WSJ link


Rush My US Passport in 3 Easy Steps!

Top Posts

Recent Posts

Read Archives

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.  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.  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!

Tags: , ,

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

  1. Do You Need A Passport To Go To Mexico? - Blog

    […] New travel regulations for Mexico are in effect. See this article on passport requirements for Mexico for up-to-date […]

  2. Judith Musich

    Is there a 6 month limit for expiration on passports if traveling to
    Mexico, the Caribbean etc.??

  3. admin

    Not if you’re just going to Mexico, Canada or the Caribbean-although your passport needs to be valid when you return to the US. You might run into problems at the border if you try to reenter the US on an expired passport.

    Many other countries do require that your passport be valid for 6 months beyond the date you enter the country.

  4. Mexico To Delay Enforcing New Passport Requirements In Baja California - Blog

    […] return from Mexico by land or by sea, except in a few special circumstances, like for children. See “Do You Need a Passport to Go To Mexico?” for more […]

  5. Do You Need a Passport to Go On a Cruise? - Blog

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

  6. Do You Need to Get a Passport for Spring Break? - Blog

    […] Do You Need a Passport to Go to Mexico? […]

  7. Got a US Passport Card? Wave it in the Air To Speed Up Bridge Crossings - Blog

    […] Do You Need a Passport to Go to Mexico? […]

  8. US Passport Holders: Where NOT to Go In Mexico - Blog

    […] regulations governing travel to Mexico have changed. You will most likely need a US passport-see Do I need a passport to go to Mexico? for the […]

  9. Ana

    My passport & naturalization cert still have my maiden namebut my driver license has been updated with new last name. I’m going on a cruise next month (closed-end loop from san diego to southern mexico then back to san diego). I cant get any passport appt until next month to update it. Would they let me board with my old passport, original marriage cert and driver license?

  10. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Ana,

    Call the cruise line and ask. It’s closed-loop, so you should be able to use a copy of your naturalization certificate and your driver’s license, but it’s up to the cruise line whether they’ll let you board or not.

  11. RoseAnn

    I am traveling to Cancun Mexico on April 23-30th 2011…My passport actually expires on May 15th, 2011..Do you think I need to get a new passport before I leave???

  12. Alison Kroulek

    Your passport will be valid for your entire length of stay, so you should be fine. Mexico doesn’t have the “6-month rule” for US citizens. See their entry requirements here for more info:

  13. Martha

    I’m planning on traveling to Tecate, BC, Mexico on May 20th for a wedding, do I need a passport since it’s just over the border? I don’t actually have a passport right now, so I would like to know if I do need one. Thanks

  14. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Martha,

    It depends on how you’re traveling. If you’re flying in, you must have a valid passport, full stop. If you’re driving, you won’t be asked to show one to get into to Mexico so long as you stay within the “border zone” (20 miles or less over the border) but you’re supposed to have either a passport, a passport card, or an enhanced driver’s license to get back into the United States.

    So long as you’re a US citizen, they can’t keep you from re-entering the country but they can detain you while they verify your identity and citizenship. If you decide to drive across without a valid passport, passport card or enhanced driver’s license, you should at least bring your birth certificate or naturalization certificate and expect delays coming back. Also, remember that Mexico will require you to show a passport if you go more than 20 miles into the country.

    Good luck!

  15. Elmo

    I’ll be going on my honeymoon to mexico via plane. I have a green card but
    but a passport from Sri lanka. will i be ok to reenter the US?

  16. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Elmo,

    Sure, as long as you have a valid green card. Just bring it with you, along with your passport.

    Congratulations and enjoy your honeymoon!

  17. New Passport Requirements Cut Off Bank Robber’s Getaway - Blog

    […] For more about passport requirements for travel to Mexico, see Do You Need a Passport to Go to Mexico? […]

  18. Tom

    Do i need a pass port to get into mexico?

  19. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Tom,

    You need a passport book if you’re traveling by air and either a passport book or a passport card if you’re traveling by land or sea. Have a great trip!

