The country that gave the world chocolates and chilli is sure to entice travel cravings. Baja California, with its cactus-studded peninsula, is home to some of the best whale-watching on Earth. The Yucatan Peninsula is on the other side, offering beaches at the Riviera Maya and ancient Pyramids. Mexico is a fascinating country, with its cobblestone heritage towns, the metropolis of Mexico City (21 million people), rainforest reserves, and the stark scenery at Copper Canyon.
But it is possible to visit Mexico immediately. No matter your level of vaccination, the country welcomes you. This article will cover all you need to understand about Covid restrictions.
A return to Mexico is possible. How do British tourists get into Mexico? Here are all the facts.
Is Mexico included on the UK’s Red List?
Mexico was removed from the red list Monday, 11 October 2021. Hotel Quarantine has been deemed no longer necessary for UK residents returning home, and the UK government won’t be managing quarantine hospitals after March 2022.
All individuals travelling from Mexico and returning to the UK after Friday 18 March 2022 do not have to submit to any tests or quarantine.
What are the entry requirements in Mexico for UK-based visitors?
Mexico is open to all travellers, regardless of their level of vaccination. However, Mexicans do not need to show proof that they have passed the Covid test. Your hotel might ask you to complete a medical questionnaire depending on where your stay is.
The US-Mexico border is currently closed to unvaccinated tourists and recreational travellers. It reopened for tourists travelling to the US after they were vaccinated with WHO approved Covid vaccines.
Tourists must fill out an Immigration Form and keep it with them at all times when they visit or leave Mexico. These can be obtained on the plane or online.
It’s best to ensure you are updated with current advice before leaving the UK, and information can change quickly. Also, make sure to purchase valid insurance with Covid for any changes that may occur during your trip.
Regular entry requirements
When you enter Mexico as a tourist, an official at immigration will tell you how many days you can stay there and make a note of it on your form (Formamigtoria Multiple or FMM). You are not entitled to a maximum 180-day stay for tourists. Refer to the immigration form to verify the amount of time you were granted. Mexican authorities can detain people who exceed the length of the stay granted.
Mexico doesn’t require visas for tourists. But you’ll need an immigration form to enter and exit Mexico.
You can obtain an immigration form at any time. These forms are available at border crossings, on-board flights to Mexico and online in advance via the National Institute of Immigration website. You cannot use the advance option because of the requirements of this online system. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the intended date of your entry to Mexico.
To leave the nation, you must complete an immigration form. The immigration office at any Mexican international airport can replace your missing immigration form if it is lost. Replacement costs 500 Mexican Pesos. Payment can be made at a Bank.
Reports indicate that bogus immigration officers have been operating within international airports. Do not accept any offer of help. Instead, go directly to immigration.
It is possible that there will not be an Immigration Officer at the Mexican entry point if you are crossing from the US. If so, you’ll need a way to identify the nearest immigration offices and change your immigration status. The closest immigration office is located in the border area. Customs officers should be able direct you to where it is. If you are unable to clear immigration at this point, it can often be challenging to do so after you have left the border.
Employment, voluntary work and research are all possible
Voluntary (including human rights) work is not permitted for tourists. To be able to perform this type of work, you must first obtain the appropriate visa from the Mexican Embassy.
Some adventure and ecotourism activities require a visa, and Mexican authorities may use a broader definition of technological or scientific research than those from other countries. If you are unsure, consult the Mexican Embassy in London and request written confirmation if required.
It is no longer possible for an individual to change their immigration status. You cannot enter Mexico using a tourist visa. Then, you can change your visa for a work visa. You will need to make an application at Mexico’s Consulate of your normal residence well in advance of the date you plan to travel.
You must provide proof of accommodation and travel onward.
Before allowing you to enter Mexico, the immigration officer at the entry point may ask you for proof of your Mexican departure plans. They might ask for proof of your accommodation booked and money to cover your stay in Mexico.
If you have been invited, immigration officials may ask you for a “letter of invitation” from your host. This should include as many details as possible, including contact details and address for both the host and traveller while in Mexico and the reason for visiting.
Your passport must be valid throughout your stay in Mexico.
Customs and Border Control
If you have goods to report, you must fill out an online declaration form before travelling to Mexico. If you fail or delay declaring goods, you can be held responsible and fined. You can read the guidance by the Mexican government for more information about restricted products and how to declare these goods.
Travelling with children
Mexican authorities have suspended rules that had been in effect since May 2011. They required children younger than 18 years to travel on their own or with an adult who is not their parent or legal guardian to apply for special permits to leave the country. These rules do not apply to Mexican nationals or foreigners of dual Mexican nationality. The accompanying adult can be asked to give evidence of the child’s relationship.
Even though there is no current requirement for absent parents to authorize travel, single parents who aren’t, or don’t appear to be, the child’s parent (eg, if they have another family name) might be asked to produce evidence of their relationship with that child and the reason they are going. This could include a marriage certificate, divorce or birth certificate, or a Parental Responsibility Order.
Mexico Travel via the US
You cannot travel to Mexico from the UK if the US Embassy is not authorised.
Further information can also be found in travel tips for the USA.
Tax on departure
Mexico may require that you pay a tax for your departure. The price of the tax can vary. Additionally, some airports and border crossings only allow cash payment. Most airlines include the cost in the price of the ticket. For more information, contact your airline or tour operator.
