Immigration & Visas, Mexico Essentials

Learn About Your Mexico Visitors Permit, FMM

Mexico offers visitor permits for visits and short business trips lasting 180 days or less to passport holders on its 'no visa required' list

Mexico Visitor Permit Stamp in Passport

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 visitors permit, known as Forma Migratoria Multiple or FMM, at the port of entry.

Mexico is phasing out paper versions of the FMM

The paper versions of the FMM are being gradually phased out and replaced with a stamp in your passport.

Read this article for further details.

  • If you arrive in Mexico by land, you will need to get a visitors permit at the port of entry;
  • If you fly to Mexico, air crews on international flights might hand-out the visitor permit forms before the flight lands; although note that paper forms are being phased out;
  • Paper forms might be available at some Mexican airports, near the immigration desks, otherwise the immigration official will place a stamp in your passport instead.
  • You can get your FMM online and print this out to take with you; the official at the port of entry will stamp the printed form; or will take the form and place a stamp in your passport instead.
  • If you are visiting a Mexican port(s) as part of a cruise ship tour, you’ll need to get a visitors permit at your first Mexican port of call: either a paper version or (more likely) a stamp in your passport.

(If the country that issued your passport appears on this list of countries which do require a visa for Mexico, read this.)

Fee for Mexico’s Visitor Visa (FMM)

If you arrive by land and leave Mexico within 7 days of your arrival date, there is no fee for the permit.  If you fly into Mexico from overseas, the fee is usually included within your air ticket’s “fees and surcharges.”  The fee is approximately US$35.

Keep Your Visitors Permit (FMM) Safe

If you are given a paper form: Once completed, the immigration official at the port of entry will stamp both halves of the form and hand you the smaller half, stamped with the date you entered the country.  It’s important to keep this paper document safe, as you will need to surrender it when you leave Mexico.

If you have a stamp placed into your passport: This stamp will serve in lieu of your paper visitor permit (FMM).

If you are departing Mexico on a flight, your airline will insist you surrender your paper Visitors Permit, or show them the stamp in your passport before they will allow you to board.

If you have a Visitors Permit (paper version) and are leaving the country by land you should voluntarily surrender your form to an immigration official before your departure.  Failure to do so might cause delays the next time you try and enter Mexico.

Your Mexico Visitor Permit: FAQs

Here are the most frequently asked questions about Mexico’s visitor permit

How long can I stay in Mexico with a Visitors Permit (FMM)?

Your visitor permit is valid for the number of days granted by the immigration official and written on the permit —that will never exceed 180 days, but may be less than 180 days— starting from the date of your arrival.  The arrival date is always stamped on the permit.

Read this article about the number of days being granted to people arriving in Mexico under auspice of a visitor permit, FMM.

This allowance is given per entry: every time you exit and re-enter Mexico on another date the allowance ‘resets.’ (You surrender your current FMM when you leave and get a new FMM when you return.)

  • If you enter Mexico as a tourist or visitor, to volunteer, or as a business visitor, then the immigration official at the port of entry will grant you a maximum 180 days to stay in Mexico.
  • The number of days you are allowed to stay will be written on the part of the form that’s handed to you for safe-keeping.
  • The date stamped on your permit is your arrival date.
  • To determine the latest date you must leave Mexico, count the number days (some months are longer than others) from the arrival date stamped on your form.
  • The permit’s expiry date might also be hand written on the stamped visa by the immigration official.

Caution about Tampering with your FMM form

We’ve seen stories on Social Media that suggest some people might be manually altering the number of days written on the form.  The form has a unique serial number printed on it that correlates to an electronic record of your entry to Mexico.  The number of days you are granted is stored on that record and the INM will not take kindly to anyone tampering with the form by altering the number of days written on it by the immigration official.

If you received a stamp in your passport, your passport number will be associated with the number of days granted.

What happens if I overstay my Visitor Permit?

If you overstay the time you were granted on your visitors permit (see previous question about validity), you will need to visit an immigration office, or the immigration kiosk at the airport, and pay a fine before you can leave the country.

