COVID-19 Travel
May 28, 2021

COVID-19 Travel Guidance for U.S. Citizens

COVID-19 Alert
July 21, 2021

Update on U.S. Passport Operations

Intercountry Adoption

English

Country Information

Mexico

Mexico
United Mexican States
Reconsider travel to Mexico due to COVID-19.

Reconsider travel to Mexico due to COVID-19.

See state summaries and advisory levels below for information on your specific travel destination. Some areas of Mexico have increased risk of crime and kidnapping.

Read the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for Mexico due to COVID-19, indicating a high level of COVID-19 in the country. Your risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing severe symptoms may be lower if you are fully vaccinated with an FDA authorized vaccine. Before planning any international travel, please review the CDC's specific recommendations for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers. Visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in Mexico.

Country Summary: Violent crime – such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery – is widespread and common in Mexico. The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in many areas of Mexico, as travel by U.S. government employees to certain areas is prohibited or restricted. In many states, local emergency services are limited outside the state capital or major cities.

Restrictions on U.S. government travel: U.S. government employees may not travel between cities after dark, may not hail taxis on the street, and must rely on dispatched vehicles, including app-based services like Uber, and regulated taxi stands. U.S. government employees may not drive from the U.S.-Mexico border to or from the interior parts of Mexico, with the exception of daytime travel within Baja California, between Nogales and Hermosillo on Mexican Federal Highway 15D, and between Nuevo Laredo and Monterrey on Highway 85D. U.S. government employees should avoid traveling alone, especially in remote areas.

Read the country information page.

Do Not Travel To:

Reconsider Travel To:

Exercise Increased Caution When Traveling To:

Exercise Normal Precautions When Traveling To:

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

If you decide to travel to Mexico:

  • Review the U.S. Embassy's webpage on COVID-19.
  • Visit the CDC’s web page on Travel and COVID-19.
  • Keep traveling companions and family back home informed of your travel plans. If separating from your travel group, send a friend your GPS location. If taking a taxi alone, take a photo of the taxi number and/or license plate and text it to a friend.
  • Use toll roads when possible and avoid driving alone or at night. In many states, police presence and emergency services are extremely limited outside the state capital or major cities.
  • Exercise increased caution when visiting local bars, nightclubs, and casinos.
  • Do not display signs of wealth, such as wearing expensive watches or jewelry.
  • Be extra vigilant when visiting banks or ATMs.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Follow the U.S. Embassy on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Reports for Mexico.
  • Mariners planning travel to Mexico should check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts, which include instructions on reporting suspicious activities and attacks to Mexican naval authorities.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

Aguascalientes state – Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

Criminal activity and violence may occur throughout the state.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees.

Baja California state – Reconsider Travel

Reconsider travel due to crime and kidnapping.

Transnational criminal organizations compete in the border area to establish narco-trafficking and human smuggling routes. Violent crime and gang activity are common.  Travelers should remain on main highways and avoid remote locations. Of particular concern is the high number of homicides in the non-tourist areas of Tijuana. Most homicides appeared to be targeted; however, criminal organization assassinations and territorial disputes can result in bystanders being injured or killed. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

U.S. government employees must adhere to the noted restrictions:

  • Mexicali Valley: U.S. government employees should avoid the Mexicali Valley due to the heightened possibility of violence between rival cartel factions. The boundaries of the restricted area are: to the east, the Baja California/Arizona and Baja California/Sonora borders; to the south, from La Ventana (on Highway 5) due east to the Colorado River; to the west, Highway 5; and to the north, Boulevard Lazaro Cardenas/Highway 92/Highway 1 to Carretera Aeropuerto, from the intersection of Highway 1 and Carretera Aeropuerto due north to the Baja California/California border, and from that point eastward along the Baja California/California border.
  • Travelers may use Highways 2 and 2D to transit between Mexicali, Los Algodones, and San Luis Rio Colorado during daylight hours. Travelers may also use Highways 1 and 8 to transit to and from the Mexicali Airport during daylight hours. Travel on Highway 5 is permissible during daylight hours.

There are no other travel restrictions for U.S. government employees in the state of Baja California. These include high-traffic tourism areas of border and coastal communities, such as Tijuana, Ensenada, and Rosarito.

Baja California Sur state – Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

Criminal activity and violence may occur throughout the state.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Baja California Sur, which includes tourist areas in: Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo, and La Paz.

Campeche state – Exercise Normal Precautions

Exercise normal precautions.

Chiapas state – Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

Criminal activity and violence may occur throughout the state.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Chiapas state, which includes tourist areas in: Palenque, San Cristobal de las Casas, and Tuxtla Gutierrez.

Chihuahua state – Reconsider Travel

Reconsider travel due to crime and kidnapping.

Violent crime and gang activity are common. The majority of homicides are targeted assassinations against members of criminal organizations.  Battles for territory between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens and U.S. government employees, including restaurants and malls during daylight hours.  Bystanders have been injured or killed in shooting incidents.  U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

U.S. government employee travel is limited to the following areas with the noted restrictions:

  • Ciudad Juarez: U.S. government employees may travel to the area of Ciudad Juarez bounded to the east by Bulevar Independencia; to the south by De los Montes Urales/Avenida Manuel J Clouthier/Carretera de Juarez; to the west by Via Juan Gabriel/Avenida de los Insurgentes/Calle Miguel Ahumada/Francisco Javier Mina/Melchor Ochampo; and to the north by the U.S.-Mexico border.

