Can you come back to the U.S. from Mexico without a passport?
I am an Arizona resident, raised and born very close to Mexico, in fact I happen to live about 15 minutes away from the Mexico border. Living in a border town, so close to Mexico, it is not unusual to cross to Mexico to visit friends or family. Or, as many do, go shopping or out to dinner.
I never had a U.S. passport to cross into Mexico, but a few years ago we were advised that we would be required to have a valid passport at some point. Not wanting to get stuck in Mexico, I went ahead and applied for a passport and continued to take my usual trips to Mexico without any problems on my way back. I would show my passport and I was allowed to return with no incidents.
Unfortunately, a few months ago, I lost my passport while I was in Mexico. Somewhat concerned about my situation, I was worried that I would not be allowed to cross back into the United States. I made my way back to the border and explained to the CBP (customs border protection) officer what had occurred. He asked if I had another identification with me. I only had my valid driver's license at the time, so I gave it to him and waited to see what would be required next. He advised me to report my stolen/lost passport A.S.A.P but after a few questions, he did let me come back to the States.
After a few weeks, I had to cross to Mexico again and had not received my replacement passport, so I took my driver's license and my original birth certificate. I was allowed to come back to the States, and did that several times while I waited for the new passport, which arrived without any problems.
I was told to visit the website: www.cpb.gov for additional information on documents required by the department of State to cross into Mexico. I visited the site and found the page where it states what documents are accepted to cross back to the U.S. whether it's by land, sea or air. The page also includes a option to email a specific questions in case you don't see the answer you inquire about.
I found this link to be very helpful because it stated all the accepted documents we can present on our way back to the United States. To travel to Mexico by air and land requires very similar documents, but there are more options to those that are traveling by land or sea.
Here are your options for Land Travel (WHTI-compliant documents)...
It's a good idea to always make a copy of your documents and keep them in a safe place. I hope this information is useful for anyone that is traveling in Mexico and happens to misplace or have a stolen passport. You should not worry. If you can show one of the required documents, you should be able to come back with no issues. After all, anyone can find themselves on a vacation or short trip in Mexico and misplace her/his passport.