THINGS TO DO IN ADVANCE

PASSPORT AND VISA

US Citizens and Residents

All US citizens are required to present a valid US Passport when entering Mexico (whether by air, land or sea). No visa is required for tourists (people visiting Mexico for unpaid activities and for a stay of less than 180 days).

Permanent US Residents traveling by air, land or sea to Mexico are required to present a valid Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) and a current, valid passport or travel document.

For stays of less than 180 days for study, no visa is required, but you will need to present the original acceptance letter from CIMAT to the immigration office at passport control.

However, if you plan to stay longer than 180 days (two semesters), or plan to enter and exit the country multiple times, we strongly recommend you obtain a Temporary Resident Student Visa. For doing so, you will need to schedule an appointment in your nearest Mexican Consulate -you can find it here and make the appointment here- and present the following documents (for more information, check your nearest consulate webpage):

  1. Original passport, valid for at least for the duration of your stay plus your return trip
  2. 1 photocopy of your passport’s personal information page
  3. Original and 1 photocopy of another valid ID (Driver’s License, ID card)
  4. 1 visa application form duly completed and signed 
  5. 1 recent passport size photo (size 1.5 x 1.3/4 inches), in color, with face clearly visible, without glasses and taken against a white background
  6. Confirmation page of your consular appointment 
  7. Original acceptance letter from CIMAT
  8.  Documents demonstrating economic solvency 
  9. Processing fees: $36.00 USD

Visas are generally issued on the same day. Once you arrive in Mexico, we will help you exchange your visa for a Resident Card. Your residence card allows you to travel back and forth without a visa.

Other Nationalities or Non-Permanent US Residents

Here you can find the list of nationalities that are required to obtain a Mexican visa to enter the country as a tourist.

No foreign nationals, regardless of nationality, are required to obtain a Mexican visa if they already possess a current, valid US visa, and they plan to study in Mexico for less than 180 days. However, if the USA visa stamped in your passport has expired, even if you have an official document or form proving your legal status in the US, you will have to apply for a Mexican visa.

For stays of less than 180 days for study, no visa is required, but you will need to present the original acceptance letter from CIMAT to the immigration office at passport control.

However, if you plan to stay longer than 180 days (two semesters), or plan to enter and exit the country multiple times, we strongly recommend you obtaining a Temporary Resident Student Visa. For doing so, you will need to schedule an appointment in your nearest Mexican Consulate -you can find it here and make the appointment here. Check your nearest consulate webpage to learn about the documents you need to present.

Once you arrive in Mexico, we will help you exchange your visa for a Resident Card. Your residence card allows you to travel back and forth without a visa.

MANDATORY MEDICAL INSURANCE

Comprehensive international health insurance that is valid in Mexico at least for the duration of your stay and meets the following requirements is mandatory: 

  1. Coverage of a minimum of USD $100,000.00 (one hundred thousand dollars) for medical expenses
  2. Emergency medical evacuation and repatriation benefits
  3. Legal assistance
  4. Transportation costs for one family member in the event of hospitalization

You will be asked to provide proof of your medical insurance upon acceptance to MSSG. If you cannot produce this proof in good time or if does not meet the requirements mentioned above, your admission will be revoked. Buying additional travel insurance is also highly recommended. If you need medical attention, there are several hospitals in the area that have agreements with different insurance companies. We can help you find the right one for you.

In case of a chronic medical condition, please verify with your insurance that all your health expenses will be covered during your stay in Mexico.

MEDICATIONS

If you require any type of prescription medication, be sure to bring enough to cover the duration of your stay in Mexico. Do not remove them from their original packaging and keep your doctor’s prescription to hand in case you are asked to provide it.

Keep in mind that it is forbidden by the law to bring some American over-the-counter medicines containing pseudoephedrine or codeine into Mexico.  We advise that you follow the instructions of the US Embassy in Mexico and if you take any kind of medication that you are not allowed to bring with you, ask your doctor about their equivalent in Mexico.

Please remember that it is forbidden by the law to mail prescription medicines to Mexico without a permit from the Mexican Health Department.

GRE AND GRADUATE SCHOOL APPLICATIONS

It is possible to take the GRE exam in certain Mexican cities, but not in Guanajuato. If you need to take the GRE exam, our recommendation is to take it before your trip.

It could be complicated to apply for graduate school or NSF graduate fellowships while you are away, so try to get this done as early as you can.

CELLPHONES

Many cell phone carriers in the United States include unlimited calling, texting, and internet roaming in Mexico and Canada with their plans or for a fee. Be sure to check your cell phone service provider’s conditions in advance, so that you do not end up paying more than necessary.

You might also consider buying a Mexican SIM card. Several providers, such as Telcel or AT&T, offer prepaid plans that include calls to the USA and Canada with no additional charges, so this might be a good option as well.

CURRENCY

There are ATM machines available throughout Guanajuato. Nevertheless, we recommend using only the ATMs inside the bank offices. It is important to notify your banks and credit card companies of your stay in Mexico, otherwise, your cards might be blocked due to fraud prevention procedures.

The Mexico currency is the Mexican peso (MXN). The exchange rate from dollar to peso is constantly fluctuating (currently it is somewhere between 18 to 20 pesos to the US dollar). Although there are also several casas de cambio - money exchange offices - in Guanajuato, ATMs are the quickest and most convenient way to obtain the local currency and their exchange rate is usually good. Please contact your bank/credit card companies about their international rates. We discourage bringing traveler checks with you, as you will only be able to exchange them at the bank at certain limited hours.

El Bajío International Airport (BJX)—Guanajuato’s nearest international airport—and Mexico City International Airport (MEX) also have ATMs and money exchange offices at hand.

OTHER ADVICE
We recommend you get an International Student Identification Card (ISIC), which can help you to get discounts on transportation, museums, cultural activities, and other services.