International Travel

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Mexico

Mexico
United Mexican States
Exercise increased caution in Mexico due to crime. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Exercise increased caution in Mexico due to crime. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Violent crime, such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery, is widespread.

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 these areas is prohibited or significantly restricted.

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 from app-based services like Uber, or those from 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, and between Nogales and Hermosillo on Mexican Federal Highway 15D.

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

Do not travel to:

  • Colima state due to crime.
  • Guerrero state due to crime.
  • Michoacán state due to crime.
  • Sinaloa state due to crime.
  • Tamaulipas state due to crime.

For detailed information on all states in Mexico, please see below.

If you decide to travel to Mexico:

  • 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.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Reports for Mexico.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

Aguascalientes state – Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

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

Baja California state – Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

Criminal activity and violence, including homicide, remain a primary concern throughout the state. While most of these homicides appeared to be targeted, criminal organization assassinations and turf battles between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens. Bystanders have been injured or killed in shooting incidents.

Due to poor cellular service and hazardous road conditions, U.S. government employees may only travel on Highway 2D between Mexicali and Tijuana via “La Rumorosa” during daylight hours.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Baja California, which includes tourist areas in: Ensenada, Rosarito, and Tijuana.

Baja California Sur state – Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

Criminal activity and violence, including homicide, remain a primary concern throughout the state. While most homicides appeared to be targeted, criminal organization assassinations and turf battles between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens. Bystanders have been injured or killed in shooting incidents. 

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 – Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

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

Chiapas state – Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

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 – Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Reconsider travel due to crime.

Violent crime and gang activity are widespread. While most homicides appeared to be targeted, criminal organization assassinations and turf battles between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens. Bystanders have been injured or killed in shooting incidents. 

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

  • Ciudad Juarez: U.S. government employees require prior approval to travel to the downtown area (i.e., the area south of Calle Malecon, west of Calle 5 de Mayo, north of Calle 18 de Marzo, and east of Avenida Francisco Villa). They may access the Paso del Norte (Santa Fe) Bridge, the Bridge of the Americas, and the Stanton Street Bridge via the border highways only. They must access the San Geronimo Port of Entry through the United States or the Anapra-San Geronimo Highway in Mexico. U.S. government employees require prior approval to travel after dark to areas east of Bulevar Independencia. They must travel to and from the airport after dark via Mexico Highway 45, using the most direct route north of Bulevar Zaragoza to access the highway.
  • Chihuahua City: U.S. government employees must travel from Ciudad Juarez to Chihuahua City during daylight hours via Highway 45, stopping only at the shops at Highway 45/Miguel Ahumada in the town of Villa Ahumada. They may not travel to the Morelos, Villa, and Zapata districts of Chihuahua.
  • Nuevo Casas Grandes Area (including Nuevo Casas Grandes, Casas Grades, Mata Ortiz, Colonia Juarez, Colonia LeBaron, and Paquime): U.S. government employees must travel to the Nuevo Casas Grandes area during daylight hours through the United States. U.S. government employees should enter Mexico at the Palomas Port of Entry on New Mexico Route 11 before connecting to Mexico Highway 2 to Nuevo Casas Grandes.
  • Ojinaga: U.S. government employees must travel to Ojinaga via U.S. Highway 67 through the Presidio, Texas Port of Entry. U.S. government employees may visit the city during daylight hours only.
  • Palomas: U.S. government employees must travel to Palomas via U.S. highways through the Palomas Port of Entry in Columbus, New Mexico.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Coahuila state – Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Reconsider travel due to crime.

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

Travel for U.S. government employees 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 midnight to 6:00 a.m. curfew in both cities.
  • Highway 40 and areas south

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Colima state – Level 4: Do Not Travel

Do not travel due to crime.

Violent crime and gang activity are widespread.

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

  • Colima City: U.S. government employees must travel on toll road 54D to reach Colima City from Guadalajara.
  • Manzanillo: U.S. government employees may travel by air or on route 200 from the Jalisco border. U.S. government employees are limited to the tourist and port areas between Marina Puerto Santiago and Playa las Brisas.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Durango state – Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Reconsider travel due to crime.

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

U.S. government employees may not travel to the area west and south of Highway 45 and the city of Gomez Palacio.

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

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Estado de Mexico state – Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Reconsider travel due to crime.

