Are you considering a trip to Cabo? Read on to learn more about what sort of documentation you’ll need to reach this fantastic destination.

From whale watching to water sports like scuba diving and snorkeling, from culture to cuisine, and from historical architecture to stunning vistas, there are so many reasons to fall in love with Cabo. As this fantastic location is so close to those in the US, as well as drawing in those from further afield such as Canada and Europe, there can be a variety of travel options available. Let’s discuss what paperwork you need to enter Mexico and visit Cabo, such as a passport or alternative documentation.

Traveling to Cabo San Lucas from the US

Depending on where you live in the United States, you may have one or two options. If you’re looking for a summer road trip, for example, and live in Southern California or neighboring states, then driving to Cabo is possible. Those who live further away or who aren’t interested in a road trip will need to fly to Cabo instead.

Starting March 1st, 2016, US citizens traveling by air or sea must carry their valid passport in order to enter Mexican territory. 

The Mexican consulate states that minors do not need to submit a passport, but they do require specific alternative identification such as a birth certificate or naturalization papers.

In the case of minors, this can actually be a more tricky option due to the lack of state-issued photographic ID available to children. Therefore, many parents choose to purchase a passport instead. Children are allowed to travel to Cabo with the consent of only one parent.

Minors can travel alone to Cabo, but minors under the age of 16 have to have written permission that is signed by both parents or a guardian in either Spanish or English. This also needs to be signed by a notary, an embassy representative, or local police. This will also be required for a child that travels to Cabo with an adult other than their parents or legal guardian.

When traveling to Cabo from the US by land (i.e. car, bus, etc.,) you may not be required to present a passport or ID when entering the country, but will always require ID to return to your home country.

Therefore, it is essential to make sure you have your passport or other accepted identification with you when entering Mexico, as you need it to return home without a hassle.

Cabo is more than 20 miles from the US/Mexico border. This means that when traveling by vehicle to Cabo, you will need to stop at an INM or “Instituto Nacional de Migración” office when entering the country to gain an entry permit.

This is referred to as a tourist card or FMM. You’ll need to provide a valid passport to receive this permit. You’ll also likely need to present an entry permit and passport as checkpoints along your route.

While some countries require your passport to be valid for at least another six months to allow entry, for Mexico, so long as your passport is valid for the duration of your stay, it will be deemed as acceptable.

There are also some special cases which may alter the passport requirement. For example, school children traveling as part of a school trip may not require passports but instead will need a signed, notarized letter from their parents authorizing travel during specific dates.

Traveling to Cabo from Canada and Europe

When traveling to Cabo San Lucas from Canada or Europe, the only option is to fly. To fly to Cabo, you’ll need a valid passport, and it is strongly advised that the passport is valid for at least 6-months after the date of travel.

Canadians do not need a visa, so long as their trip to Cabo is for tourism and is not longer than 180 days. Canadian tourists will require a tourist card that will be stamped at the first port of entry. British tourists can travel to Cabo without a visa so long as they own a valid UK passport, are visiting for tourism purposes, and are staying less than 30 days.

As of next year, UK tourists to Cabo will also be able to fly direct to the region for the first time, meaning that Cabo is more accessible than ever to those in Europe.

Always Double Check!

Lastly, it is worth mentioning that while at the time of writing, the following information is correct in regards to traveling to Cabo, you should always double-check with the relevant authorities in your country prior to travel to avoid being left at the gates without the correct ID.