Summertime is, of course, vacation time for many Americans. One of our most popular tourist destinations is our neighbor to the South—Mexico. It has beaches, historical sites and a wealth of hospitality for people from all over the world.
You mustn’t forget that when you go to Mexico, you are going to visit a foreign country. With cross-border scrutiny at an all-time high, getting there means you have to do so legally. That means getting the right paperwork. But, what documents do your need, exactly?
International travel is a myriad of identification and safety paperwork. So, before you travel, make sure you have the right documentation on you.
Photo ID and Passports
Plan on taking both your driver’s license and passport with you when you travel. If you do not plan to drive a vehicle, you might be able to get by with only the passport. However, it’s usually a good idea to keep the driver’s license with you, just in case. You need at least one form of photo ID with you, and you must have the passport anyway for international travel.
In some cases, the U.S. passport card might suffice for your visit. However, carrying the official passport book will often make the process more foolproof. Remember, passports expire every five or ten years. Check your passport at least thirty days before travel to make sure it stays current.
Standard American tourists do not have to present visas for their travel to Mexico. However, certain other travelers must have visas. For example, if you plan to stay in Mexico more than 180 days, you might need a tourist visa or other paperwork. Other visas might exist for special circumstances, such as if you will adopt a child. Visit the U.S. State Department website to learn more about travel documentation.
Mexican Car Insurance
Many Americans arrive in Mexico via plane or boat. However, cross border traffic involves a fair amount of drivers as well. If driving your car across the border is part of your plan, you have special things to consider.
In most cases, Mexico recognizes current U.S. drivers licenses and qualifications. Therefore, you won’t have to get a specific license to drive. You might need to get a vehicle import permit, however, based on where you plan to drive and how long your plan to stay. Make sure you procure one before you leave on your trip.
You will need a Mexican auto insurance policy. Mexico does not recognize U.S. auto insurance because of differences in insurance law. You can get a policy from licensed Mexican insurance agents right here in the states. They work with Mexican insurers, and can usually make your policy active only for the length of your stay.
Your policy might contain liability and vehicle repair coverage, as well as medical payments and legal representation insurance. Rest assured, your agent will tailor your coverage to your needs. However, make sure you tell them about any special driving risks you might need to insure. Carry your policy with you during your travel.
Many travelers buy travel insurance in case problems arise during their trips. These policies might cover trip cancellations, lost luggage, theft or other hazards. Talk to your insurance agent to see if the benefits of a policy fit your travel needs.
U.S. health insurance plans generally provide little or no coverage during travel. You’ll might need a travel medical insurance plan for the duration of your stay. You can often obtain these plans from a variety of sources.
Some travel policies cover emergency medical care only if you have a crisis. However, other plans will pay for more routine care. To get travel medical benefits that fit your specific needs, talk to your doctor and standard insurance provider. They can likely tell you the appropriate routes to take to get secure coverage. You don't want to experience illness during travel, but this coverage might help you if you do.
A Note about Handling Money in Mexico
You will likely have to exchange your currency to the Mexican Peso upon entering the country. However, in some cases, you can still use American dollars in certain establishments. Like the American dollar is worth 100 pennies, the peso is worth 100 centavos. Generally, you will not find it difficult to transfer money.
Furthermore, you can also use most major credit and debit cards during your travel. Most tourist centers provide ATMs and many American banks operate Mexican branches. Of course, use caution when using any currency or cards, to protect yourself from theft. Make sure your bank and creditors know you will use these cards while traveling. Some might charge small fees for foreign transactions.
So, there you have it. Traveling in Mexico usually doesn’t involve a lot of worry. However, you have to have your paperwork to get there safety. If you ever have questions, the U.S. State Department and other travel companies can help you learn more about your travel needs. If you need Mexican insurance, we’re here to help!
Also Read: Places to Avoid in Mexico