Both violent and non-violent crime is prevalent in the Estado de Mexico. Mexican government statistics indicate criminal incidents in the Estado de Mexico occur at a significantly higher rate than much of the rest of Mexico. Pay particular caution to areas outside of the frequented tourist areas, although petty crime occurs frequently in tourist areas as well.

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

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Guanajuato state – Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

The majority of gang-related violence occurs in the south of the state, near the border with Michoacán, and is often linked to the widespread theft of petroleum and natural gas from the state oil company and other suppliers.

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

Guerrero state – Level 4: Do Not Travel

Do not travel due to crime.

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. government employees may not travel to the entire state of Guerrero, including Acapulco, Zihuatanejo, Ixtapa, and Taxco.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Hidalgo state – Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

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

Jalisco state – Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Reconsider travel due to crime.

Violent crime and gang activity are common in parts of Jalisco state. In metropolitan Guadalajara, turf battles between criminal groups are taking place in areas frequented by U.S. citizens. Shooting incidents between criminal groups have injured or killed innocent bystanders.

U.S. government employees may not travel to:

  • Within 20 km (12 miles) of the Jalisco/Michoacán border, south of Route 120
  • Highway 80 south of Cocula
  • Highway 544 from Mascota to San Sebastian del Oeste

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

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Mexico City – Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

Both violent and non-violent crime is prevalent in Mexico City. Mexican government statistics indicate criminal incidents in the capital city occur at a significantly higher rate than much of the rest of Mexico. Pay particular caution to areas outside of the frequented tourist areas, although petty crime occurs frequently in tourist areas as well. Neighborhoods such as Tepito and Guerrero warrant additional vigilance, especially at night.

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

Michoacán state – Level 4: Do Not Travel

Do not travel due to crime.

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

  • Highway 15D: U.S. government employees may travel on federal toll road (cuota) Highway 15D and to those parts of Michoacán north of Highway 15D and can utilize Highway 15D to transit between Mexico City and Guadalajara.
  • Lazaro Cardenas: U.S. government employees must travel by air only and limit activities to the city center or port areas.
  • Morelia: U.S. government employees may travel by air and by land using Highway 15D to Highway 45D that leads directly to Morelia.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Morelos state – Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Reconsider travel due to crime.

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

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

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Nayarit state – Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Reconsider travel due to crime.

Violent crime and gang activity are common in parts of Nayarit state. U.S. government employees may not travel to:

  • Tepic
  • San Blas

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S government employees to: Riviera Nayarit (including Nuevo Vallarta and Bahia de Banderas) and Santa Maria del Oro.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Nuevo Leon state – Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Reconsider travel due to crime.

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

U.S. government employees in Monterrey must stay within the San Pedro Garza Garcia municipality, south of the Santa Catarina River, between 1:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m., except for direct travel to and from the airport.

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

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Oaxaca state – Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

U.S. government employees may not travel to:

  • Isthmus region of Oaxaca, defined by Highway 185D to the west, Highway 190 to the north, and the Oaxaca/ Chiapas border to the east. This includes the towns of Juchitan de Zaragoza, Salina Cruz, and San Blas Atempa.
  • Highway 200 northwest of Pinotepa.

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

Puebla state – Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

Gang-related violence is often linked to the widespread theft of petroleum and natural gas from the state oil company and other suppliers.

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

Queretaro state – Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

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

Quintana Roo state – Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

Criminal activity and violence, including homicide, remain a primary concern throughout the state. While most of these homicides appeared to be targeted, criminal organization assassinations and turf battles between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens. Bystanders have been injured or killed in shooting incidents.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Quintana Roo state, which include tourist areas in: Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, and the Riviera Maya.

San Luis Potosi state – Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Reconsider travel due to crime.

Violent crime and gang activity are common in parts of San Luis Potosi state.

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

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Sinaloa state – Level 4: Do Not Travel

Do not travel due to crime.

Violent crime is widespread. Criminal organizations are based and operating in Sinaloa state.

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

  • Mazatlan: U.S. government employees may travel by air or sea only. U.S. government employees are limited to the Zona Dorada and historic town center, and must use direct routes when traveling to and from those locations and the airport and cruise terminals.
  • Los Mochis and Topolobampo: U.S. government employees may travel by air or sea only. U.S. government employees are restricted to the city and the port, and must use direct routes when traveling between these locations and to and from the airport.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Sonora state – Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Reconsider travel due to crime.

Sonora is a key location used by the international drug trade and human trafficking networks. However, northern Sonora experiences much lower levels of crime than cities closer to Sinaloa and other parts of Mexico.

