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Country Specific Info.

The United States State Department produces Consular Information Sheets with health, safety and other country information for every country in the world. They are one good source of information, though you should look at multiple sources of information and take your own personal situation into account when selecting a country to study in.

The latest Consular Information Sheet for Mexico is below. We do not take responsibility for this information or edit it in any way. You can access the State Department travel site directly at: https://travel.state.gov/travel/

December 17, 2019

Embassies and Consulates

List of Consulates / Consular Agencies

(Also available at: https://mx.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/)

EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE FOR U.S. CITIZENS IN MEXICO
From Mexico: 1-800-681-9374
From the United States: 1-844-528-6611

U.S. Embassy in Mexico City
Paseo de la Reforma 305
Colonia Cuauhtémoc
06500, Ciudad de México
Phone: (+52) 55-5080-2000
Fax: (+52) 55-5080-2005

U.S. Citizen Services
From Mexico: 55-8526-2561
From the United States: 1-844-528-6611
E-Mail: ACSMexicoCity@state.gov

U.S. Consulate General in Ciudad Juarez
Paseo de la Victoria #3650
Fracc. Partido Senecú
32543 Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, México
Phone: +52-656-227-3000

U.S. Citizen Services
From Mexico: 656-344-3032
From the United States: 1-844-528-6611
E-Mail: CDJSCS@state.gov

U.S. Consulate General in Guadalajara
Progreso 175
Colonia Americana, 44160
Guadalajara, Jalisco, México
Phone: +52-33-4624-2102

U.S. Citizen Services
From Mexico: 334-624-2102
From the United States: 1-844-528-6611
E-Mail: ACSGDL@state.gov

U.S. Consulate General in Hermosillo
141 Monterey Street
Colonia Esqueda, 83000
Hermosillo, Sonora, México
Phone: +52-662-289-3500
Fax: +52-662-217-2571

U.S. Citizen Services
From Mexico: 662-690-3262
From the United States: 1-844-528-6611
E-Mail: HermoACS@state.gov

U.S. Consulate General in Matamoros
Calle Primera #2002
Colonia Jardín, 87330
Matamoros, Tamaulipas, México
Phone: +52-868-208-2000

U.S. Citizen Services
From Mexico: 868-206-1076
From the United States: 1-844-528-6611
E-Mail: MatamorosACS@state.gov

U.S. Consulate General in Merida
Calle 60 No. 338-K
Colonia Alcalá Martin, 97050
Mérida, Yucatán, México
Phone: +52-999-942-5700
Fax: +52-999-942-5758

U.S. Citizen Services
From Mexico: 999-316-7168
From the United States: 1-844-528-6611
E-Mail: AskMeridaACS@state.gov

U.S. Consulate General in Monterrey
Ave. Alfonso Reyes #150
Colonia Valle del Poniente
66196 Santa Catarina, Nuevo León
México 66196
Phone: +52-81-8047-3100

U.S. Citizen Services
From Mexico: 814-160-5512
From the United States: 1-844-528-6611
E-Mail: MonterreyACS@state.gov

U.S. Consulate General in Nogales
Calle San José s/n
Fracc. Los Álamos
84065 Nogales, Sonora
Phone: +52-631-311-8150
Fax: +52-631-313-4652

U.S. Citizen Services
From Mexico: 631-980-0522
From the United States: 1-844-528-6611
E-Mail: NogalesACS@state.gov

U.S. Consulate General in Nuevo Laredo
Paseo Colon 1901
Colonia Madero, 88260
Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas
Phone: +52-867-714-0512

U.S. Citizen Services
From Mexico: 867-233-0557
From the United States: 1-844-528-6611
E-Mail: NuevoLaredo-ACS@state.gov

U.S. Consulate General in Tijuana
Paseo de las Culturas s/n
Mesa de Otay
Del. Centenario 22425
Tijuana, Baja California
Phone: +52-664-977-2000

U.S. Citizen Services
From Mexico: 664-748-0129
From the United States: 1-844-528-6611
Email: ACSTijuana@state.gov

Consular Agencies

(Also available at: https://mx.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/consular-agencies/)

