Renewing a U.S. Passport in México

by | Feb 9, 2018 | Immigration & Customs |

Both my younger son and my U.S. passport were set to expire within a year of arriving in México. After doing some quick online research, I determined what needed to be done and that we would need to renew our passports at the U.S. Consulate in Mérida since we were in Chelem at the time. In this post, I’ll describe the requirements and process for both adults and minors as well as our personal experience at the consulate. Please note that renewals MUST be done in-person and you have to schedule an appointment since walk-ins aren’t allowed (unless it’s an emergency situation).

WHEN TO RENEW

Technically, you can renew your passport at anytime. However, the U.S. Department of State recommends that you renew it approximately 9 months before it expires. Be sure to check the expiration date because certain countries require passports to remain valid for up to 6 months after travel. Also, some airlines do not allow you to board if you don’t meet this requirement. You can review country specific information for further details.

WHERE TO RENEW

The U.S. has the main embassy, 9 consulates and 10 consular agencies/agents in México.

México - Embassy & Consulates

 

*Please note that though Cozumel is listed as a consular agency/agent, individuals are directed to contact the consular agency in Playa del Carmen for routine and emergency services.

REQUIREMENTS

Adults

  • DS-82 Renewal Application (you can renew your passport if your most recent passport meets the below criteria, otherwise you will need to complete the DS-11 Application)
    • Is submitted with your application
    • Is undamaged (other than normal “wear and tear”)
    • Was issued when you were age 16 or older
    • Was issued within the last 15 years
    • Was issued in your current name (or you can document your name change with an original or certified copy of your marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court order)
  • Most recent passport (see above)
  • Name change documents (if applicable, any of the below)
    • Marriage certificate
    • Divorce decree
    • Court-ordered name change document
  • One 2 in x 2 in (5 cm x 5 cm in México) passport photo (see photo requirements)
  • Passport fees (see below)
  • Appointment scheduled in advance (no walk-ins, unless it’s an emergency)
  • Have several copies of all of the above

Minors (under age 16)

  • DS-11 Application (to be used if any of the below apply)
    • If you are applying for your first U.S. passport
    • You are under age 16
    • Your previous U.S passport was issued when you were under age 16
    • Your previous U.S. passport was lost, stolen, or damaged
    • Your previous U.S. passport was issued more than 15 years ago
  • U.S. citizenship evidence (any of the below)
    • Fully-valid, undamaged U.S. passport (may be expired)
    • U.S. birth certificate
    • Consular report of birth abroad or certification of birth
    • Certificate of citizenship
    • See other acceptable documentation
  • Parental or legal guardian relationship evidence (any of the below)
    • U.S. birth certificate (also evidence of U.S. citizenship)
    • Consular report of birth Abroad (also evidence of U.S. citizenship)
    • Foreign birth certificate
    • Adoption decree
    • Divorce/Custody decree
    • Please note: Some documents, like a U.S. birth certificate, show both U.S. citizenship and parental relationship. 
  • Identification of parent(s) or legal guardian(s) (any of the below)
    • In-state, fully-valid driver’s license
    • Valid or expired, undamaged, U.S. passport
    • Certificate of naturalization or citizenship
    • Government employee ID (city, county, state or federal)
    • U.S. military ID or military dependent ID
    • Valid foreign passport
    • Matricula Consular (Mexican Consular Identification, commonly used by a parent of a U.S. citizen child applicant)
    • See other acceptable documentation
  • Parental or guardian consent (see for further details)
  • One 2 in x 2 in (5 cm x 5 cm in México) passport photo (see photo requirements)
  • Passport fees (see below)
  • Appointment scheduled in advance (no walk-ins, unless it’s an emergency)
  • Have several copies of all of the above

PROCESS

1) Schedule an appointment – you will need to check with the embassy, consulate or consular agency you intend on using to see whether you can schedule this online. Otherwise, you will need to call or e-mail that respective location to schedule your appointment.

2) Delivery method – you will need to check with the embassy, consulate or consular agency you intend on using to see how you will receive your new passport and any original supporting documentation (typically via a courier such as FedEx, DHL, UPS, etc.) submitted along with your application. In some cases, you will need to arrange this beforehand by getting a courier envelope (pre-paid or cash on delivery) to bring to your appointment.

3) Appointment – be sure to arrive at your appointment at least 15 minutes early since you will need to go through security. Additionally, make sure you have all the requirements as described above. If you are late or don’t have all your paperwork in order, there is a good chance that you will be asked to reschedule your appointment to another day. The length of your appointment will vary from location to location. Also, each location is different as to whether they keep your current passport and any original supporting documentation and mail back to you or if you get back at the conclusion of your appointment. Finally, you will pay all applicable fees during this time.

4) The final step is to receive your new passport. Your cancelled passport will be returned and any original supporting documentation mailed back to you, if applicable. Delivery times will vary.

COST

Use the following calculator since fees can vary depending on each individual’s situation. At a minimum, it will cost the following:

  • Adults – $110 USD for the passport book plus any other applicable fees
  • Minors – $105 USD ($80 USD – application fee & $25 USD execution fee) plus any other applicable fees.

You will need to check the requirements of each location to see which methods of payment they accept. At a minimum, be sure to have enough MXN to cover all fees in case your respective location does not accept USD or credit cards.

OUR EXPERIENCE

Foremost, the above may look daunting but it’s really not provided you have all your paperwork in order. In my humble opinion, it’s actually a very easy process. As I mentioned at the outset, we were staying at the beach in Chelem and it was a good solid hour drive from our house to the consulate in Mérida. As such, all four of us decided to go to the consulate in order to make a day of it in town.

Both FedEx and UPS offer pre-paid envelope services for the Mérida consulate and this is what I opted to do. I ended up going with FedEx since they have a location a few blocks from the consulate. We left the house extra early so I could go get the pre-paid envelope before our appointment. They knew exactly what I was talking about when I got to the FedEx office and I was in and out of there in about 5 minutes. Once we got to the consulate, the guard outside checked his list to make sure we had an appointment for that day. Once inside, we had to go through security. Please note that most, if not all, consulates, consular agencies and the embassy will likely not permit any electronic devices, purses, backpacks, etc. into the building. We had to leave all of our personal belongings, including cell phones, at the front security desk. So, just plan accordingly. Once inside, we proceeded to the area for our scheduled appointment. We lucked out since there were only a handful of people ahead of us. Once our number was called, we went up to the counter with all of our paperwork in hand and it took about 10 to 15 minutes for the consular agent to process all the paperwork. He cancelled (hole punched them) our current passports and gave them back to us, in addition to giving us back all of our original supporting documentation. Once done, we paid all the applicable fees (we paid in cash with MXN) and were on our merry way. In total, we probably spent about 45 minutes at the consulate and the overwhelming majority of that time was spent simply waiting. Also, did I mention that we were having our new passports mailed to our next destination which was Cozumel? Don’t ask me why I timed it this way but I just did 🙂 About 2 weeks later, our passports arrived at the FedEx office on the island. I decided to have it sent to the FedEx office versus our house since couriers (and the Mexican postal system) are sometimes challenged to find certain mailing addresses. And I didn’t want to take any chances. Mailing services in México is a whole separate discussion for a future post.

Overall, I couldn’t have been happier with our experience. All the steps were straight forward and we got our new passports very quickly without rush fees. I don’t think we would have received the passports any faster had we renewed in the states. As long as all of your paperwork is in order, it should be a pain free process.

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