Mexico is considered to be one of the most visited countries in the world, according to the World Tourism Organization. There’s so much to do and see, even when you don’t include the sunny beaches. Its natural reserves, colonial cities ancient ruins and the festivals on the one hand, and the modern architecture on the other have made it such a popular destination for years.

But, while planning your Mexico trip, you may have found yourself wondering, “Do I need a visa to go to Mexico?” Well, the Mexico visa policy depends on your nationality and the duration and purpose of your stay.

This article will detail who needs a Mexico visa and who is exempt.

Do I Need a Visa to Go to Mexico?

Nationals of most countries need a visa to visit Mexico. You don’t need a visa for Mexico only if you are from a visa-exempt country or you are in the category of people which makes you exempt from Mexico visas, as detailed below.

Mexico tourist visa exemptions (up to 180 days)

If you have a regular passport issued by one of the following countries, you do not need a visa to visit Mexico for tourism or business purposes for up to 180 days. You may also transit in Mexico without a visa for up to 30 days.

European Union citizens Andorra Argentina Australia Bahamas
Barbados Belize Brazil Canada Chile
Colombia Costa Rica Ecuador Hong Kong Iceland
Israel Jamaica Japan Liechtenstein Macau
Marshall Islands Malaysia Micronesia Monaco New Zealand
Norway Palau Panama Paraguay Peru
San Marino Singapore South Korea Switzerland Trinidad and Tobago
United Arab Emirates United States Uruguay Vatican City Venezuela

 

Everyone who is travelling to Mexico for tourism, visit, business or other short-term purposes (up to 180 days) needs to get Mexico Tourist Card, even if they don’t need a Mexico Tourist Visa.

You can get a Tourist Card at a Mexican point of entry upon arrival or you can get it online before you travel.

Other Mexico visa-exemptions

However, even if you would normally need a visa for Mexico, you are exempt from a Mexico visa (for up to 180 days) if you fall under one of the following categories:

You already have a valid visa for:

  • Canada
  • The Schengen area
  • Japan
  • The United Kingdom
  • The United States

You have a residence permit for:

  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • The Schengen area
  • Japan
  • Peru
  • The United Kingdom
  • The United States

You have a diplomatic or service category passport issued by:

  • Algeria
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Armenia, Barbados
  • Bolivia
  • China
  • Cuba
  • Guatemala
  • Guyana
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Kazakhstan
  • Laos
  • Malaysia
  • Mongolia
  • Morocco
  • Pakistan
  • Philippines
  • Russia
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Serbia
  • Thailand
  • Tunisia
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United States

You have a diplomatic passport issued by:

  • Andorra
  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belgium
  • Benin
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Ethiopia
  • Finland
  • Honduras
  • Hungary
  • Kuwait
  • Lithuania
  • Marshall Islands
  • Micronesia
  • The Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Palau
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • South Africa
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • Uruguay

You have an APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) which contains the “MEX” code on the back. ABTC eligible countries are:

  • Australia
  • Brunei
  • Chile
  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Malaysia
  • New Zealand
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Russia
  • Singapore
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

Who is Eligible for Mexico Electronic Travel Authorization?

Nationals of the following countries are eligible to obtain their Mexico visa through a facilitated process online, known as the Electronic Travel Authorization (Sistema de Autorización Electrónica, SAE):

  • Russia
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine

The Electronic Travel Authorization for Mexico allows the holder to travel to Mexico for tourism, business or visiting purposes and stay in the country for up to 180 days. You must use it within 30 days of being issued and may only enter the country once.

Additionally, you can only enter the country by air, not sea or land.

Do I Need a Visa for Mexico if I Already Have a US/Schengen Visa?

No, if you are from a country that requires you to apply for a visa for Mexico, you do not need one if you already have a valid Schengen visa or a valid visa for:

  • The United States
  • Canada
  • Japan
  • The United Kingdom

Additionally, if you have a residence permit issued by any of the following countries, you are also exempt from holding a Mexico tourist visa:

  • European Union countries
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Japan
  • Peru
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

Do I Need a Visa to Transit Through Mexico?

If you are from a country whose nationals typically need a visa to visit Mexico, you do not need a visa to transit in a Mexican airport, but only if your transit won’t take longer than 24 hours and you do not leave the transit hall of the Mexico City International Airport.

Once your plane lands at the airport, an immigration officer will take your passports and escort you to the transit hall, where you can wait for the connecting flight.

If you want to leave the transit hall and the airport, you will have to apply for a Mexico visa, because that counts as entering the country.

What Can I Do If I Need to Apply for a Mexico Visa?

If you need a visa for Mexico, you have to apply at one of the Mexican embassies abroad.

You can find a list of the Mexican embassies here. Keep in mind that the exact Mexico visa application process and requirements change slightly from one embassy to another, as do the working days or hours, which is why you should contact them before you submit your application.