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.
How To Get Your Passport Fast
If you need a passport quickly, it is important to understand how soon you’re traveling, and how quickly you’ll need your passport to ensure its delivery prior to 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.
Expedited Passport Service at a Passport Acceptance Office
One way to speed up the process of getting a passport is by requesting standard expedited services at the post office or another passport acceptance office. You’ll pay a $60 expediting fee in addition to your regular application fees. If you want overnight delivery, you’ll also pay an extra shipping fee. Expediting at the post office generally gets you service in up to 3 weeks, and is not guaranteed. In addition, if there are any problems with your applications or documentation, your passport could be delayed.
Expedited Service at a Regional Passport Agency
There is another way to obtain a new passport, and that is to schedule an appointment with a Regional Passport Agency. However, there are some requirements you must meet. You must be departing for your international travel 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. However, these appointments can be hard to obtain because there are only a handful of regional passport agencies serving the entire country, so 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’ll pay the same additional $60 expedite fee you’d pay if you were applying for passport expedited service at a Passport Acceptance Office.
Using a Passport Expediting Company
If you need a passport sooner than a Passport Acceptance Office or the post office, but you can’t (or don’t want to) go to a regional passport agency, it may be worth considering using a private passport expediting company. A registered passport expediting company will take your application to the Department of State, where it will be processed in as little as 7 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, 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 inform you immediately so that corrections can be made, and your passport can be 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 passports, passport renewals, child 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!