North America - 8 min read

Do You Need A Passport To Go To New Mexico?

Town and Tourist

Town and Tourist, Updated September 17, 2022

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New Mexico is a unique destination in the United States with unbeatable terrain, views, and entertainment opportunities. Travelers from other states in the country and foreign countries alike understandably flock to New Mexico. So, do you need a passport to go to New Mexico?

You only need a passport to go to New Mexico if you travel from a foreign country. Domestic travelers can go to New Mexico with a driver’s license or government-issued ID. Non-U.S. citizens must be fully vaccinated to fly to New Mexico, but U.S. citizens can fly without a vaccine card.

You need to apply for a visa if you are a non-U.S. citizen going to New Mexico and staying for over 90 days. However, there are 40 countries in the Visa Waiver Program so it may not be necessary depending on where you’re from. Follow along as we explore what you need to go to New Mexico.

Is New Mexico A Part Of The U.S.?

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New Mexico has been a part of the U.S. since 1912. It was the 47th state admitted to the U.S., and you can still feel the Spanish influence to this day. You can freely visit New Mexico as a U.S. citizen whether you travel by air or land.

Canadian citizens can typically visit New Mexico without a passport as well. This exception only applies to Canadians that travel to New Mexico by sea or land.  However, you are still encouraged to bring a passport as a Canadian citizen traveling to New Mexico.

You still need a NEXUS card or passport to travel to New Mexico by air. Canadians get special travel privileges within the United States when it comes to land and sea travel. Travelers from other international travelers aren’t granted the same privileges and must provide more documentation.

Can You Go To New Mexico Without A Passport?

You can go to New Mexico without a passport as a U.S. citizen. New Mexico is a common tourist attraction for U.S. citizens because it is driveable from many states and flights are typically cheap. Canadians can go to New Mexico without a passport in some cases unless they fly.

Citizens of a U.S. territory or commonwealth can also go to New Mexico without a passport. This applies to citizens of Puerto Rico, St. Croix, St. James, and St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. However, you would still need a passport to go to New Mexico as a U.S. citizen if you travel from a foreign country.

What Do You Need To Go To New Mexico?

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A U.S. citizen can fly to New Mexico with a driver’s license or government-issued ID
. You don’t need anything more than a valid ID to drive to New Mexico from another U.S. state. Travelers can freely drive to New Mexico without obtaining any special documents as long as your vehicle is registered in your name.

It is also easy for a U.S. citizen to move to New Mexico from another state in the country. A U.S. citizen can claim residency in New Mexico after 183 days of staying in the state. You can retain residency in 2 states at once in the U.S. if you work in at least one of them or live off of retirement income.

New Mexico Travel Restrictions

Domestic travelers in the U.S. don’t need to be fully vaccinated to go to New Mexico. Airlines won’t ask for a vaccine card when you travel to New Mexico as a citizen. Airlines don’t even require you to wear a mask on domestic flights to New Mexico.

Travelers can now get into most establishments easily because they are allowed to operate at full capacity. Restrictions have become more relaxed in 2022 making it easier for domestic travelers to visit the state.

However, you may need to bring a face mask if you go to New Mexico because many businesses currently require them. New Mexico recently lifted the state-wide mask mandate, but individual businesses are still allowed to enforce it.

Documentation Required For Non-U.S. Citizens

Non-U.S. citizens require a passport and valid ID to go to New Mexico. You won’t be allowed to fly to New Mexico as a non-U.S. citizen if your passport will expire within 6 months of your trip. Many countries besides the U.S. enforce this rule as well to prevent travelers from staying too long without getting a visa.

Credit: Shutterstock

Do You Need A Visa To Go To New Mexico?

You only need a visa to go to New Mexico and the rest of the United States if you stay longer than 90 days. This only applies to foreign travelers that visit New Mexico for business and tourism purposes. You don’t need a visa even when you stay in New Mexico if you are from a country that is part of the Visa Waiver Program.

Countries such as Austria, Iceland, Denmark, Belgium, San Marino, and Spain are part of the Visa Waiver Program. The Visa Waiver Program currently includes 40 countries, so check to see if you need a visa based on your country of origin. Visas cost $160 for the average non-U.S. citizen to go to New Mexico, or $190 if it is for religious reasons or a petition.

Do You Need To Be Vaccinated To Go To New Mexico?

Some airlines require you to be fully vaccinated to go to New Mexico even as a U.S. resident. You are required to present a vaccine card if you are a non-U.S. citizen traveling to New Mexico. This is an ironclad rule and all U.S. airlines have to comply with the vaccine mandate for now.

Your vaccine card will only be accepted if the last vaccine you received was within the last 14 days. The 14-day rule applies to single and double-dose vaccines no matter which COVID-19 vaccine you receive. This rule is not strictly for traveling to New Mexico and is enforced by each state, territory, and commonwealth in the United States.

You may need to be vaccinated against illnesses such as yellow fever if you go to New Mexico for a foreign country. Travelers from countries where yellow fever and other illnesses are prominent may need to prove that they are vaccinated to gain entry to the United States.

Can You Go To Mexico From New Mexico?

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You can go to Mexico from New Mexico through three border crossings. United States citizens can only cross the border into Mexico from New Mexico with valid documentation. This includes a government-issued ID or driver’s license and a passport.

Mexican border officials can deny you entry if you drive from New Mexico without proper vehicle registration. The vehicle must be registered in your name or else they can contact U.S. officials or search and impound it. You don’t need to be a resident of New Mexico to legally drive across the border into Mexico.

U.S. citizens that cross the border from New Mexico to Mexico must apply for a Temporary Vehicle Importation Permit. The permit costs $51 if you buy it at the border, but you can save money and get it for $45 online before your trip. You also need to purchase a Multiple Migratory Form which costs $30 and is required to gain entry into Mexico.

Is It Safe To Go To New Mexico?

It is safe to go to New Mexico, but the state has a high crime rate. New Mexico currently has the second-highest violent crime rate. Most of the crime in New Mexico is relegated to places such as Capitan, Springer, Lordsburg, and Melrose.

The high crime rate in New Mexico can be misleading because of how small the population is. Crime may seem rampant relative to the population, but New Mexico is safer than many U.S. states. Property crime in New Mexico is less rampant than in other tourist states like Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, and Louisiana.

Even tourist destinations such as Santa Fe and Albuquerque have high crime rates. With that said, New Mexico is considered safe for tourists. The rate of COVID-19 infections has recently died down in New Mexico which makes it safer for domestic and international travelers.

Where Can U.S. Citizens Go Without A Passport?

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You can go to any state in the country without a passport as a U.S. citizen. Citizens can also travel to any commonwealth or territory of the United States without a passport. Luckily, that includes many gorgeous vacation destinations in the Caribbean such as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

The United States has 14 territories that citizens can travel to without a passport. However, only 5 of the territories are inhabited so those are the only ones worth visiting as a U.S. citizen. The best places to go to without a passport as a U.S. citizen include:

  • Guam
  • Puerto Rico
  • S. Virgin Islands
  • American Samoa
  • The Northern Mariana Islands

Each of these destinations are popular vacation spots for domestic and international travelers alike. It is not considered international travel if you go to any U.S. territory or commonwealth. U.S. citizens only need a passport to go to a U.S. territory like Puerto Rico if they travel from a foreign country.

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