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Documents and Entry Requirements for Travel to Mexico From the US

Documents and Entry Requirements for Travel to Mexico From the US

Travel Requirements to Mexico: Essential Documents and Guidelines for 2024

Are you planning a trip across the border? Whether you’re flying or driving, it’s essential to be aware of the travel to Mexico requirements. This article breaks down everything you need to know about the documents needed to travel to Mexico by air and by land.

About entry and exit requirements to Mexico from the US

Mentioned below are the documents needed to travel to Mexico by air. Tourists need a valid passport book to enter Mexico by air. However, those attempting to enter an airport with a US passport card may be denied admission. One of Mexico’s essential travel requirements is to visit the National Migration Institute (INM) office to obtain an entry permit (Forma Migratoria Multiple or FMM) if you want to travel beyond the immediate border area, like 20 kilometers into Mexico.

INM may permit tourists to stay up to 180 days (about six months) without a visa or may limit authorized stays to shorter periods as per their will. Hence, tourists must confirm the specific length of authorized stay written on the entry permit (FMM). Mexican immigration authorities may ask you to show both your passport and entry permit at any point. You can be detained if:

  1. You have no proof of legal status in Mexico.
  2. You have no passport.
  3. You have overstayed your authorized stay.

What Documents Do I Need to Travel to Mexico by Air?

To travel to Mexico by air, you will typically need the following documents:

  1. A valid passport: You will need a valid passport for at least six months after your planned departure date.
  2. Mexican Tourist Card (FMM): Also known as a Forma Migratoria Multiple, it is a document issued by the Mexican Immigration Authority that grants you the right to visit Mexico for a period of up to 180 days. You can obtain this card by completing an online application before your trip or at the Mexican airport upon arrival.
  3. Flight tickets: You must show proof of your airline tickets to Mexico at check-in and when you arrive in Mexico.
  4. Other requirements: Depending on the type of visit, you may need to provide additional documentation, such as a letter of invitation or proof of financial support.

What Documents Do I Need to Travel to Mexico by Car?

Here are the documents one must carry if one travels by car from the US to Mexico.

  1. Passport: You’ll need a valid passport to enter Mexico. Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay in Mexico.
  2. Vehicle registration: You’ll need to bring the original vehicle registration or title to prove ownership of the car you’ll be driving. If you’re still paying off the car, you’ll need a letter from your lender authorizing you to take the vehicle out of the US.
  3. Temporary vehicle importation permit: If you plan to drive beyond the border zone, you must obtain a temporary permit. 
  4. Driver’s license: You’ll need a valid driver’s license to drive in Mexico. It’s also a good idea to carry an international driving permit.

Specific Requirements for Traveling to Mexico for Certain Nationalities:

  • For Venezuelan Citizens: A valid visa and return ticket are necessary.
  • For Colombian Citizens: Complete an electronic precheck with personal and immigration details. After this, you’ll receive a QR code and the FFM form via email. Make sure to print and present these at the airport of departure. Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months.
  • For Peruvian Citizens: Stay updated with the latest recommendations for travel to Mexico.

DNR Payment:

Foreign travelers need to pay the DNR tax, also known as the Right of Visitor, without permission to undertake lucrative activities. However, Mexicans living abroad can present specific accreditation documents to be exempted from this tax, such as a citizen identification card, certified birth certificate, consular registration, etc.

About vehicle permit and checkpoints to Mexico from the US

While traveling in Mexico, you may encounter several immigration checkpoints. If you’re bringing a US-registered vehicle:

  • Get a temporary vehicle import permit through Banjercito.
  • Deposit a refundable amount, ensuring the vehicle’s exit from Mexico.
  • Certain zones, like Baja California and Sonora, offer hassle-free travel without needing specific permits.