Acapulco
(An extension of the Embassy in Mexico City)
Hotel Continental Emporio
Costera M. Alemán 121 – Office 14
Acapulco, Guerrero 39670
From Mexico: 55-8526-2561
From the United States: 1-844-528-6611
E-Mail: ConAgencyAcapulco@state.gov

Cancun
(An extension of the Consulate in Merida)
Blvd. Kukulcan Km 13 ZH
Torre La Europea, Despacho 301
Cancún, Quintana Roo  77500
From Mexico: 999-316-7168
From the United States: 1-844-528-6611
E-Mail: ConAgencyCancun@state.gov

Los Cabos
(An extension of the Consulate in Tijuana)
Las Tiendas de Palmilla L-B221, Km. 27.5 Carretera Transpeninsular
San José del Cabo, Baja California Sur 23406
Mexico
From Mexico: 664-748-0129
From the United States: 1-844-528-6611
E-mail: ConAgencyLosCabos@state.gov

Mazatlan
(An extension of the Consulate General in Hermosillo)
Address: Playa Gaviotas 202, Local 10. Zona Dorada.
82110 Mazatlán, Sinaloa, México

From Mexico: 662-690-3262
From the United States: 1-844-528-6611
E-mail: ConAgencyMazatlan@state.gov

Oaxaca
(An extension of the Embassy in Mexico City)
Macedonio Alcalá No. 407, Office 20
Oaxaca, Oaxaca 68000

From Mexico: 55-8526-2561
From the United States: 1-844-528-6611
E-mail: ConAgencyOaxaca@state.gov

Piedras Negras
(An extension of the Consulate in Nuevo Laredo)
Abasolo #211, Local #3, Centro
Piedras Negras, Coahuila 26000

From Mexico: 867-233-0557
From the United States: 1-844-528-6611
E-mail: NuevoLaredo-ACS@state.gov

Playa del Carmen
(An extension of the Consulate in Merida)
Plaza Progreso, Local 33, Second floor
Carretera Federal Puerto Juarez-Chetumal, Mz. 293 Lt. 1.
Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo  77710

From Mexico: 999-316-7168
From the United States: 1-844-528-6611
E-mail: ConAgencyPlayadelC@state.gov

Puerto Vallarta
(An extension of the Consulate General in Guadalajara)
Paseo de los Cocoteros #85 Sur
Paradise Plaza, Local L-7, Segundo Piso
Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit  63732

From Mexico: 334-624-2102
From the United States: 1-844-528-6611
E-mail: ConAgencyPuertoV@state.gov

San Miguel de Allende
(An extension of the Embassy in Mexico City)
Plaza La Luciérnaga, Libramiento Jose Manuel Zavala No. 165, Locales 4 y 5
Colonia La Luciérnaga
San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato  37745

From Mexico: 55-8526-2561
From the United States: 1-844-528-6611
E-mail: ConAgencySanMiguel@state.gov

Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for information on Medical Tourism.

Destination Description

See the State Department’s Fact Sheet on Mexico for more information on U.S.-Mexico relations.

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Visit the Mexican National Institute of Migration’s (Instituto Nacional de Migración, INM) website or the Embassy of Mexico in Washington, D.C. for the most current entry, exit, and visa requirements.

U.S. citizens should be aware that a valid passport book is required to enter Mexico by air, and those attempting to enter at an airport with a U.S. passport card only may be denied admission.

If you enter Mexico by land and plan to travel beyond the immediate border area (approximately 12 miles into Mexico), you must stop at an INM office at the port of entry to obtain an entry permit (Forma Migratoria Multiple or FMM), even if not explicitly directed to do so by Mexican officials. You must present a valid passport in order to receive the entry permit, and there is a charge associated with the permit for stays of more than seven days. You might be asked to present your passport and valid entry permit at immigration checkpoints on your route of travel. For more information, visit the INM website or Banjercito website (Spanish only).

You will also need a temporary vehicle import permit to bring a U.S.-registered vehicle beyond the border zone. These permits are processed through Banjercito and require a deposit that will be refunded once the vehicle leaves Mexico. Mexican authorities can impound a vehicle that enters the country without a valid U.S. registration, a vehicle driven by a Mexican national who is not resident in the United States, or vehicles found beyond the border zone without the temporary import permit.

U.S. citizens should be aware that Mexican law permits Mexican immigration authorities to deny foreigners entry into Mexico if they have been charged with or convicted of a serious crime in Mexico or elsewhere.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents in Mexico.

