Immigration & Visas, Transportation

Mexico Immigration & Visas FAQs

Passport with immigration entry stamps

In this article, we’ve gathered together the most frequently-asked questions we receive in relation to immigration and visas in Mexico

Last Updated: August 1, 2018

Visitor Visa Related Questions
Resident Visa Related Questions
Car Permit Related Questions

Visitor Visa Related Questions

Q: Do I need a visa to visit Mexico?
Whether you need to apply for a visa before you visit Mexico depends on what country’s passport you hold, or other criteria. This article: Do I need a Visa to Visit Mexico explains the details.

Q: If I normally require a visa to visit Mexico, but I have a visa to visit or live in the USA, do I need to apply for a separate visa to visit Mexico?
If the country you are a passport holder of is on Mexico’s ‘visa required’ list, and the United States of America has granted you a visitor’s visa or a residency visaand that visa is current (not expired)—you can visit Mexico without the need to apply for a separate visa. You can find further details on this article.

Q: How long can I remain in Mexico with a Visitor’s Permit (FMM)?
If you enter Mexico as tourist or business visitor, then the immigration official at the port of entry will usually grant you 180 days’ stay; this will be written on the visitor’s permit for your reference. If the official writes a number less than 180 days, you may apply to extend it to a maximum of 180 days at any local immigration office in Mexico, provided you intend to stay-on as a tourist or extend your business visit. In most cases, Visitors are granted the full 180 day allowance. The Visitor’s Permit will always expire after 180 days: it cannot be extended or renewed and you must leave the country before it expires. You can find further details about this permit on our article Your Mexican Tourist Permit, FMM

Q: How long do I have to remain outside of Mexico before I can return using a new Visitor permit (FMM)?
There is no time limit on how long you must remain outside of Mexico before returning under the auspice of a new Visitor permit. (You could leave and return the same day.)  However, if you continually leave and re-enter in Mexico using a visitor permit, you may have your intentions questioned by an immigration official when you re-enter.  You can find further details about this permit on our article Your Mexican Tourist Permit, FMM

Q: How do I replace a lost/stolen Visitor’s Permit (FMM)
You can find the answer to this question on our article Your Mexican Tourist Permit, FMM

Q: What do I do if I over-stay on my Visitor’s Permit (FMM)?
You can find the answer to this question on our article Your Mexican Tourist Permit, FMM

Q: I have a previous criminal record; will this prevent me entering Mexico?
If you have a previous criminal record, you should contact your nearest Mexican Consulate in your country of residence before you travel to Mexico to explain your situation and seek further advice.

Q: What permits do I need to get married in Mexico? Are same-sex marriages allowed in Mexico? Will my Mexican marriage certificate be valid in my home country?
You can find answers to these questions on our Guide to Getting Married in Mexico.

Q: I took my tourist visa (FMM) home with me because there was no one to give it to when I drove across the border. What do I do?
You can find the answer to this question on our article Your Mexican Tourist Permit, FMM

Q: Can I exchange my Visitor’s Visa (FMM) for a Residency Permit?
Before November 2012 it was possible for anyone to exchange a visitor’s permit for a residency permit, but this is no longer the case. In a small number of specific circumstances you still can, but in most cases, you cannot exchange your FMM for a Resident Visa.  If you decide that you want to apply for residency in Mexico, you will need to leave Mexico and apply via a Mexican Consulate abroad.

See Also: Travel & Leisure in Mexico

Residency Visa Related Questions

Q: What are the requirements to acquire a living/working/retirement permit in Mexico?
You can find an extensive overview about acquiring permits for living, working and retirement on our Mexico Immigration page. You can also find extensive information about living our Mexico Lifestyle guides. For detailed information about visa types, qualification criteria, fees, and procedures, download a copy of our Mexico Immigration Guide.

Q: How long do residency visas last for?
Temporary residency visas last for up to 4 years, a permanent residency visa gives the holder indefinite leave to remain in Mexico.  See Time limits on Mexican residency visas for details.

Q: How long can I remain outside Mexico when I have residency status?
You can leave and re-enter Mexico as often as you like, and there are no time limits on how long you can remain outside of Mexico; however, temporary residency renewals and reporting changes in personal circumstances must be undertaken in Mexico.  See Time limits on Mexican residency visas for details.

Q: Are there minimum financial requirements required to live/retire in Mexico?
Mexican immigration law stipulates that foreigners applying for residency in Mexico must be able to prove sufficient economic means to sustain themselves while in Mexico.  Read the article about Financial Criteria for Residency in Mexico.

