Recently, Mexico started the visa waiver program, allowing foreign nationals to enter the country without applying for a traditional paper or stamp visa. Instead, foreigners are required to apply for an ETA, also known as an SAE.
A Mexico ETA is not actually a visa. It is an electronic authorization system that allows a holder to enter Mexico for different purposes, including tourism and business purposes!
What is a Mexican Electronic Travel Authorization?
Both the United States of America and Mexico have the same travel authorization system. While the US offers an ESTA, foreign citizens can apply for an ETA to enter Mexico.
Unlike a traditional paper visa, applying for an ETA is a straightforward process. The best thing about an ETA is that you don’t have to visit the Mexican embassy or consulate. Instead, foreigners can apply for an ETA from the comfort of their homes.
It's a single-entry travel document that allows a holder to stay in Mexico for up to 180 days. Keep in mind that an ETA cannot be extended! So, if your travel document expires, you'll need to leave the country to renew your Mexican ETA!
Not all foreign countries are eligible for a Mexico ETA. Currently, only citizens of Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, and Brazil can apply for electronic travel authorization. Moreover, if your nationality requires you to have a valid visa to enter Mexico, you must apply for a Mexican visa, regardless of your purpose of visit. This is because Mexico's ETA is not actually a visa!
How to Apply for a Mexico ETA?
Compared to a traditional visa, getting a Mexico ETA is both convenient and fast. You don’t have to visit the embassy or follow complicated steps. Instead, this entire visa application process is online. To get your ETA online, you'll need to visit VisaHQ, select your citizenship, and follow the following 3 steps:
Fill out the ETA application form
Pay the visa fee using online payment options, such as credit or debit card
Submit your application
That's it! Afterward, applicants will get their travel documents via email that they can print out and travel to Mexico. Although an ETA allows you to visit Mexico legally, it does not guarantee your entry into the country. The final decision will be made by the immigration officials!
To get an ETA, foreign nationals require no additional documents. You'll need to fulfill a few basic visa requirements. For instance, applicants must have:
Valid Passport - Your passport must have at least 6 months of validity period remaining, along with 2 blank pages for stamps.
Online Payment Option - As this entire process is online, you need to have an online payment option to pay the visa processing fee. You can use a debit card, credit card, or PayPal account.
E-mail Address - You must have a valid and working email address to apply for an ETA. Your email will be electronically linked to your passport. Upon approval, you'll get your ETA via email as well!
You don’t need any supporting documents to apply for an ETA!
Mexican ETA Application Form
Your application form is the most important document. You need to provide personal, contact, travel, and passport information to fill out the ETA application form. This information includes:
Name and surname
Date of birth
Passport issue and expiry date
If there are errors and mistakes in your online form, your ETA will be delayed or denied! Therefore, make sure to double-check the provided information to ensure the visa approval.
Estimated Processing Time
Most travelers prefer an ETA over a traditional visa because it is faster and more convenient. You can get your approved ETA within 24 hours as long as your application form is free from errors.
Due to secondary checks and high demands, you might have to wait a little longer. Therefore, it's recommended to apply for a Mexico eta at least one week prior to the intended arrival date!
Travel to Mexico - Entry Requirements
Citizens of Brazil, Turkey, Ukraine, and Russia are eligible for an ETA. Alternatively, if you are from Canada, Great Britain, the United States, or the Schengen area, you'll need to apply for a Mexico FMM form, e-tourist card, or e-business card!
Once you get your travel document, you can print out that document and visit Mexico by air. Upon your arrival, you'll need to present:
COVID-19 vaccination certificate
It's recommended to get a COVID-19 vaccination certificate beforehand to avoid self-isolation. Keep in mind that an ETA is only for air travel. If you're planning on traveling to Mexico by land, you must apply for an electronic visa or a traditional visa.