Visas to Mexico for US Permanent Residents

By Mallory Ferland
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Legal Permanent Residents, or green card holders, living in the United States can use their green card to enter Mexico, Canada or Guam in lieu of obtaining a visa. For travel between the U.S., Canada and Mexico, a green card holds the same travel requirements as U.S. citizenship. This agreement, however, only applies to countries in North America and cannot be applied to all countries where U.S. citizens are not required to obtain a visa for entry.

Visa Requirements

Legal Permanent Residents of the United States are not required to obtain a visa in order to visit Mexico. Mexico and the United States have an agreement that allows any LPRs, or green-card holders, to bypass obtaining a visa as long as they can prove their status. A Brazilian citizen living in the U.S. with a legal green card does not need to obtain a visa to visit Mexico, even though Brazilian citizens are required to apply for a visa before entering Mexico.

Travel Documents

In order to enter Mexico as an LPR without a Mexican visa, you must have your green card with you at all times. A valid passport from your home country is also required in order to enter Mexico and reenter the U.S. If you intend to stay in Mexico for a period of one year or more, you must apply for a reentry permit, Form I-131 Application for Travel Document, through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services before leaving the country.

Travel Limitations

LPRs are permitted to travel to Mexico under a limited time frame. Green cards carry a condition that disallows the holder to be absent from the U.S. for a period of one year or more at a time. If an LPR travels to Mexico and stays more than one year without first obtaining a reentry permit, his status will be terminated. Making multiple trips in and out of the U.S. to Mexico for significant periods of time per year can also result in suspicion and investigation into your status. Every time you reenter the U.S., you are at the discretion of the interviewing customs agent to decide whether your actions are suspicious or not.

Canada and Guam

The same agreement that allows LPRs to travel to Mexico exists between the U.S., Canada and Guam. LPRs are allowed to travel to either country without obtaining a visitor visa. Transit can also be made directly to one country from the other, such as a flight from Canada to Mexico, as long as the total time spent outside of the U.S. is less than one year.