Entering into Mazatlan – Legal Considerations

The Government of Mexico requires that all U.S. citizens and Canadian citizens present proof of citizenship and photo identification for entry into Mexico. A U.S. passport is recommended, but other U.S. citizenship documents such as a certified copy of a U.S. birth certificate, a Naturalization Certificate, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or a Certificate of Citizenship are acceptable. U.S. citizens boarding flights to Mexico should be prepared to present one of these documents as proof of U.S. citizenship, along with photo identification. Driver’s permits, voter registration cards, affidavits and similar documents are not sufficient to prove citizenship for readmission into the United States.

A visa is not required for a tourist/transit stay up to 180 days. A tourist card, available from Mexican consulates and most airlines serving Mexico, is issued instead. Travelers entering Mexico for purposes other than tourism require a visa and must carry a valid U.S. passport.

For further information concerning entry and visa requirements, travelers may contact the Embassy of Mexico at 1911 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20006, telephone (202) 736-1000, or any Mexican consulate in the United States.

Driving Information

U.S. driver’s licenses are valid in Mexico. Mexican insurance is required for all vehicles, including rental vehicles. (Please see “Automobile Insurance” below.)

The Government of Mexico strictly regulates the entry of vehicles into Mexico. Travelers are advised to consult with the Mexican Embassy or the nearest Mexican consulate in the United States for additional, detailed information prior to entering Mexico.

Automobile Insurance

Mexican auto insurance is sold in most cities and towns on both sides of the border. U.S. automobile liability insurance is not valid in Mexico nor is most collision and comprehensive coverage issued by U.S. companies. Therefore, when you cross the border, please purchase auto insurance adequate for your needs in Mexico. A good rule of thumb is to buy coverage equivalent to that which you carry in the United States. If you are involved in an accident, you will be taken into police custody until it can be determined who is liable and whether you have the ability to pay any penalty. If you do not have Mexican liability insurance, you may be prevented from departing the country even if you require life-saving medical care, and are almost certain to spend some time in jail until all parties are satisfied that responsibility has been assigned and adequate financial satisfaction received. Motor vehicle insurance is considered invalid in Mexico if the driver is found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Drivers may also face criminal charges if the injuries or damages are serious.

Customs Regulations

Mexican customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Mexico of items such as antiquities, medications, medical equipment, business equipment, etc. It is advisable to contact the Mexican Embassy or one of the Mexican consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.


Posted July 14, 2013 by fisheriestn