U.S. government employees may not travel to:

  • The triangular region west of the Mariposa Port of Entry, east of Sonoyta, and north of Altar.
  • The district within Nogales that lies to the north of Avenida Instituto Tecnologico and between Periferico (Bulevar Luis Donaldo Colosio) and Corredor Fiscal (Federal Highway 15D), and the residential areas to the east of Plutarco Elias Calles.
  • The eastern edge of the state of Sonora, which borders the state of Chihuahua (all points along that border east of Federal Highway 17, the road between Moctezuma and Sahuaripa, and State Highway 20 between Sahuaripa and the intersection with Federal Highway 16).
  • All points south of Hermosillo (south of Highways 100 to the west and 20 to the east) including San Carlos, Guaymas, and Empalme.

In addition, U.S. government employees may not use taxi services in Nogales.

U.S. government employees may travel between the Nogales border crossing points of DeConcini and Mariposa in Nogales to and from the Hermosillo Consulate during the day only on Highway 15D. U.S. government employees may stop in the towns of Santa Ana and Imuris and at restaurant/restroom facilities located along the highway.

U.S. government employees may travel to Puerto Peñasco via the Lukeville/Sonoyta crossing during daylight hours on Federal Highway 8, or by using Federal Highway 15 south from Nogales and east via Federal Highway 2 and State Highway 37 through Caborca during daylight hours. U.S. government employees may also travel directly from the nearest U.S. Ports of Entry to San Luis Rio Colorado, Cananea, and Agua Prieta, but may not go beyond the city limits.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Tabasco state – Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

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

Tamaulipas state – Level 4: Do Not Travel

Do not travel due to crime.

Violent crime, such as murder, armed robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, extortion, and sexual assault, is common. Gang activity, including gun battles and blockades, is widespread. Armed criminal groups target public and private passenger buses as well as private automobiles traveling through Tamaulipas, often taking passengers hostage and demanding ransom payments. Federal and state security forces have limited capability to respond to violence in many parts of the state.

U.S. government employees may only travel within a limited radius between the U.S. Consulates in Nuevo Laredo and Matamoros and their respective U.S. Ports of Entry. U.S. government employees may not travel between cities in Tamaulipas using interior Mexican highways and they must observe a curfew between midnight and 6:00 a.m. in the cities of Matamoros and Nuevo Laredo.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Tlaxcala state – Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

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

Veracruz state – Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

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

Yucatan state – Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

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

Zacatecas state – Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Reconsider travel due to crime.

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

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

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

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Embassy Messages

Alerts

Quick Facts

PASSPORT VALIDITY:


Passport must be valid at time of entry

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:


One page per stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:


Yes, if visiting for more than 180 days

VACCINATIONS:


See Travelers’ Health section

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:


$10,000

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:


$10,000

Embassies and Consulates

List of Consulates / Consular Agencies

(Also available at: https://mx.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/)

U.S. Embassy in Mexico City
Paseo de la Reforma 305
Colonia Cuauhtémoc
C.P. 06500, Ciudad de México
Phone: (01-55) 5080-2000
Fax: (01-55) 5080-2005

U.S. Citizen Services
From Mexico: 01-55-8526-2561 or 01-800-681-9374
From the United States: 1-844-528-6611
E-Mail: ACSMexicoCity@state.gov

U.S. Consulate General in Ciudad Juarez
Paseo de la Victoria #3650
Fracc. Partido Senecú
Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, México C.P. 32543
Phone: (656) 227-3000

U.S. Citizen Services
From Mexico: 01-656-344-3032 or 01-800-681-9374
From the United States: 1-844-528-6611
E-Mail: CDJSCS@state.gov

U.S. Consulate General in Guadalajara
Progreso 175
Col. Americana, C.P. 44160
Guadalajara, Jalisco, México
Phone: (01-33) 4624-2102

U.S. Citizen Services
From Mexico: 01-334-624-2102 or 01-800-681-9374
From the United States: 1-844-528-6611
E-Mail: ACSGDL@state.gov

U.S. Consulate General in Hermosillo
141 Monterey Street
Col. Esqueda, C.P. 83000
Hermosillo, Sonora, México
Phone: (+52) 662-690-3262
Fax: (+52) 662-217-2571