A parent or legal guardian departing Mexico with minor children should carry a notarized consent letter from the other parent if traveling separately. INM requires at least one parent to complete a SAM (Formato de Salida de Menores) for all minors departing Mexico with a third party. Travelers should contact the Embassy of Mexico in Washington, D.C., the nearest Mexican consulate, or INM for more information.

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international parental child abduction is located on our website.

Travelers bringing in additional goods beyond their personal effects worth $75.00 or more must declare those goods with Mexican customs or risk having them confiscated. For further information about customs regulations, please read our customs information page.

Safety and Security

Travelers are urged to review the Mexico Travel Advisory, which provides information about safety and security concerns affecting the country on a state-by-state basis.

U.S. citizens traveling to and residing in Mexico should not expect public health and safety standards similar to those in the United States. Even where such standards exist, enforcement may vary by location. Instead, travelers should mitigate the risk of illness or injury by taking standard health and safety precautions.

The phone number to report emergencies in Mexico is “911.” Although there may be English-speaking operators available, it is best to seek the assistance of a Spanish speaker to place the call.

Crime: Crime in Mexico occurs at a high rate and can be violent, from random street crime to cartel-related attacks. Over the past year, Mission Mexico has assisted U.S. citizens who were victims of armed robbery, carjacking, extortion, kidnapping, pick-pocketing, and sexual assault. Mexico’s murder rate for the first nine months of 2019 increased by nearly 3 percent over the same period in 2018. Increased levels of cartel-related violence have resulted in turf battles and targeted killings, injuring or killing innocent bystanders. Travelers who find themselves in an active shooter scenario should flee in the opposite direction, if possible, or drop to the ground, preferably behind a hard barrier.

While Mexican authorities endeavor to safeguard the country’s major resort areas and tourist destinations, those areas have not been immune to the types of violence and crime experienced elsewhere in Mexico. In some areas of Mexico, response time of local police is very slow. In addition, filing police reports can be time consuming and may require the payment of a $10-40 processing fee. See our Mexico Travel Advisory for more information.

Kidnapping: Mexico experiences high rates of kidnapping. If you believe you or your U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident relative has been kidnapped, please contact the U.S. Embassy or nearest consulate immediately.

Robbery: Mexico has experienced a rise in robberies, typically in cities, in which abductors force victims to use their debit or credit card to withdraw money from ATMs in exchange for their release. Perpetrators commonly work in cooperation with, or pose as, taxi drivers. In order to minimize the risk of such robberies:

Only use a reputable taxi company or a trusted ride-sharing app.
Book taxis through your hotel or an authorized taxi stand.

Extortion: Mexico has experienced a rise in extortion schemes in which criminals convince family members that a relative has been abducted, when, in fact, the person is safe but unreachable. The purported abductors will often use threats to persuade victims to isolate themselves making communication with family members less likely. Unable to reach their loved ones, family members often consent to paying the “ransom” demand. Criminals use various means to gather information about potential victims, including monitoring social media sites, eavesdropping on conversations, or using information taken from a stolen cell phone. Some of these extortions have been conducted from Mexican prisons. You can reduce the risk of falling victim to this type of extortion through the following:

Do not discuss travel plans, your room number, or any other personal information within earshot of strangers.
Do not divulge personal business details to strangers in person or over the phone, especially when using hotel phones.
If you are threatened on the phone, hang up immediately.

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy or nearest consulate for assistance.

Sexual Assault: Rape and sexual assault are serious problems in some resort areas. Many of these incidents occur at night or during the early morning hours, in hotel rooms, on hotel grounds, or on deserted beaches. In some cases, assailants drug the drinks of victims before assaulting them. Pay attention to your surroundings and to who might have handled your drink.

Credit/Debit Card “Skimming:” There have been instances of fraudulent charges or withdrawals from accounts due to “skimmed” cards. If you choose to use credit or debit cards, you should regularly check your account to ensure there are no unauthorized transactions. Travelers should limit the amount of cash they carry in public, exercise caution when withdrawing cash from ATMs, and avoid ATMs located in isolated or unlit areas.

