Enter in Mexico
Three items are needed to enter Mexico:
• Tourist Card
This two part document is your "permission" from the Mexican government to visit Mexico . It is available free of charge, although sometimes difficult to obtain in large quantities. The airlines always have an ample supply upon check-in. Or, if all else fails, you can obtain one in Mexican Immigration upon arrival. Here are a few words of advice about tourist cards:
• Proof of Citizenship
Note: information regarding entry requirements is subject to change without notice, and should be reconfirmed with the airline being used for international travel.
U.S. Citizens may use one of the following for entry into Mexico:
Valid Passport: This is the most recommended
document - secure and convenient.
will have an easier time if tickets are issued in their
maiden name to match their documents. For U.S. airport security purposes
the name on the driver's license and the name on the ticket must match.
Natural U.S. Citizens born outside the United States may use a Certificate of Citizenship, a Report of Birth Abroad, a Consular Report of Birth (Form FS-240) or Certification of Birth (Form DS-1350 or FS-545).
U.S. Naturalization: If you claim citizenship through naturalization you may use your Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of Citizenship or laminated Naturalization card. Note: Some airlines/charter companies may still accept the Notarized Affidavit of Citizenship or possibly a Voters Registration Card.
Canadian versions of the above documents are acceptable; notarized affidavits must be executed in Canada . The "Canadian Identification Card" is an acceptable proof of citizenship document as well.
For one way travel any one of the following is accepted:
For one way travel any one of the following is accepted:
may be expired
For round trip travel Mexican nationals must have all three of the following:
If none of the above are available, the nearest Mexican Consulate will issue a "presunción de nacionalidad." Traveler must provide two passport size pictures to obtain the document. Remember, alien residents must have proof of U.S. residency to return to the States.
Travelers from USA please cilck here
Most foreign citizens traveling to Mexico from the U.S. need a valid passport and U.S. "Alien Registration" card only. Contact the airlines serving Mexico or the Mexican Consulate for more details or specific situations.
For Student Visas contact the Mexican Consulate in your area.
Any person under 18 years of age is considered a minor for travel purposes. Very strict regulations govern international travel by minors into Mexico . Every minor must have a tourist card, proof of citizenship and sometimes other documents listed below.
• Minors traveling with
both legal parents or guardians: nothing else is needed.
• Minors traveling with only one parent: must have notarized written permission from the other parent. (Airlines will also require the name, address and phone of the person meeting the unaccompanied minor upon arrival in Mexico)
• In the case of deceased or divorced parents: legal proof must be carried to accept just one signature on the letter. This proof (death certificate, proof of sole custody etc.) can also be shown to a notary who can then notarize an Affidavit of Sole Custody form.
EXCEPTION: Mexican children often have a stamp on their passports that reads, "El titular del presente pasaporte viaja de conformidad con El Articulo 421 del Codigo Civil Vigente." This allows the child to travel with only one parent and without a notarized statement.
• Entering Mexico
Your first stop is at Mexican Immigration (Migración) where proof of citizenship is inspected, and tourist cards are validated. DON'T LOSE YOUR TOURIST CARD!
Next stop is at Customs (Aduana). Mexico has instituted a European-style customs inspection system, with a twist. Here's the way it works:
• Those declaring items
have their belongings searched, and duty is collected.
You are allowed to bring in any of the following:
• Personal items, e.g.
clothing, footwear, toiletries, all in reasonable quantities according to
• Returning to the U.S. and Canada
You are allowed to enter free of duty any purchases with a combined value of up to USD $400.00 For Canada the amount is CD $500.00 IF travelers have been outside of Canada at least seven days. This allowance may be claimed every 30 days. With a verbal declaration a returning Canadian resident can claim duty-free entry for articles (excluding tobacco products or alcoholic beverages) that do not exceed a total value of CD $20.00 upon return from each trip of more than 24 hours.
For the U.S. this limit does not include items listed on the Generalized System of Preferences List (G.S.P.), which are allowed in duty free.
Contact the U.S. Treasury Department for a detailed list (Dept. of the Treasury, U.S. Customs Service, Washington , D.C. 20229 ).
Arrival By Air
The first form is your temporary visa. The form has recently changed and may not be exactly as shown here. They are in several languages, you'll need one per person. Familiarize yourself with this one to avoid embarrassing mistakes later. Upon arrival at the airport you will first go through Customs, which is a simple review of your documentation and warm greeting from the Mexican Government Official. These are nice people, really! Save the stamped copy of which you will receive to exit the country.
Your tourist card will be endorsed for a 30 day stay. If planning to stay more than a couple weeks, be sure to ask for the maximum entry of 180 days. Applying for a longer stay can be a hassle once in Mexico. Play it safe!
The second form is for Hacienda which sounds like a nice house to visit, but is actually the Customs and Taxation arm of the government. You will need one of these forms per family. After passing through Immigrations, go to the baggage area and collect your bags then proceed to the exit. Depending on your destination and size of the airport some of the following may differ. Hand the form to the Customs Agent and push the button on the 'traffic light'. Yes, that's right, a traffic light. It is set up to randomly turn green for Go or red for Stop and Inspect. I've never seen it turn yellow, but you may. If you do get a red light, they will kindly ask to see the contents of your bags. I don't think it need be said here, but I will: Don't be so foolish as to bring something illegal into Mexico. You know what I mean!
