pixel

Before You Go

Passport FAQs: Driving Back to the U.S. from Mexico

Passports or other accepted documentation are now highly recommended to return to the U.S. from Mexico by land.

Who has to show a passport or another accepted document, and what about children?

In a nutshell, U.S. and Canadian citizens older than 16 years old have to show a passport, passport card or another accepted document to cross back into the U.S. Children under 16 may show an original or copy of their birth certificate, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, a Naturalization Certificate, a Canadian Citizenship Card or a passport if they have one. Learn more.

Won't my driver's license and birth certificate work like before?

Maybe. If your drivers license is an Enhanced Driver's License from New York, Vermont, Washington, Michigan, Québec, British Columbia, Manitoba, or Ontario it will be accepted. At this time drivers licenses from California, Arizona, Texas and the rest of the U.S. states are not enhanced. You may use a driver's license and birth certificate to cross back into the U.S., however we have heard this may create delays at U.S. secondary inspection.

What other documents are accepted besides a passport?
  1. Passport Card
  2. SENTRI pass or Global Entry
  3. Enhanced Driver's License
  4. FAST program card - for commercial drivers
  5. NEXUS - for crossing between the US and Canada
How do I choose the best document for me?

If you will only cross the border between the U.S. and Mexico by land in your personal vehicle, a passport card is a less expensive alternative to a passport. If you would like the added benefit of a dedicated commuter lane for speedier entry into the U.S., consider the SENTRI pass or Global Entry.

Need a passport right away? Click on the logo below for expedited passport processing.
How do I apply for a passport?

It depends on whether or not you are applying for the first time. If you are applying for your very first passport, you will have to make an appointment at your nearest passport agency to submit your application in person. If you are just renewing your passport, you may be eligible to renew it through the mail.

How do I know if I need to apply for my passport in person?

You will need to apply for your passport in person if...

  1. This is your first time applying for a passport
  2. Your previous U.S. passport was lost, stolen or damaged
  3. Your previous U.S. passport has expired, and was issued more than 15 years ago
  4. Your previous U.S. passport has expired, and was issued before you turned 16 years old
  5. Your name has changed since your original passport was issued, and you don't have a legal document formally changing your name
  6. You are a minor under the age of 17
Do I have to make an appointment to get a passport, or can I just drop by my local passport facility after work?

If you need to apply for your passport in person or if you need your passport processed within two weeks, you DO need to make an appointment. All passport agencies take applications by appointment only, so you should call in advance. Most of the agencies in the US are open between 9am and 4pm, although some offices do close at 3:30pm. The good news is that there is no charge for an appointment at any passport agency. Don't pay anybody (or any business) that tries to charge you for your appointment!

All right, I made my appointment to get a passport. Do I need to bring anything special for my application?

Yes, there are several things that you should bring with you to your appointment.

  • First of all, you need to download your "Application for Passport" Form DS-11. You can download it here
  • Next, you will need to bring present proof of US citizenship. This proof may include a valid birth certificate, an expired passport (as long as it is not mutilated or damaged in any way), a consular report of birth abroad, a naturalization certificate, a certificate of citizenship, etc.
  • If you don't have either a previous passport or a birth certificate, please click here to find out what alternative forms of identification may work to prove US citizenship.
  • You will also need to bring along proof of your identity. You can prove your identity with a previous US passport, a naturalization certificate, or a current (valid) US driver's license, government ID (city/state/federal) or military ID (military/dependents).
  • If you do not have any of these things, please click here to find out what alternative forms of identification may prove your identity.
  • You'll need to have two passport photos. They should be 2x2 inches, identical to each other, taken within the last 6 months (showing how you look right now), in color, showing your full face from a front view with a plain white or off-white background, and between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head. You should also be wearing normal street clothes (no uniforms, etc.) For further information about acceptable photos, please click here.
  • Finally, you'll have to bring along some money! The current prices for routine passport services are as follows: Passports for all US citizens aged 16 and over cost $110. The execution fee is $35. So, your total will be $145. Passports for all US citizens under the age of 16 is $80. The execution fee is $35. So, your total will be $115.

Acceptable forms of payment vary from agency to agency. You should call your local agency first, before showing up for your appointment.

Need a passport fast? Click on the logo to learn about expedited passport processing.
What if I just have to renew my passport? Do I still need to go into the office, or can I do it by mail?

You can renew your passport by mail if...

  1. You already have a passport that is not damaged AND
  2. You received it within the past 15 years AND
  3. You were at least 16 years old when it was issued AND
  4. You still have the same name that was in your old passport (or you can legally document your name change).

ALL of this must be true, in order for you to renew by mail. There are a couple of exceptions where you will need to go into a passport agency to renew, even if you meet the above conditions.

  • if you are a US citizen living abroad, you must renew your passport at the nearest US Embassy or US Consulate.
  • passports renewed by mail in the US may only be mailed to US addresses.
  • if you mutilate or alter your US passport, you have invalidated it and are risking possible prosecution under the law (Section 1543 of Title 22 of the US Code).
  • if your passport has been mutilated, altered or damaged, you cannot apply by mail. You must apply in person.
If I'm eligible to renew my passport by mail, what do I need to do?

