You will receive the two required Mexican forms at the airport check-in or on the flight. A Mexican immigration form is required for each person and one Mexican customs declaration is required per family. If you make a mistake ask the flight attendant for another, more forms are available in the Cancun airport’s immigration area as well. Remember to bring a couple pens on the plane with you!
You hear it all the time but please do remain seated until the cabin door opens and you are officially welcomed to Mexico.
When you exit the plane there will be signs and airport personal showing you which way to go and immigration agents checking your paperwork to make sure you’ve filled it out properly. If all is well they will point you towards the escalator and stairs (elevators are nearby) that lead to the immigration area. There are usually more agents at the entrance showing you which line to get into. During peek season and travel days, the lines seem endless, just take a deep breath and pass the time chatting with people around you.
Be sure to have passports and immigration forms ready. The agent will scan your passport, stamp it and tear off the bottom section of the immigration form(s). The part the agents hands back to you is you “Tourist Card” which you will have to give back when you leave Mexico - keep it safe! Most people fold it and put it inside their passport. If you lose it, there is an Immigration counter/office in both Terminal 2 and 3 to help you when you depart. The process of replacing a lost tourist card can take awhile so arrive at the airport in plenty of time.
Baggage claim is to your right after you pass immigration. This can be tricky at any airport as the screens are not always updated quickly and often more then one fight is using a carousel. Once you have found the correct carousel and claimed your bags, (remember to always tag your luggage with your contact and hotel info, just in case), its forward to customs.
Get in line for customs inspection. All your luggage including carry-ons will go through a scanner. Once you give your customs form (one per family) to the agent you’ll be asked to press a button. A green light means go on ahead and if you get the red light the agents give your bags a more thorough inspection which usually take a couple minutes.
There are bathrooms in all three areas; at the entrance to immigration, to the far right in baggage claim and and just in front of the customs agents after you are cleared.
After going through customs you enter what is nicknamed the “shark tank”, the area between customs and the exit where there are tour, transportation, rental car booths and dozens of time-share and tour sales people. They are experts at spotting first time visitors and will descend like a duck on a june bug. The best strategy is to not look around as you walk from customs to the terminal exit, rather talk to each other or if traveling alone, check your cell. If approached anyway, simply smile and a “no thank you” should work. Be polite, remember they are trying to make a living, and say you are being met and keep walking unless of course you are interested in a tour or timeshare.
You made it! Exit through the doors, breath in the tropical air and begin your adventure!
This list will help you expedite your arrival transition through the airport. We put together this list from the most common mistakes people make when arriving to Cancun. Please use this list as a guide to your arrival only.
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