The amount of the fine depends on how long you have overstayed; it is calculated on a per-day basis; contact your local immigration office (or the immigration kiosk at the airport) for details.

Can my Visitor Permit be extended or renewed?

Visitors Permits cannot be extended or renewed. If the immigration official at the port of entry writes a number fewer than 180 days on your Visitors Permit, you must leave Mexico within the time frame given to you by the official at the entry port.

Check your form to calculate your exit date based on the number of days you have been given: you must leave Mexico before it expires.

Learn more about the number of days being granted to people arriving in Mexico under the auspice of a visitor permit, FMM.

How long do I have to remain outside of Mexico before returning under the auspice of a new Visitor Permit?

There is no time limit to remain outside the country before re-entering using a new FMM—and thus obtaining up to another (maximum of) 180 days to stay in Mexico.  There is also no limit on how many times you can re-enter Mexico each year with a new FMM; however, see the caution note below about continual exit and re-entry to Mexico using a FMM.

Caution – Using a visitor permit for continual re-entry to Mexico

Some people have been using the flexibility of the FMM to stay in Mexico longer-term—leaving Mexico when it expires, and re-entering Mexico again in short order.

However, with today’s computerized entry and exit systems, immigration officials at ports of entry have ready-access to your movements through Mexico and ‘perpetual visitors’ —people who continuously enter, stay for a few months, exit and then re-enter Mexico in short order— are now having their intentions questioned at the port of entry.

We know of cases where people have been turned away at the border after trying to re-enter Mexico continually using a FMM; if you intend to stay in Mexico longer-term, we recommend you consider applying for residency in Mexico.

Also: Read this article about changes in the number of days being granted to people arriving in Mexico under auspice of a visitor permit, FMM.

Can a Visitor Permit be exchanged for a Residency Permit?

In a small number of circumstances, mostly related to Family Unit situations and humanitarian reasons, a Visitor’s Permit can be exchanged for a residency permit or other visa in-country, but most people need to begin their application for residency in Mexico at a Mexican Consulate abroad.

What if I lose my Visitor Permit?

If you are issued with a paper version and lose your Visitors Permit (FMM) while you’re in Mexico, you will need to visit one of the local 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 payment of a permit replacement fee (about US$60).

Mexico is phasing out paper versions of the FMM

The paper versions of the FMM are being gradually phased out and replaced with a stamp in your passport.

Read this article for further details.

What happens if I accidentally kept my Visitor Permit after leaving Mexico?

We sometimes get emails from readers who have arrived home and realized that they still have their paper FMM visitor 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 provide you with guidance. Note that paper versions of the permit are being phased out and substituted for a stamp in your passport, so this issue is becoming less relevant.

How do I apply for a Visitor Permit FMM online?

You can apply for your visitor permit online, make the payment, print-out the form and get this stamped/confirmed at the border.  As paper versions of the permit are phased out, the official at the border might retrieve your paper print out and place a stamp in your passport instead.

Note that authorization for entry and the number of days granted remains at the discretion of the immigration official at the port of entry, even if you pre-apply online.

See the eFMM Application Page on the Mexican immigration site for details, terms and conditions.

If you have questions or experience difficulties with the online procedure, please contact the Immigration authority (INM) directly—Mexperience cannot help you with issues related to online visitor permits (FMMs).

Further information

Here is some further information you may find helpful:

Documentation required for entry to Mexico

For a summary of the documentation required to enter Mexico, see Documents required for travel and entry to Mexico

Entry entry procedures at the Mexican border

To learn about the procedures at the Mexican border see Procedures for entering and leaving Mexico

Obtaining legal residency in Mexico

Mexperience publishes information and resources to help you learn about how to apply for and obtain legal residency in Mexico:

Mexico in your inbox

Our free newsletter about Mexico brings you a monthly round-up of recently published stories and opportunities, as well as gems from our archives.