International Financial Scams: See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information. Internet romance and financial scams are prevalent in Mexico. Scams are often initiated through Internet postings or by unsolicited emails and letters. Scammers typically pose as U.S. citizens who have no one else to turn to for help. Common scams involve online dating, money transfers, lucrative sales, and other financial transactions. Mexico’s consumer protection agency, PROFECO (Procuraduría Federal del Consumidor), can sometimes provide assistance to victims of such scams. In addition, there have been allegations of banking fraud perpetrated by private bankers against U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens who believe they have been victims of fraud can file a police report, consult with the Mexican banking regulatory agency, CONDUSEF (Comision Nacional para la Proteccion y Defensa de los Usuarios de Servicios Financieros), or consult with an attorney.

Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of crime should contact the local authorities to file a Mexican police report before departing Mexico. In most instances, victims of crime will file reports with the Ministerio Publico (equivalent to the office of public prosecutor or district attorney in the United States) and not with police first responders. U.S. citizens should also inform the U.S. Embassy or nearest consulate. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

help you find appropriate medical care
assist you in reporting a crime to the police
contact relatives or friends with your written consent
explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
provide a list of local attorneys
provide information on victim’s compensation programs in the United States
provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
replace a stolen or lost passport

Alcohol: If you choose to drink alcohol, it is important to do so in moderation and to stop and seek medical attention if you begin to feel ill. There have been reports of individuals falling ill or blacking out after consuming unregulated alcohol. The Mexican Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risk, COFEPRIS (Comision Federal para la Proteccion contra Riesgos Sanitarios), is responsible for inspecting hotels, restaurants, and other establishments for health violations, including reports of unregulated alcohol. Please email COFEPRIS at contactociudadano@cofepris.gob.mx for more information or if you wish to file a report. You can also file a report online via the COFEPRIS website, by calling the COFEPRIS call center at +52 (55) 5080-5200, or by visiting a COFEPRIS office. There have also been instances of criminals drugging drinks in order to rob or sexually assault victims. Additionally, if you feel you have been the victim of unregulated alcohol or another serious health violation, you should notify the American Citizen Services unit at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City or the nearest U.S. Consulate. You may also contact the U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (from all other countries) from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Demonstrations: Demonstrations are common in many parts of Mexico. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can become confrontational and escalate into violence. Protesters in Mexico may block traffic on roads, including major thoroughfares, or take control of toll booths on highways. U.S. citizens should avoid demonstration areas and exercise caution if near any protests. Travelers who encounter protesters demanding unofficial tolls are generally allowed to pass upon payment. U.S. citizens should avoid participating in demonstrations and other activities that might be deemed political by authorities, as Mexican law prohibits political activities by foreign citizens and such actions may result in detention and/or deportation.

Drug Smuggling: Mexican criminal organizations are engaged in a violent struggle to control trafficking routes. Criminal organizations smuggling drugs into the United States have targeted unsuspecting individuals who regularly cross the border. Frequent border crossers are advised to vary their routes and travel times and to closely monitor their vehicles to avoid being targeted.

Tourism: In major cities and resort areas, the tourism industry is generally well regulated. Best practices and safety inspections are regularly enforced. Hazardous areas and activities are identified with appropriate signage, and professional staff is typically on hand in support of organized activities. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is widely available throughout the country. Outside of major metropolitan centers, it may take more time for first responders and medical professionals to stabilize a patient and provide life-saving assistance. In smaller towns and areas less commonly frequented by foreign tourists, the tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in or near major cities. First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities to provide urgent medical treatment. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

For further information:

Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
Call us in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (from all other countries) from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Advisories, and Alerts.
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
See traveling safely abroad for useful travel tips.

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities prior to practicing or operating a business.

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy or nearest consulate immediately. The Mexican government is required by international law to contact the U.S. Embassy or consulate promptly when a U.S. citizen is arrested, if the arrestee so requests. This requirement does not apply to dual nationals. See our webpage for further information.

