What Do You Need to Travel to Mexico?

Mexico is warm, sunny and full of colorful, friendly inhabitants. It's one of the easiest destinations for Americans to visit--and a bargain, to boot. Here's what you'll need if you go.

Tourists (including minor children) require valid passports to reenter the U.S. You must surrender your 180-day tourist visa card (received upon entering Mexico) at departure. Don't lose it, or you'll pay a fine.

Travel with Minors

If you are traveling alone with a child less than 18 years old, you need an original, signed and notarized letter of permission from the child's absent parent(s) or guardian(s). Be sure the letter specifies trip dates, destinations and other pertinent details.


Most U.S. auto policies are not valid across the border. If driving, check with your insurance agent about a special travel policy. Your U.S. driver's license is valid in Mexico.

Personal Items

Bring sunscreen for tropical destinations and appropriate footwear for walking tours or hiking. In warmer months (April through November) mosquito repellent is essential.


Bring prescription medicines with you in their original containers. Check that your medication is not considered a controlled substance (Valium, for example) in Mexico.

Bryn Bellamy has been writing professionally since 1999 and specializes in travel, food, drink, outdoor recreation and general features. She has won awards as a food critic and features editor for Gannett. She has written for Nevada magazine and various websites. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from the University of Southern California.