About goods and customs in Mexico for travelers from the US

As per requirements for travel to Mexico, travelers should be aware that:

  • The government can deny entry to foreigners if they have been charged with or convicted of a severe crime in Mexico or elsewhere.
  • US citizens bringing in goods beyond their personal effects worth $300 or more must declare those goods with Mexican customs, or they have the risk of getting them confiscated.
  • Mexican customs authorities can seize vehicles carrying goods without declaration or sufficient funds to pay duty fees.

About COVID-19 and restrictions in Mexico for people traveling from the US

Mexico recognizes several vaccines, including AstraZeneca, CanSino, COVAX, India Surem Institute, Pfizer, and Sputnik V. Travelers from the US:

  • Aren’t required to produce negative COVID-19 test results.
  • Aren’t mandated to quarantine but should maintain social distancing.
  • Might face health screenings at airports or land borders.

Remember, protocols may change. Always stay updated with the latest guidelines.

Here is a few Insurance plans that cover your medical expenses while traveling to Mexico. 

1. Visitor Secure 

Visitor secure is a Fixed Limited Coverage insurance plan with sub-limits for each claim with coverage for acute onset of pre-existing conditions.

2. Atlas International

Atlas International is a comprehensive medical insurance plan that covers the acute onset of pre-existing conditions when treatment is obtained in the first 24 hours.

3. Kidnap and Ransom Insurance

Visitor Guard® offers Petersen International Underwriters’ Kidnap and Ransom Insurance that covers people traveling to Mexico.

The plan covers individuals and organizations against the financial and reputational risks of kidnapping, extortion, and wrongful detention. This type of insurance can provide various services, including crisis management, negotiation, ransom payment, and legal and medical expenses coverage.

It can be precious for individuals or organizations operating in high-risk areas or engaging in high-profile activities.

About travel insurance for people visiting Mexico from the US

Although Mexico travel insurance is not required to enter the country, it is highly recommended. With COVID-19 fear still in the minds of travelers, they are buying insurance to cover them from medical mishaps during the trip. A travel insurance plan lets you enjoy a vacation without any stress. Accidents and sicknesses can occur at any time, forcing you to rush to the nearest emergency room or get hospitalized.

An insurance plan typically covers inpatient and outpatient hospital stays, medical emergencies, prescriptions, and drugs, doctor’s visits, urgent care, emergency medical evacuation, repatriation, COVID-19 treatment, acute onset of pre-existing conditions, and more. Some plans also offer trip-related benefits like a trip interruption, baggage loss, etc. Depending on the nature of the trip and the length of stay, you can choose a plan that suits you the best.

General tips for visitors to Mexico from the US

  • In Mexico, you can dial 078 from any phone to find free information about tourist attractions, airports, travel agencies, car rental companies, embassies and consulates, hotels, hospitals, financial services, migratory and other issues.
  • US citizens must present a valid passport when entering Mexican territory by any means of transportation. There are no exceptions for minors. If you stay less than 72 hours (about three days) within the border area, you do not require an Official Entry Immigration Form (FMM).
  • US citizens who travel as tourists beyond the “border zone” or enter by air must complete an Official Entry Immigration Form (FMM).
  • If you are coming to Mexico for business trips, you must complete and submit an FM-N form, allowing for business, not employment, in the country.
  • Travelers can bring up to $500 worth of merchandise to Mexico without paying duty when traveling by air and $300 by land.
  • Tourists can obtain Mexican pesos at exchange houses, banks, and ATMs through international credit cards.

This are some crucial information for traveling to Mexico from the US. To know more about Mexico travel insurance, contact Visitor Guard®.

Chiranth Nataraj

Chiranth Nataraj

Travel Insurance Expert

Chiranth Nataraj is a licensed insurance agent and the principal at, an independent insurance agency that provides visitor insurance to customers across the United States and the world. With over 20 years of experience, Chiranth has been instrumental in educating the travel community, new immigrants, the international student community, and foreign governments about visitor medical insurance to cover medical expense risks. He has built a team that strives to make the preferred choice for travelers, exchange visitor organizations, and international universities. His insights and expertise have made him a popular industry voice, and he is often featured in USA Today, Forbes, Washington Post, and many more.


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