Firearms and Other Weapons: Weapons laws in Mexico vary by state, but it is generally illegal for travelers to carry weapons of any kind including firearms, knives, daggers, brass knuckles, as well as ammunition (even used shells). Illegal firearms trafficking from the United States to Mexico is a major concern, and the Department of State warns all U.S. citizens against taking any firearm or ammunition into Mexico. If you are caught entering Mexico with firearms or ammunitions, you will likely face severe penalties, including prison time. Visit the Department’s Traveling Abroad with Firearms webpage, the Mexican Secretary of Defense page (Spanish only), and the Mexican Customs page (Spanish only) for further information. For additional information about importing hunting weapons or ammunition into Mexico, contact ANGADI (Asociación Nacional de Ganaderos Diversificados Criadores de Fauna, Spanish only) at info@angadi.org.mx. For more information on firearms and ammunition issues in English, contact the Embassy of Mexico in Washington, D.C.

Vessels entering Mexican waters with firearms or ammunition on board must have a permit previously issued by a Mexican embassy or consulate.

Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Although counterfeit and pirated goods are prevalent in many countries, they may still be illegal according to local laws. You may also be subject to fines or forced to relinquish the goods if you bring them back to the United States. See the U.S. Department of Justice website for more information.

Real Estate and Time Shares: U.S. citizens should exercise caution when considering time-share investments or purchasing real estate and be aware of the aggressive tactics used by some sales representatives. Before initiating a real estate purchase or time-share investment, U.S. citizens should consult with a Mexican attorney to learn about important regulations and laws that govern real estate property.

Mountain Climbing and Hiking: The Mexican government has declared the area around the Popocatepetl and the Colima volcanoes off limits. In remote rural areas, there can be limited cell phone coverage and internet connectivity.

Potential for Natural Disasters: Mexico is in an active earthquake zone. Tsunamis may occur following significant earthquakes. For information concerning disasters, see:

U.S. Embassy Mexico City website
Civil Protection (Proteccion Civil) provides information from the Mexican Government about natural disaster preparedness
U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides general information about natural disaster preparedness
U.S. Geological Survey provides updates on recent seismic and volcanic activity

Storm Season: Tropical storms in the Gulf of Mexico or along the Caribbean and Pacific Coast between May and November can produce heavy winds and rain. Please visit our Hurricane Season webpage for more information.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Spring Break: Millions of U.S. citizens visit Mexican beach resorts each year, especially during “spring break” season. The legal drinking age in Mexico is 18. See the “Alcohol” section above to learn more about the risks associated with drinking, as well as reports of illnesses associated with the possible consumption of unregulated alcohol.

Resort Areas and Water Activities: Warning flags on beaches should be taken seriously. If black or red warning flags are up, do not enter the water. Strong currents can lead to dangerous conditions for even the most experienced swimmers. U.S. citizens have drowned or disappeared at Mexican beaches and are advised not to swim alone. Rogue waves have injured and even claimed the lives of unsuspecting tourists walking along the shore.

Boats used for excursions may not be covered by accident insurance and sometimes lack adequate life jackets, radios, and tools to make repairs.

LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or on the organization of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Intersex (LGBTI) events in Mexico. However, due to sporadic reports of violence targeting LGBTI individuals, U.S. citizens should exercise discretion in identifying themselves publicly as LGBTI. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and Section 6 of the Department of State’s Human Rights Report for Mexico for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: U.S. citizens with disabilities should consult individual hotels and facilities in advance of travel to ensure they are accessible. Mexican law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental disabilities in employment and education, as well as access to health care, transportation, and other services. Please visit our Traveling with Disabilities webpage for more information.

Faith-Based Travelers: See the following webpages for details:

Faith-Based Travel Information
International Religious Freedom Report – see country reports
Human Rights Report – see country reports
Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad

Women Travelers: There were several reports of sexual assault or domestic violence involving U.S. citizens over the past year. See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Health

For emergency services in Mexico, dial 911.

Excellent health facilities are available in Mexico City and other major cities. Ambulance services are widely available, but training and availability of emergency responders may be below U.S. standards. Injured or seriously ill travelers may prefer to take a taxi to a health provider. Mexican facilities often require payment “up front” before providing medical care, and most hospitals in Mexico do not accept U.S. health insurance. A list of doctors and hospitals is available on the U.S. Embassy or consulate website.

