventurers.

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