If you’ve ever travelled to Mexico then you know that in order to get access into the country you will have to fill out and submit a “Mexico tourist card.”
The problem is not every airline will issue you one of these cards while you are on the plane and so in many cases you will have to wait until you arrive at the airport to fill it out.
Some Mexican airports, especially the popular ones such as Cancun, can receive an overwhelming amount of tourists hopping off flights which means that you will be trying to beat the crowds while filling out your Mexico tourist card.
That can be quite a stressful experience but luckily you can avoid some of that stress by taking care of your immigration card ahead of time.
In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about filling out this form including how to do it and also give you some other tips.
What is a Mexico tourist card?
The Mexico tourist card aka Official Entry Immigration Form (FMM) is an immigration form that must be filled out prior to your entry in Mexico.
It’s a form that you will submit to immigration once you arrive at the airport and is required for every person including children.
It is recommended to fill out the form and register online in order to make it more convenient for yourself when you are making your way through immigration at the airport.
Update: this form is no longer needed for US tourist visits to Cancun.
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Are you eligible for a Mexico tourist card?
The first question that you need to answer is are you actually eligible for a Mexico tourist card?
If the following situations apply to you then the answer is yes.
- You are a foreign citizen traveling to Mexico
- You have a valid passport
- You will travel to Mexico in less than 30 days
- You will not stay in Mexico more than 180 days
- You are traveling to Mexico for pleasure, vacation, or recreational purposes
- You are NOT going to Mexico to seek employment
So if you are a standard American heading to Mexico for a nice week long vacation then you will fall into the category of being eligible for a Mexico tourist card.
I think the most important factor to consider is that you need to be traveling in less than 30 days in order to fill out the form and register.
How to get a Mexico tourist card
You can now fill out your immigration form online via a very convenient and straightforward process.
Here is what you will need to fill out your form completely:
- Contact information
- Flight information
- Address or name of the hotel you were staying at
- Email address
This will be basic information like your name and address.
For the form, you will need to provide your passport number along with dates such as the issue date and expiration date.
When filling out your passport details, Make sure that you have at least six months of valid time on your passport when visiting Mexico, regardless of how long you plan to stay in the country.
If your passport expires in under six months, you will have to fill out a manual form once you arrive at the airport. Also, according to some reports it’s possible that you may be denied entry into the country.
To be 100% on the safe side I would advise for your passport to have at least six months of eligibility left.
You will need to provide your flight number and airline.
This can be found on your boarding pass or when you check your itinerary via the airline’s website or app.
Look for a number that has two letters in front of it and then numbers following after that.
For example, if you were flying on United Airlines flight 125 your flight number would look like “UA125.”
When you input your details, typically you will input the airline separate from the number.
So using that UA125 example above, You would input your details as follows.
- Airline: United Airlines
- Number: 125
Many people often arrive at the airport with no idea about the address of the hotel and some people don’t even know the name of the hotel.
By filling out this form ahead of time you can avoid any confusion at the airport.
While it is not necessarily required to input the full address of your hotel and you could simply include the name, since you are filling this out ahead of time you might as well input all of the relevant information regarding the address.
It’s also always a great idea to have the address of your hotel saved somewhere in your phone or on a piece of paper just in case you need to reference that while traveling.
Your tourist card will be emailed to you so make sure that you have a working email address.
Tip: Sometimes there will be issues with the email system so it is recommended that you download and print the tourist card as soon as you have that option.
Finally, you will need to print off your tourist card. Make sure that your printer is working well so that you can avoid any issues with legibility.
Filling out the tourist cards
You can find a link to register for the Mexico tourist card here.
The first part of the process is filling out some basic information which I will break down below.
The form that you will be filling out will look like this:
Country of citizenship
This will be the country of your passport.
Port of entry
You will be able to select from a drop-down menu of different airports.
You should be able to find your airport on the menu if it is one of the major airports but if you are flying into a smaller city then you may have to just select “other.”