  1. Maria Pineda says

    One question: I’m a US citizen planning to travel to Guadalajara, Mexico. I have my US passport ready, but I have yet to get the required FMM. This is my question: Which one do I need, the “by land” or “by air” form? Although I am entering by land through a US/Mexico border crossing (Calexico/Mexicali), I am flying from Mexicali, BC, Mexico. I don’t want to err in this, because I don’t want to have to pay for two forms. Thank you in advance for responding.

    • Mexperience says

      Hi Maria, the online FMM application procedure is quite new and you’d need to contact the INM direct to ask them to be sure, although it’s probably the Air option you need. Another option would be for you to get your FMM in person at the land border, and take that to the airport with you.

  2. David says

    I am flying back to Vancouver next week only because I want to turn around and come back to Puerto Vallarta and stay another 180 days. For a four day visit back to Canada, it’s going to cost me approximately $2,000 as I no longer have a casa there.
    Today an expat from Calgary told me that I can just go to immigration at the airport and pay a fee (around 2,400 pesos) and that immigration will then give me another 180 day visitors permit.

    Is this true, and will it affect the next time I want to leave Mexico and return?

    • Mexperience says

      Hi David,

      According to immigration law, it’s not possible to extend the FMM (Visitor’s permit) beyond the number of days you were granted when you arrived and you must leave the country; it cannot be extended at a Mexican airport, nor at the local INM offices. If you over-stay on a FMM, you need to pay a fine at the (air)port you leave from; the fine is based on the number of days over-stay.

  3. Darrell says

    I am in Monterrey with a foreign vehicle and FMM. I would like to travel to McAllen for a few hours. Do I need to surrender my FMM and vehicle permit?

  4. Frank says

    I need to go to Juarez for a 3 hour business meeting.
    Do I need to get an FMM for this?

    • Mexperience says

      Hi Frank

      No, as the article says, you only need a FMM is you intend to travel beyond the ~35km “free zone”. As Juarez is on the border and well within the free zone, there is no need to get a FMM.

  5. Mike says

    Hi, not sure if this thread is still active, but I’ll try my question and see. Is Mexican immigration strictly enforcing the only 180 days per year requirement? We are planning to stay near Puerto Vallarta 5 months until Christmas, then fly home for the holidays then hopefully fly back to the RV with a fresh 180 days and continue south to Central America. Do you know if that’s possible. Thanks

    • Mexperience says

      Hi Mike,
      The 180 day limit is per-visit, not per year. So you can remain in Mexico for as many days as the official gave you when you entered (that will not exceed 180 days), and then you must leave the country. You can return afterwards (there is no minimum time you have to be away before you can return) and get another FMM. If you continue to leave and re-enter you are likely to have your intentions questioned when you return.

  6. Lirika Visser says

    Hi there, I am a South African citizen and want to visit Mexico. I know that I need a visa but is it true that if I have a valid US tourist visa currently that I do not need to apply again? Kind Regards, Lirika

  7. Adam says

    Hi Mexperience, great article and thank you for the information. I am coming up to the end of my 180 day FMM permit. I am in Yucatan taking care of my grandparents place. I need to stay here longer, is there any way to extend my stay without leaving here? I am U.S. citizen and my grandparents are Mexican. I’m staying in Yucatan and I need to stay longer because my grandmother returned for her U.S. residency renewal; my grandfather returned to the U.S. because of health issues. Thank you.

  8. Stephen says

    We live near the border and are planning to take a taxi to the Reynosa airport and fly to Mexico City from there (ridiculously cheaper). Would we have to stop at the border and get the form there or could we do it at the Reynosa airport? Thank you.

    • Mexperience says

      Hi Stephen,
      You might be able to get one at the airport, but to be sure, it’s probably best to stop at the border and get one there. It would be a nuisance to get to the airport and be sent back to the border for your FMM.

      • Rod says

        Do NOT plan on getting your FMM at the Reynosa airport. You may well be sent back to the bridge/border depending on the agent in charge that day.

  9. Derek says

    Hi there!
    A quick note: you guys are awesome!

