American: Do you need the passport to get into Mexico?

Hola! Mexico is the country known for its beaches with white sands, coastal resorts, some famous drinks such as Margaritas, Mexican beer, etc. Mexico lies in the southern part of America and is officially known as the United Mexican States. Mexico is facing some serious issues in the present day. But, Mexico is still one of the best holiday vacations in modern times.

A question still lingers in the back of our minds that, is passport mandatory to travel to Mexico?

So here is a guide for you about that:

Citizens of the USA, Australia, UK, Canada or the EU are required to show their passports to get into Mexico. If you are traveling by the means of land it may not be asked but if you are traveling by air it is an absolute must even for babies. If you are getting out of Mexico to your own country then you need to present the original passport book. If you possess another WHTI- compliant travel document then you may be allowed to travel by the means of sea or land.

WHTI- Compliant Travel Document: What is that?

WHTI or Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, implemented in 2007, requires every traveler to present a valid passport, passport card or other approved secure document such as state enhanced driver’s license, trusted traveler program card (Global Entry, FAST, Nexus or SENTRI) in case of US citizens or nationals. U.S. lawful permanent residents may need to show their Lawful Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551). WHTI is a legal framework of the United States to prevent terrorism and criminal activities.

Traveling to Mexico using Land transport?

If you planning to cross the immediate borders, i.e. go deep down into Mexico that may exceed the 20 Km. then you must halt at an INM(Instituto Nacional de Migración) office. There you must get an entry permit also known as the Tourist card or an FFM or Forma Migratoria Multiple. You may not be explicitly instructed by the Mexican officials, but be sure to attain it. Not to forget, that you have to present an original passport to receive your entry permit.

Passport Validity: is that an issue?

Several countries require your passport to be valid for at least six months before your arrival in that country. Stay relaxed as Mexico doesn’t require that. If you got your passport yesterday and you are bound to travel today it’s perfectly normal. Just take care that your passport stays valid during your vacation. Make sure it doesn’t expire midway as you will be facing a lot of trouble in case that happens.

Travel Cards:

Various Travel card providers help you fulfill your dream of traveling to Mexico. Global Entry traveler program allows people from India, Argentina, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, Panama, South Korea, Colombia, Singapore, and the UK are eligible. Canadian citizens are also eligible through the Nexus program. Firstly, you have to file an application through the US Customs and Border Protection Website with a non-refundable fee of 100$ and pass an interview scheduled by them. Various credit cards may provide you with reimbursement benefits like the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit card, United Explorer Card, etc.
If you have trouble while booking an appointment, you are eligible to enroll upon your arrival at airports within 25 US states. And you got your TSA Pre-check covered. Isn’t that great?
Important mention: You are required to get a passport for yourself.
Global Entry Cards are considered as one of the Federal ID.

Some notable exceptions:

Passport requirement is sometimes not mandatory in the case of children/minors. If you are a school group (aged 19) planning a trip here, then you may not be required to present that. You just need an authorization letter from your parents for the travel. The letter must be translated in Spanish and legalized by the Embassy of Mexico from the document issuing country. It must also include the adults who are responsible for the children and duly signed by the parents. Although, you are advised to cross verify with the officials once.
If you are below 15 you may present proof of citizenship of your native country that may include your birth certificate or a naturalization certificate.

Travel using air:

After the implementation of WHTI in January 2007, every Individual has to present a passport and YES it’s a must. Otherwise, you are going to face a lot of trouble.
Canadian Citizens, have Mexico as one of their favorite holiday destinations. Earlier before 2010, any Canadian having government-issued identification document such as your driving license, birth certificate were allowed to visit Mexico. But after the implementation of the WHTI due to brassbound rules, Canadians are also required to have a valid passport. If any Canadian is found without a passport he/she will be returned to Canada. If you are a permanent resident of Canada but don’t possess Canadian Citizenship, then you are required to present a Resident Card, an Identification certificate or a Refugee travel document.

Lost your passport in Mexico? What to do?

If you lost your passport in Mexico, you should immediately consulate to the nearest embassy in the US. If you are unable to reach there make sure to call them. Tell them about the incident and how you became a victim of crime. If you were planning to move out, then also they will help you out by providing you a limited warranty emergency passport or a full validity passport. To avoid such hassles, please make sure that you have a digital copy or a photocopy of the passport. Also not to forget that Passport and passport cards are different from each other so make sure that you have a Passport with you always.

For more information or getting your queries solved you can contact the Mexican Embassy in your country and they will surely help you out. Don’t forget to mention your specifics there! Tener un Viaje seguro a Mexico.