Travel Documents To Mexico
…what to bring and how to protect it…
I think we all feel the same way about passports.
We hate our passport photo, but even though we feign embarrassment, we don’t really care because everyone else has a photo that’s just as bad.
In fact, we even offer to show others our passport photo, knowing that this offer includes an invitation to laugh at other people’s photos.
We’re also secretly in awe of those people who have passports full of stamps.
Damn you! Why is your passport so cool!
But a passport isn’t the only travel document required in Mexico.
You’re going to need more than a dodgy 10-year-old photo and coffee stained passport to enter this country.
What Travel Documents Do You Need In Mexico?
Obviously you do need a passport to travel in Mexico.
Obviously? Well, until not long ago you could enter without one under certain conditions.
However, now the only exception is for US citizens crossing a land border and staying within the frontier zone.
If you’re staying for more than 180 days, then you will also need a Mexican visa.
Are you planning to drive in Mexico?
If so, then add a drivers license to this list of travel documents.
The Tourism Permit
It doesn’t even end there.
Another travel document you need as a tourist is a tourism permit.
You get it at the border or at the airport when you arrive.
Often they are even given out on the plane ride here.
It basically says that you’re legally allowed to stay in the country as a tourist.
Make sure you get one.
Sometimes they let people in without them.
But then fine them for trying to leave without one.
Quite a scam!
It’s especially important to remember the tourism permit if you enter Mexico via land from the United States.
They often don’t check for it, and then you get screwed when you try and leave.
What Happens If You Lose Your Travel Documents To Mexico?
Well, if you lose your documents, then you’re in shit.
Everyone else is sitting on the beach drinking cocktails, and you’re going to be in a stuffy government office full of overweight bureaucratic officials who spend 6 hours at lunch every day.
You’re going to missing out on your precious vacation time!
And for this wonderful privilege you’re going to have to pay loads of money.
If this does happen, then I would recommend taking a local with you to the immigration office.
They know how things work and how to offer a little “something for the family” in order to speed things up.
Most importantly, if you lose your travel documents and want to get new ones, you will need to have some proof of the originals.
The Secret Yet Simple Way To Backup All Your Travel Documents
Believe me, I learned the hard way.
You need a copy of your travel documents in case of emergency, and it’s so easy to back them up.
SOLUTION: Buy a micro SD card.
You only need a small capacity so it shouldn’t cost you more than $10.
Scan all your documents using your own scanner or someone’s scanner who you trust.
Keep the SD card hidden in case of emergency.
A good place is the small little pocket that you find on the right-hand side, just above the larger front pocket on a pair of jeans.
I know all the guys reading this know exactly what I’m talking about.
It’s simple. Just make sure that you don’t wash your jeans with the card inside!
Whenever you need a copy just get out your SD card and print new copies.
You can even encrypt the SD card in case it’s stolen.
Will I Get Asked To Produce My Mexico Travel Documents?
It’s very rare that you’ll get asked to produce your original travel documents.
Officially you are supposed to carry them with you.
But in reality, nobody does.
Just take a scanned copy of your passport, tourism permit, any visa, or driver license wherever you go when you are in Mexico.
Producing a copy is fine if you get asked for your documents.
You might get asked to produce the originals, but these copies will get you by until you return to your hotel room or wherever you put your passport.
Of course when you leave the country, you’re going to need the originals – but I didn’t really need to say that, did I?
A Travel Documents To Mexico Checklist
To make things ultra-simple here is Rufus’s quick checklist of travel documents for Mexico.
- Tourism permit
- Driver’s license if you are planning to drive
- Resident permit if you are staying in Mexico for more than 180 days
- A paper copy of all your travel documents to keep in your pocket
- A scanned copy (on a micro SD card) of all your travel documents in case of emergency
I hope that with this advice you don’t end up spending 5 days trying to get a new permit at some dodgy government office (like I did).
It’s much better to spend your time on the beach watching women in bikinis play beach volleyball…!
Lots of love,
It’s your turn. Do you have any other advice or suggestions about documents or methods for carrying copies of your documents? Please leave them in the comments section below!