Customs

Entry Requirements for Mexico

    The Government of Mexico requires that all U.S. citizens present proof of citizenship and photo identification for entry into Mexico. A U.S. passport is recommended, but other U.S. citizenship documents such as a certified copy of a U.S. birth certificate, a Naturalization Certificate, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or a Certificate of Citizenship are acceptable. U.S. citizens boarding flights to Mexico should be prepared to present one of these documents as proof of U.S. citizenship, along with photo identification. Driver’s permits, voter registration cards, affidavits and similar documents are not sufficient to prove citizenship for readmission into the United States. 

    In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry and exit points, including requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission of the parent(s) or legal guardian not present for the child’s travel. Parents of minor children (under 18 years old) should document carefully legal custody prior to traveling to Mexico. If a minor child is traveling with only one parent, the absent parent should provide notarized consent. If only one parent has legal custody, that parent should be prepared to provide such evidence to airlines and Mexican authorities. In cases in which a minor child is traveling to Mexico alone or in someone else’s company, then both parents (or the sole, documented custodial parent) should provide notarized consent. If a child traveling to Mexico has a different last name from the mother and/or father, the parents should be prepared to provide evidence to airlines and Mexican authorities, such as a birth certificate or adoption decree, that they are indeed the parents. 

    Travelers should be aware that Mexican entry regulations require Spanish translations of all legal documents, including notarized consent decrees and court agreements. Enforcement of this provision is not always consistent, and English-language documents are almost always sufficient. 

    A visa is not required for a tourist/transit stay up to 180 days. A tourist card, also known as a FM-T, available from Mexican consulates and most airlines serving Mexico, is issued instead. Travelers entering Mexico for purposes other than tourism require a visa and must carry a validU.S. passport. The Government of Mexico charges an entry fee to U.S. citizens traveling to Mexico’s interior.

    Upon arrival in Mexico, business travelers must complete a form (Form FM-N 30 days) authorizing the conduct of business, but not employment, for a 30-day period. U.S. citizens planning to work or live in Mexico should apply for the appropriate Mexican visa (Form FM-2 or 3) at the Mexican Embassy in Washington, DC or nearest Mexican consulate in the United States. U.S. citizens planning to participate in humanitarian aid missions, human rights advocacy groups or international observer delegations also should contact the Mexican Embassy or nearest Mexican consulate for guidance on how to obtain the appropriate visa before traveling to Mexico. Such activities, undertaken while on a tourist visa, may draw unfavorable attention from Mexican authorities because Mexican immigration law prohibits foreigners from engaging in political activity. U.S. citizens have been detained or deported for violating their tourist visa status. 

    Therefore, tourists should avoid demonstrations and other activities that may be deemed political by Mexican authorities. This is particularly relevant in light of the tension and polarization in the state of Chiapas. U.S. citizens and other foreigners have been detained in Chiapas and expelled from Mexico for allegedly violating their visa status or for interfering in Mexican internal politics.

    Mexican regulations limit the value of goods brought into Mexico by U.S. citizens arriving by air or sea to $300 per person and by land to $50 per person. Amounts exceeding the duty-free limit are subject to a 32.8 percent tax.

    In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child’s travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.

    All U.S. citizens bringing gifts to friends and relatives in border cities or the interior of Mexico should come prepared to demonstrate to Mexican customs the origin and the value of the gifts. Televisions, video cassette players, computers, bicycles or any electronic item valued at $50.00 U.S. currency or more must be declared to Mexican customs. Any tourist carrying such items should enter the “Merchandise to Declare” lane at the first customs checkpoint. The tourist/purchaser should have the receipt for the gift’s purchase and should be prepared to pay any assessed duty. Failure to do so may result in the seizure of the goods as contraband, plus the seizure of the vehicle in which the goods are traveling for attempted smuggling. The recovery of the seized vehicle involves the payment of substantial fines and attorney’s fees. Please see also the Drug Penalties and Prescription Medications paragraph below. 

