What To Expect Traveling Between The U.S. & Mexico (COVID Logistics)

June 18, 2021

I recently made my second trip to the Cancun area in six months, a rarity for me since I usually explore further afield.  But that’s driven in large part by Mexico currently being one of the easiest places for U.S. citizens to visit right now.  On this trip, I had to deal with the new rules for travel between the U.S. and Mexico (COVID-specific), so wanted to write a short post providing some details for other travelers.

If you’re craving a view like this beautiful Mayan Riviera sunrise, here’s what to expect!

Steps to Travel Between the U.S. & Mexico (COVID Restrictions) | Here are the steps I had to go through as of May 2021, including customs, health declarations, and negative COVID test to re-enter the USA. #mexico #traveltips

READ THIS FIRST!!! Travel between U.S. & Mexico COVID requirements

These requirements change constantly and I will not be updating this post all the time.  This is specifically to outline the steps that were required to travel between the U.S. and Mexico in late May 2021, to help people understand the key tests, documents, and other requirements at that time.  You are responsible for finding the most updated info!

My guess is that much of this will remain true for a while for both countries, but if we’ve learned anything in the last year and a half, it’s to expect the unexpected.  Two resources you can try and check that should be updated when anything changes:

  • You can read more from the CDC’s website about U.S. entry requirements (whether U.S. citizen or foreign)
  • This post provides constant updates on other countries’ entry requirements (whether vaccine, negative COVID test, quarantine, etc.), including Mexico

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U.S. requirements (fulfilled by the airlines)

As of this post being published (June 2021), the United States requires any person entering/re-entering the U.S. from another country to provide proof of a negative COVID test.  That means either U.S. citizens or international visitors.  It basically goes like this:

  • You get a negative COVID-19 test (only certain types) taken up to 3 days before your flight to the U.S.
  • OR can provide documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 (including a positive test and letter affirming recovery from your doctor)
  • Upload/provide proof to your airline prior to your flight, who is responsible for tracking it (mine was a PDF I uploaded)

I flew Delta, and they sent me a link a few days before my flight where I had to upload my negative COVID test results ahead of time.  My resort provided the tests on-site, and within a couple hours I received an email with my results.

Then I easily clicked on Delta’s link, uploaded my results, and Delta gave me a QR code which I had to show at the airport as well.  The link will continue to work/refresh later, but I always recommend taking a screenshot as well!

This is what I received once I uploaded my negative COVID test

I’ve also heard if you’re flying American Airlines you should get the Verifly app to massively expedite getting checked in vs. waiting to do that at the airport.

What happens if your COVID test comes back positive instead??  Yeesh, yeah that will suck a little.  I don’t know myself, but this post gives some insight based on the author’s experience.

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Mexico health requirements

Mexico did not have any specific entry requirements…no COVID tests, mandatory quarantines, or vaccination requirements.  For exiting the country, you’re required to fill out a health declaration.

There is a website called Vuela Seguro.  I happened to see a QR code on a sign while standing in line for customs upon arrival.  I scanned it and then saved the URL for later.

Then on my last day in Mexico, I went back to that site, filled out the health questionnaire (it only takes a few minutes), and got my QR code.  Again, take a screenshot!  This is what the site looks like.

Travel between the U.S. & Mexico - COVID health declaration to leave Mexico

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Then when I got to the airport, the lady in the Delta check-in line gave me a little paper to fill out.  I started to and then realized…it was exactly the same as the Vuela form.  I confirmed that I didn’t have to fill it out if I had already done it on my phone.  So I headed to the security line, went up the escalator and…MADNESS.

There were multiple lines but you couldn’t even tell where they were (more like blobs).  But then I realized that people were desperately trying to fill out the form on their phones, so I raised my phone with the QR and waved it at the security line attendant and she waved me to the front.  I was through security in a few minutes.

#1 piece of advice, fill out the Vuela Seguro form before you get to the airport—it will save lots of hassle and time at security!

One thing to always remember (and this was true before COVID), is to save your customs paper!  You’ll fill out a customs form when you arrive in Mexico and the customs officer will tear off the bottom and hand it back to you.

KEEP IT.  If you lose it, it is a massive hassle (and possibly fine?).  I keep a paper clip on my passport for just such an eventuality.

So that was my experience in travel between the U.S. and Mexico (COVID-specific) in May 2021…as you can see, it’s not really that hard, just a few steps.  The only real “X factor” is if your COVID test comes back positive (or if you have to figure out getting a test on your own).  Hopefully this helps!

Considering a trip to Mexico? Here are some posts to inspire you!

Pin for later!

Steps to Travel Between the U.S. & Mexico (COVID Restrictions) | Here are the steps I had to go through as of May 2021, including customs, health declarations, and negative COVID test to re-enter the USA. #mexico #traveltips

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