Direct travel to the Ciudad Juarez airport (officially called Abraham Gonzalez International Airport) and the factories located along Bulevar Independencia and Las Torres is permitted. Travel to San Jeronimo is permitted only through the United States via the Santa Teresa U.S. Port of Entry; travel via Anapra is prohibited.

U.S. government employees may only travel from Ciudad Juarez to Chihuahua City during daylight hours via Federal Highway 45, with stops permitted only at the Federal Police station, the Umbral del Milenio overlook area, the border inspection station at KM 35, and the shops and restaurants on Federal Highway 45 in the town of Villa Ahumada.

  • Chihuahua City:  U.S. government employees may travel at any time to the area of Chihuahua City bounded to the north by Avenida Transformación; to the east by Avenida Tecnológico/Manuel Gómez Morin; to the west by the city boundary; and to the south by Route 16/Calle Tamborel.

  • Nuevo Casas Grandes Area (including Nuevo Casas Grandes, Casas Grandes, Mata Ortiz, Colonia Juarez, Colonia LeBaron, and Paquime): U.S. government employees may only travel to the Nuevo Casas Grandes area during daylight hours through the United States, entering Mexico at the Palomas U.S. Port of Entry on New Mexico Route 11 before connecting to Mexico Federal Highway 2, and subsequently Federal Highway 10, to Nuevo Casas Grandes. Employees are permitted to stay overnight in the cities of Nuevo Casas Grandes and Casas Grandes only.
  • Ojinaga: U.S. government employees must travel to Ojinaga via U.S. Highway 67 and enter through the U.S. Port of Entry in Presidio, Texas.

  • Palomas: U.S. government employees must travel to Palomas via U.S. highways through the U.S. Port of Entry in Columbus, New Mexico.

U.S. government employees may not travel to other areas of Chihuahua, including Copper Canyon.

Coahuila state – Reconsider Travel

Reconsider travel due to crime and kidnapping.

Violent crime and gang activity are common in parts of Coahuila state.  U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

U.S. government employee travel is limited to the following areas with the noted restrictions:

  • Piedras Negras and Ciudad Acuña: U.S. government employees must travel directly from the United States and observe a curfew from midnight to 6:00 a.m. in both cities.
  • Federal Highway 40 and areas south within Coahuila state: This area includes the metropolitan areas of Saltillo and Torreon.

U.S. government employees may not travel to other areas of Coahuila state.

Colima state – Do Not Travel

Do not travel due to crime and kidnapping.

Violent crime and gang activity are widespread. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

U.S. government employees must adhere to the following travel restrictions:

  • Tecoman: U.S. government employees may not travel to Tecoman.
  • Colima/Michoacan border: U.S. government employees may not travel within 20 km of the Colima/Michoacan border.

  • Highway 110: U.S. government employees may not travel on Highway 110 from the town of La Tecomaca to the Jalisco border.

  • Manzanillo: U.S. government employees may visit the tourist and port areas only; all other areas are prohibited. Employees may travel on Federal Toll Road 54D between Guadalajara and Manzanillo.

Durango state – Reconsider Travel

Reconsider travel due to crime.

Violent crime and gang activity are common in parts of Durango state.

U.S. government employees must adhere to the following travel restrictions:

  • West and south of Federal Highway 45: U.S. government employees may not travel to this region of Durango.

There are no other restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees.

Guanajuato state – Reconsider Travel

Reconsider travel due to crime.

Gang violence, often associated with the theft of petroleum and natural gas from the state oil company and other suppliers, occurs in Guanajuato, primarily in the south and central areas of the state. Of particular concern is the high number of murders in the southern region of the state associated with cartel-related violence.   

U.S. government employees must adhere to the following travel restrictions:

  • Areas south of Federal Highway 45D: U.S. government employees may not travel to the area south of and including Federal Highway 45D, Celaya, Salamanca, and Irapuato.

There are no other restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees, including to San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato City, and surrounding areas.

Guerrero state – Do Not Travel

Do not travel due to crime and kidnapping.

Crime and violence are widespread. Armed groups operate independently of the government in many areas of Guerrero. Members of these groups frequently maintain roadblocks and may use violence towards travelers. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

Travel for U.S. government employees is limited to the following area with the noted restrictions:

  • Taxco: U.S. government employees must utilize Federal Highway 95D that passes through Cuernavaca, Morelos, and stay within downtown tourist areas. Employees may visit Grutas de Cacahuamilpa National Park during the day with a licensed tour operator.

U.S. government employees may not travel to other areas of the state of Guerrero, including AcapulcoZihuatanejo, and Ixtapa.

Hidalgo state – Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

Criminal activity and violence may occur throughout the state.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees.

Jalisco state – Reconsider Travel

Reconsider travel due to crime and kidnapping.

Violent crime and gang activity are common in parts of Jalisco state. In Guadalajara, territorial battles between criminal groups take place in tourist areas. Shooting incidents between criminal groups have injured or killed innocent bystanders. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

U.S. government employees must adhere to the following travel restrictions:

  • Jalisco-Michoacan border: U.S. government employees may not travel within 12 miles of the Jalisco-Michoacan border.

  • Federal Highway 80: U.S. government employees may not travel on Federal Highway 80 south of Cocula.

  • State Highway 544: U.S. government employees may not travel on State Highway 544 between Mascota and San Sebastian del Oeste.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S government employees to: Guadalajara Metropolitan Area, Puerto Vallarta (including neighboring Riviera Nayarit), Chapala, and Ajijic.

Mexico City – Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime and kidnapping.

Both violent and non-violent crime occur throughout Mexico City. Use additional caution, particularly at night, outside of the frequented tourist areas where police and security patrol more routinely. Petty crime occurs frequently in both tourist and non-tourist areas. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees.

