Travel Tips

5 min read

Rocky Point Bound: Is Skipping a Passport Possible?

Ever wonder if a passport is your golden ticket to Rocky Point's sandy secrets? Let's unpack the myth and get you beach-bound with the facts!

Tobi Miles
May 28, 2022

Rocky Point is close enough to the U.S. border in Phoenix, Arizona that it is a convenient getaway for U.S. citizens. Also known as Puerto Penasco, Rocky Point is one of the most relaxing and gorgeous destinations in Mexico. So, do you need a passport to go to Rocky Point?

You need a valid ID and passport that won’t expire within the next 6 months to go to Rocky Point. A child under the age of 16 is also required to provide their birth certificate to verify their identity. Travelers aren’t required to provide a COVID vaccine card or negative COVID test to enter Rocky Point, Mexico.

Travel restrictions have become much more relaxed since the 20-month-long border restrictions ended. Still, it is important to have all of the proper documents before you depart for Rocky Point. Follow along as we explore what you need to bring when you go to Rocky Point.

Is Rocky Point Open?

Rocky Point is currently open for tourists and long-term visitors on travel visas. Travel was shut down when the COVID-19 outbreak initially began in 2020. The Mexican border limited almost all travel for 20 months until November 2019.

Credit: Shutterstock

Tourism was considered non-essential until then, and Rocky Point wasn’t open for U.S. tourists. Now, Rocky Point is open to travelers from the U.S. with no specific COVID restrictions.

Requirements For U.S. Citizens

All travelers must have a passport and valid form of ID to go to Rock Point. Rocky Point is considered a “Free Zone” but that doesn’t mean that U.S. citizens can freely travel there. The Free Zone refers to the area roughly 12-16 miles from the border.

Despite the proximity to Phoenix, Arizona, you cannot enter Rocky Point without a passport. You will also be denied entry if your passport or driver’s license is outdated. Mexican officials can prevent U.S. citizens from entering Rocky Point if they have pending legal charges or a prior felony.

U.S. citizens are also required to have a Multiple Migratory Form (FMM) while visiting Mexico. However, an FMM is only necessary if you plan to stay in Rocky Point for 72 hours or more. You can apply for an FMM online in advance of your trip if you are going to stay in Rocky Point for more than 3 days.

Related Read: Do You Need A Passport To Go To Baja California?

What Documents Do I Need?

You need to bring a passport, passport card, and valid automobile registration if you travel to Rocky Point by car. A border stop can include a car search, and it should be treated as a traffic stop. The border agent may request that you provide your car’s registration so they can rule out illegal activity.

Rocky Point, Mexico also requires that you bring an entry permit if you travel by car. Many U.S. citizens drive to Rocky Point because it is only 217 miles from Phoenix, Arizona. Make sure that there is enough space in your passport before you travel to Rocky Point.

Credit: Shutterstock

Otherwise, they will hold you up at the border and it will take more time if you can even get in at all. Children traveling to Rocky Point must provide a copy of their birth certificate at the border or customs. A Naturalization Certificate or Consular Report of Birth Abroad can also be used to travel to Rocky Point with your child.

Related Read: 20 Best All-Inclusive Resorts in Cabo San Lucas

Do You Need an Enhanced Driver’s License to go to Rocky Point?

You don’t need an Enhanced Driver’s License to go to Rocky Point, Mexico. However, an Enhanced Driver’s License can get you into Mexico or Canada as a U.S. citizen for a short visit. Puerto Penasco, or Rocky Point, is close enough to the Phoenix border that many Arizona residents visit for a day trip.

An Enhanced Driver’s License makes it much easier to make a day trip to Mexico. The main appeal of an Enhanced Driver’s License is that it can get you into Rocky Point and other parts of Mexico without a passport. You can only enter Mexico with a Real ID if you drive over the border or take a boat.

Can You Get Into Mexico With a Real ID?

According to the Department of Homeland Security, you cannot currently get into Mexico with just a Real ID. A Real ID doesn’t serve as a substitute for a passport when you travel internationally to Rocky Point, Mexico. Real IDs will be required for both international and domestic travel soon according to U.S. law.