    Mexican customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Mexico of items such as antiquities, medications, medical equipment, business equipment, etc. It is advisable to contact the Mexican Embassy or one of the Mexican consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.

    Arriving in Mexico: 

    In order to enter Mexico you must have with you a valid passport and a tourist card that lasts between 90 to 180 days. Portuguese and Spanish visitors do not require a visa. 

    Upon arrival, you must give to the immigration official your Tourist card. This is a form by which the Mexican government grants you permission to enter the country. You will obtain this form from any airline, at no cost. This document requests your personal data and your reason for traveling. Try not to lose or misplace the blue copy that will be given to you once it has been stamped after going through Immigration, since you must return it to the local authorities upon departure. 

    Mexican citizens that live in a foreign country, must show any of the following as proof of citizenship: passport, birth certificate, “matricula consular” (Consulate ID), “cartilla de servicio militar” (military service ID card) or “credencial para votar” (voter’s registration card).

  • For business or student visas, please contact the Mexican Embassy or Consulate in your hometown.
  • For more details go to Entry Requirements for Mexico.
  • You must complete the customs declaration form given to you before arrival on all airlines.

    Mexico’s inspection system is at random. Once you have completed your Customs Declaration Form, pick up your baggage and proceed to the customs line, there you must push the button on a “traffic signal” located in the customs area. A green light allows you to continue on without further inspection. A red light means you will have your bags thoroughly checked to make sure the contents agree with your customs declaration. If any undeclared values are found, fines will be imposed.

    If in your Customs Declaration, you declared values that exceed those permitted by law, those articles will be checked and you will be asked to pay applicable taxes, based on their value. 

    Please contact your local Mexican Embassy or Consulate regarding what you are allowed to bring into Mexico without having to pay taxes. 

    After you leave customs you will enter the timeshare area, if you are interested in purchasing a timeshare you can talk to these people, if you are not pass through this area and proceed to the airport lobby where rental car booths, hotel pick ups and taxis are located. Here you will search out the form of transportation you have arranged with us. You will then proceed to your accommodations. 

  1. In Mexico, anyone under 18 is considered to be a minor.
  2. When a minor travels alone, he/she must carry a notarized permit, signed by both parents. If he/she is traveling with one of his/her parents, the parent who is not accompanying him/her must sign the permit.
  3. If a minor travels with only one parent because the other parent passed away or he/she is the child of a single parent, this fact must be written in a declaration verified by notary public.
  4. Mexican minors have a seal stamped on their passport that refers to Article 421. This allows him/her to travel with only one parent without a notarized permit.
  5. Airlines may request the name, address and telephone number of the person that will pick up the minor traveling alone.

Traveling with Children: (Leaving Mexico.)

  1. Upon leaving, authorities will request your citizenship documentation and blue copy of your Tourist card.
  2. We recommend that you check those items you are allowed to take back with you when you go back home.
  3. It is important that you keep the receipts of all items you buy in Mexico.
  4. Please arrive at the airport at least one and a half hours before your scheduled departure.
  5. You will find some duty free merchandise at the airport for any last minute gifts you may have forgotten.

Mexican Holidays: (Banks, government offices and many businesses are closed on these days and hotels fill up quickly. 

  • Jan 1: New Year’s Day
  • Feb 5: Constitution Day
  • Mar 21: Birthday of Benito Juarez
  • March-April (varies): Holy Week Celebrations, Good Friday through Easter Sunday
  • May 1: Labor Day
  • May 5: Cinco de Mayo (Anniversary of Battle of Puebla, 1862)
  • May 10: Mother’s Day
  • Sep 16: Independence Day
  • Oct 12: Dia de la Raza
  • Nov 2: President’s State of the Nation Address
  • Nov 2: Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)
  • Nov 20: Anniversary of the Mexican Revolution
  • Dec 25-Jan 2: Christmas Week celebrations