    My friend’s mother (American) owns a paddle boarding business in Manzanillo. I (also American) want to spend up to six months volunteering there. I’ll be staying at the house she owns free of rent, which is nice.

    Since I won’t be on a payroll of any kind, I won’t have to get any special permits, right? It’s my understanding that I’ll only have to fill out a Forma Migratoria Multiple. Is that correct or am I overlooking something here?

    I appreciate the help–thank you!

  10. John says

    I turned in my FMM when I left Mexico, but they did not put an exit stamp in my passport. Will that matter in the future?

    • Mexperience says

      Hi John,
      No exit stamp is placed in passports when you hand-back your FMM, so you should have no problems when you revisit in the future.

      • John says

        Thank you so much for the response. That makes me feel so much better about when I drive into Mexico in January.

  11. Rondell says

    Do all children regardless of age need a tourist visa? We are visiting family for 2 weeks I’m Monterrey.

    • Mexperience says

      Hi Rondell

      Your children will need their own FMM (which you complete on their behalf, on the flight or at the border).

  12. Mercedez Christensen says

    I was planning a trip (honeymoon) to Mazatlan for one week from the U.S. in August, but I do not yet have my Passport (applying for it this week). I read that it’s best to have it 6 months prior to visiting, but the immigration officer may allow me to visit anyway. Who should I contact to know for sure if I would be allowed in the country or not?

    • Mexperience says

      Hi Mercedez,

      The recommendation is that your passport is valid for at least six months, but if you have a return ticket, the immigration officer is very likely to allow you entry to Mexico even if your passport expires in less than six months.

      You could contact your nearest Mexican Consulate for advice. You can find a directory of Mexican Consulates overseas here on Mexperience

  13. Earl says

    I have a temporary residence card (Residente Temporal). I now need to fly to the US and do not have a FMM card. Will I be allowed? I could get an FMM card each time I enter by land, but because I do not have to return every 180 days, the FMM card could be expired by the time I might need to fly.

    • Mexperience says


      As you are a temporary resident of Mexico, you need to attend an immigration kiosk at the airport/border before you depart the country. There, show the immigration official your resident card and complete the FMM they will give you. Keep the larger half of the stamped FMM safe until your return. When you return, you don’t fill-out a new FMM, but instead present the half of the FMM they gave you when you left Mexico, along with your resident card to the immigration official. This will enable re-entry to Mexico as a resident.

  14. Stephen hartley says

    Hi, my wife is a filipino ciyizen but has a uk residents card as a spouse. Dies she need a visa for a holiday

  15. Ruby says

    I am travelling to Cancun from London (Gatwick Airport) in Semptember and wondered if you could tell me if I will have to pay the fee on the plane?

    • Mexperience says

      Hi Ruby

      The tourist permit fee is usually included in the flight’s ticket price under “taxes and fees”. If it’s not, then the airline will ask for payment separately. Check with your airline for details.

  16. Chuck says

    Recently I lost my FMM while on a trip in Campeche (laundry machine got it). I just wanted to share that it was not as easy as just going to the immigration office. I had to go to the immigration office, get some papers to fill out, get a police report saying that I lost it, fill out a form online, provide copies of ID and passport, go to the bank to pay the fee, return to the immigration office to get new FMM. Just thought I would share my experience. It’s not as simple as going to the immigration office (at least not in the state of Campeche).

    • Mexperience says

      Hi Chuck, thank you for sharing your experience: while procedures will vary by state (some may not ask for a police report) the bureaucracy is time consuming and a reminder to folks to take good care of the FMM (Visitor Visa) card while you’re in Mexico. A tip is to fold it into your passport and use a paperclip to make sure it doesn’t slip out.

  17. rebecca chan says

    I’m flying from Vancouver into Cancun and crossing the border to Belize from chetumal. And returning from San Pedro to Chetumal. Can I use my FMM card for multiple land entries before I fly home from Cancun? Do I still have to hand in my FMM card over to immigration?

    • Mexperience says

      Hi Rebecca, you can’t use the FMM for multiple entries. You need to surrender each one when you leave Mexico and complete a new form when you return.

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