  20. cynthia

    I will be flying from tijuana airport to guadalajara with my my 10month daughter .DO I NEED A US PASSPORT BOOK OR CARD TO FLY WITHING MEXICO? WELL OUR BIRTH CERTIFICATES BE ENOUGH TO BOARD THE PLANE IN TIJUANA?

  21. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Cynthia,

    Please contact your airline or the Mexican Embassy (phone is 202-736-1600) to confirm what type of identification is needed for US citizens taking domestic flights within Mexico. Really though, since passports are required for US citizens traveling beyond the border zone (max 20-30km inside the country), you and your daughter should have valid passports anyway, even if you can get on the plane in Tijuana without them. Also, if you are traveling alone with your daughter you should bring a notarized form showing that you have the other parent’s permission to travel. Have a great trip!

    Have a great trip!

  22. kwile

    Hi, I’m suppose to go to Baja, Mexico with my friends this week. Some people tell me I need a passport, others say my driver’s license is fine. I live in Cali, so we don’t have enhanced driver’s licenses. I also have a birth certificate. So, is that enough to go and come back, it’s only for a couple days. If I need a passport then I won’t be able to go this weekend. Thank you.

  23. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Kwile,

    Driver’s license and a birth certificate is fine for exiting the US, but you may experience delays at the border as border officials verify your identity and citizenship.

  24. betz

    im 18 years old and am only going to mexicali, BC to drop off my i need a passport to come back in? because my other cousin (shes 16) and goes in and out with her school i.d.

  25. Evencio

    im traveling to Tijuana mexico on Decemeber 21, 2011 and my passaport expired on october. do i need my passaport im only going for 2 days?

  26. Alison Kroulek

    Evencio, you do need your passport. You will not be able to get on plane to Mexico, if you are flying, without one. If you are driving, they will let you across the Mexican border but since you are supposed to have your passport to get back in, you may be temporarily detained while they verify your citizenship. Hope this helps!

  27. Marie

    I’m planning on going on a cruise to Mexico in early January, but I’ve been told that you need a passport if the ship docks at any non-U.S. port. My husband does not have a passport nor is he a citizen, but he does have a valid greencard. Would he be able to get off the ship at Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas without any problems? We’re also taking our 4 month old daughter, would just a birth certificate be okay for her? Or do you think the Bahamas are a better bet? Thank you!

  28. Marie

    Oh, and it would be from Los Angeles to the two Mexico stops and then back to Los Angeles.

  29. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Marie,

    A green card should be fine for your husband to get back into the US, but do contact the Mexican Embassy and see what he needs to enter the country. Also, contact your cruise line to see what they require in terms of documentation, as some will require him to have a passport regardless. You should be fine with your driver’s license and an official copy of your birth certificate. Your daughter just needs a birth certificate. Both certificates need to have a raised or embossed official seal on them to be acceptable.

    Hope this helps!


  30. Luzma

    I have to travel to chihuahua mexico in a few days, I’m visiting my family and i’m planning on staying in chihuahua for like three or four days. I have a permanent resident card (10 year green card) I haven’t been to mexico in like 5 years, I was wondering if I also need a passport to cross the border back to the US. I think I still have a passport from mexico, but i’m not sure. I got married five years ago so the name on my passport and my green card are different now. Is that going to be a problem??? Or do I need to show something else that proves I’m a permanent resident?? like a drivers license. Thanks

  31. Marina

    We are thinking to travel to Cancun, but me and my husband have green cards, and passports of Russia (they are expired). Do we need to get travel passports in order to fly to Mexico?

  32. jacquie

    Hello, my boyfriend and I Want to go celebrate new years in Juárez Chihuahua with my family. We are driving from Denver to Juárez but he does not have a passport he is a US citizen and he has his birth certificate and drivers liscence along with his student i.d from college do you think he should be fine to get back in ?

  33. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Jacquie, Technically he is supposed to have a passport or a passport card. I can’t say what will happen if he tries to cross back into the US without one- it’s at CBP discretion whether they accept those documents or temporarily hold him while they verify his citizenship. They can’t keep him out if he’s a US citizen, but you should allow extra time because it may be a bit of a hassle. Hope this helps!

