Do You Need a Passport to go to Mexico?
The short answer is yes, you do need a passport to go to Mexico if you are a U.S. citizen. However, you have options beyond a passport if you do not have one in your possession.
If you plan on flying, boating or driving to Mexico, you can apply for a small passport or a PASS card. These can range in cost depending on how soon you need it, but overall, it will be less expensive than a passport book and much easier to carry in your pockets. What’s important to note is that both of these options are compliant with Homeland Security and, as a bonus, are accepted for trips by land or sea to Canada and the Caribbean.
Should you find yourself on a cruise that starts and ends from the same U.S. port that visits Mexico and the Caribbean, these two passport alternatives will work as well.
While you typically need a passport to travel to Mexico, here are the few exceptions when you do not…
Children traveling to Mexico
In most cases, minors and school groups that are traveling to Mexico together do not need a passport on hand. In certain instances, young children have been required to show valid proof from their legal guardian giving them the authorization to travel. You can learn more about travel documents for kids, here.
Acceptable Documents for Crossing the U.S./Mexico Borders by Land
Since 2009, when the new law passed, you MUST now have a passport, PASS card, enhanced driver’s license or other acceptable ID to go to and from Mexico and the United States by land.
Here’s a full list of acceptable documents you can use:
- A valid Passport
- A valid Trusted Travelers card (SENTRI, Global Entry, or FAST)
- A State-issued Enhanced Driver’s License (when available)
- An Enhanced Tribal card (when available)
- A U.S. Military ID with Military travel orders
- A U.S. Merchant Mariner Document when traveling for maritime business
- A Native American tribal photo ID card
- Form I-872 American Indian card
Do You Need a Passport to Fly to Mexico?
The short answer, yes.
When flying to Mexico, it is required to have an official U.S. passport and a Forma Migratoria Multiple (FMM card) on hand. The FMM card allows you to stay in Mexico for 180 days as a visitor. You’ll need this document to enter back into the United States, so keep it handy!