Before a citizen of any country will be allowed to board an international
flight, they must present proof of citizenship and identity.
Should documentation not be adequate or sufficient, passengers may not be
boarded. It is imperative that proper documentation be presented at time of
check-in. It is also important to know that documentation may be checked on
multiple occasions. Passengers are advised to keep proper documentation on their
person during travel times.
Items accepted as proof
citizenship/identity for U.S. citizens
A valid U.S. passport - serves as both proof of citizenship
and ID or,
A valid US driver's license (not expired). For ID only.
Original or certified Birth Certificate or a notarized photocopy of birth
certificate along with a valid, government issued ID. (NO hospital birth
certificates/records UNLESS it is a newborn less than 3 months old.) For
Military ID's are only good as government issued identification. They are
NOT proof of citizenship.
Original certificate of Naturalization. No photocopies. Mexico will not
accept them and the traveler may incur a fine upon returning to the U.S.
Items not accepted as proof
Expired passports or drivers licenses may
not be accepted depending on the individual and local policy
Voter's registration cards are not accepted as proof of identity or
No photocopies of passports.
No expired driver's license.
No gaming, membership shopping cards or credit cards with photos on them
are accepted. The only exception is if the traveler has gone to the motor
vehicle department to renew their driver's license and were given a receipt
with license to be mailed.
If recently married and the name on tickets, ID, passport do not match,
must travel with original or certified copy of the marriage certificate.
Hospital issued birth certificate - only if child is less than 3 months
Minors are considered any child under the age of 18.
The policy for minors traveling out of the U.S. is very different than domestic
travel policy and different forms of documentation are required.
The rules for minors traveling internationally are very strict. Therefore,
online reservations for children under age 18 are not advised. Travel
arrangements should be made by telephone or through a professional travel agent.
Parents will need to adhere to these parameters to be able to escort a minor
(any child under 18) out of the country:
Notarized documentation from the non-present parent allowing
the other parent to take the child out of the country.
If parents are divorced, must present court papers giving full
or sole custody to parent traveling.
If parent is deceased, must present death certificate
(original or certified copy).
If parents have joint custody and parent is showing a
"restraining order" against the other parent, the traveling parent
still must have notarized letter of consent. Restraining orders
are not permissible as allowance to travel.
If a minor is traveling with another family member or friends,
both parents must sign a notarized permission letter or they must
produce information as if the minor is traveling with one parent.
It is important to include departure and arrival dates in
If the birth certificate does not list a father, there is no
need for a permission letter.
Should parents or guardians be unable to present letters of permission, or
any other documentation, they will not be allowed to take the child out of
Once travelers are onboard the aircraft, there are certain forms that must be
filled out completely prior to deplaning.
These forms are:
All U.S. citizens visiting Mexico for tourism or study for up
to 180 days need a document, called a tourist card, to enter
and leave Mexico. The tourist card is free and will be given
to all travelers once onboard the flight to Mexico.
Tourist cards are issued upon presentation of proof of
citizenship, such as a U.S. Passport or a U.S. birth
certificate, plus a photo ID. All documentation will be
checked prior to boarding the aircraft, the Tourist Card can
be given onboard the international flight. Tourist cards are
issued for up to 90 days with a single entry, or if the
traveler presents proof of sufficient funds, for 180 days with
Travelers should keep their tourist cards on their person at
all times. Travelers will surrender their Tourist Cards when
departing Mexico. There is a fine if you do not have a tourist
card to surrender.
The I-94 form is used by the U.S. Immigrations and
Naturalizations Service as a record of non-immigrants arrival
in the U.S., and as a means of ensuring travelers depart from
the U.S. within the time constraints recorded on the I-94.
I-94 forms should be kept inside the traveler's passport.
Customs Declaration Form
When returning from Mexico, travelers will need to declare
everything they brought back that they did not take with them
when they left the U.S.
Visas are special notations and stamps, added to a passport by officials of
foreign countries, which allow a person to enter and leave these countries. If a
traveler wishes to stay in Mexico longer than 180 days, or if they wish to do
business or conduct religious work, contact the
Mexican Embassy or
the nearest Mexican consulate to obtain a visa or permit.