  34. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Luzma,

    You should be able to cross back into the US with just your permanent resident card. However, you may need your Mexican passport to enter Mexico; contact the Mexican Embassy to be sure. Hope this helps!

  35. Alison Kroulek

    You don’t need a passport to get back into the US as long as you have your permanent resident card. However, you may need a valid Russian passport to enter Mexico. Contact the Mexican Embassy to confirm whether or not this is the case.

  36. How Do You Get a Passport in Florida?

    […] However, without a valid passport, these destinations could remain just out of reach, though there are some exceptions, like closed-loop cruises, for which passports are not required. To determine whether or not you need a passport, see Do You Need a Passport to Go to the Caribbean? and Do You Need a Passport to Go to Mexico? […]

  37. Peter

    We are planning to take 4 days cruise to mexico from los angeles. My wife have permanent resident card. Dose she need a passport to enter mexico. Thank you

  38. fredrro

    im planning to go to tijuana with my cousins to visit family memers who are in tj for a few days… and i have applied for my passport but im waiting for them to approve it… can i still go to mexico and return to the u.s with only my i.d. and dont have my birth certificate since i had to send when i applied for the pass port

  39. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Fredrro,

    If you’re driving, they should let you across the border with your ID, but you may be stopped temporarily on the way back into the US while Customs verifies your citizenship.

  40. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Peter,

    Yes, see below:

  41. Do You Need a Passport To Go on a Cruise?

    […] Do You Need a Passport to Go To Mexico? […]

  42. francisco

    I’m a US citizen and I’m planning to go to mexico and I wanted to know if I need a mexican passaport to travel to mexico? If I do where do I get it?

  43. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Francisco,

    No, you don’t need a Mexican passport to travel to Mexico. Your US passport will work just fine. Have a great trip!

  44. Bethany Perez

    I am planning to drive my children 11 and 9 down to Tijuana at the end of March. Is it true they will only need their birth certificates as long as a I have a passport card?
    Thank you for any information,

  45. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Bethany,

    Yes, that will be fine! Have a great trip!

  46. Fran

    I Have a question, I need to travel to TJ this Wednesday to pick up my in-laws at the airport; however, i just realized my passport expired in November 2011 and they have no one else to pick them up. Will I get fined or have difficulties returning back to the US? I have a valid DL. Please let me know as soon as you can.. Thanks

  47. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Fran,

    You won’t get fined, and actually Customs can’t prevent you from entering the US. Legally, all they can do is pull you aside and make you wait while they verify your citizenship. You can reduce but not eliminate the chances of that happening by bringing as many documents that prove you are a US citizen as possible. I would bring both your expired passport and your birth certificate, if that’s available. You may still experience some hassles getting back across into the US, and you should renew your passport as soon as possible for future trips into Mexico, but once they verify your documents are legit they have to let you in.

    Good luck, hope this helps!

  48. erika

    Hello I need to go to tijuana with my kids, my kids don’t have a passport can they come back to the us with there birth certificate and my I’D

  49. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Erika,

    Yes, if they are under 16 they just need birth certificates. Also, if their father isn’t coming with you, you should bring a notarized letter from him authorizing the trip, or proof that you have sole legal custody of the kids. Have a great trip!

  50. ShellBby

    Hi my grandmother is sick i have a passport for me and my eldest daughter my baby does not require one as far as i know and my husband doesnt would he be able to cross and get back with his id & birth certificate??

  51. janet

    Hi me and my two boys a 1 yr. old and a 2yr. old are going to Mexicaly in two weeks neighter my kids or I have a passport will we have a problem on the way back or will we be fine with our birth certificate and my u.s id please respond as soon as possible i need to now in order to take my trip

  52. janet

    I have another question is it true their fining people for not having a passport?

  53. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Janet,

    I’ve not heard of people being fined for not having a passport, but you may be delayed when you try to cross back into the US while they verify that you and your children are US citizens. As long as they can verify that, they have to let you back in.

    If you have two weeks, why not apply for your passport or a passport card either at the nearest passport agency or using our service (whichever makes the most sense for your situation)? That way, you’ll have everything you need to cross the border without any hassle.

