The Segmental Info System

Passports and Documentation for Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean

Having a passport facilitates entry and departure in the Mexican Caribbean

Photo credit: © Nfsphoto |
Take your passport to Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean

International travelers will find that having the proper identification and documentation makes traveling in the Mexican Caribbean much easier.

Immigration and Customs

When entering Mexico, you will be given a tourist card to fill out. As a visitor to Mexico, this is the single most important document you have. It shows that you are in the country legally. Keep this document with your passport. You'll be asked to return it when you depart, and if you don't have it you will face heavy fines.

These tourist cards are valid for up to 180 days depending on port of entry. Visitors entering through Cancun will receive cards valid for only 30 days, but other cities may allow 60 or 90 days. Once in Mexico, contact the hotel information desk to find out how to extend the tourist card's validity. It is usually a simple process of filling out a sheet of paper and signing it in a tourist office, but this also depends on a visitor's nationality.

Check with the local embassy to find out other entry requirements. Post Sept. 11, entry requirements are constantly changing to reflect the security concerns many countries face. Generally speaking, U.S. and Canadian citizens need only a valid government-issued I.D., but a passport is recommended. All other nationalities require a valid passport. Depending on nationality, a visa may not be required, and tourist cards will be distributed on landing, but it is important to check with a travel agent or the Mexican embassy in advance.

NOTE: Vacationers returning to the U.S. from Mexico and the Caribbean are required to present a valid passport before they will be admitted for re-entry. This condition applies to U.S. and international citizens, so be sure you bring your passport with you, even though it may not be required to gain entry into Mexico.


Minors need a valid passport or birth certificate depending on nationality. If traveling alone, they must be carrying a notarized letter signed by parents or guardians authorizing them to travel on their own. If the minor's parents are divorced, documents proving the custody must be provided; if the minor is traveling with only one parent, the other parent must sign a notarized document permitting travel. If one parent is deceased, a death certificate must be provided.


Running to Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean to get married is a popular choice. The exotic atmosphere adds romance to any wedding. Keep in mind that the Mexican government has strict rules regarding the documents necessary to perform a marriage ceremony:

  • Original or certified copies of birth certificates of the bride and the groom.

  • Valid passports for each party, regardless of nationality. In order to get married, passports must be presented.

  • Home address and occupation of both the bride and groom.

  • Original blood tests (can usually be taken at the hotel or resort and be prepared within 24 hours for a nominal fee).

  • Certified copy of former spouse's death certificate or certified copy of divorce decree (if applicable).

  • Legal documentation of name change (if applicable).

  • Tourist card provided upon landing.

  • Four witnesses, who must arrive in Mexico two days before the wedding, and provide name, age, nationality, occupation, home address, tourist card, and passport.

  • Both the bride and groom must arrive three working days prior to the wedding. If either party is Mexican, additional documentation is required.

  • Names must match on all documentation.


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