Home Mexico Travel & Economy COVID & your Mexican tourist visa

COVID & your Mexican tourist visa

by Brent May

The normal tourist visa allows you 180 days to enjoy your stay in Mexico. If you need to stay longer you must leave Mexico and return for another 180 days. However, if you happen to overstay your visa limit, it normally involves paying a fee at the airport on the way out of the country.  The cost will vary depending on how many days you have stayed over the 180-day limit and the mood of the official.

However, unusual times such as the current Corona Virus Pandemic result in different solutions. The COVID-19 crisis continues to evolve and on April 21, 2020, the Mexican government announced the start of Phase 3 of the pandemic. This announcement impacts both domestic and international travel. Some carriers have decided not to operate internationally; and some domestic airlines have reduced their routes inside Mexico. As border restrictions continue to evolve, we urge travelers to check all travel and health requirements with the United States and Canadian authorities prior to traveling.

For some travelers, your airline carrier may already have contacted you to reschedule your flights to a later date. You may find that you will need to reschedule on a different airline and the routing is likely to be different as well. There are connecting flights through the Mexico City airport to U.S. and Canadian destinations. There may also be connections in the United States on the way to Canada. But it is going to be confusing as the quarantine rules are changing almost on a daily basis.

If you cannot find appropriate transportation and choose to remain in Mexico, you will likely be required to shelter in place until the quarantine is lifted. Your embassy or consulate may be able to help you with some accommodations but not with everything. You may have difficulty getting prescriptions and medical care; your insurance may not cover your travel or medical expenses; and you will be required to observe the local restrictions during the quarantine.

The Mexican government encourages people to continue respecting social distancing measures, washing their hands, and coughing or sneezing in the inner part of the elbow to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  A variety of prevention measures can be found at https://coronavirus.gob.mx

Please note that the information contained in this article is subject to change as airlines are constantly adjusting their schedules and the governments are revising their restrictions and quarantines.


U.S. and Canadian citizens in Mexico with questions about Mexican immigration policies should contact local immigration authorities for information. Mexican Immigration (INM) continues to provide services across Mexico.  However, due to reduced staffing, members of the public might experience long wait times for routine services.  INM recommends monitoring its website for information about its current operating status. The local INM offices have said that the usual stipulations will remain in place.

If you have overstayed your tourist visa, you will need to go to the immigration office at the airport (on the lower level in the Mexico City Airport.) It is a straightforward process that usually takes a few minutes. However, if you are in this situation, you may wish to schedule your flights with a little time between flights in Mexico City so that you have time to go through the process with the Immigration officials. They will be tending to more people so it will take more time. They will take your information and process a (usually small) fine.  Just be polite and you will be out of there in a jiffy.


Other resources available are:

The Mexican Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 hotline at 800-004-4800 for information or medical attention.  English language operators are sometimes, but not always, available.

Local telephone numbers for COVID-19 assistance in each state are available here: https://coronavirus.gob.mx/contacto/

You may also refer to the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19MX app that provides Spanish-language information about COVID-19 and local health care resources.  It includes contact information for health care providers, an interactive diagnostic tool that analyzes reported symptoms and advises whether or not to seek medical care, the location of the nearest health care facility, the latest news related to COVID-19, and advice on how to prevent the spread of the disease.  The app is available in the Mexican iOS and Android stores.

Please note that this situation is rapidly changing and that the information provided here about local and state restrictions is subject to change without notice and may not be comprehensive. 


For those who prefer not to transit via the United States, please be advised that Air Canada will run one flight per day from Mexico City to Toronto in May.

AeroMexico will resume operations with 1 flight a week from Mexico City to Vancouver from May 1st and twice a week as of May 7th.

Canadian citizens can transit in Toronto or in Vancouver to various locations across Canada.

The Government of Canada cannot make your reservations for you. It is your responsibility to book your return flight to Canada.

If you are experiencing financial difficulties in purchasing a new ticket because of previous fight cancellations due to COVID-19, you may be eligible for the COVID-19 Emergency Loan Program.

