If you are planning a trip to Mexico, you’ll want to be up to date on the COVID travel restrictions to Mexico. The U.S. federal government has issued an advisory for travelers to “reconsider” travel to Mexico due to COVID-19 risks but stops short of banning travel to the country.
The U.S. Department of State issues travel advisories for Mexico which include a large number of warnings about areas with high crime, kidnapping, and other concerns. U.S. government officials experience routine travel restrictions in Mexico including a prohibition on traveling after dark, hailing taxis on the street, and other limitations.
That may be a surprise to those who have never traveled to the country before, but consider what the U.S. Department of State advises travelers who work for the government:
“U.S. government employees may not drive from the U.S.-Mexico border to or from the interior parts of Mexico, with the exception of daytime travel within Baja California, between Nogales and Hermosillo on Mexican Federal Highway 15D, and between Nuevo Laredo and Monterrey on Highway 85D.”
But none of these issues is related to COVID-19. These are pre-COVID advisories that are still in effect today. What are the Mexico COVID travel restrictions you should know?
In January 2021 a requirement was made for all traveling to the United States from outside the country (including Mexico) to furnish a negative COVID test within three days of arrival into the U.S. or provide proof that the traveler(s) have recovered from COVID in the past 90 days before travel began.
These rules do not apply to travelers entering the United States by land or sea or to children under two years of age. It applies to U.S. citizens, as well as foreign nationals, regardless of vaccination status.
This rule does not apply to those arriving over land or over waterways, nor does it apply to children under the age of two.
The United States and Mexico entered into an official agreement to limit non-essential travel on the ground across the U.S.-Mexico border which has an expiration of October 21, 2021, but conditions on the ground make such deadlines always subject to change.
Travelers should always check with the U.S. Department of State official site before starting travel to see if these rules have changed in the meantime. Outbreaks, coronavirus surges, and other problems can complicate travel at any time. Be prepared for changes.
Those traveling to Mexico by air do not have to provide evidence of a negative COVID test to enter the country–boarding the plane is another matter entirely and may depend on where you depart.
You will need to check with your airline to see what specific requirements are in place depending on what city and state or country you depart from.
If you are required to get a COVID-19 test upon arrival in Mexico, do not assume these tests are provided at no cost to you–you may be required to pay for your COVID test in Mexico regardless of whether the test is voluntary or not.
Non-essential travel to Mexico by way of neighboring countries is restricted heavily. Do not assume you can freely travel from Guatemala or Belize, for example, if you are involved in non-essential travel.
Regardless of your point of origin, as a passenger on a flight to Mexico, you may be subject to health screenings. Those who show symptoms may be required to quarantine or return to their point of origin.
Traveling to Mexico during the pandemic means you may be required to observe local curfews or other restrictions on movement. The U.S. Department of State advises such curfews or other measures are not applied consistently or in all areas. This is also true of certain transportation restrictions due to COVID–some locations in Mexico may impose restrictions while others may not.
If you are departing Mexico for the United States, be advised that the U.S. Department of State official site offers important guidance for your return. If you have booked airline tickets to the U.S.A. from Mexico, be advised that all air travelers coming to the U.S. must take a viral test no later than three days prior to departure.
Antibody tests do NOT meet the requirement in this case–you must get what the U.S. government defines as a PCR/NAAT or antigen test for current infections.
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