Puerto Vallarta was once a small fishing town on the Pacific coast of Mexico, but it’s now an incredibly popular tourist destination for Americans. That’s due to Mexico’s proximity to the US, the beautiful weather, and the gorgeous sandy beaches in Puerto Vallarta. It’s also a very safe destination compared to other Mexican cities, so it makes for a great holiday destination.

However, you might be wondering – do you need a passport to go to Puerto Vallarta?

The short answer to this is yes, you will need a valid passport to visit Puerto Vallarta from the United States. A passport is required by US citizens when entering Mexico, be that by airplane or other mode of transport. You should always ensure you have all the correct documentation needed before travelling. However there is one exception – closed-loop cruises.

There are other documents you will need to go to Puerto Vallarta too. But thankfully we have all the information you need right here!

In this article we will outline the travel process for US citizens when visiting Puerto Vallarta. We will also discuss some other questions you may have about travelling to Puerto Vallarta, including the best way to travel, what documents are needed and what to expect. (Recommended: Puerto Vallarta vs Cancun).

Do you need a passport to go to Puerto Vallarta

Do You Need a Passport to go to Puerto Vallarta: The One Exception & Other Documents You Need

If you’re traveling to Puerto Vallarta you will need a passport in all circumstances except for one exception – when you’re on a ‘closed-loop cruise.’

A closed-loop cruise is when you are on a cruise that begins and ends at the same US port. In this case, you may enter another territory – like Puerto Vallarta – without a passport as long as you have a government issued ID (most likely a driving license) and a proof of citizenship (usually the certified copy of a birth certificate).

If you’re traveling to Puerto Vallarta any other way you must have a passport. Alongside that passport you will need:

  • Valid passport that is at least 6 months away from its expiration date.
  • Mexican Tourist Card (FMM) – a form that all visitors to Mexico must complete. You can get that here.
  • Proof of a return flight ticket and purpose of visit.
  • A bank statement or other proof of sufficient financial funds to cover your stay.
  • A visa (if needed).

Do You Need a Visa to Visit Puerto Vallarta?

Another common question Americans ask when planning a visit to Puerto Vallarta is if they need a visa to visit. The answer to this question is yes and no, you do not require a visa to visit Puerto Vallarta if you are a US citizen visiting for less than 6 months.

But if you plan to stay for longer than 6 months, you should apply for a visa. It should also be noted that if you are planning to work in Puerto Vallarta – even if you are not staying longer than 6 months – you should apply for a work visa.

Do you need a passport to go to Puerto Vallarta

Do Children Need a Passport to Travel to Puerto Vallarta?

As with adults, children also require a passport to travel to Puerto Vallarta from the US by plane. Although the rules differ slightly depending on whether you are travelling by land or by plane, it is generally best to err on the side of caution and bring your child’s passport book when travelling to Puerto Vallarta.

Children under the age of 16 should also be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian when entering Mexico from the US.

In the absence of a parent or guardian, the child who is travelling must present the border force with a signed document of authorization before they are allowed to cross the border.

Who Doesn’t Need a Passport to Visit Puerto Vallarta?

While it is a requirement for most US citizens to possess a passport for travelling to Puerto Vallarta, it is worth mentioning that there are a select group of people who do not require a passport to enter Puerto Vallarta or Mexico from the US. Some of these people include:

  • US citizens serving in the US military who are on active duty, present a valid military ID, and travel orders.
  • Serving marine officers who can present a valid Merchant Mariner Document to the border force.
  • Those on a closed-loop cruise.
Do you need a passport to go to Puerto Vallarta

Best Way to Travel to Puerto Vallarta From the US

There are several different ways of reaching Puerto Vallarta from the US. For example, you might choose to drive there or get a coach. Another means of getting to Puerto Vallarta from the US is via a cruise ship where Puerto Vallarta is one of the travel destinations.

However, the most popular and time effective way to reach Puerto Vallarta from any part of the US is to fly there by airplane. Puerto Vallarta has one of the best international airports in Mexico, and it’s an extremely safe, clean, and quick experience for travellers.

Where You Should Stay in Puerto Vallarta According to Your Budget

Shoestring: For what you get for the price, Hotel Luxury Patio Azul is a steal. Tastefully decorated rooms with ocean views, an outside swimming pool and bar that looks out on the ocean, and just a ten minute walk to the beach. This may just be the cheapest five-star hotel we’ve come across in Mexico.

Budget: Set in downtown close to all the action, BellView Hotel Boutique is a little different – you’ll be staying in a room with one of the best city views imaginable – just look at that view of the bell tower from the private terrace! The decor is stylish, and despite being in town this hotel is still only 200m from the beach. 

Luxury: The adults-only Hotel Mousai is the first-ever five diamond resort in Puerto Vallarta, so when we say this place is luxurious you know we aren’t lying! Just a couple of minutes walk to the beach, this hotel has everything you’d want and expect for the price. But the real show-stealer is the roof-top infinity pool.

Conclusion: Do You Need a Passport to go to Puerto Vallarta?

Yes, US citizens d o need a passport to go to Puerto Vallarta in most cases. Travelling to Puerto Vallarta by plane is generally the easiest and most effective mode of transport. However, when flying to Puerto Vallarta it is absolutely essential that you and your children have a valid passport.

Other documents necessary to travel to Puerto Vallarta from America include an FMM, return flight, bank statements, and a visa if needed. While US citizens don’t need a visa if they’re staying for less than 6 months, if you are working or plan to stay longer then you should apply for a visa.

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