Travel Tips

5 min read

Puerto Vallarta Entry Essentials: Passport Required?

Ever dreamed of sipping margaritas in Puerto Vallarta? Your sun-soaked reverie might hinge on one tiny detail—do you need a passport? Let's find out and get you to paradise, no hiccups allowed!

Tobi Miles
June 13, 2022

Well known for its incredible beaches and nightlife, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, is a popular tourist destination. Many people arrive in this resort town by land, air, and sea. Traveling internationally can be complicated, and it can be challenging to understand what documentation is required for entry into Mexico.

Most people entering Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, will require a passport book. Exceptions are made for travelers visiting on a closed-loop cruise. Additional documentation, including an Entry Immigration Form, proof of funds, and proof of return, are required before entering Mexico.

Closed-loop cruises present a rare exception for travelers requiring a government-issued photo ID along with accepted documentation proving U.S. citizenship.

Most people traveling to Puerto Vallarta will not require a visa, and there are no necessary Covid-19 testing procedures before arriving in Mexico. Before returning home to the United States, be sure to receive a negative test result from a Covid-19 viral test.

Do You Need a Passport to Travel to Puerto Vallarta?

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Generally speaking, all visitors to Puerto Vallarta will need a passport or a passport card. Beginning in 2010, U.S. citizens must present a passport when traveling past the “border zone.” Typically, the “border zone” is denoted as a 20-30 km range on either side of the border. Because Puerto Vallarta is past the zone, a passport is required.

Traveling by air will require a valid passport for adults and children. The passport is valid if travel is within six months of expiration.

If traveling by land or sea, a passport card may be accepted to enter Mexico and return to the United States. Other documentation exceptions may be made for travelers visiting Puerto Vallarta on a closed-loop cruise that starts and ends in the United States.

Related Read: Do You Need A Passport To Go To Cabo?

What Documentation Is Required for U.S. Citizens?

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If traveling by air to Mexico, a passport book is required. A passport card, available to U.S. citizens only, may be accepted if traveling across the land border. In addition to a valid passport, documentation is required for U.S. citizens to enter Puerto Vallarta legally. Necessary documentation includes:

  • Entry Immigration Form Sometimes abbreviated as FMM, the immigration form is the Official Mexico Tourist Card. This form can be completed online, is free of charge, and must be filled out and approved before traveling to Puerto Vallarta. Every person, regardless of age, must complete the FMM form. A valid passport and contact information are required to complete the form.
  • Proof of Funds Travelers must supply documentation, like a bank statement, to show they have sufficient financial funds. Adequate funds are necessary to cover expenses while visiting Puerto Vallarta.
  • Proof of Return - Acceptable documentation must show that a return flight is scheduled to return home to the United States.

Before arriving in Puerto Vallarta, ensure that all necessary documentation is completed. These forms and documents are necessary to enter Mexico. Failure to produce the required forms or documentation could result in a denied entry.

What Are the Covid-19 Restrictions for Entry and Re-Entry?

Traveling with Covid-19 restrictions in place doesn’t have to be a headache if you understand the required testing and documentation ahead of time. Always be sure to check the local ordinances and guidelines before traveling internationally.

Related Read: Best Time to Visit Tulum, Mexico

Entering Puerto Vallarta

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Currently, there are no testing or vaccination requirements to enter Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Travelers are advised to refrain from travel if they exhibit possible symptoms of Covid-19 or have been exposed to Covid-19. Always wear a mask in public if you are awaiting test results. While a Covid-19 vaccine is not required to enter Mexico, the CDC strongly recommends vaccination before traveling internationally.

To return home, a negative Covid-19 test is required. Luckily, plenty of testing sites throughout Puerto Vallarta can administer the viral test. Most tests in Puerto Vallarta will cost around $25, and the results will be ready in 30 minutes or less.

Entering The United States

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For U.S. citizens returning to the United States, a negative Covid-19 viral test is required. The test must be taken within 24 hours of your arrival time. A negative Covid-19 test is required for all U.S. citizens regardless of vaccination status. If flying to the United States, a negative test result is required to board the airplane.

