For U.S. citizens heading south of the border with a minor, the child needs a valid U.S. passport for air travel into the country; a passport card suffices for entry by land or sea. Things are simple and straightforward if both parents or legal guardians are traveling into Mexico with their child. However – regardless of the mode of travel – minors must show documented permission to exit the U.S. and enter Mexico from any parent or legal guardian that isn't along for the trip.

Written Permission

There's no single official international travel consent form for minors, but plenty of free templates can be found online from legal organizations. When writing up an authorization for a minor to travel into Mexico, make sure it includes:

  • The absent parents' or guardians' full names
  • The child's full name
  • The child's date of birth
  • The full names of anyone traveling with the child
  • The child's U.S. passport number
  • The travel dates and destinations
  • The name of the airline or other transportation provider
  • A brief summary of the purpose of travel
  • Parental/guardian contact information

The letter of authorization must also be notarized. Phrase it in such a way that permission is expressly given for the child to be admitted into Mexico under the given circumstances.

Proof of Relationship

In addition to the parent or guardian’s written permission, also provide proof of the relationship between the traveling child and the absent parent. Remember, a minor's passport doesn't name parents or legal guardians, so it doesn't satisfy this purpose. To establish the relationship, supply a U.S. or foreign birth certificate, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, adoption decree, or divorce or custody decree. Documents do need to be originals.

Current Information

Before traveling, contact the Mexican Embassy or the nearest Mexican consulate for current information. Additional travel information, including up-to-the-hour advisories, is available from the U.S. Department of State.