Here are the airports you will find:
- Acapulco International Airport
- Cancun International Airport
- Cozumel International Airport
- Guadalajara International Airport
- Huatulco International Airport
- Los Cabos International Airport
- Manzanillo International Airport
- Mazatlan International Airport
- Merida International Airport
- Mexico City International Airport
- Puerto Vallarta International Airport
- Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa Airport
Note that some airports may refuse to accept your online tourist card and might require you to submit a manual card. This might be more common at smaller airports.
Arrival and departure dates
You will need to select your arrival and departure dates which are the dates that you will actually be entering and leaving the country.
The dates should line up with your airline’s itinerary if you are flying.
Name or address of hotel
As stated above, supply your name or preferably the address of your hotel. You can likely just copy and paste the address from something like Google Maps.
Simply input your name.
Total number of people traveling to Mexico
You will need to select the total number of individuals traveling to Mexico including yourself. This number should include all children and also infants.
Main contact email
Make sure you input a valid email address.
Simply enter in your postal or ZIP Code.
Things to consider
After you submit your details, there will be a confirmation page that goes over some of the key points of consideration.
Here is a summary of these points:
- Every individual must fill out an individual tourist card
- The cards are free for all passengers traveling by air with a major commercial airline
- You can only apply for a tourist card within 30 days of your arrival to Mexico
- Your passport must be valid for 180 days to apply for a card online otherwise she will have to fill it out manually when you arrive
- The information on your application must exactly match the information on your passport
- The flight information that you will input is only for your arrival flight
- Sometimes there are issues with the email systems so you should download and print your card when given the option
- After you download the first card you finish you will have the option to begin a new application
- You can print your tourist card in color or black-and-white
- You will print out two pages and do not cut or alter the forms in any way
- On rare occasions, an immigration officer may not accept a tourist card and may require you to fill out a manual form.
In addition to the points above, be sure to retain the portion of the card that the immigration officer returns to you.
In many cases, you will need to show this stub when you depart the country. If you lose this then you might be delayed at the airport when departing and you might even get fined.
Finally, you will have to fill out a customs form when you arrive regardless of if you have already filled out your tourist card.
After you input your preliminary details you can then proceed to the next stage of registration. You will need to input some of the same details you already did but this is the final step to register.
You will begin by selecting the type of travel you are doing which could be air or land.
After you select your type of travel (let’s say you selected air) you will then need to input more details.
Tip: if you will be making multiple land crossings into Mexico you should consider applying for SENTRI).
Once again, you will need to fill out the point of entry, which is the airport you are arriving to, your travel dates, airline name, and flight number.
You will then need to input your personal information which would include your name surname (which is your last name), gender, date of birth, nationality, and country of birth.
Then you will need to fill in the details regarding your identification document which in most cases will likely be your passport.
Select the type of document that you have and then enter in your document number which would be your passport number, country of issue which will be the US for a lot of readers, date of issue, and expiration date.
Keep in mind that the format for your dates is date, month, year.
Then we need to input your place of residence which would be the US and your current home address.
Next you will select the reason of your trip.
Then select the state and address that you will be staying at which would be the hotel.
Finally, provide your email address and submit the verification code.
Once you have finished processing your form, you can download and print it out and bring it along with you on your flight. It should also arrive in your email inbox.
Due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, you may encounter additional requirements when entering the country. For example, you may be required to complete a health questionnaire.
In addition to contact and trouble information, it will ask you questions such as “have you been in contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus?”
It will also inquire about potential symptoms such as temperatures, coughing, headaches, and difficulty breathing.
If you would like to expedite your entry back into the US when traveling from an international destination, you should highly consider getting Global Entry.
It will allow you to bypass the main immigration line which can often be very long and you can also get expedited entry through customs as well.
If you have the right credit card, you can get it for free and it will be good for five years.
Obtaining a Mexico tourist card is a great idea because it will make your travels much more convenient when arriving at the airport.
It is easy to fill out the form and register and so I would strongly recommend anybody traveling to Mexico to go ahead and complete the registration online.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.