If you have recently recovered from Covid-19, there is a chance that you may still produce a positive test result. A letter from a certified health professional declaring you have recovered from Covid-19 can be used in place of a negative test. All adults and children two years and older must take a Covid-19 test before arriving in the United States.

Vaccination is required if you are a non-U.S. citizen returning to the United States. All non-U.S. citizens must show proof of a full vaccination from an approved vaccine manufacturer. Travelers must wait the full two-week period following vaccination to be considered fully vaccinated.

Do I Need a Passport If I am Not a U.S. Citizen?

For non-U.S. citizens traveling to Puerto Vallarta, a passport is required. The passport must be issued from the citizenship country and valid at least six months before the expiration date.

Additional documentation is required for immigrants in the United States traveling with a passport card or on a closed-loop cruise. Immigrants in the United States may also have to present their Green Card for air, land, and sea border crossings.

Related Read: Best Time To Visit Cozumel

Do I Need a Visa to Travel to Puerto Vallarta?

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Generally speaking, a visa is not required to enter Puerto Vallarta. For stays less than six months, a visa is not required. However, a visa is necessary if your stay extends past six months or you are traveling to Puerto Vallarta for work.

Is a Driver’s License Enough to Travel to Puerto Vallarta?

For most travelers to Puerto Vallarta, a driver’s license will not be enough. A passport book is necessary if you are arriving in Puerto Vallarta by air. A passport book or passport card may be sufficient if you are arriving by land. Those arriving by sea will need a passport card unless they travel on a closed-loop cruise.

A closed-loop cruise is defined as a cruise that starts and ends within the United States. Those traveling on a closed-loop cruise are exempt from presenting a passport for entry to Mexico.

To legally enter Puerto Vallarta, a traveler on a closed-loop cruise must present a driver’s license in addition to accepted documentation proving United States citizenship. Accepted documents include a birth certificate or a certificate of naturalization.

Will a Real ID Be Enough to Enter Puerto Vallarta?

Unfortunately, Real ID cards alone are not enough to be used at border crossings when entering Mexico. Regardless of how you enter Puerto Vallarta, a Real ID will not be sufficient to enter the country. Travelers who are visiting Puerto Vallarta on a closed-loop cruise may be able to use a Real ID in conjunction with official documentation proving United States citizenship.

Do Children Require a Passport to Travel to Puerto Vallarta?

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Like adults, all U.S. citizens, regardless of age, need a passport to travel to Mexico via air, land, and sea. The only exception to this rule is people traveling on closed-loop cruises. In addition, children traveling without legal guardians or adult supervision will also need further documentation to enter Puerto Vallarta legally. Children who are citizens of the United States and Canada who are traveling alone will also need at least one of the following in addition to a passport:

  • Affidavit of Sole Custody ( needed for divorced couples)
  • Affidavit for Other Parental Custody (needed for children traveling with only one parent if parents are still married)
  • Affidavit of Parental Consent for Unaccompanied Minor (needed for children traveling without a parent)

Related Read: 21 Best Beach Clubs in Tulum

Can I Drive in Puerto Vallarta?

Driving in Puerto Vallarta is convenient for U.S. citizens. A valid state driver’s license is accepted in Mexico. When renting a car, it may be easiest to have an International Driver’s Permit to help translate your license to Spanish. Mexico’s driving laws are similar to the United States, with cars traveling in the right lane.

Before renting a car in Puerto Vallarta, be sure to check your local automobile insurance. Many insurance companies from the United States will not cover damages in Mexico. It may be necessary to obtain supplemental insurance from the car rental company in Mexico.

What Vaccinations are Required for Puerto Vallarta?

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To enter Puerto Vallarta, there are no required vaccines for United States citizens. There are recommended vaccinations suggested by the CDC for travelers. Recommended vaccines include:

  • Rabies
  • Cholera
  • Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B
  • Typhoid
  • Polio
  • Meningitis
  • Measles, Mumps, Rubella
  • Tdap
  • Chickenpox
  • Influenza

Proof of a Covid-19 vaccine is not required for entry to Puerto Vallarta. A Covid-19 vaccine from an approved manufacturer is strongly recommended for travel to Mexico. If you are a non-U.S. citizen returning to the United States, proof of a Covid-19 vaccination is required for entry.

Article updated:
January 5, 2024

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