U.S. citizens have lodged numerous complaints against some private hospitals in Cancun, the Riviera Maya, and Los Cabos to include exorbitant prices and inflexible collection measures. Travelers should obtain complete information on billing, pricing, and proposed medical procedures before agreeing to any medical care in these locations. Be aware that some resorts have exclusive agreements with medical providers and ambulance services, which may limit your choices in seeking emergency medical attention. Some hospitals in tourist centers utilize sliding scales, deciding on rates for services based on negotiation and on the patient’s perceived ability to pay. In some instances, providers have been known to determine the limits of a patient’s credit card or insurance, quickly reach that amount in services rendered, and subsequently discharge the patient or transfer them to a public hospital.

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare and Medicaid do not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance and ask for upfront payment.

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See Your Health Abroad for more information on overseas medical care. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on types of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

Medical Tourism and Elective Surgery: Medical tourism is a rapidly growing industry in Mexico. Although Mexico has many elective/cosmetic surgery facilities that are on par with those found in the United States, the quality of care varies widely. If you plan to undergo surgery in Mexico, make sure that emergency medical facilities are available and medical providers are accredited and qualified. Individuals seeking health care treatment should understand that medical systems operate differently from those in the United States and are not subject to the same rules and regulations. Anyone interested in traveling for medical purposes should consult with their local physician before traveling and visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information on medical tourism. In recent years, U.S. citizens have suffered serious complications or died during or after having cosmetic or other elective surgery.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation in the event of unforeseen medical complications. Legal options in case of malpractice are very limited in Mexico. Several foreigners have successfully enlisted the support of PROFECO in order to resolve disputes over medical services.

Assisted Reproductive Technology and Surrogacy: If you are considering traveling to Mexico to have a child through use of assisted reproductive technology (ART) or surrogacy, please see our ART and Surrogacy Abroad page.

If you decide to pursue parenthood in Mexico via assisted reproductive technology with a gestational mother, be prepared for long and unexpected delays in documenting your child’s citizenship. Make sure you understand Mexican law, which can vary from state to state and is ambiguous in its treatment of non-Mexican and/or same-sex intending parents. Mexican courts, for example, may fail to enforce surrogacy agreements between non-Mexican and/or same-sex intending parents and gestational mothers.

Gestational mothers are normally treated as the child’s legal parent with full parental rights. The gestational mother’s name is listed on the Mexican state-issued birth certificate. Be aware that individuals who attempt to circumvent local law risk criminal prosecution. Mexican authorities have made arrests stemming from surrogacy cases.

Pharmaceuticals: Exercise caution when purchasing medication overseas. Pharmaceuticals, both over the counter and requiring prescription in the United States, are often readily available for purchase with little controls. Counterfeit medication is common in certain parts of Mexico and may prove to be ineffective, the wrong strength, or contain dangerous ingredients. Medication should be purchased in consultation with a medical professional and from reputable establishments.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration are responsible for rules governing the transport of medication back to the United States. Medication purchased abroad must meet their requirements to be legally brought back into the United States. Medication should be for personal use and must be approved for usage in the United States. Please visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration websites for more information. Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging along with your doctor’s prescription.

For a list of controlled substances in Mexico, visit the COFEPRIS website and the Mexican Drug Schedule. U.S. citizens should carry a copy of their prescription or doctor’s letter, but it is still possible that they may be subject to arrest for arriving in Mexico with substances on these lists. Note that a medicine considered “over the counter” in the United States may be a controlled substance in Mexico. For example, pseudoephedrine, the active ingredient in Sudafed, is considered a controlled substance in Mexico. For more information, contact the Embassy of Mexico in Washington, D.C.

Importing Medicines into Mexico: Visit the Mexican Health Department website or contact the Embassy of Mexico in Washington, D.C., for more information about obtaining a permit to import medicine into Mexico.

Adventure Travel: Visit our website and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about adventure travel.

Altitude: Many cities in Mexico, such as Mexico City, are at high altitude, which can lead to altitude illness. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Travel to High Altitudes.

Air Quality: Air pollution is a significant problem in several major cities in Mexico. Consider the impact seasonal smog and heavy particulate pollution may have on you and consult your doctor before traveling if necessary.

Water Quality: In many areas in Mexico, tap water is not potable. Bottled water and beverages are safe, although you should be aware that many restaurants and hotels serve tap water unless bottled water is specifically requested. Be aware that ice for drinks might be made using tap water.