U.S. Citizen Services
From Mexico: 01-662-690-3262 or 01-800-681-9374
From the United States: 1-844-528-6611
E-Mail: HermoACS@state.gov

U.S. Consulate General in Matamoros
Calle Primera #2002
Colonia Jardín, C.P. 87330
Matamoros, Tamaulipas, México
Phone: (+52) 868-208-2000
Fax: (+52) 868-816-0883

U.S. Citizen Services
From Mexico: 01-868-206-1076 or 01-800-681-9374
From the United States: 1-844-528-6611
E-Mail: MatamorosACS@state.gov

U.S. Consulate General in Merida
Calle 60 No. 338-K x 29 y 31
Col. Alcalá Martin, C.P. 97050
Mérida, Yucatán, México
Phone: (+52) 999-942-5700
Fax: (+52) 999-942-5758

U.S. Citizen Services
From Mexico: 01-999-316-7168 or 01-800-681-9374
From the United States: 1-844-528-661
E-Mail: AskMeridaACS@state.gov

U.S. Consulate General in Monterrey
Ave. Alfonso Reyes #150
Col. Valle del Poniente
Santa Catarina, Nuevo León
México 66196
Phone: (+52) 81-8047-3100
Fax: (+52) 81-8342-5433

U.S. Citizen Services
From Mexico: 01-814-160-5512 or 01-800-681-9374
From the United States: 1-844-528-6611
E-Mail: HermoACS@state.gov

U.S. Consulate General in Nogales
Calle San José s/n
Fraccionamiento los Álamos
C. P. 84065 Nogales, Sonora
Phone: (+52) 631-311-8150
Fax: (+52) 631-313-4652

U.S. Citizen Services
From Mexico: 01-631-980-0522 or 01-800-681-9374
From the United States: 1-844-528-6611
E-Mail: NogalesACS@state.gov

U.S. Consulate General in Nuevo Laredo
Paseo Colon 1901
Colonia Madero, C.P. 88260
Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas
Phone: (+52) 867-233-0557

U.S. Citizen Services
From Mexico: 01-867-233-0557 or 01-800-681-9374
From the United States: 1-844-528-6611
E-Mail: NuevoLaredo-ACS@state.gov

U.S. Consulate General in Tijuana
Paseo de las Culturas s/n
Mesa de Otay
Delegación Centenario C.P. 22425
Tijuana, Baja California
Phone: (+52) 664-977-2000

U.S. Citizen Services
From Mexico: 01-664-748-0129 or 01-800-681-9374
From the United States: 1-844-528-6611
Email: ACSTijuana@state.gov

Consular Agencies

(Also available at: https://mx.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/consular-agencies/)

Acapulco
(An extension of the Embassy in Mexico City)
Hotel Continental Emporio
Costera M. Alemán 121 – Office 14
Acapulco, Guerrero C.P. 39670
Phone: (+52) 744-481-0100
Fax: (+52) 744-484-0300
E-Mail: ConAgencyAcapulco@state.gov

Cancun
(An extension of the Consulate in Merida)
Blvd. Kukulcan Km 13 ZH
Torre La Europea, Despacho 301
Cancún, Quintana Roo C.P. 77500
Phone: (+52) 999-942-5700
E-Mail: ConAgencyCancun@state.gov

Los Cabos
(An extension of the Consulate in Tijuana)
Las Tiendas de Palmilla L-B221, Km. 27.5 Carretera Transpeninsular
San José del Cabo, Baja California Sur C.P. 23406
Phone: (+52) 624-143-3566
Fax: (+52) 624-143-6750
E-mail: ConAgencyLosCabos@state.gov

Mazatlan
(An extension of the Consulate General in Hermosillo)
Address: Playa Gaviotas 202, Local 10. Zona Dorada.
Mazatlán, Sinaloa, México
Phone: (+52) 81-8047-3145
Fax (+52) 669-916-7531
E-mail: ConAgencyMazatlan@state.gov

Oaxaca
(An extension of the Embassy in Mexico City)
Macedonio Alcalá No. 407, Office 20
Oaxaca, Oaxaca C.P. 68000
Phone: (+52) 951-514-3054, 516-2853
Fax: (+52) 951-516-2701
E-mail: ConAgencyOaxaca@state.gov

Piedras Negras
(An extension of the Consulate in Nuevo Laredo)
Abasolo #211, Local #3, Centro
Piedras Negras, Coahuila C.P. 26000
Phone: (+52) 867-233-0557
E-mail: NuevoLaredo-ACS@state.gov

