If you arrive in Mexico by land or sea and intend to travel beyond the ~35 km ‘free zone’ you will need to get a visitor’s visa known as Forma Migratoria Multiple, or FMM. If you fly to Mexico, air crews on international flights hand these out before the plane lands, and they are also available at Mexican airports.
People who come to Mexico for leisure or business visits lasting 180 days or less, and who are passport holders of one of the many countries which don’t require a visa to enter Mexico, can complete a FMM visitor’s permit form at the port of entry. If your country does not appear on the list of countries which don’t require a visa for Mexico, read this.
The Mexican government levies a fee for these visitor permits (approximately US$22); the money raised is used for the promotion of Mexican tourism. If you fly into Mexico from overseas, the fee is usually included within your air ticket’s ‘fees and surcharges’; if you travel overland beyond the ‘free zone’ you need to make the payment separately.
Once completed, the immigration official will stamp both halves of the form and hand you the smaller half. It’s important to keep this document safe, as you will need it when you leave Mexico.
If you are departing Mexico on a flight, your airline will insist you surrender the FMM to them before they allow you to board. If you are driving out or leaving the country by sea, you should voluntarily surrender your FMM to an immigration official before your departure. Failure to do so might cause delays the next time you try and enter Mexico.
Lost your FMM Permit? If you lose your FMM while you’re in Mexico, you will need to visit one of the immigration offices situated in towns and cities across the country, or at the airport, and apply for a replacement before you can leave. This will involve some form-filling and filing, and a trip to a local bank to pay your permit replacement fee (about US$40) before you return to the immigration office to receive your FMM replacement.
Kept your FMM Permit after leaving Mexico? We sometimes get emails from readers who have arrived home and realized that they still have their FMM tourist permits, usually after driving back across the Mexico-US border. The best thing to do, if this happens to you, is to contact your nearest Mexican Consulate, who will advise what to do—they might ask you to post back it to them.
Over-Stayed on your FMM? If you overstay the time you were granted on a FMM permit (usually 180 days), you will need to visit an immigration office (or the immigration center at the airport) and pay a fine before you can leave the country. The amount of the fine depends on how long you have over-stayed; it is calculated on a per-day basis and, at time of writing, will not be more than MX$6,000 pesos. As with lost permits, you should arrange to secure your exit visa before your planned flight departure date, as otherwise you might miss your flight.
FMM Online: There is an option to apply online, make the payment, print-out the form and get this stamped at the border. Note that the restrictions on the land entry application means that the online permit will only be valid for travel within the “free zone”. See the eFMM Application Page on the Mexican immigration site for details, terms and conditions. Most people continue to complete their FMM in-flight, oron arrival at the airport, or at the land or sea border.
You can get full details about immigration procedures on your arrival in Mexico on our comprehensive guide to Mexico Entry Requirements.
For information about long-term visas, including visas for living, retirement, and work permits in Mexico, connect to the Mexico Immigration Guide page.
See Also: Do I Need A Visa to Enter Mexico?