Do you need a passport to go to Mexico? Full guide

Gabriela Peratello

Planning a trip and wondering: do I need a passport to go to Mexico? This guide has you covered with all you need to know about the Mexico border crossing requirements 2021/22, including the Mexico health declaration form, and what happens if you go to Mexico without a passport.

We’ll also introduce Wise and the Wise Account and card as a smart way to pay next time you travel abroad.

📑Table of Contents

Do you need a passport to go to Mexico from the US?

To travel into Mexico from the US you’ll usually need a passport — and depending on where you’re headed you may also need an entry permit¹.

Mexico entry permits are issued by the National Migration Institute — you may need to show your valid permit at immigration checkpoints throughout Mexico.

It’s mandatory to have an entry permit as soon as you pass outside of the border area — that’s about 12 miles into Mexico. If you know you’ll be leaving this area it’s important to get your permit as soon as possible after entering the country.


Do you need a passport to go to Mexico driving or by bus?

To enter Mexico overland you’ll need to pass an immigration checkpoint and show your passport book or card. Passport cards may be used in the border Ready Lanes, which can reduce wait times².

It’s also important to know that you’ll need an entry permit if you’re traveling beyond the border zone. If you’re driving you’ll also usually need a temporary import license for your vehicle.

This requires you to leave a refundable deposit which is returned when you leave the country. If you travel in your US registered car without an import permit it could be impounded by the authorities.

Eligible travelers can apply for the SENTRI (Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection) program which can expedite border crossing back into the US³. This can make it faster and more convenient to cross the southern border on your return trip to the US.

Going to Mexico by air: do you need a passport?

To fly to Mexico from the US you’ll need a passport book — the passport card is not usually accepted when traveling by air.

Do you need a passport to go on a cruise to Mexico?

If you plan to disembark your cruise in Mexico — or if your cruise starts or ends in Mexico — you’ll need a passport. Technically you may not require a passport if your cruise starts and ends in the US, and you don’t plan on leaving the ship — but carrying your passport is still recommended if you can.

What happens if you go to Mexico without a passport?

The Mexican authorities may deny you entry if you arrive at a border control point without a passport. Airlines, cruise companies and other travel services will also likely check all your documentation prior to travel, and will not allow customers to travel without the correct paperwork in place.

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Mexico border crossing requirements (2022)

Here are the most important requirements for travel to Mexico in 2022:

  • Valid passport book for air travel — passport card may be accepted for land travel
  • Completed health declaration form

If you’re traveling outside of the immediate border area you may also require:

  • Entry permit — normally completed on arrival
  • Temporary import license if driving a US registered vehicle — apply on arrival

As immigration rules do change frequently it’s a good idea to double check all the details prior to travel.

Mexico health declaration form

As part of its pandemic response, Mexico now requires travelers to complete a health declaration before arrival. You’ll be able to find the latest version of this form online, and can complete it digitally prior to travel. Print off a copy and take it with you when you head to Mexico.

The documents you need to travel to Mexico may vary a little depending on where you’re headed and how you travel. However, to enter Mexico from the US you’ll usually need at least a valid passport, and a completed health declaration form.

Check out all the details before you travel, to make sure your trip goes smoothly — and take a look at the Wise Account and card to save money while you spend overseas.


  1. Travel State - Mexico
  2. Travel State - Mexico border
  3. CBP - Sentri

Sources checked on 01.11.2021

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This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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