Playa del Carmen
(An extension of the Consulate in Merida)
Plaza Progreso, Local 33, Second floor
Carretera Federal Puerto Juarez-Chetumal, Mz. 293 Lt. 1.
Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo C.P. 77710
Phone: (+52) 999-942-5700
E-mail: ConAgencyPlayadelC@state.gov

Puerto Vallarta
(An extension of the Consulate General in Guadalajara)
Paseo de los Cocoteros #85 Sur
Paradise Plaza, Local L-7, Segundo Piso
Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit C.P. 63732
Phone: (01-33) 4624-2102
E-mail: ConAgencyPuertoV@state.gov

San Miguel de Allende
(An extension of the Embassy in Mexico City)
Plaza La Luciérnaga, Libramiento Jose Manuel Zavala No. 165, Locales 4 y 5
Colonia La Luciérnaga
San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato C.P. 37745
Phone: (+52) 415-152-2357
Fax: (+52) 415-152-1588
E-mail: ConAgencySanMiguel@state.gov

Destination Description

See the State Department’s Fact Sheet on Mexico for more information on U.S.-Mexico relations.

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Visit the Mexican National Institute of Migration’s (Instituto Nacional de Migración, INM) website (Spanish only) or the Embassy of Mexico in Washington, D.C., for the most current entry, exit, and visa requirements.

U.S. citizens should be aware that a valid passport book is required to enter Mexico by air, and that those attempting to enter at an airport with a U.S. passport card only may be denied admission.

If you enter Mexico by land and plan to travel beyond the immediate border area (approximately 20 kilometers into Mexico) you must stop at an INM office at the port of entry to obtain an entry permit (Forma Migratoria Multiple or FMM), even if not explicitly directed to do so by Mexican officials. You must present a valid passport in order to receive the entry permit. You may be asked to present your passport and valid entry permit at immigration checkpoints on your route of travel. For more information, visit the INM website (Spanish only). If you enter by sea, review the Mexican boating permit requirements prior to travel or contact the Embassy of Mexico in Washington, D.C. for more information.

U.S. citizens should be aware that Mexican law permits Mexican immigration authorities to deny foreigners entry into Mexico if they have been charged with or convicted of a serious crime in Mexico or elsewhere.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents in Mexico.

A parent or legal guardian departing Mexico with minor children should carry a notarized consent letter from the other parent if traveling separately. INM requires at least one parent to complete a SAM (Formato de Salida de Menores) for all minors departing Mexico with a third party. Travelers should contact the Mexican Embassy in Washington, D.C., the nearest Mexican consulate, or INM for more information.

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international parental child abduction can be found on our website.

Travelers bringing in additional goods beyond their personal effects worth $75.00 U.S. dollars or more must declare those goods with Mexican Customs or risk having them confiscated. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.

Safety and Security

Travelers are urged to review the Mexico Travel Advisory, which provides updated information about safety and security concerns affecting the country on a state-by-state basis.

U.S. citizens traveling to and residing in Mexico should not expect to be protected by public health and safety standards similar to those in the United States. Even where such standards exist, enforcement may vary by location. Instead, travelers should mitigate risk of illness or injury by taking standard health and safety precautions.

The phone number to report emergencies in Mexico is “911”: Although there may be English-speaking operators available, it is best to seek the assistance of a Spanish speaker to place the call.

Crime: Crime in Mexico occurs at a high rate and can be violent. Street crime, ranging from pick-pocketing to armed robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, sexual assault, and extortion are serious problems in most major cities. Increased levels of cartel-related violence have resulted in turf battles and targeted killings, injuring or killing innocent bystanders. Travelers who find themselves in an active shooter scenario should flee in the opposite direction if possible, or drop to the ground, preferably behind a hard barrier.

While Mexican authorities make great efforts to safeguard the country’s major resort areas and tourist destinations, those areas have not been immune to the types of violence and crime experienced elsewhere in Mexico. See our Mexico Travel Advisory for more information.  

Travelers should be alert to individuals seeking financial assistance or asking for personal information. See the Department of State and FBI pages for information on financial scams and other common fraud schemes.