Mexico state (Estado de Mexico) – Reconsider Travel

Reconsider travel due to crime and kidnapping.

Both violent and non-violent crime are common throughout Mexico state. Use caution in areas outside of the frequented tourist areas, although petty crime occurs frequently in tourist areas as well. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees.

Michoacan state – Do Not Travel

Do not travel due to crime and kidnapping.

Crime and violence are widespread in Michoacan state. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

Travel for U.S. government employees is limited to the following areas with the noted restrictions:

  • Federal Highway 15D:  U.S. government employees may travel on Federal Highway 15D to transit the state between Mexico City and Guadalajara.
  • Morelia: U.S. government employees may travel by air and by land using Federal Highways 43 or 48D from Federal Highway 15D.
  • Lazaro Cardenas: U.S. government employees must travel by air only and limit activities to the city center or port areas.

U.S. government employees may not travel to other areas of the state of Michoacan, including the portions of the Monarch Butterfly Reserve located in Michoacan.

Morelos state – Reconsider Travel

Reconsider travel due to crime and kidnapping.

Violent crime and gang activity are common in parts of Morelos state. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees.

Nayarit state – Reconsider Travel

Reconsider travel due to crime.

Violent crime and gang activity are common near the border with Sinaloa.

U.S. government employees must adhere to the following travel restrictions:

  • Tepic and San Blas: U.S. government employees may not travel to Tepic or San Blas.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S government employees to other parts of Nayarit, including tourist areas in: Riviera Nayarit (including Nuevo Vallarta, Punta MitaSayulita, and Bahia de Banderas), and Santa Maria del Oro.

Nuevo Leon state – Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime and kidnapping.

Criminal activity and violence may occur throughout the state. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees.

Oaxaca state – Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

Criminal activity and violence occur throughout the state.

U.S. government employees must adhere to the following travel restrictions:

  • Isthmus region: U.S. government employees may not travel to the area of Oaxaca bounded by Federal Highway 185D to the west, Federal Highway 190 to the north, and the Oaxaca-Chiapas border to the east. This includes the cities of Juchitan de Zaragoza, Salina Cruz, and San Blas Atempa.

  • Federal Highway 200 northwest of Pinotepa: U.S. government employees may not utilize Federal Highway 200 between Pinotepa and the Oaxaca-Guerrero border.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees to other parts of Oaxaca state, which include tourist areas in: Oaxaca CityMonte AlbanPuerto Escondido, and Huatulco.

Puebla state – Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime and kidnapping.

Criminal activity and violence may occur throughout the state. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees.

Queretaro state – Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

Criminal activity and violence may occur throughout the state.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees.

Quintana Roo state – Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

Criminal activity and violence may occur throughout the state.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Quintana Roo state, which include tourist areas in: CancunCozumel, Isla Mujeres, Playa del CarmenTulum, and the Riviera Maya.


San Luis Potosi state – Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

Criminal activity and violence may occur throughout the state.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees.

Sinaloa state – Do Not Travel

Do not travel due to crime and kidnapping.

Violent crime is widespread.  Criminal organizations are based in and operating in Sinaloa. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

Travel for U.S. government employees is limited to the following areas with the noted restrictions:

  • Mazatlan: U.S. government employees may travel to Mazatlan by air or sea only, are limited to the Zona Dorada and historic town center, and must travel via direct routes between these destinations and the airport and sea terminal.
  • Los Mochis and Topolobampo: U.S. government employees may travel to Los Mochis and Topolobampo by air or sea only, are restricted to the city and the port, and must travel via direct routes between these destinations and the airport.

U.S. government employees may not travel to other areas of the state of Sinaloa.

Sonora state – Reconsider Travel

Reconsider travel due to crime and kidnapping.

Sonora is a key location used by the international drug trade and human trafficking networks. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

U.S. government employees must adhere to the following travel restrictions:

  • Travel between Hermosillo and Nogales: U.S. government employees may travel between the U.S. Ports of Entry in Nogales and Hermosillo during daylight hours via Federal Highway 15 only.

  • Puerto Peñasco: U.S. government employees may travel between Puerto Peñasco and the Lukeville-Sonoyta U.S. Port of Entry during daylight hours via Federal Highway 8 only.

  • San Luis Rio Colorado, Cananea, and Agua Prieta: U.S. government employees may travel directly from the nearest U.S. Port of Entry to San Luis Rio Colorado, Cananea, and Agua Prieta but may not go beyond the city limits.

  • Triangular region near Mariposa U.S. Port of Entry: U.S. government employees may not travel to the triangular region west of the Mariposa U.S. Port of Entry, east of Sonoyta, and north of Altar municipality.

  • Nogales: U.S. government employees may not travel to the area north of Avenida Tecnologico, west of Bulevar Luis Donaldo Colosio (Periferico), and east of Federal Highway 15D (Corredor Fiscal) and the residential areas to the east of Plutarco Elias Calles. U.S. government employees may not use taxi services in Nogales.

  • Eastern and southern Sonora (including San Carlos Nuevo Guaymas and Alamos): U.S. government employees may not travel to areas of Sonora east of Federal Highway 17, the road between Moctezuma and Sahuaripa, and State Highway 20 between Sahuaripa and the intersection with Federal Highway 16.

U.S. government employees may not travel to areas of Sonora south of Federal Highway 16 and east of Federal Highway 15 (south of Hermosillo), as well as all points south of Guaymas, including Empalme, Guaymas, Obregon, and Navojoa.

