Monday, August 26, 2013

Mexico's Frequently Asked Questions

Mexico's Frequently Asked Questions 

Here is a list of Frequently Asked Questions or FAQs about Mexico. These answers are purposely brief and most answers will contain links to a directory where you can find more information
. Also, the Chat/Message Center is a great place to ask questions and received answers from locals and general Mexico enthusiasts who know Mexico.

Do I need to have a passport?

Starting January 27, 2007, the U.S. State Department will require a passport for all travel to and from Mexico by AIRLINE. If traveling on foot, by car or boat, including cruise ship or ferry, the passport requirement will not come into effect until after January 2008.

At present, the Government of Mexico requires that all U.S. citizens present proof of citizenship and photo identification for entry into Mexico, such as a combination of a birth certificate and driver's license. However, some U.S. citizens have encountered difficulty in boarding flights in Mexico without a passport.

Get the latest information about Visas and Passports here.

What do I need to enter Mexico?

This depends on which country in which your visit originates. If you are from the U.S. or Canada, you will need your passport or notarized birth certificate with state issued ID. You will also need a tourist card unless you are traveling for less than 72 hours within the border zone (usually no further than 20 miles south of the U.S. border except in Baja California and Sonora which have extended their zones). If you are from any other country, you will need to check with the Mexican Embassy or Consulate nearest you (the New York Consulate has a detailed list of requirements on their website). See our Visa Information Center for compete information about entry requirements.

Do I need auto insurance?

It is highly recommended to have auto insurance before you enter Mexico. The law in Mexico does not specifically require you to have auto insurance to drive in Mexico, until you get into an accident. Then you will need to prove you have MEXICAN auto insurance, as Mexico does not recognize foreign insurance. Without insurance you will be taken to jail first to determine your guilt or innocence, your financial ability to pay damages, the amount of damages you'll need to pay, etc. It's a major hassle that can be avoided by paying for relatively inexpensive insurance, and you can even add legal services to your policy to have a lawyer represent you while in Mexico. See Mexico Car & Health Insurance and Legal Services for more details.

Can I bring my pet into Mexico?

Yes you can. You'll need to make sure you pet has documentation of recent rabies shots, and be sure to have a Certificate of Good Health from your Vet to make sure you don't have any problems getting back into the US with your pet. See Bringing Your Pet Into Mexico for more details.

Can I purchase prescription drugs in Mexico and bring them back into the United States?

There are regulations for bringing in pharmaceuticals from Mexico, however they are changing on a constant basis. Although many drugs in Mexico are available over the counter at a pharmacy, certain prescription drugs in Mexico do require a prescription from a Mexican pharmacist, and foreigners have been known to purchase them from people not authorized to issue them. You can be arrested in Mexico if caught buying drugs without the proper prescription and the penalties are stiff, up to 25 years in jail in Mexico.

According to the U.S. Customs, to bring back prescription drugs into the U.S. you must have a prescription written by a physician licensed in the United States, have it in its original packaging and carry no more than a three-month supply AND you must declare them. If you are caught trying to bring in drugs without the above requirements you can be stopped, have your good confiscated and may be arrested.

Visit our Purchasing Medications in Mexico page for additional information.

Can foreigners purchase land/real estate in Mexico?

Yes, with some limitations. In the "restricted zone" along the coast or borders, you can purchase land or property through a trust called a Fideicomiso, which is held by a bank in Mexico for up to 50 years and can be renewed and passed on to heirs. Property in the interior may be purchased "fee simple", meaning you get the title direct. When dealing with real estate, always cross-check everything to make sure the property and owners are legitimate, and there is clear title. Seeing a real estate agent, lawyer, escrow service, notary, bank officials, etc. are all part of the process. Do your research.

What is the drinking age in Mexico?

Eighteen (18) for all citizens and visitors to Mexico. You must have valid ID in the form of a passport or driver's license. Mexico has strict laws about drinking in public and public drunkeness, so don't use the lower drinking age as an excuse to forget your common sense.

To get answers to a specific question you may have, please visit our Message Board, where you can get post your message and have hundreds of other online members help you out. Those questions that get asked often are then included into this FAQ list.

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