Traveling to Mexico with your child can be a wonderful and memorable experience. The first thing to consider when planning your trip is to make sure you're aware of the entry requirements to avoid hassles. If you or the child accompanying you does not have the proper documentation, you may be turned away at the airport or at the border, so be sure you have everything you need on hand. It is important to keep in mind that the requirements of different countries may vary and you need to meet the requirements of the country you're traveling to, as well as those for return to your home country and any others that you may visit in transit.
Every traveler arriving in Mexico by air, regardless of age, is required to present a valid passport for entry into the country. Mexico does not require passports to be valid for longer than the anticipated length of the visit. Children who are not Mexican citizens are not required by the Mexican authorities to present any other documentation other than a passport. Mexican citizens (including dual citizens of other countries) who are under 18 years of age and traveling unaccompanied by at least one parent will need to present proof of the parents' authorization to travel.
The authorization from the parents (required by law for Mexican nationals only) must be translated into Spanish and legalized by the Mexican embassy in the country where the document was issued. Read more and see an example of a letter of authorization to travel.
Canadian Children Traveling to Mexico
The Canadian government recommends that all Canadian children who are traveling abroad unaccompanied by both their parents carry a consent letter from the parents (or in the case of traveling with one parent only, from the absent parent) showing the parents' or guardians' permission for travel. Although it is not required by law, this letter may be requested by Canadian immigration officials when exiting or re-entering Canada.
Leaving and Returning to the U.S.
The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) establishes document requirements for travel into the United States from Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. The travel documents required for children vary according to the form of travel, the age of the child and whether or not the child is traveling as part of an organized group.
Travel by Land and Sea
US and Canadian citizens aged 16 and over who are entering the United States from Mexico, Canada or the Caribbean by land or sea are required to show a passport or alternative WHTI-compliant document such as a passport card. Children up to the age of 15 may present proof of citizenship alone, such as a birth certificate, a consular report of birth abroad, a naturalization certificate, or a Canadian citizenship card.
Special provisions have been made under the WHTI to allow US and Canadian school groups, or other organized groups of children aged 19 and under, to enter the US by land with proof of citizenship (birth certificate). The group should be prepared to present a letter on organizational letterhead with information about the group trip including the name of the group, the names of the adults responsible for the children and a list of the names of the children in the group as well as signed permission from the parents of the children.