  54. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Shelby,

    First of all, I’m so sorry about your grandmother and I hope she recovers quickly. Now, on to your question: As long as you are driving across the border (and not flying) you should be able to get back into the country, but give yourself extra time to get across as you may have to wait while Customs verifies that your husband is a US citizen. It would be better if he had a passport or a passport card, and you might want to call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778 to see if you can get an appointment to get him an emergency passport, or call us and let us help you.

    However, as long as he is a US citizen, they can’t turn him away. Also, bring your baby’s birth certificate-you’ll need that, as well. Good luck, and I hope everything works out!


  55. Terianne

    Can my boyfriend take my kids to mexico with him a vacation without me there? Does he need any kind of paperwork from me before he goes? They are traveling by car and have birth certificates.

  56. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Terianne,

    He can, but since you won’t be there give him a notarized letter showing that you consented to the trip, including all the kids’ names, the dates and the expected itinerary. As long as the kids are under 16, with that letter and their birth certificates, they should be good to go. Your boyfriend will need a passport, a passport card, an enhanced driver’s license (with an RFID chip) or a NEXUS, FAST or SENTRI card since he is over 16. Hope this helps!

  57. Liliana

    I have a passport card to cross by land, but I’m flying tijuana-Oaxaca do I need a passport book as well?

  58. Diana

    We are going to McAlan, Texas and sometimes go over the border to Progresso, Mexico for the day. We do have passports but we have had to send then in for renewal and do not have them back. Can we take a copy of our birth records and drivers liscense with us and get back into the US. We do have copies of our passports also.

  59. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Liliana,

    I don’t know whether or not you’d be asked to show it, but technically you’re supposed to have a passport any time you travel beyond the border zone. I would contact your airline for clarification about what you need to board the flight.

  60. eric sanchez

    Hi, I have a green card and will be driving to gto mx but I’m coming back in air plane. Can I come back from mexico, I’m not a citizen. I have DL. thanks for your time. I don’t have a passport from mexico or here.

  61. Frank M

    im under 16 and i want to go to rocky point is it okay if i just have my birth certificate to re enter the us?

  62. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Frank,

    Yes, if you’re under 16 all you need is a birth certificate as long as your traveling by land or sea. Keep in mind that you would need a passport to fly to or from Mexico. Have a great trip!

  63. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Diana,

    You aren’t supposed to. You’re supposed to have a passport or a passport card to get back across the border. That said, as long as you’re a US citizen, they have to let you into the country. You might have to wait while they verify your citizenship, though, so allow extra time and bring as much documentation as possible if you decide to go that route.

    It would be better to get your passport beforehand- why not call the National Passport Information Center and see if they can get it to you more quickly? 1-877-487-2778

  64. Eddie Carrera

    Good Afternoon i am a member of the USAF and a Mexican citizen and i am trying to fly to mexico. Do i need a passport to enter mexico? or will my military ID and Permanent residence card and birth certificate suffice? Thank you for your time and assistance.

  65. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Eddie,

    Per CBP, your Permanent Resident card is all you need to re-enter the US, but Mexico and the airlines may each have their own requirements. Please contact the Mexican Embassy and your airline. See here for details:

  66. Eryll

    Can you use your Resident Alien card if you’re on a closed-loop cruise instead of your passport?

  67. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Eryll,

    In some cases, but it depends on your itinerary. Please check with your cruise line.

    Have a great trip!

  68. erin

    hello, my boyfriend and i are going to cancun march 31st till april 8th. my boyfriend and i are us citizens with passports. however, we just realized his us passport will expire a few days after we return from cancun. my question is will it be a problem to go to cancun if his passport expires shortly after return? i have heard some countries have a 6 month rule but, have heard if us citizen going to mexico and back it doesnt matter??

  69. Matt G.

    I am currently living in the US. I have a permanent residence card. I plan on taking a flight to cancun, however I don’t have a passport from my country of birth (iraq) or united states. The airline says my card is fine example for there purposes. What about the Mexican government???

  70. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Erin,

    Mexico doesn’t have a six-month rule, so you should be fine. Have a great trip!