Quintana Roo State Entry Tax
From April 2021, all tourists visiting Quintana Roo will be subject to a tax. Tourists have the option to pay either before or while they are there. At the airport, you must show proof of payment. The VISITAX web portal can be used to pay the bill, and Cancun Airport provides assistance with accessing the web portal.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents or ETDs (for Mexico) must be valid for at the very least 6 months from when you entered Mexico. These documents can be used to enter, transit through Mexico by air, or exit. All foreign tourists, including ETD holders, will require an Immigration Form to exit the country. To get your immigration paperwork replaced, if you forget it, you can go to any international airport and request it.
What are Covid rules there?
The pandemic response has been controversial. There was reluctance to impose lockdowns as well as several waves of Covid. However, it is not worse than countries with similar policies. Around half of the population now has at least partial vaccination. All tourist destinations like Playa del Carmen, Puerto Vallarta and others are open.
Mexico’s best places to visit
Mexico’s diverse tourist spots include the capital of Mexico City, as well as the beachfront resorts of Tulum. US News put together this list of Mexico’s most popular places to visit. The list includes information about cultural attractions, beaches, nightlife, expert opinions, traveller votes, and expert opinions. Vote for your favourite vacation spot below to help determine the ranking next year.
Cancun and the Mayan Riviera
Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel and other resort destinations are found along a stretch of beautiful coastline on the Gulf of Mexico. Collectively they are known as Riviera Maya.
This stunning area, located along the Yucatan Peninsula’s eastern edge, attracts over five million tourists every year. Despite all these visitors, the Riviera’s beaches are vast and clear, making it difficult to feel part of a large crowd.
You’ll also find many exciting activities like dolphin and sea lion swims, snorkelling in reefs and tropical fish, or scuba diving to the world’s largest underwater museum, an impressive collection of sculptures buried at depths up to 8 metres.
There are also the many Mayan ruins that can be found in the region. You can walk to some of them, while the larger and more impressive sites – Chichen Itza (and Tulum) – are just a short drive away.
Puerto Vallarta on Mexico’s Pacific coast is another highly-visited beach spot. A city is often known as Vallarta, and the city first became a tourist destination in North America in 1960. It was a haven for the elite of North America and is now a favourite among foreigners looking to find second homes in a sunny area. Many areas remain undeveloped.
Because there are so many things to do at Puerto Vallarta nowadays, it is just as likely to attract an older cruise line audience that wants to swim with the dolphins.
People who enjoy slowing down when they travel will find many places to buy arts and crafts or simply to walk along beautiful beaches with their many sculptures.
Historic Centre Of Mexico City
Mexico City (Ciudad de México), which is the capital of Mexico and the seat of government of the country, is also a popular alternative travel destination due to its many museums and art galleries. Don’t let its size fool you. Instead, put your focus on the historic city centre (Centro Histórico de la Ciudad), a UNESCO World Heritage Site of 15-kilometres that boasts over 1,400 important colonial architectures from the 16th and 17th centuries.
It’s here you’ll discover most of Mexico City’s main attractions. To add to the experience, the enormous volcanic mountains above the city, Popocatepetl & Iztaccihuatl, each more than 5,000m tall, offers the perfect excuse to get outside and explore this stunning part of Mexico’s Highlands.
Cancun and Playa del Carmen’s capital, Merida, are two popular places to visit on a day trip. The beautiful Mayan city Chichen Itza is one of Mexico’s most famous archaeological sites and one that has been the best restored. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to many incredible sights. It is worth visiting the gigantic El Castillo (also known as The Pyramid of Kukulkan), which stands 30 m tall.
Another interesting feature is the remarkable Caracol. This almost 1,000-year-old observatory stands testimony to how advanced Mayans were. Its walls are distinguished by the narrow openings that allow sunlight to penetrate twice each year. This allows priests to pinpoint the date. You will also find many statues of the Mayan Chacmools standing with their sacrificial vessels as they continue to protect these temples.
Mexico’s Grand Canyon: Copper Canyon
Chihuahua, Mexico’s northernmost state, shares the border between New Mexico and Mexico. This is where you’ll find the spectacular Copper Canyon (Barranca del Cobre), which is the country’s most visited natural attraction.
Copper Canyon can be found in the Sierra Madre Occidental. It is a magnificent group of deep Canyons and is much larger than its lesser-known cousin, the Grand Canyon. The name Copper Canyon is derived from the distinctive copper colour of its canyon walls. It was created by six rivers, which converged in the Rio Fuerte and then flowed into the Gulf of California.
There are many options for exploring this area of exceptional natural beauty due to its increased popularity as an attractive travel destination. These range from scenic rail trips aboard Ferrocarrillo Chihuahua al Pacifico trains to more adventurous rides on bikes or horseback.
Returning to the UK
If you are travelling to England from an overseas country, you:
- You don’t need to pass any COVID-19 test before or after you travel
- You don’t need to complete a questionnaire UK passenger locator form
- You don’t need to quarantine once you arrive
This applies regardless of whether you have been vaccinated.
It also includes people transiting through England, and following any travel provider’s instructions.
You may need to follow specific rules in other countries to be able to travel to England. Check the travel advice of the country where you are travelling.