First, you should download the DS-82 form from this site.

Next, attach to it your most recent passport, two identical passport photos, and a $110 fee payable to the US Department of State. If your name has changed since you got your last passport, you should also attach a certified copy of the legal document specifying your name change (for example, your marriage certificate, divorce decree, adoption decree or court order). FYI - they won't accept photocopies. It has to be the original!

Mail all of this together in a padded envelope to:

National Passport Center
P.O. Box 371971
Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7971

How long is getting a new passport going to take?

If you go through the general application process, turn around times are four to six weeks for the US Department of State to process your passport.

I need to get my passport in a hurry, what can I do?

There are a couple of options. You may choose expedited service for an additional $60 fee. For turn around times, click here. If that is not fast enough, consider a passport service. Some offer service as fast as 24 hours.

Do I need to bring anything special if I am applying for a passport for my child?

Yes, here are the basic steps:

First off, all minors who are US Citizens must apply for their passports IN PERSON.

In addition, in order to get a passport for a child under the age of 14, both parents or the child's legal guardians must appear and present all of the following:

  • Evidence of the child's US citizenship
  • Evidence of the child's relationship to parents/guardians AND
  • Parental Identification.

If only one parent appears, you must also submit the following:

  • A notarized written statement by the second parent, consenting to passport issuance for the child,
  • Primary evidence of sole authority to apply, OR
  • A notarized written statement (made under penalty of perjury) which explains the second parent's unavailability.
How much do passports and passport cards cost?

Here are the current rates for routine passport services:

  • Ages 16 and over - $145
  • Kids under 16 - $115

Rates for passport cards:

  • Ages 16 and over - $65
  • Kids under 16 - $50

Passports issued to citizens aged 16 or over last for ten years! If you think about it, that brings the price of purchasing and using your US passport down to around $15 per year.

Sources:
US Department of State - www.travel.state.gov
Dept of Homeland Security - http://www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/display?content=4434
Commercial Carrier Journal Magazine - http://www.etrucker.com/apps/news/article.php?id=46975
Search Security.Com http://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/sDefinition/0,,sid14_gci211666,00.html

4.7 93 Reviews
  • user logo
    Benjamin Driebe
    From logo

    Absolutely fantastic, I already forgot her name because I have a terrible memory but the woman that helped me on the phone was wonderful,...

  • user logo
    richard carr
    From logo

    fast replies and great price!

  • user logo
    Juan Zuniga
    From logo

    I just would like to know if you guys are going to update the fastpass direction any soon, during the month of January the lane changed to...

  • user logo
    Richard Schweiger
    From logo

    Very professional, very helpful, great policy, I couldn't be happier with Baja Mexican Insurance, the friendly smiles and ease of it all in...

  • user logo
    Ryan Frisby
    From logo

    We use them every time we travel to Mexico. Luckily we have not needed their services yet but getting insurance through them is quick and...

  • user logo
    Jan Muhammad
    From logo

    I need a tourist visa for maxico I'm from pakistan help me sir

  • user logo
    Tracy Moore
    From logo

    Very easy, quick, and professional

  • user logo
    robert kepper
    From logo

    They are very good . There website doesn't show you need a title to bring a vehicle across the border.I was stopped and told I had to...

  • user logo
    Edilver Martinez
    From logo

    Our go to Baja car insurance, everytime we take a visit down south . Usually it's for a day trip either for a quick getaway with the family...

  • user logo
    Daniel Markofsky
    From logo

    Third time working with Baja Bound and they made it easy! Thanks!

  • user logo
    Steve Bender
    From logo

    Have never needed to use the insurance fortunately but the website always works great. Can buy a policy in about a minute.

  • user logo
    Jose Paez
    From logo

    Had a great experience getting insurance at Baja Bound, before I always stoped at the border to purchase my insurance, not anymore. By the...

  • user logo
    JUSTINE SERRANO
    From logo

    I purchased insurance through them & CHUBB for our trip to San Felipe. Unfortunately, we had to cancel due to our vehicle having an oil...

  • user logo
    Christian Minor
    From logo

    Team were on point, provided inside information, prices were great and they had my proposal already in the system when I called back....

  • user logo
    Joey Digiovanni
    From logo

    Easy to work with 😉. Always courteous and helpful

  • user logo
    George
    From logo

    Excellent customer service

  • user logo
    Kellye Pummill
    From logo

    Fast and easy!

  • user logo
    Jennifer Toups
    From logo

    Baja Bound is and has been my go to Mexico insurance company. The website is extremely easy to use, keeps all your info for a quick...

  • user logo
    Cesar Lopez
    From logo

    Very convenient, great price !!

  • user logo
    Louis Schneidman
    From logo

    I had an awesome experience with Baja Bound. Family owned and highly personal, top notch customer service. I have total peace of mind...

