The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.
The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay in Mexico.
If you’re visiting Mexico as a tourist you don’t need a visa, but you’ll need to complete an immigration form and have this with you when you enter and leave Mexico. You can get one either when you arrive (forms are available at border crossings or on-board flights to Mexico) or online in advance from the National Institute of Immigration website. Please note that due to the requirements of the online system, the advance option is only possible if your passport is valid for at least 6 months from your intended date of entry to Mexico. Immigration officials at the port of entry may ask to see proof of your departure plans from Mexico before allowing you entry to the country.
If you’re crossing the border into Mexico from the US, there won’t be an immigration officer at the port of entry, but you’ll need to identify the nearest immigration office and clear your immigration status before you continue your journey into Mexico. The immigration office can usually be found close to the border area, and customs officials at the border should be able to tell you where to find it. If you fail to clear immigration at this point, it is often more complicated to do so once you have left the border area.
You need an immigration form to leave the country. If you lose your immigration form you can get it replaced at the immigration office at any international airport in Mexico. The cost of a replacement is $500 Mexican Pesos, which is payable at a bank.
There have been reports of bogus immigration officers operating within international airports. You should always refuse offers of help and head directly to the immigration office.
Tourists are not allowed to undertake voluntary (including human rights) work, or activity, or any form of paid employment. If you wish to carry out this type of work you must get the correct visa from the Mexican Embassy before you travel.
You may need a visa to undertake certain adventure or eco-tourism activities like caving, potholing or entomology, especially if they involve any scientific or technological research. The Mexican authorities may define scientific or technological research activities far more broadly than other countries. If you’re in any doubt, check with the Mexican Embassy in London well in advance of your visit and ask for written confirmation if necessary.
It is no longer possible to switch immigration status in-country. You can’t enter Mexico on a tourist visa and then change it for a work visa. You must apply at the Mexican Consulate of your normal place of residence in plenty of time before you are due to travel.
Travelling with children
The Mexican authorities have suspended the rules which came into effect in May 2011 requiring children under 18 years of age travelling alone, or accompanied by an adult who is not the parent or legal guardian, to apply for a special permit to leave the country. These rules now only apply to Mexican nationals or foreigners with dual Mexican nationality. The accompanying adult may, however, be asked to provide evidence of his or her relationship with the child.
Although there is currently no specific requirement for authorisation by an absent parent, single parents who are not, or who appear not to be, the child’s parent (eg if they have a different family name) may be asked to show evidence of their relationship with the child and the reason why they are travelling with the child. This evidence could include a birth or adoption certificate, divorce or marriage certificates, or a Parental Responsibility Order.
Travelling to Mexico via the US
If you’re travelling to Mexico via the US, even if you’re only transiting, check the US entry requirements with the US Embassy in London. If you don’t have the correct authorisation you will not be allowed to travel to or transit through the US.
Further information can be found on the FCO’s US Travel Advice.
Importing meat or dairy products
You can’t bring meat or dairy products into Mexico from the EU.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Mexico and are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Mexico.
You may need to pay a departure tax when leaving Mexico by air or land. The cost can vary and some airports or border crossings only accept payment in cash. Most airlines include the cost within the ticket price. If in doubt, check with your airline or tour operator.