You must provide a Real ID when you fly within the United States or overseas as of May 3, 2023. After that, U.S. citizens will be required to bring a Real ID and passport when they travel to Mexico.

Rocky Point COVID Entry Requirements

Rocky Point and all of Mexico currently have lax COVID requirements that don’t limit entry. You don’t currently need to provide a COVID vaccine card to go to Rocky Point. Rocky Point officials don’t require a negative COVID test to enter as many other foreign countries and territories do.

The CDC recommends that you only travel to Mexico if you are fully vaccinated. Health officials refer to full vaccination as having had the second vaccine at least two weeks ago. They also recommend that you follow proper safety protocols and wear a mask whether you travel by air, land, or sea.

Credit: Shutterstock

Rocky Point doesn’t officially have strict Covid protocols, but businesses in the area impose their restrictions. Several establishments in Rocky Point even offered discounts if guests produced a negative COVID test. Those promotions have since ended but show seriously Rocky Point took COVID safety protocols.

Related Read: Best Time to Visit Tulum, Mexico

Do You Need a Visa to go to Rocky Point, Mexico?

You only need a visa to go to Rocky Point, Mexico if you plan to stay for longer than 180 days. Generally, a visa to go to Mexico costs $48 in U.S. currency. The average traveler won’t need a visa because most people don’t take a 180-day vacation.

However, students traveling abroad or U.S. citizens performing a long-term project in Rocky Point require a visa. You won’t need a visa if you already have a valid Canadian or Japanese visa. Travelers with a diplomatic passport from their country of origin won’t need a visa to go to Mexico either.

Some countries are exempt from visas, such as Norway, San Marino, Barbados, and Colombia. Visitors from Isreal and the Marshall Islands won’t need a visa to go to Rocky Point either. Check to see if you are required to get a visa based on what country you are from.

Do You Need to be Vaccinated to go to Rocky Point?

Puerto Penasco, or Rocky Point, doesn’t require travelers to have any particular vaccine. However, the CDC and WHO recommend that you are vaccinated against several conditions before you visit Rocky Point. They recommend that you are up to date on chickenpox, influenza, polio, shingles, and measles vaccines.

Malaria is not prevalent in Rocky Point and Northern Mexico so vaccination and treatment are unlikely necessary. However, you should still be vaccinated against hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and typhoid when you go to Rocky Point. Rabies vaccines for both humans and animals are important because rabid dogs are common in Northern Mexico.

Some U.S. citizens have reported that Mexican officials have requested proof of rabies vaccination when traveling with pets. They may not request the proof of vaccination, but they are entitled to and it is important to have it just in case.

Related Read: The 10 Best All-Inclusive Tulum Resorts

Can You Drive to Rocky Point?

You can drive to Rocky Point and it is considered safe for touristsSince 2016, the highway that leads to Rocky Point has been considered a safe corridor for tourists to use. With that said, U.S. officials still recommend that you travel to Rocky Point during daylight despite the lower crime in the area than in other parts of Northern Mexico.

Credit: Shutterstock

Border officials can deny you entry to Rocky Point if your registration doesn’t match your ID or is out of date. You are also subject to a vehicle search at the discretion of Mexican border officials when you drive to Rocky Point. Make sure to apply for a Temporary Importation Permit for your car if you plan to stay longer than 180 days.

Can You go to Rocky Point With a Birth Certificate?

A birth certificate is not a valid substitute for an ID or passport to go to Rocky Point. You can only get into Rocky Point with a birth certificate if you are under the age of 16. Birth certificates used to be accepted as valid proof of U.S. citizenship, but Mexico no longer recognizes them for adults.

Can You go to Rocky Point With an Expired Passport?

Border officials won’t accept an expired passport and you’ll be denied entry to Rocky Point. You cannot travel to Rocky Point if your passport is close to expiration either. Some airlines won’t let you fly to a foreign country like Mexico if your passport expires in less than 6 months.

However, that rule varies between airlines so it is important to check with them in advance. It also varies based on the relationship between Mexico and your country of origin. Make sure that your passport has over 6 months left until it expires and enough space for a new stamp before you go to Rocky Point.

Article updated:
January 5, 2024

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