  71. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Matt,

    Please contact the Mexican Embassy to determine what you’ll need to get in the country:

  72. M. Vansky

    Hello – My wife and I are planning a trip to Mexico – and just realized yesterday that her passport still has her maiden name. I read on a U.S. government site that it is o.k. to travel with the U.S. passport still in her maiden name as long as we have the marriage certificate. My question is will that be sufficient for Mexican Customs as well?

  73. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Mr. Vansky,

    What site were you on? I would strongly advise you to ahead and get her passport changed to reflect her current name. If you scroll down to the FAQ’s on this page (The State Department’s website) you’ll see that the State Department advises “all citizens need to travel in their current, legal names.” Also, as part of TSA’s Secure Flight program, the name on her plane ticket must match the ID she’ll be using for traveling, and that would be her passport in this case.

    I would go ahead and get a new passport for her.

    Enjoy your trip!

  74. Jen

    Hello, i am going to be taking a domestic flight from tijuana to southern baja, (cabo san Lucas i think, not buying ticket so not sure) and i wanted to know if my enhanced drivers license will be okay or a passport card to fly within Mexico. I have tried calling the consulat and asking many many people and have had to return calls for the messages ive left and no one i know, knows the answer. I just bought my passport card and am trying to avoid the very expensive purchase of a full lown passport so soon after. If anyone has any inforation regarding this please let me know. Thank You!

  75. alex zuccarello

    Hi I am an adult of 18 years and I have my passport card. I am traveling to mexico with my sister of 15 years and she does not have a passport. Will it be a problem getting back in with the necessary idenifications and being only her sister, not her parent?

  76. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Alex,

    Since she’s a minor, get as notarized consent form for the trip from her parents. If you are driving, have her bring her birth certificate and she should be fine. If you are flying, you both need passports (the book, not the card).

  77. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Jen,

    I’m not sure what the requirements are for US citizens traveling on domestic flights within Mexico. Have you contacted the airline? That’s what I would do. Good luck!

  78. charles chazon

    Hi i’m an active duty U.S. military and i was thinking of going to Tijuana. I have an American passport and a military I.D. I just want to know if i use my passport going back to San Diego, are they going to find out i’m in the military? By the way, i am traveling by land. Any answer would be appreciated.

  79. Maria C.

    I’m 19 years old and my boyfriend will be 21. We’re planning to fly to Cancun (June 8th-14th) I’m a permanent resident of the US and my boyfriend is a citizen. I don’t have my passport from my country of birth or from here. And he doesn’t have his passport either. I know it’ll be easy to get the American passport for him, but what do I do in my situation?

  80. Paul

    Im going on a cruise that stops in Mexico, Jamaica and caymen islands and my passport expires 2weeks after my cruise is over..will i have a problem in any of these places???

  81. george

    hey tried to get one of those passcard there from the usps . so far nothing yet but it has been like 3weeks now all im seeing is “currently being processed ” but no date yet and i did include a counsular report or a AE form 360(us army) there . no calls yet.

  82. Alison Kroulek

    Hi George,

    You’ll need to call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778. Thanks!

  83. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Paul,

    You should be fine, but please contact your cruise line to confirm. Have a great trip!

  84. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Maria,

    Check with the closest embassy for the country you were born in. They should be able to help you get a passport.

    Have a great trip!

  85. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Charles,

    That’s a good question. I can’t say for sure but they shouldn’t…you’re not flying, so it’s not like your name would be checked against a no-fly list or anything. Have a good trip!

  86. Aileen

    Hi, I lost my U.S passport and I have a family emergency so I do not have time to get a new one, I do not have the money either. Can I reenter The United States with my drivers license and birth certificate? I am 21 years old.

  87. Alison Kroulek

    Re-enter from where? If it’s Mexico, you may be able to get by with those documents if you enter by land, though you may be temporarily detained while they verify your citizenship.

    You will not be able to fly in, however.

    I would at least contact the nearest US embassy or consulate to see what they can do to help you.

    Good luck!

  88. gia mendez

    Im planning on goin bk home to mexico but i dont have a passport,jus my mex license. Can i still fly even if im not returning bk to the u.s?

