fishing boats going out to sea in Mexico

Planning a fishing trip near the coast of Mexico? There are some new passport requirements you need to know.  Anglers now need a passport to fish in waters within 12 miles of the coast of Mexico, even if they leave from the United States and never step foot on dry land.

To fish in the waters off Mexico, you need an FMM visa. Previously, the government of Mexico would issue these visas with just a government-issued ID, or even a birth certificate. Now, you need a passport. This isn’t really a new rule; in fact, the passport requirement has been in place for a number of years. Now, Mexico has gotten serious about enforcement. As Ken Franke, president of the Sportfishing Association of California, explained to the San Diego Tribune:

“For those applying for an FMM (visa), the government of Mexico wants a passport number in there and not a government-issued ID,” Franke said. “We verified this with the  immigration department. The bottom line is, and we’ve gone through this before, but Mexico continues to get formal in their processes. As we understand it from immigration, their expectation is the passports were being used.”

New Passport Requirements for Sport Fishing Trips

Here are the new passport requirements, in a nutshell.

You need a passport book or a passport card if you plan to fish the following areas:

  • The Coronado Islands off California
  • The Rockpile off California
  • Anywhere within 12 miles of the coast of Mexico
  • These rules apply for both private boats and commercial charters.

How to Apply for Your New Passport

Is your quest for the “big one” going to take you near the coast of Mexico? Don’t let the catch of your dreams get away…apply for a passport! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Proof of identity, such as a driver’s license, state ID or expired passport. You’ll need the original and a photocopy.
  • Proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate, naturalization certificate or expired US passport
  • New passport form DS-11, completed but not signed
  • 2 passport photos
  • The required passport fees
  • Time…you need at least 4 to 6 weeks for regular service and 2 to 3 weeks for expedited service.

If you don’t have that much time before your trip, you can get your passport even more quickly by making an appointment at the nearest regional passport agency or using a private expediting company like RushMyPassport to hand-deliver your application to the Department of State for processing in as little as 24 hours.

Need a new passport, quickly? We can help!

Photo credit: © Sjsharksfan44 | – Fishing Fleet Heading Out In Cabo San Lucas Photo