Credit/Debit Card “Skimming”: There have been instances of fraudulent charges or withdrawals from accounts due to “skimmed” cards. If you choose to use credit or debit cards, you should regularly check your account to ensure there are no unauthorized transactions. Whenever possible, travelers should watch service workers swipe their credit cards. Travelers should limit the amount of cash they carry in public and exercise caution when withdrawing cash from ATMs, avoiding ATMs located in isolated or unlit areas.  

Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of crime should contact the local authorities to file a Mexican police report before departing Mexico. In most instances, victims of crime will file reports with the Ministerio Público (equivalent to the office of public prosecutor or district attorney in the United States) and not with police first responders. U.S. citizens should also inform the U.S. Embassy or the nearest consulate or consular agency. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide information on victim’s compensation programs in the United States
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

Alcohol: If you choose to drink alcohol, it is important to do so in moderation and to stop and seek medical attention if you begin to feel ill. There have been reports of individuals falling ill or blacking out after consuming unregulated alcohol. The Mexican Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risk (COFEPRIS) is responsible for inspecting hotels, restaurants, or other establishments for health violations, including reports of unregulated alcohol. Please email COFEPRIS at contactociudadano@cofepris.gob.mx for more information or if you wish to file a report. Additionally, if you feel you have been the victim of unregulated alcohol or another serious health violation, you should notify the American Citizen Services unit at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City or the nearest U.S. Consulate. You may also contact the U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (from all other countries) from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Demonstrations: Demonstrations are common in all parts of Mexico. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. Protesters in Mexico may block traffic on roads, including major thoroughfares, or take control of toll booths on highways. U.S. citizens should avoid demonstration areas and exercise caution if near any protests. Travelers who encounter protesters demanding unofficial tolls are generally allowed to pass upon payment. U.S. citizens should avoid participating in demonstrations and other activities that might be deemed political by authorities, as Mexican law prohibits political activities by foreign citizens and such actions may result in detention and/or deportation.

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy or consulates for assistance.

Sexual Assault: Rape and sexual assault are serious problems in some resort areas. Many of these incidents occur at night or during the early morning hours, in hotel rooms, on deserted beaches, and may follow the drugging of drinks. Pay attention to your surroundings. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation and stop and seek medical attention if you begin to feel ill.

Drug Smuggling: Mexican criminal organizations are engaged in a violent struggle to control trafficking routes. Criminal organizations have targeted unsuspecting individuals who regularly cross the border as a way to smuggle drugs into the United States. Frequent border crossers are advised to vary their routes and travel times, and to closely monitor their vehicles to avoid being targeted.

For further information:

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy or nearest U.S. Consulate immediately. The Mexican government is required by international law to contact the U.S. Embassy or consulate promptly when a U.S. citizen is arrested, if the arrestee so requests. This requirement does not apply to dual nationals. See our webpage for further information.

Firearms and Other Weapons: Weapons laws in Mexico vary by state, but it is generally illegal for travelers to carry weapons of any kind including firearms, knives, daggers, brass knuckles, as well as ammunition (even used shells). Illegal firearms trafficking from the United States to Mexico is a major problem, and the Department of State warns all U.S. citizens against taking any firearm or ammunition into Mexico. If you are caught entering Mexico with firearms or ammunitions, you will be imprisoned. Visit the Department’s Traveling Abroad with Firearms webpage, the Mexican Secretary of Defense page (Spanish only), and the Mexican Customs page (Spanish only) for further information. For additional information about importing hunting weapons or ammunition into Mexico, contact ANGADI (Asociación Nacional de Ganaderos Diversificados Criadores de Fauna, Spanish only) at info@angadi.org.mx. For more information on firearms and ammunition issues in English, contact the Embassy of Mexico in Washington, D.C.

Vessels entering Mexican waters with firearms or ammunition on board must have a permit previously issued by a Mexican embassy or consulate.

Surrogacy: Although surrogacy agencies or clinics claim surrogacy is legal in Mexico and actively promote Mexico as a destination for international commercial surrogacy, there is no legal framework for foreign citizens or same-sex couples to pursue surrogacy in Mexico. As a result, surrogacy agreements between foreign or same-sex intending parents and gestational mothers are not enforced by Mexican courts.

If you decide to pursue parenthood in Mexico via assisted reproductive technology (ART) with a gestational mother, be prepared for long and unexpected delays in documenting your child’s citizenship. Make sure you understand Mexican law, which recognizes the gestational mother as the child’s legal parent with full parental rights and mandates that the gestational mother be listed on the Mexican state-issued birth certificate. Be aware that individuals who attempt to circumvent local law risk criminal prosecution. Mexican authorities have made arrests stemming from surrogacy cases.

