Do You need a passport to go to Mexico? All US citizens, (regardless of age) flying into Mexico are required to hold a valid passport. There are some instances where travelers may not need a passport for travel to Mexico, which we cover in detail below. However, it is best practice to carry a valid passport anytime you cross an international border.
You can expedite your passport in as little as 1 week, if needed. Here are the travel requirements for each of the circumstances below.
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 cannot be used for international air travel. The Passport Card is designed for frequent travelers by land and sea to Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean. We strongly encourage travelers to always carry their passport books too.
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 United States: 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 but no current state that shares a border with Mexico offers this option.
Traveling to Mexico by Sea
Traveling to Mexico by sea is similar to 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 the following documents:
- 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.
Many cruise lines strongly recommend travelers carry a valid passport, even for closed-loop cruises. If there is an emergency or situation that requires you to change your travel plans, you will need a passport. For example:
- If you miss your embarkation and need to fly to meet the ship
- If a ship experiences a mechanical failure that requires it to dock in another post
- If you have a medical emergency that requires evacuation to a hospital on another island
It’s better to be safe in these situations by having your passport valid for longer than the expected duration of the trip.
Traveling with Children to Mexico
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 of 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. Again, it’s best to carry a passport to just be safe.
Passport Processing Times
Standard passport processing times are 8-11 weeks or longer. If you need a passport to go to Mexico and you’re traveling soon, RushMyPassport.com 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 deliver your paperwork to the Department of State for super-fast processing, as quickly as 1 business week.