It wasn’t all that long ago that U.S. citizens were able to travel to Mexico without a passport, but times have changed. As of 2010, if you are a U.S. citizen, you must have a valid passport with enough blank pages for entry stamps to visit the country by air, land, or sea.
You’re also required to have an entry permit, which you can obtain for a fee through the airline or at a port of entry. If flying, you may also be asked to provide proof of economic means along with a return ticket home.
Mexico Passport Requirements for U.S. Citizens
A valid passport book with enough blank pages for entry stamps is necessary for any form of transportation when visiting Mexico. You may also be asked to provide proof of economic means along with a return ticket home.
An entry permit or a “Forma Migratoria Multiple” (FMT), which can be obtained through an airline or at a port of entry for a fee of $24 USD, is required to enter Mexico. Immigration will stamp the form and return the right-hand portion of the FMT to you. This form is necessary when traveling in and leaving Mexico, so keep it in a safe spot along with your passport. The fee is included in most airline prices, but you are able to apply for it online up to seven days in advance of your trip (no need to pay twice, just make sure you still get it stamped upon arrival).
Additional Requirements for Traveling to Mexico
Visa: No visa is required for U.S. citizens staying up to 180 days.
Vaccinations: No vaccinations are required.
What to Do if You Lose Your Passport in Mexico
If you lose your passport while in Mexico, dial 078 from any phone for embassy and consulate information.
So, Do I Need a Passport to Go to Mexico?
In summary: Yes, if you are a U.S. citizen, you will need a valid passport with enough blank pages for entry stamps, as well as an entry permit, to go to Mexico.
More Information When Visiting Mexico
The U.S. Department of State provides detailed information, including travel advisories and passport validity requirements, to your destination.
Mexico Tourism is a great resource for things to do and places to stay, as well as everything you need to know before you go when planning a trip to the country.
Protect Your Passport
On travel days, only take your passport out during inspection. Otherwise, keep it stowed away in a dedicated section of your bag (if you keep it in the same place every time, you won’t ever scramble to locate it). Once you arrive at your destination, find a way to stow it securely. In-room safes or safe deposit boxes at the hotel front desk are generally good options, but if neither is available, you’ll need to decide how to keep your passport secure. You might consider keeping it in an under-clothing money belt that you wear, or leaving it in the hotel or vacation rental but locking it in your suitcase with a TSA-approved lock.
More from SmarterTravel:
- 5 Exotic Places Where You Don’t Need a Passport
- How to Renew a Passport, Global Entry, and TSA PreCheck—The Ultimate Guide
- How to Take Your Own Passport Photo
Dress Up Your Passport
Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2016. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.