Generation of protective immunity at mucosal surfaces can greatly assist the host defense against pathogens which either cause disease at the mucosal epithelial barriers or enter the host through these surfaces. Although mucosal routes of immunization, such as intranasal and oral, are being intensely explored and appear promising for eliciting protective mucosal immunity in mammals, their application in clinical practice has been limited due to technical and safety related challenges. Most of the currently approved human vaccines are administered via systemic (such as intramuscular and subcutaneous) routes. Whereas these routes are acknowledged as being capable to elicit antigen-specific systemic humoral and cell-mediated immune responses, they are generally perceived as incapable of generating IgA responses or protective mucosal immunity. Nevertheless, currently licensed systemic vaccines do provide effective protection against mucosal pathogens such as influenza viruses and Streptococcus pneumoniae. However, whether systemic immunization induces protective mucosal immunity remains a controversial topic. Here we reviewed the current literature and discussed the potential of systemic routes of immunization for the induction of mucosal immunity.