U.S. government employees may travel to San Carlos Nuevo Guaymas and Alamos; travel to Alamos is only permitted by air and within city limits.

Tabasco state – Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

Criminal activity and violence may occur throughout the state.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees.

Tamaulipas state – Do Not Travel

Do not travel due to crime and kidnapping.

U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

Organized crime activity – including gun battles, murder, armed robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, forced disappearances, extortion, and sexual assault – is common along the northern border and in Ciudad Victoria. Criminal groups target public and private passenger buses, as well as private automobiles traveling through Tamaulipas, often taking passengers and demanding ransom payments.

Heavily armed members of criminal groups often patrol areas of the state and operate with impunity particularly along the border region from Reynosa to Nuevo Laredo. In these areas, local law enforcement has limited capacity to respond to incidents of crime. Law enforcement capacity is greater in the tri-city area of Tampico, Ciudad Madero, and Altamira, which has a lower rate of violent criminal activity compared to the rest of the state.

Travel for U.S. government employees is limited to the following areas with the noted restrictions:

  • Nuevo Laredo and Matamoros: U.S. government employees may only travel within a limited radius around and between the U.S. Consulates in Nuevo Laredo and Matamoros, their homes, the respective U.S. Ports of Entry, and limited downtown sites. U.S. government employees must observe a curfew between midnight and 6:00 a.m.

  • Overland travel in Tamaulipas: U.S. government employees may not travel between cities in Tamaulipas using interior Mexican highways. Travel between Nuevo Laredo and Monterrey is limited to Federal Highway 85D during daylight hours with prior authorization.

U.S. government employees may not travel to other areas of the state of Tamaulipas.

Tlaxcala state – Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

Criminal activity and violence may occur throughout the state.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees.

Veracruz state – Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

Violent crime and gang activity occur with increasing frequency in Veracruz, particularly in the center and south near Cordoba and Coatzacoalcos. While most gang-related violence is targeted, violence perpetrated by criminal organizations can affect bystanders. Impromptu roadblocks requiring payment to pass are common.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees.

Yucatan state – Exercise Normal Precautions

Exercise normal precautions.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Yucatan state, which include tourist areas in: Chichen Itza, Merida, Uxmal, and Valladolid.

Zacatecas state – Reconsider Travel

Reconsider travel due to crime and kidnapping.

Violent crime, extortion, and gang activity are common in parts of Zacatecas state. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

U.S. government employees must adhere to the following travel restrictions:

  • Western Zacatecas: U.S. government employees may not travel to the area of Zacatecas south of Federal Highway 45 and west of Federal Highway 23.

  • Fresnillo: U.S. government employees may not travel to the municipality of Fresnillo, although employees may transit Federal Highways 45 and 23 through Fresnillo without stopping.

There are no other restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees.

Last Update: Reissued with updates to Baja California state

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Hague Convention Participation

Hague Adoption Convention Country?
Yes

Hague Convention Information

Mexico is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention or Convention). Intercountry adoption processing in Convention countries is done in accordance with the requirements of the Convention; the U.S. implementing legislation, the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA); and the IAA’s implementing regulations; as well as the implementing legislation and regulations of Mexico.

The Mexican Central Authority is comprised of both federal and state entities. The two federal authorities are the Secretary of Exterior Relations, or Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores (SRE), which issues key Hague Adoption Convention documentation including the Article 23 Certificate, and the National System for the Full Development of the Family, or Sistema Nacional para el Desarollo Integral de la Familia (DIF), which coordinates national policy for child and family welfare, including processing of domestic and intercountry adoption cases and authorization of foreign adoption service providers in Mexico. Both of these federal entities and are headquartered in Mexico City.

Intercountry adoptions outside Mexico City must also involve one of the 31 state DIF offices, one in each Mexican state. The state DIF offices issue the Article 16 and Article 17 letters, important Hague Adoption Convention documentation. The civil code in each state may vary, and prospective adoptive parents need to be aware of and abide by the applicable laws of the state from which they plan to adopt. Though state and regional DIF offices play an important role in intercountry adoption cases, all intercountry adoptions must be processed in coordination with the national DIF office and SRE, which are the entities with the authority to certify Convention compliance for intercountry adoptions.

Prospective adoptive parents must initiate their adoption application in Mexico by submitting it to the SRE through a U.S.-based adoption service provider that is both Hague accredited in the U.S. and approved to provide services in Mexico by the Mexican Central Authority. Prospective adoptive parents must ensure that the adoption service provider they choose is both on the U.S. list of Hague-accredited adoption service providers, as well as on national DIF’s list of adoption service providers authorized to work in Mexico, listed below. Failure to work with an adoption service provider that has obtained authorization from national DIF could delay adoption and could result in the Mexican Central Authority’s refusal to issue the Hague certification required for visa issuance.

ORGANIZATION WEB PAGE
INTERCOUNTRY CHILD FOUNDATION INC. www.childfound.org
MLJ, ADOPTION, INC. www.mljadoptions.com
INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION NET www.intercountryadoptionnet.org
THE OPEN DOOR ADOPTION AGENCY    www.opendooradoption.org
THE CATHOLIC CHARITIES OF THE ARCHDIOCESE OF CHICAGO www.catholiccharities.net
HANDS ACROSS THE WATER www.handsacrossthewater.org.au
NIGHTLIGHT CRISTIAN ADOPTION www.nightlight.org

Prospective adoptive parents who hold dual Mexican and U.S. citizenship are cautioned that only plenary adoption (full adoption)  is considered valid for intercountry adoption.  A U.S. visa can only be issued to children adopted through a full adoption completed as a result of a Hague Convention adoption process. The full adoption decree must state that the parents with dual nationality reside in the United States and must clearly state that the adoption is an intercountry adoption.

