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Entering Mexico and Re-entry into the United States

The following documents are required when visting Mexico and upon re-entry to the United States:

  • Student visa
  • Valid passport
  • Form I-20 or DS-2019 endorsed for travel
  • Mexican Tourist Card.

Entry into Mexico

Mexican Tourist Cards or visas are required when you visit Mexico for three months or less. You can obtain a tourist card or visa from the Mexican Consulate. Depending on your home country, your visa may or may not be free. Some visas require three photos. For information on tourists cards or visas and the documents required to obtain them, contact the Mexico Tourism Board at 1-800-446-3942 or the Mexican Consulate in Sacramento at 916.441.3287.

Mexican Tourist cards can also be obtained at the Mexican border.

Re-entry into the United States

If you hold an F or J visa and visit Mexico for less than 30 days, and you have maintained a lawful nonimmigrant status in the U.S., and you intend to resume that status upon your return, you must keep the Form I-94 (a small white card known as arrival/departure record) in your passport. It is required when re-entering the U.S.

F-1 Visa Holders

Upon return to the U.S., you must show the U.S. Immigration Inspector a valid Form I-94, a valid Form I-20 (either a new one or a properly endorsed I-20) and a current passport.

J-1 Visa Holders

Upon return to the U.S., you must show the U.S. Immigration Inspector a valid Form I-94, a current DS-2019 (either a new one or a properly endorsed DS-2019), and current passport.

To request endorsement of your I-20/ DS-2019, submit your copy to the International Student Advisor 48 hours prior to departure. Because the inspector may still ask to see evidence of financial support for the total stay in the U.S., it is strongly advised that F or J visa holders carry such evidence with them.