If you’re looking to travel to Mexico via land or air in the future and you aren’t quite sure about the documents you’ll need to travel, this post is for you! Read on for information that will make your entry into and exit from Mexico smooth, regardless of where you’re from.
Visa-Free Travel Depending on Your Passport
Generally, Mexico is very easy to enter. There is a long list of countries that only need a passport to enter Mexico! The United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Ireland, France, and Germany highlight this list, but in total there are 68 countries whose passport holders can travel visa-free to Mexico for a period of up to 180 days (about 6 months) as long as you don’t plan on making any money while you’re there. The entire list can be found HERE.
If you hold a passport of a country that is not on this list, there’s more good news: you can enter Mexico without a visa if you hold a visa from the United States, Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, or any country within the Schengen Area! The combination of these two policies makes Mexico a very easy country for most people to enter. Additionally, any cruise ship passenger can enter Mexico without a visa as long as you will be departing on the same cruise ship within 21 days.
Applying for a Tourist Visa
If you don’t qualify for visa free entry, don’t worry – getting the tourist visa is a very simple process! Simply google where the nearest Mexican embassy or consulate is, go to their website, and make an appointment with them. The website will provide you with a list of documents necessary to apply for the visa, and as long as you have the documents in order and pay the fee, you will likely experience zero hiccups.
Generally, the documents that you will need are a visa application form, a valid passport, a passport-sized color picture, and documents that prove financial solvency. Additionally, you should bring at least one extra copy of each of these documents. We have American passports and didn’t need a tourist visa, but we did need to get visas when we applied for our Mexican residency. We can assure you that the process was seamless and the workers in the local consulate (we went to El Paso, Texas) were very friendly and helpful!
The Important Part for All Travelers – The FMM Entry Form
Regardless of your visa needs, you will need to fill out a Mexico FMM card when you enter the country, whether it is by land or by air. If you enter via air, your airline will give you this form before you land. It is a simple form that asks for your general information, passport/visa information, where you’ll be staying, why you’re visiting, etc. If you enter by land, you will receive the same form but you might have to go a bit out of your way to get it. Regardless, you MUST get it or else you will be fined when you exit the country. When entering by land, if the form is not handed to you, you should enter the INM office by the border crossing and ask for the FMM form. You will be charged around $15 (airlines cover this cost but land-crossers must pay it).
Here is a very important catch: the form is split into top and bottom halves by a perforation. When you enter Mexico, you will hand the immigration official the top half of the form and you will retain the bottom half. It is CRUCIAL that you hold on to the bottom half, as you will need to give it to the immigration officials when you exit Mexico.
If you don’t have it, you will not be allowed to board your flight / walk back across the border until you pay the replacement fee (around $25 per person) to the Immigration official, either at the airport or at the land border crossing. This can be a headache and can take up a lot of time, which can result in a ruined day, or worse, a missed flight.
Hopefully this post answered your questions regarding visa requirements to enter Mexico, or the process of entering into the country. If you have any other questions, drop a comment below!