In Mexico, no passport, no problem!
Well, at least for certain people.
So, you want to go to Mexico but don’t have a passport?
Let’s see what options are available for you. It might not be as difficult as you think.
In fact, last year, by September, over four million Americans had visited Mexico. Mexico’s most frequent visitors are, actually, Americans, but it doesn’t stop there. It is estimated that between 800,000 and 1.5 million Americans have chosen to immigrate to Mexico over recent years.
But to answer your question, first, we must find out how you’re going to Mexico.
Here’s what you need to know…
What Part of Mexico Can You Go to Without a Passport?
It’s not about the parts of Mexico you visit but rather how you are entering the country that will determine if you need a passport.
Do I Need a Passport to go to Mexico by Plane?
Yes, you most certainly do. To visit Mexico by airplane, you must have the proper travel documents for leaving the U.S., including a passport. This also includes babies and minors.
Once you arrive in Mexico by plane, your passport will be checked, and you will receive an entry stamp.
What else do I need to travel by plane?
You must present specific documentation at the border when flying into Mexico. These documents consist of the following:
- A valid passport
- A Multiple Migratory Form (FMM)
- Border officials may request other documentation, such as hotel reservations, round-trip tickets, etc.
How to Go to Mexico With No Passport?
You do not need to present your passport book while traveling by land, but you need identification.
There are a few ways to get into Mexico on land…
Including, most obviously, by car.
In this case, you can use your US passport, a passport card, or a SENTRI Card to cross the border into Mexico. Minors can also travel without a passport. But, in order to re-enter the country, minors under the age of 16 need a birth certificate or a naturalization document.
What is a Passport Card?
A passport card and a passport book are extremely similar. A passport card’s key advantages are that it is less expensive to obtain and that it will easily fit in your pocket, unlike a passport book.
How small is it exactly?
It is the same size as your driving license. So it’s handy, and you can always keep it on you. Your photo, name, nationality, birthdate, place of birth, issue and expiration dates, and your special passport card number, are all listed on the passport card.
Benefits of Using a Passport Card
Using a passport card at the border will decrease waiting times. And nobody likes waiting in a long queue in the heat. So, the top benefit of the passport card is the ‘Ready Lanes’ at the border which speed up the process.
As mentioned, a passport card is also less expensive than a passport book. You can apply for one easily here.
Using a US passport card with Ready Lanes:
- Locate a lane with the Ready Lane sign
- Hold on to your passport card
- Go to a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer and present the passport card to the RFID card scanners.
What is a SENTRI Card?
SENTRI stands for, wait for it… Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection.
Hence, the need for the acronym…
It’s a program that allows low-risk, pre-approved travelers to enter the US more quickly. Simply put, it speeds up border crossings when traveling back to the US.
If you wish to travel to a large city in Mexico without flying, you may cross the border and ride a luxury bus with a restroom, air conditioning, spacious allocated seats, and movies. Or perhaps you’ve chosen to buy a new R.V. to take a trip across beautiful central America in comfort and style. However, you MUST remember to register your vehicle.
You don’t want to encounter any problems or further delays by making small mistakes.
Preparation is key, as they say!
Do I Need a Visa For Mexico?
Not at all, no. U.S. residents do not need to apply for a visa in advance to visit Mexico. All you need to enter Mexico is a passport or passport card that is still valid.
As previously stated, you must show your passport when flying to Mexico. And the following requirements must be met upon arriving in Mexico.
Your passport must:
- Be legitimate when entering
- Have a blank page accessible (1 page per stamp)
- Be less than ten years old and in good condition
Top Questions about Driving to Mexico
Do I Need Car Insurance to Drive into Mexico?
Yes, you need to purchase Mexican car insurance for driving into Mexico. You can’t buy your insurance at the border, either. So it’s on you to research and ensure you are fully covered for your trip.
Do I Need a Passport to Drive to Mexico?
No, but you do need identification, such as a passport card or a SENTRI card. A passport book is not the only form of identification, but if you don’t have a card, you must bring your book.
Planning on staying a while?
Suppose you use your passport book or card because Mexico usually gives all American tourists a 6-month entry stamp. Then you must ensure your passport is valid for another six months and doesn’t expire before you return home.
Is My U.S. Driving Insurance Valid in Mexico?
No, entering Mexico, you are in another country. This means that your cover from the states is not valid. You can buy car insurance for your time in Mexico at excellent rates on many different websites. Here’s one example; Baja Bound.
Do I Need an Emergency Kit?
Traveling anywhere, it’s always sensible to have a few things in your car or on your person that may come in useful during an unexpected breakdown or emergency. You can easily purchase emergency kits on Amazon that are great to keep in your car.
Do I Need My Vehicle Registration Documents?
Yes! It’s important not to forget them. You may be asked to present them to the officer at the border. And you’ll be refused entry if you don’t have them or they’ve expired.
The Temporary Vehicle Importation Permit Card, often known as the TVIP car permit for Mexico, can be obtained at the border when crossing or before your journey. Getting one beforehand is probably best to avoid waiting in line at the border, which can frequently have lengthy wait times.
Check with your nearby office to see if they provide TVIP services. Several Mexican Consulates and Embassies in the United States do.
So rather apply for TVIP now…
Mexican car permits must ideally be obtained more than seven days before travel but no later than 60 days before departure.
The FMM for Mexico
All foreign tourists must fill out an immigration form before entering Mexico. This is known as an FMM. You can do this online, and it’s completely free. The process is simple, but remember, all persons traveling must have their own tourist card. That includes children.
You can print it out and keep it on you at all times. Having a copy at hand is very handy if you are ever stopped by police or border officials.
The Border Traffic App
Before you hit the road, you may want to check out the Border Traffic App. This app lets you see the waiting times at the border you will use.
Are there different borders to choose from, then?
Different border crossing areas, yes. California and Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula are connected by land in various locations, allowing for land crossings between the two states.
The San Ysidro Crossing (El Chaparral) is the busiest, although there is also the Otay Mesa Crossing. If you are driving to Mexico from Texas, there are over 20 border crossings to choose from.
Now that we’ve fully addressed this, what part of Mexico can you go to without a passport…
Considering A Trip Elsewhere?
If so, we can help! Find out, Do You Need a Passport to go to Hawaii, Do You Need a Passport to Go to Cancun, Do you need a Passport to Go to Cabo, Do You Need a Passport to Go to Puerto Rico, Do You Need A Passport To Goi To St. Thomas, and Do You Need A Passport To Go To The US Virgin Islands?
Passport photo emergency?
Does Walgreens Do Passport Photos? Does Target Take Passport Photos? Does CVS Take Passport Photos? Simply type any emergency travel question into our search box and hit the button!
We can even answer How Do You Cancel a USPS Passport Appointment, Does USPS Notarize Documents, Does Airbnb Run Background Checks, Can A Felon Get A Passport, and Can Felons Travel to Mexico in 2023?
Right, back to today’s Mexico travel query…
So, although you don’t need the old traditional passport books to travel to Mexico by car, you must have some form of identification. However, if you fly from anywhere in the U.S. to Mexico by plane, you must have a passport. There is no other option when traveling by air.
If you are traveling on land or crossing the border by bus or car, you can show other forms of identification, such as a passport or SENTRI card. But to ensure your traveling process goes smoothly, have all documentation needed for your car. Also, fill out your FMM immigration form online before arriving at the border. And make sure your correct documentation is on you for a stress-free border experience.
Above all, enjoy your trip to Mexico!