For information on eligibility criteria, please visit the following website: https://travel.gc.ca/…/financial-as…/covid-19-financial-help

Effective April, 20, travelers will need to demonstrate that they have the necessary non-medical mask or face covering during the boarding process, otherwise they will not be allowed to continue on their journey. It is your responsibility to bring the required cloth face covering to the airport. You will not be provided with one if you do not have one. Consular officials from the government of Canada will not be in a position to provide masks. The Public Health Agency of Canada provides suggestions for simple “do it yourself” cloth covers that can be easily made from inexpensive materials found at home, or even while travelling: https://www.canada.ca/…/…/instructions-sew-no-sew-cloth-face covering.html

For specific information on the requirements for travelers who are returning to Canada please see:  https://www.canada.ca/…/2…/latest-travel-health-advice.html

In case of an emergency outside of Canada, call 555-724-7900 ext. 379-3348 or send an email to mxicocs@international.gc.ca

You can also call the center in Ottawa directly at +1-613-996-8885 (call collect where available) or sos@international.gc.ca

If you have returned to Canada and do not intend to travel in the near future, you may access your file at https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/registration You can modify your travel date and destination details by changing the departure date to the date on which you returned to Canada. If you are unable to change the departure date, send an email to: roca@international.gc.ca or mxicocs@international.gc.ca with the date you arrived in Canada.

If you have already informed them of your departure, please be patient, they are doing their best to close registrations as quickly as possible.

Other questions or concerns should be directed to:

Embassy of Canada
Schiller 529, Col. Bosque de Chapultepec
11560 Ciudad de México
Telephone: (52) 555-724-7900 ext. 379-3348

Consular Section – mxicocs@international.gc.ca



Some international flight options may still exist in Mexico.  U.S. citizens who wish to return to the United States should make commercial arrangements as soon as possible. The United States government does not anticipate arranging repatriation flights in Mexico at this time. 

There is a listing of airlines at the end of this article along with their websites. You should check them directly for transportation options.

The United States and Mexico entered a joint initiative March 21 restricting non-essential travel along the U.S.-Mexico land border to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  Non-essential travel includes travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature. Travelers should carry evidence of the essential nature of their visit and evidence of their resident status in Mexico, if applicable.

Travelers entering Mexico via land or air may be subject to health screenings including temperature checks.  Those exhibiting symptoms may be subject to additional health screening and/or quarantine and may experience significant delays and face the possibility of being returned to the United States or quarantined in Mexico.

U.S. airlines now require all passengers to wear a face mask over their nose and mouth during check-in, boarding, in flight and when deplaning. Some airlines are providing masks, sanitizers and wipes but you should be prepared with your own supplies. You will also notice that seat assignments will follow the recommended social distancing recommendations.

These requirements follow the guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization:




As a reminder, the U.S. government does not pay for lodging or other expenses incurred due to travel disruptions abroad.

For U.S. citizens returning to the United States from Mexico and all other foreign locations, the CDC recommends you self-quarantine for 14 days.  

For Emergency Assistance for U.S. citizens in Mexico, call 558-526-2561 from Mexico or 1-844-528-6611 from the United States. 

Other questions or concerns should be directed to:

The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City is located at:
Paseo de la Reforma 305
Colonia Cuauhtémoc
06500, Ciudad de México
Phone: +52-555-080-2000
Fax: +52-555-080-2005




Below you will find a list of airlines still offering flights to Canada and the United States. Links have been included so that you can find out the best way to book your flight with each company. Again, there are schedule changes as the quarantine is evolving. Check frequently if you are looking for flights home and be sure to confirm any COVID-19 requirements the airlines might have.







UNITED AIRLINES Until May to the US from Cancun, Mexico City, Monterrey, Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos / Flights from the US to Canada are suspended.

AEROMAR Some domestic connections available to Mexico City from Manzanillo, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Acapulco, Colima, Oaxaca and Puerto Escondido

VIVAAEROBUS Some domestic connections available. See the list here:


VOLARIS Some domestic connections available a few times a week to Mexico City from Cancun, Huatulco, Guadalajara, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, Oaxaca and Merida. See active routes here: 



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1 comment

Melony May 4, 2021 - 2:44 pm

Consider listing the USD dollar amount of the fine for overstaying one’s tourist VISA, rather than saying a “small fine.” That way, we can brace ourselves and budget around it. I am overstaying mine by two months, & I have no idea what to expect at the airport or whether I’ll experience considerable delays. I am arriving four hours early with hopes that is early enough to jump the hoops while wondering what immigration will charge me. When I went to the immigration office, today (a week before departure), the official said I’d not have to pay anything because of Covid19. They also said I’d have to sort it out when I go to the airport rather than sort it out with the immigration office.


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