In California, deep-sea fishing boats crossing into Mexican waters have found themselves on the hook instead, as the Mexican navy boarded them and checked their passengers’ passports. According to, the sport-fishing boats believed that they were complying with existing regulations that allow anglers to take short fishing trips of a day or less into Mexican waters, as long as they have a Mexican fishing license. However, one of the boats reported being turned back when an angler on board was unable to produce a valid US passport.

Michelle Gandola, a spokeswoman for the Sportfishing Association of California, told SignOnSanDiego that the Association had contacted the Mexican government for clarification:

“We’re trying to get some kind of official statement from the Mexican government. But as far as we know, no new Mexican regulation or policy has come out about passport requirements on sport boats. All we know is that a few of our boats were boarded, and passengers were asked to produce passports. We’ve been operating in Mexico for over 50 years and have had great relations with Mexico. Our hope is that we can work this out and that it’s just a slight hitch that can be taken care of so we can get back to operating without any additional requirements.”

Still, for now, if you plan to go on a sport-fishing trip that includes a dip into Mexican waters, you should probably bring a US passport. Getting one will take six weeks if you apply with regular processing, and about three weeks if you pay an additional $60 for expedited processing.

If you have a trip booked, one way to avoid rescheduling is to make an appointment at the nearest regional passport agency office. For fast service without an appointment, another option is to use a private passport expediting company like RushMyPassport.

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