Do you need a passport to go to Mexico? Yes! All US citizens, regardless of age, must hold a valid passport when flying into Mexico. Some instances exist where travelers may not need a passport to visit 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 3 business days 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 you cannot use a US passport card 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

When you travel to Mexico by land, you need one of the following documents to return to the US. These include the US Passport Book, US Passport Card, Nexus, SENTRI, FAST card, or an Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL).

Currently, only a small number of states offer Enhanced Driver’s Licenses. None of the current states that share a border with Mexico offers this option.

Traveling to Mexico by Sea

Do You Need A Passport To Go To Mexico

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 sea can use any of the following to re-enter the country:

  • Birth certificate
  • Certificate of citizenship
  • Naturalization certificate

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.

Three Ways to Get Your Passport Fast

If you need a passport fast, make sure to know when you are traveling and how soon you need it. This will help ensure you get your passport before your trip.

If you’re planning to leave the country sooner than later, you’ll likely need some type of expedited passport service. Current routine processing for passports currently takes up to 8 weeks. If you want to get your passport in time, it’s important to choose the right expediting method from the start.

us passport tied to palm tree on beach

1. Expedited Passport Service at a Passport Acceptance Office

One way to get a passport fast is to ask for expedited services at the post office or a passport acceptance office. You’ll pay a $60 expediting fee in addition to your regular application fees. For overnight delivery, an additional shipping fee will apply.

Expediting at the post office generally gets you service in up to 3 weeks, and is not guaranteed. In addition, any problems with your applications or documentation could delay your passport.

2. Expedited Service at a Regional Passport Agency

You can also get a new passport by making an appointment at a Regional Passport Agency. However, there are some requirements you must meet. You have to be departing for your international trip within 14 days or less, or if you’re leaving next month and need to get a visa before you travel.

In this situation, Regional Passport Agencies will typically get your passport to you within 8 business days. It can be hard to schedule an appointment because there are only a few agencies serving the entire country. You may have to travel to get to one near you.

Additionally, passport agencies often have limited operating hours. If you work during the day and can’t get time off, this may not be an option for you. At a Regional Passport Agency, you will pay an additional $60 fee for expedited service. This fee is the same as what you would pay at a Passport Acceptance Office.

3. Using a Passport Expediting Company

expedited passport iconIf you need a passport quickly, you can use a private passport expediting company. This is an alternative to going to a regional passport agency or waiting at a Passport Acceptance Office or post office.

A registered passport expediting company will take your application to the Department of State, where it will be processed in as little as 3 business days. The company will then ship your new passport back to you, usually overnight.

Not only does using an expediting company reduce the time needed to receive a United States passport, but it also lessens the chance of errors that could delay your application. If there’s a setback at the passport office, the expediting company can let you know immediately so you can make corrections. This will get your passport on its way to processing and back to you in time for your trip.

Get Your Passport Fast With RushMyPassport

If you need a passport quickly, but don’t have the time or patience to go to a passport agency, RushMyPassport can help. With services ranging from new passportspassport renewalschild passports, or replacing a lost or stolen passport, RushMyPassport is the most convenient way to get a passport in a hurry! Visit us online to get started, or visit a FedEx Office location near you!