Q: How can I apply for a work visa in Mexico?
For information about applying for working visas in Mexico, see our Mexico Immigration page and our extensive section about Working in Mexico. If you would like personal advice based on your individual situation, you might consider using our Relocation Consultancy Service.

Q: Does Mexico have a Points-based System to apply for residency in Mexico?
The 2012 Immigration Law references a Points-based qualification system as one of the routes non-Mexicans may use to acquire residency in Mexico.  However, the Points-based System has not been implemented and there is no known date as to when it might be implemented.  Until then, foreigners seeking residency in Mexico need to pursue other routes, e.g. financial qualification, family unit, etc.—as described on our Mexico Immigration page.

Q: Can I leave Mexico while my Resident Permit is being processed or renewed?
When you are exchanging your Residency Visa for a Resident Card, or renewing your existing Residency Permit you have to remain in Mexico.  In exceptional circumstances, you can request a one-time temporary exit and re-entry permit from the local immigration office that is processing your residency permit.  Read our article about Renewing your Mexico residency permit for details.

Q: How can I import my personal effects to Mexico when I relocate there to live?
Mexico allows foreign residents to import personal effects tax-free when they first move here under a procedure known as the Menaje de Casa. You can find details about that on Guide to Moving to Mexico. For further advice about arranging your Menaje de Casa, contact your nearest Mexican Consulate.

Q: Am I covered by Mexican Social Security for healthcare if I am legally resident in Mexico?
You can find answers to this question on our article about Health Insurance options in Mexico.

Q: How long do I have to live in Mexico before I can apply for citizenship?
You can find the answer to this question on our article: Becoming a Naturalized Mexican

Q: Do I need to supply financial information every time I renew my temporary resident permit, or exchange my temporary resident permit for a permanent residency permit?
Normally you don’t, but in some circumstances you may have to. Read this article about renewing your residency permit for more details.

Q: How do I replace a lost/stolen Resident Permit
If you are inside Mexico when you lose your residency permit, you’ll need to attend your local INM office to apply for a replacement; you can find details here. If you are outside Mexico when the loss happens, you should contact your nearest Mexican Consulate for guidance. Note that these procedures apply to permits which have not expired—see next question about resident permit expiry.

Q: What do I do if I my Resident Permit has expired?
If you hold a resident permit and let it expire, complex rules exist about getting it renewed and these vary whether you are inside or outside Mexico at the time when it expires. You should contact your Mexican Consulate for guidance if you’re abroad, or seek guidance in person from your local INM office if you’re here in Mexico. You might consider using our Relocation Consultancy Service to discuss your situation. We strongly recommend that if you hold a resident permit and you plan to remain living in Mexico you do not let it expire before applying for it to be renewed. Resident permits can be renewed up to 30 days prior to their expiry date.

See Also: Living & Lifestyle in Mexico

Car Permit Related Questions

Q: How can I import my foreign-plated car to Mexico?
This is a simple question with complex answers. You can find guidance on the Mexperience article Bringing Foreign Plated Cars into Mexico and our guide to Driving in Mexico.

Q: I didn’t surrender my car’s TIP (Temporary Import Permit) at the border. How can I tell the Mexican government I have exported my car?
You should always surrender your TIP, unless you plan to come back to Mexico in short order, in which case you might apply for ‘multiple entries’—see next question/answer. If you didn’t surrender your TIP, you will probably need to drive the same car back to a border crossing (it does not have to be the same one you entered through) and surrender it. Some—but not many—Mexican Consulates offer a ‘TIP Cancellation’ service. Contact your nearest Mexican Consulate to ask if they do, or which one nearest to you does. There are fees, penalties, and paperwork involved: it’s always best to surrender your TIP at the border.

Q: We plan to drive our foreign-plated car across the border, but return a week later and/or We make regular crossings back-and-forth across the land border with our car. Do we have to surrender the TIP and get a new one when we return?
There is a procedure that you can undertake at the MX/US border to register your vehicle for “multiple exits and entries” from Mexico while the TIP remains current. Visit the link provided above for further details.

Q: I drove my car into Baja California in Mexico, and am using a FMM visitor’s visa for my stay here.  Do I have to leave with my car, or can I fly out of Mexico using my FMM?
A car’s Temporary Import Permit (TIP) is tied to the FMM; and you must leave Mexico with the car and the FMM you entered with before its expiry date. However, as you do not require a TIP to drive your car on the Baja California peninsula, your FMM will be valid for you to enter by road and fly-out.

See Also: Transportation in Mexico

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