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Do You Need A Passport To Go To Mexico?

Do You Need A Passport To Go To Mexico?
Since June 1st, 2009, most U.S. citizens traveling to Mexico are required to carry passports to get across the border.Ā  Here are the travel requirements for each of the circumstances below to answer your question, “Do You Need A Passport To Go To Mexico?”


Traveling by air.Flying Into/Out of Mexico
US citizens of any age flying to or from Mexico must have a US passport book, no exceptions. You should be aware that the US passport CARD is no good for air travel.

Traveling on land. Traveling to Mexico by Land
If you are traveling to Mexico by land, under the new rules you must have one of the following documents to re-enter the US:

  • US Passport Book
  • US Passport Card
  • Nexus, SENTRI or FAST card
  • Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL)- Currently, only a small number of states offer Enhanced Driver’s Licenses

Traveling by sea.Traveling to Mexico by Sea
Traveling to Mexico by sea is about the same as traveling to Mexico by land, unless you are on a closed-loop cruise. A closed-loop cruise is a cruise that begins and ends at the same US port.Ā  American citizens on a closed-loop cruise can use a driver’s license or other government-issued photo ID AND an original or copy of their birth certificate, naturalization certificate or certificate of citizenship to re-enter the country.


Children under the age of 16 traveling to and from Mexico by land or by sea can use their birth certificates, certificates of citizenship or naturalization certificates to re-enter the country.

Children under the age 19 traveling with an adult-chaperoned organization such as a school group, religious group, social or cultural organization, or sports team can also use their birth certificates, certificates of citizenship or certificates of naturalization.

However, children of any age traveling by air to and from Mexico must have a passport book.

If you need a passport to go to Mexico, can help. We make getting a passport quick and easy by providing you with a helpful checklist and personal assistance with the application. Then, we hand-deliver your paperwork to the Department of State for super-fast processing, often as a quick as 24 hours.


Apply for your passport today!

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147 Responses to “Do You Need A Passport To Go To Mexico?”

  1. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Big Al,

    Only if you’re traveling under military orders. Otherwise, you need a passport, passport card, NEXUS, FAST or SENTRI card or an enhanced driver’s license to travel by land. To travel by air, you need a passport. Hope this helps!

  2. Big Al

    Thanks Alison, that really helped

  3. latosha

    hi im going to mexico on da bus i ordere my passports but there not here yet but i have to leave like know can i just use my drivers licence and birthcertificate to go to mexico i know ill have to get a permit at the border right

  4. Luly


    I have a client that wants to go on a cruise to Cozumel with her daughters (from Miami arriving back in Miami). The girls do not have a passport. Can they still get off the ship in cozumel? Also, do they need a letter from the father if he’s not traveling with them? Thank you

  5. roxana

    im going to mexico in some few weeks and my aunt is taking her grandchild. here grandchild don’t have passports but citizens. what do they need to go to mexico with us?

  6. Lynne L.


    My 18 yr old niece will be traveling by car with her church youth group to Mexico (from California) next week, and just realized her passport expired yesterday. Can she just take her CDL and copy of her birth certificate?

    She currently has an appointment on Friday July 6th at the San Francisco Passport Agency, but is leaving for Mexico the following day on the 7th. Does she even need to go to SF? If she does go, would she walk out with a renewed passport or will they have to FEDex next day? Thank you for your assistance!

  7. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Lynne,

    Actually, she’s under 19 and traveling by car, so she should be able to travel with her ID and birth certificate. Just make sure the group meets all of the qualifications listed on this page under the heading “Groups of Children.”

    If she does go to San Francisco, they will probably be able to issue it the same day since she’s leaving the next, but that’s something you need to confirm with the passport agency directly. Call 1-877-487-2778 and they should be able to help.

    Good luck!

  8. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Roxana,

    If you’re flying, everyone needs a passport including the grandchild. See How to Get a Child Passport for details.

    If you’re traveling by land, everyone over the age of 16 needs a passport or a passport card. Everyone under the age of 16 can bring their birth certificate. Hope this helps!

  9. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Luly,

    They should be fine with just birth certificates and a letter from the father, as long as they don’t try to go any further than 20 km into the country. See the State Department’s web site for details.

  10. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Latosha,

    No, you need a passport or a passport card if you’re planning on going any further into the country than the 20km border zone. As you can see from the State Department site, Mexican authorities are becoming more strict about this.

  11. Jennifer S

    We are planning a trip to Aruba in October. We(both adults) have enhanced licenses from NYS….will this be ok. we are flying in and out.

  12. Jennifer S

    I’m sorry…I mean Cancun Mexico!

  13. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Jennifer,

    Unfortunately not. For air travel you need a passport book.

  14. Chris

    Can my mom reenter the U.S. with only her citizenship certificate?(doesn’t have time to get her passport and she is going by land)

  15. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Chris,

    Yes. They can’t actually stop a US citizen from entering the country, but she may be temporarily detained while they verify her citizenship certificate. Or, they may just wave her on through! Just tell her to allow some extra time.

  16. Belinda

    Hi there,

    If I have a passport card and drive into Tijuana from San Diego, am I able to fly roundtrip from Tijuana to Cancun without a passport book since I will only cross borders by land?

  17. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Belinda,

    Contact the airlines you’re planning to fly with to make sure they’ll accept it as identification. Good luck!

  18. Chanel

    If I had a passport card and reported it stolen and in the process of getting a new one . Will I be able to cross into Tijuana and back with just my ID and Birth Certificate?

  19. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Chanel,

    You can cross into Tijuana but may experience some delays crossing back into the US. They can’t actually keep an American citizen from re-entering, but they can temporarily detain you while they verify your citizenship.