U.S. Immigration Requirements

To bring an adopted child to the United States from Mexico, you must meet certain suitability and eligibility requirements.  USCIS determines who is suitable and eligible to adopt a child from another country and bring that child to live in the United States according to United States immigration law.     

Additionally, a child must meet the definition of a Convention adoptee under U.S. immigration law to be eligible to immigrate to the United States on an IH-3 or IH-4 immigrant visa. 

Who Can Adopt

In addition to the U.S. requirements, prospective adoptive parents need to meet Mexican requirements to adopt a child from Mexico:

  • Residency: Adoption procedures in Mexico include physical presentation, cohabitation, and pre-adoptive foster care to allow for the bonding of the minors with the prospective adoptive parents in Mexico and their environment prior to determining the suitability of the adoption. Due to the large amount of paperwork in both the Mexican and U.S. processes, DIF suggests adoptive parents be prepared to spend at least three months in Mexico, including pre-adoptive foster care, prior to adoption.  
  • Age of Adopting Parents: The age of the prospective adoptive parents may vary depending on the applicable law in each state, and the prospective adoptive parents must know and comply with the applicable laws of the state from which they plan to adopt. When the prospective adoptive parents are married, it is sufficient that one of the spouses meets the age requirement.  
  • Marriage: Prospective adoptive parents may be married or single, male, or female.  Currently same-sex couples can adopt in Mexico.
  • Income: Prospective adoptive parents must demonstrate the means to support the physical and educational needs of children. Prospective adoptive parents must demonstrate that they are financially capable of caring for the children by showing evidence such as, but not limited to, employment letters, pay stubs, photos of their home in the United States, and bank statements. They shall present these documents during the court process to support their financial status. Prospective adoptive parents should also be prepared to present information about two people who will be able to confirm their moral aptitude and their employment status.
  • Other: There are no restrictions regarding the gender of the child that a prospective adoptive parent can adopt. For example, a prospective single male adoptive father may adopt a girl. In addition, prospective adoptive parents who have previously adopted in Mexico can adopt again. There is no list of specific diseases or disabilities that prevent prospective adoptive parents from adopting. State DIF offices assess prospective adoptive parents on a case-by-case basis during pre-adoptive care with the child.

Who Can Be Adopted

Because Mexico is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Mexico must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption. For example, the adoption may take place only if the competent authorities of Mexico have determined that placement of the child within Mexico has been given due consideration and that an intercountry adoption is in the child’s best interests. In addition to Mexico’s requirements, a child must meet the definition of Convention adoptee to be eligible for an immigrant visa that will allow you to bring him or her to the United States.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:

  • Relinquishment and Abandonment: Only a Civil/Family judge, in a court proceeding, can determine if a child has been abandoned or relinquished. Public notaries are not authorized to make determinations of abandonment or relinquishment.
  • Age of Adoptive Child: Minors eligible for intercountry adoption in Mexico do not have a specific age range. However, it is important to exhaust the principle of subsidiarity and that the adoption is in the best interest of the minor, as stated on the Convention on the Protection of Minors and Cooperation in Matters of Intercountry Adoption, in its articles 4 b), 2nd fifth paragraph, and article 18 of the General Law on the Rights of Girls, Boys and Adolescents. Likewise, minors who are a group of siblings, who suffer from a disability (physical or mental), who suffer from a disease requiring high-cost treatment, or suffer from a behavioral disorder requiring psychiatric care, can be considered for intercountry adoption.
  • Sibling Adoptions: In accordance with the General Law on the Rights of Girls, Boys and Adolescents, the Mexican Central Authority will try not to separate siblings, but if there were a need for it, will establish measures to maintain permanent bonds of coexistence, contact and communication.
  • Special Needs or Medical Conditions: Adoption of children with special needs or medical conditions are encouraged. The Mexican Central Authority will review the homestudy to ensure that prospective adoptive parents are prepared to care for minors with some type of physical or mental disability, who suffer from a high-cost treatable disease.
  • Waiting Period or Foster Care: Each state has its own legislation regarding pre-adoptive care or a waiting list. Prospective adoptive parents should verify this with the state DIF adoptions office.    
  • Intra-family adoptions: Intrafamily adoptions are allowed but must be completed through the same Convention process as non-family adoptions. The prospective adoptive parent of a family member may specify an interest in adopting a family member in the adoption application submitted to the Mexican Central Authority. 

How to Adopt

WARNING: Mexico is party to the Hague Adoption Convention. Do not adopt or obtain legal custody of a child in Mexico before a U.S. consular officer issues an “Article 5 Letter” in the case. Read on for more information.

Mexico’s Adoption Authority

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Family Law Office
(Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores, Dirección de Derecho de Familia-SRE)

National System for Family Development – National and State offices
(Desarollo Integral de la Familia-National DIF)

Mexico has designated SRE, National DIF and the 31 state DIF offices to perform various central authority functions. SRE is the lead authority to which all applications and Convention process communications must be submitted. National DIF coordinates national policy for domestic and intercountry adoption cases and is in charge of authorization of U.S. adoption service providers in Mexico. State DIF offices handle much of the hands-on processing of intercountry adoptions, including making a referral to a child and providing written documentation regarding the child’s background.

Note: If any of the following occurred prior to April 1, 2008 (the date on which the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force with respect to the United States), the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your adoption: 1) you filed a Form I-600A identifying [Country] as the country where you intended to adopt; 2) you filed a Form I-600; or; 3) the adoption was completed. Under these circumstances, your adopted child’s visa application could continue to be processed in accordance with the immigration regulations for non-Convention adoptions. For more information, read about Transition Cases.