Real Estate and Time Shares: U.S. citizens should exercise caution when considering time-share investments or purchasing real estate and be aware of the aggressive tactics used by some sales representatives. Mexican law allows time-share purchasers five days to cancel the contract for unconditional and full reimbursement. U.S. citizens should consult with a Mexican attorney before initiating a real estate purchase or time-share investment to learn about important regulations and law that govern real estate property. For more information, visit Mexico’s Federal Attorney’s Office of Consumer website.

Drugs and Prescription Medications: Carrying any form of marijuana into Mexico, even with a prescription or medical marijuana license, is a Mexican federal offense and considered as international drug trafficking. Offenders can expect large fines and/or jail sentences of up to 25 years.

For a list of controlled substances in Mexico, visit the Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risk website (Spanish only) and the Mexican Drug Schedule (Spanish only). U.S. citizens are advised to carry a copy of their prescription or doctor’s letter, but it is still possible that they may be subject to arrest for arriving in Mexico with substances on these lists. Note that medicines considered “over the counter” in the United States may be a controlled substance in Mexico. For example, pseudoephedrine, the active ingredient in Sudafed, is considered a controlled substance in Mexico. For more information, contact the Mexican Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Importing Medicines into Mexico: Visit the Mexican Health Department website (Spanish only) or contact the Mexican Embassy in Washington, D.C., for more information about obtaining a permit to import medicine into Mexico.

Mountain Climbing and Hiking: The Mexican government has declared the area around the Popocatepetl and the Colima volcanoes off limits. In remote rural areas, there can be limited cell phone coverage and internet connectivity.

Storm Season: Tropical storms in the Gulf of Mexico or along the Caribbean and Pacific Coast between May and November can produce heavy winds and rain. Please visit our Hurricane Season webpage for more information.

Potential for Natural Disasters: Mexico is in an active earthquake zone. Tsunamis may occur following significant earthquakes. For information concerning disasters, see:

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Resort Areas and Spring Break: Millions of U.S. citizens visit Mexican beach resorts each year, especially during “spring break” season. The legal drinking age in Mexico is 18. See the “Alcohol” section above to learn more about the risks associated with drinking, as well as reports of illnesses associated with the possible consumption of unregulated alcohol.

Warning flags on beaches should be taken seriously. If black or red warning flags are up, do not enter the water. Strong currents can lead to dangerous conditions for even the most experienced swimmers. U.S. citizens have drowned or disappeared at Mexican beaches and are advised not to swim alone. Rogue waves have injured and even claimed the lives of unsuspecting tourists walking along the shore.

Boats used for excursions sometimes lack adequate life jackets, radios, and tools to make repairs, and may not be covered by accident insurance.

LGBTI Travelers: U.S. citizens should exercise discretion in identifying themselves publicly as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Intersex (LGBTI). See our LGBTI Travel Information page and Section 6 of the Department of State’s Human Rights Report for Mexico for further details.

Persons with Mobility Issues: U.S. citizens with disabilities should consult individual hotels and facilities in advance of travel to ensure they are accessible. Mexican law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental disabilities in employment and education, as well as access to health care, transportation, and other services. Please visit our Traveling with Disabilities webpage for more information.

Faith-Based Travelers: See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report and Faith-Based Travel Information.

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Health

Excellent health facilities are available in Mexico City and other major cities, but training and availability of emergency responders may be below U.S. standards. Mexican facilities often require payment “up front” prior to performing a procedure, and most hospitals in Mexico do not accept U.S. health insurance. A list of doctors and hospitals is available on the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website.

U.S. citizens have lodged numerous complaints against some private hospitals in Cancun, the Riviera Maya, and Cabo San Lucas to include exorbitant prices and inflexible collection measures. Travelers should obtain complete information on billing, pricing, and proposed medical procedures before agreeing to any medical care in these locations. Be aware that some resorts have exclusive agreements with medical providers, which may limit your choices in seeking emergency medical attention.

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See the Your Health Abroad page for more information on overseas medical care.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance (our webpage) to cover medical evacuation.

Water Quality: In many areas in Mexico, tap water is not potable. Bottled water and beverages are safe, although you should be aware that many restaurants and hotels serve tap water unless bottled water is specifically requested. Be aware that ice for drinks may be made using tap water.