  20. kathy

    Im planing to go to mexico tamaulipas is near to Texas border is tge first time i go to Mexico im traveling by bus but do i need passports to enter mexico and same for my childrens

  21. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Kathy,

    You’ll need a passport or a passport card to re-enter the US from Mexico. If your kids are under 16, you can just carry their birth certificates. If they’re 16 and older they also need a passport or passport card.

  22. Thom

    I’m going to be out in San Diego over the holidays and am thinking about a day trip to Tijuana. I know my New York enhanced driver’s license is acceptable for re-entering the US, but what about entering Mexico? Will I need my passport as well?

  23. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Thorn,

    Not unless you’re planning on going more than 12 miles past the border. Have a great trip!

  24. Kris

    My US passport expires in 80 days. I know Mexico doesn’t require VISA for a one week tourist travel to Cancun, but will American Airlines deny me boarding at Miami, because my passport is only valid for less than 90 days.

  25. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Kris,

    You shouldn’t have any problems getting into Mexico, but I would call American Airlines and make sure it won’t be an issue with them. Have a great trip!

  26. Timmy

    My friend & I will drive into Mexico and then fly domestically (Tijuana – Mexico City). My friends passport is expired. Will this be an issue?

  27. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Timmy,

    Yes, any time you go past the border zone (more than 12 miles into Mexico), you are required by the Mexican government to carry a valid passport or passport card. Hope this helps!

  28. Kim walker

    My husband won. A 3 day cruise to cancun… This will be our very first cruise and my very first time traveling to Mexico my husband been there before on mission trips with our church., my question is can I get just the passport card? Idk the new regulations…

  29. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Kim,

    Double-check with your cruise line, but a passport card should be fine. Congratulations, and have a great trip! šŸ™‚

  30. Saratoga Sam


    My passport has recently expired

    What documents do I need to carry (naturalization cert./driver’s license/expired passport) if I would like to go to Puerto Penasco/Rocky Point via land?

    Will I have issues re-entering the US?

    Please advise.

  31. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Sam,

    You shouldn’t have any problem getting to Rocky Point as it is within Mexico’s “Border zone.” However, on the way back you are supposed to have a passport or a passport card, per the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. Now, they can’t keep you from re-entering the US if you’re a citizen, but they can temporarily detain you while they verify that the ID/citizenship documents you do have with you are valid.

    If you’re dead set on traveling without a passport or a passport card, I’d bring all of the documents you mentioned above. But really, I’d advise you to either renew your passport or at least get a passport card for this trip.

  32. Austin


    I am 18 years old and taking a week trip to Rocky Pointe with 3 friends, will we have any problems at the border, both in and out of Mexico?

    Help please.

  33. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Austin,

    Do you all have a passport or a passport card? If you do, you should have no problems. Otherwise, even if you bring a birth certificate to prove your US citizenship, you may experience delays and extra scrutiny when you re-enter the US.

    I’d recommend getting a passport or at least a passport card, as the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative requires. šŸ™‚ Have a safe trip!

  34. Mike


    I am spontaneously traveling to Mexico this weekend with the family. I am currently 19 years old and my passport expired at the beginning of February. Will it be a problem getting back into the US with a birth certificate and a drivers license from AZ? Thank you for your insight.

  35. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Mike,

    Well, let’s see… are you spontaneously driving or spontaneously flying? If you’re flying, you’re out of luck- you have to have a passport to board the plane.

    If you’re driving, you are still required by the Mexican government to carry a passport or a passport card if you’re going past the “border zone,” 20 km into Mexico.

    As far as driving back is concerned…if you’re a US citizen, they can’t keep you out…but they have the option detain you while they verify your documents if your documents do not comply with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. Yours do not- under the initiative, a passport or a passport card is required. But again, they can’t keep you out. The amount of hassle you’ll get depends on who’s on duty when you cross back in.

    Hope this helps! And I recommend at least getting an inexpensive passport card for future (land and sea ONLY) trips!

  36. sherry

    I have a valid passport card however my two young children do not. Their father is in Mexico already. Can you tell me for sure if I can use their birth certificates to cross the border.

  37. Abigail

    Hi, my husband it’s waiting for his passport but we need to travel to Mexico ASAP, I’m worried he won’t be able to re-enter the US, he has his Driving license, social security card, a copy of his birth certificate and a receip of payment of his passport application would that be enough? Thank you.

  38. Frustrated with this

    Rename this article, “Do you need a passport to re-enter the US. This has nothing to do with entering Mexico!

  39. Alison Kroulek

    Thank you for your comment.

  40. Alison Kroulek

    He will also need a passport to cross the border.

    This article will help answer that question:

  41. bob streete

    Has their been any recent changes on the 6 month rule on passports going to Mexico. We are going to Cancun in less than 2 weeks and I noticed both my children’s passports expire about 3 weeks after we return. Will we have any trouble.


  42. Alison Kroulek

    According to the Department of State, Mexico does have a “six month rule.”

  43. Jorge Flores

    Iā€™m planning on traveling to Nayarit, mexico from Tijuana airport that ! need something else beside the Passport

  44. Alison Kroulek

    No, you should be fine with just a passport.

  45. Passport Requirements for Mexico Will Now Be Enforced

    […] Do You Need A Passport To Go To Mexico? […]

  46. Chris Toni

    We are flying to Mexico for a 5 day vacation and have realized that 3 of us have passports that expire within 6 months of travel. Is this going to be a problem? Info online is conflicting.

  47. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Chris,

    As long as its valid and has a blank page for a passport stamp, you’re good to go! More here:

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