The Process

Because Mexico is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adoptions from Mexico must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention’s requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is given below. You must complete these steps in the following order to meet all necessary legal requirements. Adoptions completed out of order may result in the child not being eligible for an immigrant visa to the United States.


1. Choose a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider
2. Apply to USCIS to be found eligible to adopt
3. Be matched with a child in Mexico
4. Apply to USCIS for the child to be found eligible for immigration to the United States and receive U.S. agreement to proceed with the adoption
5. Adopt (or Obtain Legal Custody) of child in Mexico
6. Obtain a U.S. immigrant visa for your child and bring your child home

1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider

The recommended first step in adopting a child from Mexico is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited or approved to provide services  to U.S. citizens in Convention cases. Only accredited or approved adoption service providers may act as the primary provider in your case. The primary adoption service provider is responsible for ensuring that all adoption services in the case are performed in accordance with the Hague Adoption Convention and the laws and regulations of the United States. Learn more about Agency Accreditation. The accredited adoption service provider must also be authorized to operate in Mexico. Mexico requires foreign prospective adoptive parents to use an adoption service provider that has been authorized by Mexican Central Authority:

ORGANIZATION WEB PAGE
INTERCOUNTRY CHILD FOUNDATION INC. www.childfound.org
MLJ, ADOPTION, INC. www.mljadoptions.com
INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION NET www.intercountryadoptionnet.org
THE OPEN DOOR ADOPTION AGENCY  www.opendooradoption.org
THE CATHOLIC CHARITIES OF THE ARCHDIOCESE OF CHICAGO www.catholiccharities.net
HANDS ACROSS THE WATER www.handsacrossthewater.org.au
NIGHTLIGHT CRISTIAN ADOPTION www.nightlight.org

2. Apply to USCIS to be Found Eligible to Adopt

After you choose an accredited or approved adoption service provider, you must apply to be found eligible to adopt by the responsible U.S. government agency, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), by submitting Form I-800A. Read more about Eligibility Requirements.

Once USCIS determines that you are “eligible” and “suited” to adopt by approving the Form I-800A, your adoption service provider will provide your approval notice, home study, and any other required information to the Mexican Central Authority as part of your adoption file . The Mexican Central Authority will review your application to determine if you are also eligible to adopt under Mexican law.  All adoption files must first be sent to the SRE, which will send them to the corresponding offices of the national SN DIF. 

3. Be Matched with a Child by in Mexico

If both the United States and Mexico determine that you are eligible to adopt, and the Mexican Central Authority has determined that a child is available for adoption and that intercountry adoption is in that child’s best interests, the Mexican Central Authority may provide you with a referral for a child. The referral is a proposed match between you and a specific child based on a review of your dossier and the needs of a specific child in Mexico. The adoption authority in Mexico (usually the state DIF) will provide a background study and other information, if available, about the child to help you decide whether to accept the referral or not. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs and provide a permanent home for a particular child. If you accept the referral, the adoption service provider communicates that to the adoption authority in Mexico. Learn more about this critical decision.

4. Apply to USCIS for the Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States and Receive U.S. Agreement to Proceed with the Adoption

After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for provisional approval for the child to immigrate to the United States (Form I-800). USCIS will make a provisional determination as to whether the child meets the definition of a Convention Adoptee and will be eligible to enter the United States and reside permanently as an immigrant.

After provisional approval of Form I-800, your adoption service provider or you will submit a visa application to the Immigrant Visa Unit of the United States Consulate General in Ciudad Juarez, who are responsible for issuing immigrant visas to children from Mexico. A consular officer will review the Form I-800 and the visa application for possible visa ineligibilities and advise you of options for the waiver of any noted ineligibilities.

WARNING: The consular officer will send a letter (referred to as an “Article 5 Letter”) to the Mexican Central Authority in any intercountry adoption involving U.S. citizen parents and a child from Mexico where all Convention requirements are met and the consular officer determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States. This letter will inform the Mexican Central Authority that the parents are eligible and suited to adopt, that all indications are that the child may enter and reside permanently in the United States, and that the U.S. Central Authority agrees that the adoption may proceed.

Do not attempt to adopt or obtain custody of a child in Mexico before a U.S. consular officer issues the Article 5 Letter in any adoption case.

Remember: The consular officer will make a final decision about a child’s eligibility for an immigrant visa later in the adoption process.

5. Adopt (or Obtain Legal Custody) of Child in Mexico

Remember: Before adopting (or obtaining legal custody of) a child in Mexico, you must have completed the four steps above. Only after completing these steps, can you proceed to finalize the adoption or be granted custody for the purposes of adoption in Mexico.