  89. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Gia,

    No, because the airline will not let you on the plane without the documents needed to disembark and get through immigration. Are you a Mexican citizen? If so, contact the nearest Mexican Embassy for assistance.

  90. pat

    hi i need to travel to mexico within the next 7 days on an emergency..i applied for a passport card a few days ago,but i wont be receiving it on time..i sent in my nat. certificate since they require it..and now i only have my driver license will i be able to cross back?

  91. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Pat,

    Contact the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778 and see if there’s anything they can do to help. If not, bring your driver’s license and whatever else you have that shows you are a US citizen. Allow extra time to cross back- they can’t keep you out of the US if you are a citizen but they can hold you temporarily while they verify your citizenship. Good luck!

  92. jorge m

    im picking up my daughter in about 20days since she is getting out of school she is 14 should i get her a passport anyways are is she going to be able to go back to the us with just her birht certificate since her grandmother is the one that is going to take her back from mexico back to the U.S if she needs the passport how much will it cost me to rush it thanks

  93. Luis

    I’m 15 and my father asked me if I wanted to go with him, my step-mom, and her children to Rocky Point. I don’t have a passport and they’re traveling by land; could I get to and from Mexico with my birth certificate, and if so does it have to be the original or can it be a copy of it? Also will I need anything else such as a photo ID?

  94. Sandy

    Hi i need to travel to Mexico asap for an emergency however i need to take my 3month old with me but i only have her birthcertificate should that be fine if im traveling by land, when i go & come back from mexico? I heard i need her passport if i wanna fly to and from mexico.. please advise. I already have a notarized permission letter from her father.
    Thank you

  95. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Sandy,

    Yes, as long as you’re traveling by land or sea, all you need is a birth certificate for a child under 16, as well as permission from her father. Safe travels!

  96. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Luis,

    You’ll need your original birth certificate or an official certified copy with a raised seal. If your mom and your dad have shared custody, you’ll also need a notarized letter from her authorizing the trip. Have fun!

  97. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Jorge,

    If she’s driving, she just needs her birth certificate as long as she’s under 16. If she’s flying, she needs a passport. However, if she’s in Mexico you’ll need to contact the nearest US Embassy as she has to apply in person and we cannot rush a passport out of the country.

    Hope this helps!

  98. Melissa

    I am planning to go on a 3 day cruise from Long Beach to Ensenada in December. Will I need a passport for myself and my 6 year old son?

  99. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Melissa,

    As long as the cruise ends at the same port it departs from, no, you don’t need a passport. It’s not a bad idea to have one just in case something happens, but you can go with a driver’s license/birth certificate for you and a birth certificate for your son. Have a great trip!

  100. Big Al

    Can I use my military ID to go and come from mexico?

  101. 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!

  102. Big Al

    Thanks Alison, that really helped

  103. 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

  104. 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

  105. 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?

  106. 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!

  107. 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!

  108. 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!

  109. 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.

  110. 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.

  111. 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.

  112. Jennifer S

    I’m sorry…I mean Cancun Mexico!

  113. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Jennifer,

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

  114. 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)

  115. 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.

  116. 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?

  117. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Belinda,

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

  118. 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?

  119. 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.

  120. 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

  121. 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.

  122. 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?

  123. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Thorn,

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

  124. 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.

  125. 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!

  126. 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?

  127. 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!

  128. 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…

  129. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Kim,

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

  130. 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.

  131. 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.

  132. 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.

  133. 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. :) Have a safe trip!

  134. 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.

  135. 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!

  136. 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.

  137. 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.

  138. Frustrated with this

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

  139. Alison Kroulek

    Thank you for your comment.

  140. Alison Kroulek

    He will also need a passport to cross the border.

    This article will help answer that question:

  141. 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.


  142. Alison Kroulek

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

  143. Jorge Flores

    I’m planning on traveling to Nayarit, mexico from Tijuana airport that ! need something else beside the Passport

  144. Alison Kroulek

    No, you should be fine with just a passport.

  145. Passport Requirements for Mexico Will Now Be Enforced

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

  146. 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.

  147. 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:

Leave a Reply