The following diseases are prevalent:

Hepatitis and Typhoid Fever
Travelers’ Diarrhea
Dengue, Chikungunya, Zika, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Parasitic Infections
Chronic Respiratory Disease

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For further health information, go to:

World Health Organization
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Travel and Transportation

U.S. driver’s licenses are valid in Mexico. Mexican law requires that only owners drive their vehicles or that the owner be inside the vehicle. Failing to abide by this law may lead to impoundment and a fine equal to the value of the vehicle. Mexican citizens who are not also U.S. Legal Permanent Residents (LPR) or U.S. citizens may not operate U.S.-registered vehicles in Mexico. Mexican insurance is required for all vehicles, including rental vehicles. Mexican liability insurance is recommended in the event of a vehicle accident. Driving under the influence of alcohol, using a mobile device while driving, and driving through a yellow light are all illegal in Mexico.

If you drive your vehicle into Mexico beyond the immediate border area (approximately 12 miles into Mexico), you must apply for a temporary vehicle import permit with Mexican customs, Banjercito, or at some Mexican consulates in the United States. The permit requires the presentation of a valid passport and a monetary deposit that will be returned to you upon leaving Mexico before the expiration of the permit. Failing to apply for a temporary vehicle import permit may lead to impoundment and a fine equal to the value of the vehicle.

Vehicles crossing into Mexico must have a valid license plate and registration sticker. Mexican authorities will often refuse to admit vehicles with temporary or paper license plates. Vehicles with expired registration or unauthorized plates will likely be confiscated and the operator could be charged with a fine equal to the value of the vehicle.

Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of U.S. citizen deaths in Mexico. If you have an emergency while driving, dial “911.” If you are driving on a toll highway (“cuota”) or any other major highway, you may contact the Green Angels, a fleet of trucks with bilingual crews, by dialing 078 from any phone in Mexico.

Road Conditions and Safety: Avoid driving on Mexican highways at night. Travel with a charged and functional cell phone capable of making calls in Mexico. Travelers should exercise caution at all times and should use toll (“cuota”) roads rather than the less secure free (“libre”) roads whenever possible. Do not hitchhike or accept rides from or offer rides to strangers anywhere in Mexico. Travelers encountering police or security checkpoints should comply with instructions.

Road conditions and maintenance across Mexico vary with many road surfaces needing repair. Travel in rural areas poses additional risks to include spotty cell phone coverage and delays in receiving roadside or medical assistance.

Vehicular traffic in Mexico City is subject to restriction Monday through Saturday, according to the license plate number, in order to reduce air pollution. For additional information, refer to the Hoy No Circula website maintained by the Mexico City government. See our Road Safety Page for more information. Also, visit Mexico’s national tourist office website, MexOnline, and Mexico’s customs website Importacion Temporal de Vehiculos for more information regarding travel and transportation.

Public Transportation/Taxis: Security on public buses varies throughout the country but is considered a relatively safe transportation option in Mexico City and other major tourist centers. Passengers should protect their personal possessions at all times as theft is common. Intercity bus travel should be conducted during daylight hours in preferably first-class buses using toll roads.

Robberies and assaults on passengers in taxis not affiliated with a taxi stand (“libre” taxis) are common. Avoid taking any taxi not summoned by telephone or contacted in advance, including “libre” taxis. When in need of a taxi, telephone a radio taxi or “sitio” (regulated taxi stand) and ask the dispatcher for the driver’s name and the taxi’s license plate number. Application-based car services such as Uber and Cabify are available in many Mexican cities, and generally offer another safe alternative to taxis. Official complaints against Uber and other drivers do occur, however, and past disputes between these services and local taxi unions have occasionally turned violent, resulting in injuries to U.S. citizens in some instances.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Mexico’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Mexico’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA safety assessment page.

Maritime Safety Oversight: The Mexican maritime industry, including charter fishing and recreational vessels, is subject solely to Mexican safety regulations. Travelers should be aware that Mexican equipment and vessels may not meet U.S. safety standards or be covered by any accident insurance.

Maritime Travel: If you enter by sea, review the Mexican boating permit requirements prior to travel or contact the Embassy of Mexico in Washington, D.C., for more information. Mariners planning travel to Mexico should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts at www.marad.dot.gov/msci. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings website under “broadcast warnings.”

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