Altitude: Many cities in Mexico, such as Mexico City, are at high altitude, which can lead to altitude illness. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Altitude Illness.

The following diseases are prevalent:

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For further health information, go to:

Travel and Transportation

U.S. driver’s licenses are valid in Mexico. Mexican law requires that only owners drive their vehicles, or that the owner be inside the vehicle. Mexican insurance is required for all vehicles, including rental vehicles. Mexican liability insurance is recommended in the event of a vehicle accident. Driving under the influence of alcohol, using a mobile device while driving, and driving through a yellow light are all illegal in Mexico.

If you drive your vehicle into Mexico beyond the immediate border area (approximately 20 km into Mexico) you must apply for a temporary vehicle import permit with Mexican Customs, BANJERCITO, or at some Mexican Consulates in the United States. The permit requires the presentation of a valid passport and a monetary deposit that will be returned to you upon leaving Mexico before the expiration of the permit. Failing to apply for a temporary vehicle import permit may lead to impoundment. For more information, see the Mexican Customs website (click here for English version).

Vehicles crossing into Mexico must have a valid license plate and registration sticker. Mexican authorities may refuse to admit vehicles with temporary or paper license plates. Vehicles with expired registration or unauthorized plates may be confiscated.

Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of U.S. citizen deaths in Mexico. If you have an emergency while driving, dial “911.” If you are driving on a toll highway (“cuota”) or any other major highway, you may contact the Green Angels (Angeles Verdes website – Spanish only), a fleet of trucks with bilingual crews, by dialing 078 from any phone in Mexico.

Road Conditions and Safety: Avoid driving on Mexican highways at night. Travel with a charged and functional cell phone capable of making calls in Mexico. Travelers should exercise caution at all times and should use toll (“cuota”) roads rather than the less secure “free” (“libre”) roads whenever possible. Do not hitchhike or accept rides from or offer rides to strangers anywhere in Mexico. Travelers encountering police or security checkpoints should comply with instructions.

Road conditions and maintenance across Mexico vary with many road surfaces needing repair. Travel in rural areas poses additional risks to include spotty cell phone coverage and delays in receiving roadside or medical assistance.

Vehicular traffic in Mexico City is subject to restriction Monday through Saturday, according to the license plate number, in order to reduce air pollution. For additional information, refer to the Hoy No Circula website (Spanish only) maintained by the Mexico City government.

See our Road Safety Page for more information. Also, visit Mexico’s national tourist office website, MexOnline, and Mexico’s Customs website Importación Temporal de Vehículos for more information regarding travel and transportation.  

Public Transportation/Taxis: Security on public buses varies throughout the country but is considered a relatively safe transportation option in Mexico City and other major tourist centers. Passengers should protect their personal possessions at all times as theft is common. Intercity bus travel should be conducted during daylight hours in preferably first-class buses using toll roads.

Robberies and assaults on passengers in taxis not affiliated with a taxi stand (“libre” taxis) are common. Avoid taking any taxi not summoned by telephone or contacted in advance, including “libre” taxis. When in need of a taxi, telephone a radio taxi or “sitio” (regulated taxi stand), and ask the dispatcher for the driver’s name and the taxi’s license plate number. Application-based car services such as Uber and Cabify are available in many Mexican cities, and generally offer another safe alternative to taxis. Official complaints against Uber and other drivers do occur, however, and past disputes between these services and local taxi unions have occasionally turned violent, resulting in injuries to U.S. citizens in some instances.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Mexico’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Mexico’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA safety assessment page.

Maritime Safety Oversight: The Mexican maritime industry, including charter fishing and recreational vessels, is subject solely to Mexican safety regulations. Travelers should be aware that Mexican equipment and vessels may not meet U.S. safety standards or be covered by any accident insurance.

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Mexico should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts at www.marad.dot.gov/msci. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings website under “broadcast warnings.”

International Parental Child Abduction

Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Mexico. For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.

Last Updated: November 15, 2018

Travel Advisory Levels

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Mexico City
Paseo de la Reforma 305
Colonia Cuauhtemoc
Mexico, D.F., Mexico C.P.
06500
Telephone
011-52-55-5080-2000
Emergency
American Citizen Services: 01 800 681 9374 (toll free in Mexico) / 81 4160 5512 (from within Mexico) / 844 528 6611 (toll free in the U.S.)
Fax
011-52-55-5080-2201

Mexico Map