Can You Travel to Mexico Without a COVID Vaccine?

The land border between Mexico and the United States reopened to non-essential travel earlier this month. But is it possible to travel from the U.S. to the country without having been vaccinated against COVID-19?

The answer is yes, it is possible, but U.S heath authorities advise against doing so at this time.

At the time of writing on November 15, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classified Mexico as "Level 3" indicating a "high level" of COVID-19 in the country.

As a result, the CDC advises that you are fully vaccinated before traveling to Mexico. In addition, the health agency recommends that unvaccinated travelers avoid non-essential travel to the country.

Mexico has reported a total of around 3.8 million cases of COVID-19 and more than 291,000 deaths from the disease.

"Because of the current situation in Mexico, all travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants," the CDC said on its travel page for the country.

"Fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread COVID-19. However, international travel poses additional risks, and even fully vaccinated travelers might be at increased risk for getting and possibly spreading some COVID-19 variants."

If you are not fully vaccinated and still decide to travel to Mexico, the CDC says you should get tested with a viral test one to three days before your trip.

This is not required by the Mexican government, however. No test is needed before departure to travel to the country and there is no form of quarantine required on arrival.

Travelers to country simply need to complete a health declaration form and have the QR code it generates scanned on arrival.

The CDC says people who have been exposed to COVID-19 should not travel unless they have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from the disease in the past 90 days.

The agency says you also shouldn't travel if you are sick, have tested positive for COVID-19 and haven't ended isolation, or if you are waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test.

Before returning to the United States, fully vaccinated travelers are required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result taken no more than three days before travel.

Meanwhile travelers who are not fully vaccinated are required to show a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than one day before travel.

Children under two years of age are exempt from this requirement. In addition, those who have recently recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days can also travel with documentation proving this.

After arrival back in the U.S., the CDC recommends that all travelers get tested with a COVD-19 viral test three to five days after travel. In addition, those who are not fully vaccinated are advised to stay home and self-quarantine for a full seven days after travel, even if you test negative at three to five days.

Those who decide not to get tested are advised to stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.

People who have recently recovered from COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, are not advised to get a test three to five days after travel, and don't have to self-quarantine after travel.

Cancún, Mexico
Stock image showing Cancún, Mexico, a popular tourist destination. iStock