  • user logo
    Phil Noble
    From logo

    If you’re looking for Mexican Insurance that you can trust and feel good about while traveling in Mexico, you’ve found the right place....

  • user logo
    Jeff Bunker
    From logo

    Great coverage options . Price buy and print policy , very quick and easy , highly recommend them when driving in Mexico

  • user logo
    Burrell DeVine
    From logo

    Easy to navigate and very competitively priced! I had to call in and add an additional day, they couldn't have been any more pleasant to...

  • user logo
    Nereyda Torres
    From logo

    Me gusta la asuguranza porque la puedes comprar por un dia y te asegura en Mexico por el tiempo que vas ya sea hasta por mes (Translated...

  • user logo
    james whitmer
    From logo

    Best insurance I've had so far

  • user logo
    Rail1riders
    From logo

    Quick, easy, well designed website and not just for Baja. Good rates for temporal residente gringos. We’re not living in Jalisco. Printed...

  • user logo
    Matt B
    From logo

    I always use Baja Bound to source my insurance while traveling to Mexico. Fortunately, I have not had to file any claims. I do appreciate...

  • user logo
    Refugio I. Rochin
    From logo

    Excellent online and by direct phone. Spanish and English with proven response to questions. Website is very informative about driving in...

  • user logo
    Kelly Carney
    From logo

    Yara is very helpful and explains everything. Love working with companies like this.

  • user logo
    Slumdog Gump
    From logo

    Changed some money. Good rate and friendly people.

  • user logo
    Jeff G
    From logo

    Went down to TJ June 11 2020 No problems going into TJ but the way back was a ordeal 6 hours in line to get back into the USA but no...

  • user logo
    don letson
    From logo

    Great renewal process, if only south Dakota would do the same for car registration.

  • user logo
    len buckholtz
    From logo

    SIMPLE, STRAIGHTFORWARD. OLD GUYS LIKE THAT. WILL DEFINITELY USE IN 6 MONTHS IF STILL RUNNING AROUND THE WILDS OF BAJA.

  • user logo
    Susana Judd
    From logo

    Easy, quick and fair prices. Easy to deal with if needed.

  • user logo
    Seismic Waterfinder
    From logo

    Very excellent service, needed insurance for Mexico, price was fair. The custumer service rep was Yara

  • user logo
    Nicolas Dervé
    From logo

    Very good ans very fast. We hope all will ben good if we need it.

  • user logo
    Blake Glassco
    From logo

    I will never drive south of the border without Baja Bound in my center console. I was in an accident a couple hours south of Ensenada and...

  • user logo
    JohnPaul Gemelli
    From logo

    Baja Bound could not have made it an easier ... also, I made a mistake and called them having to leave a message ... but, they called back...

  • user logo
    Jeff Brandt
    From logo

    so far so good, however I have read good things about them

  • user logo
    Sengoz N
    From logo

    SERIOUS.

  • user logo
    Kenneth Trass
    From logo

    Getting a policy was simple, Provided more than provider for price comparison.

  • user logo
    Esther Valencia
    From logo

    Super easy to purchase just the coverage you need when crossing the border in your own car. I especially appreciate the fact that I was...

  • user logo
    Larry Cottingham
    From logo

    Great service, very helpful people there.

  • user logo
    Luis Cortes
    From logo

    Easiest way to purchase insurance when traveling to Mexico. I have used their service for the last 7 years and it only gets easier and...

  • user logo
    j dougher ty
    From logo

    EZ Peasy insurance purchase. Great service every time I've used them. Had to cancel one time when my travel plans went away - no problem....

  • user logo
    Paul Niehouse
    From logo

    Extremely easy to acquire a policy. Many options available. Reasonable rates.

  • user logo
    Colin
    From logo

    Super-easy and instant. Very happy with initial purchase.

  • user logo
    Howard M Elster
    From logo

    2nd year with Chubb. No problems

  • user logo
    Cyndee Congrove
    From logo

    Great customer service, quick, friendly staff helpfully answered all questions, very patient with my learning curve on a new product. Would...

  • user logo
    Art Eugenio
    From logo

    I've had Baja Bound insurance for more that ten years now with thousands of miles logged in Baja. Fortunately, I've only had one fender...

  • user logo
    Gabe Matthews
    From logo

    Where do i start..... you dont know you have good insurance until you have to actually use it. I have had Baja Bound INS for over 5 years...

  • user logo
    keith berkley
    From logo

    Been going to baja for 45 years. This is best insurance company i have come accross.

  • user logo
    Ryan Perkio
    From logo

    I have been using BajaBound Insurance for 15 years - multiple trips per year. Their website is easy, their coverage is great, and the...

  • user logo
    RaMon McBride
    From logo

    I have not had any claims thus far so rating is based on ease of purchase.

  • user logo
    Larry French
    From logo

    By far the best service for Mex insurance in Baja. They are personally there for you if you have problems south of the border.

  • user logo
    Tudor Thomas
    From logo

    Baja Bound makes buying insurance for going south of the border as easy as it gets. The website is the easiest I have used and the staff...