It can be difficult for travelers to determine what sort of documentation they need to have in order to visit Mexico. However, determining these things and figuring out the relevant paperwork is worthwhile, because Mexico has so much to offer tourists.
From sweeping jungle vistas to Mayan pyramids, snorkeling and scuba diving, and more, it’s no wonder so many people long to visit Mexico. Here’s what travelers need to know about entering the country so they can experience everything Mexico has to offer.
Is a Visa to Mexico Necessary?
Most travelers will not need a visa to enter Mexico. Travelers from Canada, Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, or the Schengen Zone in Europe do not need to get a visa before they travel to Mexico. In addition, travelers who already have valid visas to one of these locations or who are permanent residents of these locations do not need a Mexico visa.
This is true for most travel. In fact, as long as the travelers above meet the following conditions, they can visit Mexico without a visa. The conditions are:
- They will not make any money while in Mexico
- Their trip is less than 180 days
- They are coming into the country for tourism, education, or business purposes
While these travelers will not need a visa for Mexico, they will need to fill out a Mexico Tourist Card, or an FMM form.
What is the Mexico Tourist Card?
The tourist card, or the FMM tourist card, allows Mexico to keep track of who is in the country and where they are located. It makes tracking and contacting travelers easier, in case the government needs to do that.
Some international airlines pass out these forms on flights into Mexico, but this is being phased out. Now, travelers can fill out their tourist card for Mexico online and print it off before they leave. Then, they just need to show it at the airport and get it stamped. They should hang onto it, because they will need to show it before they leave the country, too.
Filling out the form online is straightforward and easy. Travelers will need to enter personal information about themselves, and they should make sure that this matches exactly what is printed on their passports.
They will also be asked for information about how and when they plan to enter Mexico, including flight numbers and airlines. They will also need to note how they can be contacted while they are in Mexico. This can be a mobile phone number or the phone number of the hotel where they plan to stay.
Once they fill out all of the information, they will receive a completed form via email.
Other Policies for Tourists in Mexico
Mexico also requires travelers to carry certain types of documentation with them when they enter Mexico. These are true whether or not a visa is required. Every visitor to Mexico must carry:
- A valid passport from their country of origin. This should be valid for at least 6 months beyond the time of entry into Mexico. While the Mexican government only requires passports to be valid for the duration of the stay in Mexico, some airlines require the 6 months of validity, as do some countries that passengers will transit en route to Mexico.
- Documents that prove the purpose of the traveler’s visit to Mexico. Tourists can show hotel reservations, plane tickets that take them home or to another destination, and their detailed itinerary of travel plans while in Mexico. Other types of travelers may need to show other documents, such as a letter of acceptance to a university for a student.
Entering Mexico is usually a quick and straightforward process, as long as all the documentation is in order. Visitors who have their FMM or Mexico visa, passport, and proof of purpose documents ready should not have to wait in long lines.
How to Get a Visa to Mexico
If a traveler does need a visa to Mexico, they should start by getting an appointment at the nearest Mexican consulate. Note that travel may be necessary in order to get to this appointment.
The only visitors to Mexico who need visas who are not required to visit an embassy are those from Russia, Turkey, and the Ukraine. They may apply online and receive their visa that way. The Mexican government provides this option because there is not a good way for travelers from these countries to access a Mexican consulate.
Travelers seeking a tourist visa to Mexico will need to bring the following documentation to their consulate appointment:
- Their valid passport from their country of origin with at least 6 months of validity left
- Their visa application and application fee
- One color photograph of themselves. This should be the standard passport size and show their face on a white background.
- Proof of residence, if they are living in a country that is not their country of origin
- Three months of bank account statements. Travelers aged 25 and under may show their parents’ bank statements, if they do not have their own accounts.
- Either of the following documents: A document certifying that the person is employed in their country of residence, stating their position and salary, or a document certifying that the person is in school in their country of residence, stating that they are in a full-time program and detailing the length of the program
Note that a visa may not be granted during a consular appointment. The Mexican officials should be able to tell travelers how long they can expect to wait to hear back on the status of their travel visa.
Once travelers have all of their documentation ready to go, they can visit Mexico, just like they’ve always dreamed about. A trip to Mexico can be the trip of a lifetime, and visitors should take the chance to see and experience everything they can while they’re there.
Getting documents together today means that an amazing trip is coming soon! It’s time to get ready to travel to Mexico!