If you haven’t traveled recently to Mexico, there are number of things to remember in preparing for your trip. A quick review of essentials is important in making sure your visit is smooth and successful. This is particularly true if you’re traveling with a child or sending a child on a trip by themselves.

The first important issue is your passport! Until recently, a person could travel to Mexico or Canada with personal identification such as a driver’s license only. Things have changed however, and a passport is now required. There are also differences between ground and air travel.

If you’re travelling with your family via airplane between Mexico and the United States for example,  it’s important to remember that all US and Canadian citizens, regardless of age, are required to present a valid passport. The same is the case for US and Canadian citizens over the age 15 who are visiting or entering the United States from Mexico, Canada or the Caribbean by land or sea are required to show a passport. They can alternatively present a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI )compliant document such as a passport card or an enhanced driver’s license.

In the case of one parent traveling with his or her child, documents proving you have sole legal custody of the child, or a notarized letter from your spouse parent authorizing the child to travel outside the country of origin may be required. It’s important to double check with the Mexican consulate.

If you’re child is traveling in a church mission trip or a school based excursion , rules have been made under the WHTI to allow US and Canadian groups  of children aged 19 and younger, to enter or re-enter the US by land with proof of citizenship via a birth certificate.

In all cases, groups should always be prepared to present any needed letters on organizational letterhead with information detailing the group trip. This information should be sure to include the name of the group; the names of the adults charged with oversight of the children as well as signed permission from the children’s’ parents.

Lastly, if you’re planning to stay in Mexico for longer than 72 hours, a tourist card, or a tourist visa required for tourists who will be staying or traveling outside the border region. The cards are typically valid for up to 6 months. The cards allow you to stay as a tourist but do not serve as a work permit.

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