- Do not loose your temper. You're not in Kansas. - Do not leave the place of the accident. - Cooperate with the legal authorities. - Do not sign any agreements nor accept any liability. - Contact your Mexican insurance company immediately.
The travel industry designates several business seasons during the year, High, Swing or Low. If you are coming from the Northern Climes, you probably consider winter the only time to visit. However, persons from others areas of North America, Europe and including the Mexican nationals find the rest of the year equally enjoyable. They also find it quite a bit more affordable. Take advantage of these somewhat arbitrary dates and save yourself some money. The difference between a High Season vacation and a Swing or Low, may be as little as one day and it could save you hundreds of dollars. Other vacationers just prefer the country when there are fewer tourists.
Gasoline is available at stations throughout Mexico. It is sold in liters (3.78 liters = 1 gallon). Magna Sin (green pumps) is unleaded. Prices are about the same as in the U.S. Only cash is accepted and there is no self service (tips are customary for gasoline attendants). Most stations close by 10 PM.
The highway systems between major cities is modern and similar to the freeways further North. What makes them unique is their dependence on toll funding rather than taxation to pay the development cost. So, you should expect to 'pay as you go'. Have a hefty handful of small bills available so you'll encounter no problems with making change.
Auto insurance is a MUST,
whether you are driving a rental car or your own. Don't expect your
hometown agent to supply you with a policy that will be valid in Mexico.
Most insurance companies explicitly exclude foreign countries from their
coverage. If you have a question, contact your carrier. You will find
insurance vendors on both sides of the border crossings. A better idea is
to set up your insurance before you go. You might also find that it can be
considerably cheaper to do it this way.
Within the metropolitan centers buses offer the natives their primary means of transportation. For the tourist these can be a bit daunting at first, but when viewed with fun and adventure in mind, they can certainly add color and memories to your vacation.
Mexico is made up of several different regions, each with its own type of seasonal weather, climate, altitude and terrain dictating what you will need to be prepared and comfortable. Generally, rains fall and temperatures rise from June through October, leaving November through May as the more temperate, drier season.
Here's a regional climate overview:
- Northern Baja
- Northwest Coast
- West Coast
- Central Plateau
- The Yucatan
- The Gulf Coast
Be sure to include the following in your suitcase:
- A pocket-size English/Spanish dictionary - A small first aid kit - Camera and Film - Walking Shoes - Suntan Lotion - Traveler's Checks & ATM cards - Swim Suits - Casual Dress Clothes for Nightlife and Fine Dining - Copies of your favorite Mexico Travel Guide pages! - Sunglasses & Hat - Necessary medications - Passport/Birth Certificate & Driver's License
In your quest for a good time on your vacation, your eating and drinking habits are often radically different than what you're used to back home. In addition, climate and altitude changes can throw your system off. To ensure you enjoy your vacation to its fullest, consider the following: Be sure to drink lots of fluids; especially the day before arriving.
Try not to go overboard your first night. Give your body a chance to acclimate. Drink only distilled or bottled water.
When buying fresh fruits and vegetables, be sure to wash them with distilled or bottled water before eating; peel them if possible.
The Mexican economy operates on the rise and fall of the Peso. While most businesses will accept foreign currency, especially US dollars, using pesos is your best bet. Foreign currency can be exchanged at one of many casas de cambio (exchange houses).
Mexican banking hours are normally Monday-Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 P.M. however for money exchange the hours time are normally from 9:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. Casas de cambio are open later than most banks and they generally offer quicker service.
Credit cards are widely accepted, with Visa, MasterCard, and American Express being the most popular.
Check for Current
Retired travelers have a great advantage in planning their vacations. There are many advantages to having the freedom to plan a vacation without the hassles of work schedules. Many older travelers find that their favorite times to travel to Mexico are in off season months when there is less demand and less traffic through the resort cities. Usually the summer months are the least in demand due to high temperatures. This can be an advantage if you enjoy shopping and organized tours more than spending time at the beach. Most shops and tour buses are air-conditioned, so the heat shouldn't be much of a concern. The reduced numbers of tourists in the summer months makes getting around much easier, and there is usually more peace and quiet at night.
There are a number of discount packages and group tour options for seniors. Your travel agent should have a list of the discounts that you're entitled to in the city that you'll be visiting. There are a number of senior citizens tour clubs that offer members the opportunity to go on tours with a familiar group of people in an organized tour that provides everything that you'll need. There are many senior citizen tour organizations across the nation, most of which your travel agent should be able to provide information about.
Even if you don't like traveling in groups or with organized tours, you are entitled to a number of senior citizens discounts. When booking hotel reservations, always mention that you're a senior and ask about discount rates. At restaurants, mention it when you order, not afterward. Many places will refuse the discount if you don't mention it before a reservation or an order has been made.
The infrastructure in Mexico is not as well-developed as it is in some countries. If you have a disability, you may find it difficult getting around some parts of Mexico. There are few wheelchair ramps and wheelchair access bathrooms in Mexico currently. In some cities, there aren't even stairway handrails. The sidewalks are typically narrower and aren't maintained as well. If you have any problems getting around, speak with your travel agent about the state of the city you'll be traveling to.
Your travel agent should also be able to provide information about hotels which offer accommodations for people with disabilities.
If you aren't content just to visit Mexico, it is possible to retire to Mexico permanently. Please click here to see an overview of how to begin the process of retiring to Mexico.
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