Skip Global Navigation to Main Content
Skip Breadcrumb Navigation
Information for Travelers to Mexico

Entry Requirements for Mexico

The Country Specific Information Sheet includes such information as the location of the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in the country, immigration practices, health conditions, minor political disturbances, unusual currency and entry regulations, crime and security information, and drug penalties. If unstable conditions exist in a country, a description of the condition may be included. The Country Specific Information Sheet for Mexico can be obtained in the ACS Unit or may be found on the State Department's Home Page at http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_970.html.

Additional information on travel in and to Mexico can be found in the State Department publication Tips for Travelers to Mexico. For specific information on other countries, please visit: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_1764.html.  

Entry Requirements for Mexico

As of March 1, 2010, all U.S. citizens – including children -- must present a valid passport, book or card, for travel beyond the “border zone” into the interior of Mexico.   Entry by any means, for example by plane or car, is included in this requirement.  The “border zone” is generally defined as an area between 20 to 30 kilometers of the border with the U.S., depending on the location.  Stays of less than 72 hours within the border zone do not require a visa or tourist card.

U.S. citizens traveling as tourists beyond the border zone or entering Mexico by air must pay a fee to obtain a tourist card, also known as an FM-T, available from Mexican border crossing points, Mexican tourism offices, airports within the border zone and most airlines serving Mexico. 

Upon arrival in Mexico, business travelers must complete and submit a form (Form FM-N 30 days) authorizing the conduct of business, but not employment, for a 30-day period. Travelers entering Mexico for purposes other than tourism or business or for stays of longer than 180 days require a visa and must carry a valid U.S. passport. U.S. citizens planning to work or live in Mexico should apply for the appropriate Mexican visa at the  
 
Embassy of Mexico 
 
at 
1911 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W. 
Washington, D.C. 20006 
telephone (202)736-1000 
 
or any Mexican consulate in the United States

Entry to the US by land or sea: Regardless of your final destination in Mexico, all U.S. citizens age 16 or over must present either a U.S. passport book or card to re-enter the U.S. by land or sea.  Minors under the age of 16 may enter the U.S. via the land border with a certified birth certificate, consular report of birth abroad, citizenship certificate, or naturalization certificate. 

Entry to the US by air: All citizens, regardless of age, entering the U.S. by air must present a U.S. passport book.  A passport card is not acceptable for entry to the US by air.   

U.S. legal permanent residents in possession of their I-551 Permanent Resident card may enter the United States from Mexico by land, air, or sea.

Unaccompanied Minors Departing Mexico

In order to combat international child abduction or the exploitation of minors, Article 215 of Mexico’s Ley General de Población requires that minor non-Mexican children leaving Mexico must be accompanied by both parents or guardians or be prepared to present written authorization to travel from the absent parent or parents.  
 
This document must include:  
the name(s) of the authorizing parent(s),  
the name of the child,  
the name(s) of the adult(s) accompanying the child, and  
the notarized signature(s) of the absent parent(s)  
 
The child must be carrying the original letter – not a faxed or scanned copy – as well as proof of the parent/child relationship (usually a birth certificate) – and an original custody decree, if applicable.  
 
If there is only one custodial parent, the accompanying adult should be prepared to present documentation to that effect (e.g, a court order granting sole custody to one parent, a death certificate for the absent parent, etc.).