Did you know that each year, thousands of people travel from the United States to Mexico for dental work? Although traveling to Mexico for dental work is relatively easy, it is important to know what documentation you need for international travel both to Mexico and returning to the U.S. Mexico continues to make crossing the border into their country pretty simple, although returning to the U.S. is a bit more complicated. Keep reading for more information on whether you need a passport or other documents to go to Mexico for dental work.
Why Mexico for Dental Work?
Before we delve into the paperwork you need for crossing the border, you might want to know a bit more about why you would want to travel to Mexico for dental work. If you aren’t already familiar with dental tourism, you might be surprised to know that traveling to Mexico specifically for dental work is much more common than you think! For several reasons, dental work in Mexico is much less costly than in the U.S. One of the main reasons for this is that the cost of living in Mexico is much lower in Mexico, making the overhead for dental offices much lower. Additionally, dentists’ education is actually paid for by the government as long as the dentists’ complete specific requirements. Between the low overhead and subsidized education cost, these savings are passed on to patients. In most cases, even with travel expenses, you can save money by going to Mexico for dental work.
What Documents Do You Need to Travel to Mexico?
Cities like Tijuana and Los Algodones are border towns known for dental tourism and are situated very close to the border. For these locations, it is easy to travel by land across the border and catch a taxi or bus the few files to the clinic. Some of the dental clinics even offer free transportation for their patients from the border to their clinics. You don’t need a passport if you are crossing by land and only traveling within the “Free Zone,” the area between the border and approximately 12 to 18 miles from the border. If you’re flying into Mexico you will have to present a passport regardless of where you’re traveling to, like all international travel. Also important to note is that American citizens don’t need a visa to travel to Mexico.
What Documents Do You Need to Return to the United States?
As mentioned previously, crossing the border back to the U.S. is more complex, but still not terribly difficult. The main difference is that you will need a Passport – either in book or card form – or an Enhanced Driver’s License, also called an EDL. If you’ve traveled internationally before then you’re already familiar with a passport book, however, you may not be familiar with a passport card. People that cross the border by land to and from Mexico fairly often probably already have a passport card. Although passport books and cards are similar, cards are not accepted for air travel. EDL’s are also only usable for land and sea travel. Sometimes you may be able to cross back into the U.S. with your birth certificate and driver’s license, but truly it is better to have your passport to be on the safe side. You don’t want to get stuck in another country and be unable to return home.
There are several reasons to travel to Mexico for dental work and because it is relatively easy to travel there, thousands of people do just that, each year! Just be sure to have your passport to get back into the U.S.