If a visa is required, obtain it from the appropriate foreign consular
representative before proceeding abroad. Allow sufficient time for processing
the visa application, especially if applying by mail. Most foreign consular
representatives are located in principal cities, and in may instances, a
traveler may be required to obtain a visa form from the consular office in the
area of his/her residence.
Travelers will be instructed to fill out the Customs Declaration form prior to
deplaning. Passengers will then be escorted to the Customs/Immigration area,
asked to show proof of citizenship and identity, and then they will be directed
toward the Customs/Immigration area. Once in customs, passengers will be asked a
series of questions about purchases they made while traveling, or if they are
bringing any fruits or vegetables into the country. Baggage may be screened and
dump searched at any point. This is a random search.
Tourists should enter Mexico with only the items needed for their trip.
Mexican regulations limit the value of goods brought into Mexico by U.S.
Citizens arriving by air or sea to $300 US per person and by land to $50US per
person. Other travel-related items may also be brought in duty-free. Amounts
exceeding the duty free limit are subject to 32.8% tax.
What passengers must declare:
Items purchased and are carrying upon return to the U.S..
Items received as gifts, such as wedding or birthday presents.
Items bought in a duty-free shop or on a cruise.
Repairs or alterations to any items taken abroad and then brought
back, even if the alteration or repair was made free of charge.
Items brought home for someone else.
Items intended to be sold or used in business. Travelers must
state on the customs declaration, in U.S. currency, what was actually
paid for each item. If a gift, fare value must be estimated and item
Duty Free Duty - The amount of money paid on items coming from another
country. It is similar to a tax, except that duty is collected only on imported
Dutiable - Describes items on which duty may have to be paid. Most items
have specific duty rates, which are determined by a number of factors, including
where the traveler got the item, where it was made, and what it is made of.
Declare - Telling the Customs officer about anything the traveler is
bringing back that was not with the traveler when the travelers left the U.S..
Exemption - The Duty-free exemption, also known as the personal
exemption, is the total value of merchandise the traveler may bring to the U.S.
without having to pay duty. Travelers may bring back more than the exemption,
but will have to pay duty on it. In most cases, the personal exemption is
$400US, but there are some exceptions to this rule.
Items that are in the traveler's possession (that
accompany the traveler) upon return to the U.S..
Items declared to customs.
The traveler is returning from an overseas stay of at
least 48 hours.
The traveler has not used the exemption, or part of it, in
the last 30 days.
Consulate Consulates are government offices located in a particular country. In
case of any problems such as deportation, or incarceration, the consulate
general should be contacted immediately.
Consulates are also good in cases where travelers have lost, or have had stolen,
their citizenship or identity documentation. In any case of emergency,
travelers should be directed to the local consulate. The Consulate will be able
to help travelers get in touch with other family members should the need arise.
Local Hotels should be able to direct passengers to the consulate.
Passengers needing the consulate should contact:
Embassy of Mexico's Consular Section
2827 16th Street N.W.
Washington, DC 20009-4260
Or the nearest consulate general.
Immunization No immunizations are required to return to the U.S.
Under the International Health Regulations adopted by the World Health
Organization, a country may require International Certificates of Vaccination
against yellow fever, especially if you are traveling from an area of the world
that is infected with yellow fever. Check with your health care provider or your
records to insure immunization (i.e. tetanus and polio) are up to date.
Prophylactic medication for malaria and certain other preventative measures are
advisable for travel to Mexico.
Detailed health information is included in health Information for International
Travel, available from the U.S. Government printing office for $20 or may be
obtained from a local health department or physician. Travelers can also contact
the Center for Disease Control and Prevention: 877-FYI-TRIP (877-394-8747) or
online at www.cdc.gov.
Special Needs Passengers If a traveler has a disability, the traveler may find
it difficult getting around some parts of Mexico. There are few wheelchair ramps
and wheelchair access bathrooms in Mexico currently. In some cities, there
aren't stairway handrails. The sidewalks are typically narrower and aren't
maintained as well.
Travelers should check with the hotel or resort to ensure handicap needs can be
The Mexican government permits tourists to exchange dollars for pesos
at the fluctuating free market rate. There are no restrictions on the import or
export of bank notes and none on the export of reasonable quantities of ordinary
Mexican coins. However, gold or silver Mexican coins may not be exported.