The process for finalizing the adoption (or obtaining legal custody) in Mexico generally includes the following:

  • Role of Adoption Authority:
    • Receives and registers adoption dossiers and forwards to appropriate DIF offices (SRE)
    • Reviews and makes determination on applications for authorization to provide adoption services in Mexico by U.S. Hague accredited or approved adoption service providers (National DIF)
    • Documents child’s social and medical history in an Article 16 report/referral
    • Refers a child to prospective adoptive parents (National DIF and state DIF)
    • Oversees court adoption process (National DIF and state DIF)
    • Reviews adoption process and issues required Article 23 Hague certification after adoption if adoption was Hague complaint (SRE)
    • Receives post adoption reports and forwards to appropriate DIF office. (SRE)
  • Role of the Court: Reviews intercountry adoption applications submitted to court by national DIF or state DIFs once the U.S. Consulate General in Ciudad Juarez issues the Article 5 letter. Issues an adoption order for the placement of the child with the prospective adoptive parents. The court process generally takes four to six months, depending on the court’s workload.  Prospective adoptive parents must appear in person at least twice during the court process for hearings and to provide testimony to the Civil/Family judge and state DIF representatives.  Prospective adoptive parents must obtain three certified copies of the full and final adoption decree. These three copies are necessary to:  1) request a new birth certificate from the Civil Registry listing the child's new name; 2) apply for the Mexican passport with SRE; and 3) request the Article 23 Certificate from SRE. 
  • Role of Adoption Agencies: The U.S. accredited adoption service provider (ASP) facilitates adoptions by U.S. prospective adoptive parents in Mexico.  The U.S. adoption service provider either conducts or oversees the prospective adoptive parents’ home study to ensure that it complies with U.S. and state law where the prospective adoptive parents reside.  Once the prospective adoptive parents are found eligible and suitable to adopt (I-800A is approved), the ASP submits the adoption dossier to the SRE and may communicate the appropriate DIF office regarding the application.  The ASP receives the Article 16 referral and assists prospective adoptive parents in submitting form I-800 to the National Benefits Center (NBC).  After the provisional approval of form I-800, the ASP coordinates with the U. S. Consulate General in Ciudad Juarez to provide the necessary documentation for the Article 5 review and for the issuance of an Article 5 letter.  Once the Article 5 letter is issued, the ASP helps the prospective adoptive parents to comply with court's requirements and to obtain the necessary documentation for the final visa application, including a new birth certificate and Mexican passport for the child.  After the adoption is final and a visa is issued, the adoption service provider assists the family with Mexico post-adoption reporting requirements.  Please note that Mexico requires the primary adoption service provider to continue to assist the family in meeting Mexican post-adoption reporting requirements once the adoption is completed. 
  • Time Frame: After the prospective adoptive parents have a provisionally approved Form I-800, it generally takes six months or more to complete the Mexican adoption process and to secure the necessary documentation.  Note that obtaining a Mexican passport for an adopted child often takes an additional four weeks, and some adoptive parents have reported waiting as long as two months.   
  • Adoption Application: Prospective adoptive parents, in coordination with their adoption service provider, must submit an online application.
  • Adoption Fees: Your agency will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process on the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the process.  DIF does not charge any fees in connection with processing an adoption in Mexico.  Some of the fees specifically associated with adopting from Mexico include:
    • SServices at national DIF and state  DIFs are free throughout the adoption process, from the initial referral of the prospective adoptive parents with the child until after the adoption, as well as after the issuance of a new birth certificate showing the child’s new name.  Court services are also completely free of charge
    • Prospective adoptive parents should be prepared to pay for certified copies of the full and final adoption decree (costs vary from state to state, generally approximately 10 Mexican pesos or under $1 USD per page). This payment is made at authorized banks and the court will require the receipt to process the copies.  Information on the Mexican passport fee can be obtained through SRE's website .
  • Documents Required: Mexican Central Authority requirements to issue Article 23 certification that an adoption was made in accordance with the Convention:
    • Original birth certificates of the child (the birth certificate indicating the child’s previous name, as well as the new one listing the name after adoption);
    • Certified copy of the adoption decree;
    • Certified copy of the document that declares that the adoption decree is final (causó "estado" or "ejecutoria");
    • Original and copy of the adoptive parents' passports;
    • Copy of a document showing the adoptive parents’ current address; and 
    • Original documents, issued by the U.S. Consulate General in Ciudad Juarez (Article 5 letter), as well as by the Mexican Central Authority (Article 17 letter), demonstrating compliance with Articles 5 and 17 of Convention. These documents must have been issued prior to the date of the adoption decree.

*SRE will return originl documentation.

    Note: Additional documents may be requested. The ordinary time for delivery of the certificate is up to five business days. Because of the pandemic, this period could be extended.

  • Authentication of Documents: The United States and Mexico are parties to the Hague Apostille Convention. U.S. public documents may be authenticated with Apostilles by the appropriate U.S. Competent Authority.
  • Note: All documents must be translated into the Spanish language; prospective adoptive parents should verify this requirement with the State DIF.

6. Obtain an Immigrant Visa for your Child and Bring Your Child Home
Now that your adoption is complete ,there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you must request three documents before your child can travel to the United States:

Birth Certificate

After finalizing the adoption process in court, the judge will issue a complete and final adoption decree stating the new name and parents.  Adoptive parents should use this adoption decree to apply for a new birth certificate reflecting the child's new name and parents.  The new birth certificate can be obtained by submitting the original final adoption decree or a certified copy of it to the Civil Registry office where the child's birth was originally registered.  You may use this new birth certificate to apply for your child's Mexican passport.   

Please note that Mexico requires that an adoption be finalized prior to the child's departure for the United States in order to meet Convention requirements.  Court-ordered grants of custody for purpose of adoption in the United States do not comply with Mexico’s Convention requirements.  Prospective adoptive parents who have not yet completed a full and final adoption in Mexico will not be able to obtain a new birth certificate for the child and will not be able to complete Mexico’s Convention process. 

Mexican Passport
Your child is not yet a US citizen, so he or she will need a Mexican passport or travel document.  Mexico requires that the child and both adoptive parents appear in person to apply for the child's Mexican passport.  For more details on the Mexican passport application process and requirements, you should refer to the information provided by the SRE.

