Entering Mexico is a fairly straightforward process. For most people, showing your passport and filling out a simple tourist card will be enough to receive a quick pass through customs.
Citizens of North American countries used to be able to enter by showing photo identification and proof of citizenship such as a birth certificate. As of March 1, 2010, valid passports must be shown by all American, Canadian, Australian, British and other EU citizens to be allowed entry. Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months after your arrival date. Minors should also have a passport.
A Tourist card (FMT) needs to be carried by all visitors. Tourist cards are normally handed out on the plane or can be filled in at theMexican border if you are crossing by land. You can also check with your travel agent or request one at the Mexican consulate in your country to receive one before you leave . Ensure you keep you tourist card as you will need to show it upon exit. Mexico's tourism tax upon entry is about $20 USD and is usually included in the price of the flight or can be paid at the border if you are crossing by land or sea.
An FMT is not needed if you are sticking to the border towns within approximately 30 km for stays up to 72 hours. If you leave this duty-free area without your card you will be sent back to the border by the numerous checkstop guards at the 30 km markers. If you are visiting for more than just pleasure – as a student or for business – you will need to obtain more documentation and should consult your embassy or consulate for a visa.
A stay of less than 90–180 days – depending on the country of origin – can be done without a visa if you are from Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Island, Israel, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, USA, Uruguay or Venezuela. Other countries will require a visa from their Mexican consulate to enter. A visa will be required if you intend to do any volunteer or paid work while you are in Mexico.
Regulations can change so it always best to check with the Mexican embassy before traveling to stay aware of any updates.
- September, 2011 – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently notes a high level of Dengue fever among travelers to Mexico as well as other countries throughout the subtropical and tropical regions further south, through Central and South America.
- Vaccinations may be recommended depending on your personal history and area that you are traveling to. It is suggested you consult with a travel health clinic at least 4–6 weeks prior to leaving.
- The CDC lifted the recommendation to avoid travel to Mexico because of the H1N1 flu virus in May of 2009. Most other countries have followed suit.
- The high level of violent crime, including drug related fire-fights, means travelers should be extra cautious in the northern border areas and cities like Tijuana and Ciudad Juárez or any other area with known drug cartel violence. Crimes such as theft are common. Check out Mexico safety tips here.
- Hurricane season in Mexico runs from June 1st to November 30th. Check for weather and climate advisory conditions before leaving.
- Swimming conditions vary greatly from beach to beach and throughout the season. Observe warning flags and check with hotel or emergency personnel before diving in.
- Avoid protests and demonstrations as violence can occur. It is also illegal for foreigners to be involved with demonstrations.