U.S. Immigrant Visa

After obtaining the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you must also finalize your child’s U.S. visa application with the U.S. Consulate General in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.  After the adoption (or custody for adoption purposes) is granted, make an appointment to visit the U.S. Consulate for final review of the case, issuance of a U.S. Hague Adoption Certificate or Hague Custody Certificate, final approval of form I-800, and to obtain your child's immigrant visa.  This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you.  As part of this process, the consular officer must receive the "panel physician’s" medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage. Read more about the Medical Examination. 

Child Citizenship Act

For adoptions finalized abroad prior to the child’s entry into the United States: A child will acquire U.S. citizenship upon entering the United States if the adoption was finalized prior to entry and the child meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 .

For adoptions finalized after the child’s entry into the United States: An adoption must be completed following your child's entry into the United States for the child to acquire U.S. citizenship.

*Please note that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entering the United States, it is very important that you take the necessary steps so that your child does qualify as soon as possible.  Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can affect many areas of his life, including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting. Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

Traveling Abroad

APPLY FOR YOUR U.S. PASSPORT

The law requires U.S. citizens to enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport.  Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports. 

Obtaining or renewing a passport is easy.  The Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you complete the application form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print, all in one place.

OBTAIN A VISA TO TRAVEL TO MEXICO

In addition to a US passport, you must also obtain a visa.  A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit.  Visas are affixed to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation.  Mexico requires U.S. citizens traveling to Mexico for adoption purposes to obtain a visa for purposes of adoption prior to entering Mexico.  Once in Mexico, adoptive parents will be given a certain period of time to register with the Mexican Immigration Authority (Instituto Nacional de Migración- INM).  For information on obtaining a visa for Mexico, see the Department of State’s Country Specific Information.

STAY SAFE ON YOUR TRIP

Before you travel, it is always good practice to research about the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country.  The State Department provides Country Specific Information for every country in the world about various topics, including health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.     

KEEP IN TOUCH ON YOUR TRIP

When traveling during the adoption process, we recommend that you enroll with the Department of State.  Enrollment makes it possible to contact you if necessary.  Whether there is a family emergency in the United States or a crisis in Mexico, enrollment assists the United States Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.  

Enrollment is free and can be done online through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

After Adoption

Post-Adoption/Post-Placement Reporting Requirements

Mexico requires post-adoption reporting twice a year for three years.  All reports must be submitted to the SRE by an accredited adoption service provider that is also authorized to provide services in Mexico.  We strongly urge you to comply with Mexico's post-adoption requirements in a timely manner.  Your adoption agency can help you with this process.  Your cooperation will contribute to that country's history of positive experiences with U.S. citizen parents.

Post-Adoption Resources

Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption.  There are many public and private non-profit post-adoption services available for children and their families.  There are also numerous adoptive family support groups and adoptee organizations active in the United States that provide a network of options for adoptees who seek other adoptees from the same country of origin.  Take advantage of all the resources available to your family, whether it is another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.

Here are some places to start your search for support groups:

Note: The inclusion of non-U.S. government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

Contact Information

 

U.S. Embassy in Mexico
Paseo de la Reforma 305
Colonia Cuauhtémoc
06500 Mexico, D.F.
Tel: 011-52-55-50-80-2000.
Internet: mx.usembassy.gov

U.S. Consulate General Ciudad Juarez 
Paseo de la Victoria 3650
Fracc. Partido Senecu
Ciudad Juarez, CP
32543, Mexico
Immigrant Visa Unit/Adoptions email: cdjadoptionsmbx@state.gov

Mexico Adoption Authority
Ministry of Foreign Relations (SRE)
General Directorate for the Protection of Mexicans Abroad
Deputy General Directorate of Family Law
Plaza Juarez, number 20, 17th floor
Colonia Centro, Cuauhtémoc, CP 06010, Mexico City, Mexico 
Tel: 52 (55) 3686 5100 x 7543
dgpmexterior@sre.gob.mx

National System for the Integral Development of the Family (national SNDIF) 
Federal Attorney for the Protection of Children and Adolescents (PFPNNA)
Francisco Sosa 439, Colonia Del Carmen, Coyoacan, CP 04100, Mexico City, Mexico
Tel. +52 (55) 3003-2200 ext. 4428, 4429, 4430 and 4434

Embassy of Mexico
Consular Section
2827 16th Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20009-4260
Tel: (202) 736-1000
Website: http: //embamex.sre.gob.mx/eua/
Mexico also has 50 consulates in the United States. A listing of them can be found at the following website: http: //www.sre.gob.mx/index.php/representaciones/consulados-de-mexico-en-el-exterior

Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, N.W. SA-17
Washington, D.C. 20522-1707
Tel: 1-888-407-4747
Email: AdoptionUSCA@state.gov
Internet: adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about filing a Form I-800A application or a Form I-800 petition:
USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC):
Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-913-275-5480 (local); Fax: 1- 913-214-5808
Email: NBC.Adoptions@uscis.dhs.gov

For general questions about immigration procedures:
USCIS Contact Center
Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
Internet: uscis.gov

Note: The Mexican Central Authority informed the U.S. Central Authority it does not issue statements of habitual residence in connection with the 2017 USCIS Policy Memo (PM 602-0095) regarding Criteria for Determining Habitual Residence in the United States for Children from Hague Convention Countries

Last Updated: April 26, 2021

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Mexico City
Paseo de la Reforma 305
Colonia Cuauhtemoc
06500 Ciudad de Mexico
Mexico
Telephone
+52-55-5080-2000
Emergency
U.S. Citizen Services: (From Mexico) 1-800-681-9374 (From the United States) 1-844-528-6611
Fax
+52-55-5080-2005

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