Mexico Visitor Permits and Coronavirus (Covid-19)
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 Visitors permit, known as Forma Migratoria Multiple or FMM, at the port of entry.
- 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 hand-out the visitor permit forms before the flight lands, and they are also available at Mexican airports, near the immigration desks
- If you are visiting a Mexican port(s) as part of a cruise ship, you’ll need to get a visitors permit at your first Mexican port of call.
(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$25.
Keep Your Visitors Permit (FMM) Safe
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 document safe, as you will need to surrender it when you leave Mexico.
If you are departing Mexico on a flight, your airline will insist you surrender your stamped half of the Visitors Permit to them before they allow you to board.
If you have a Visitors Permit 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.
How long can you stay in Mexico with a Visitors Permit (FMM)?
The Visitors Permit is valid for a maximum of 180 days* (about 6 months) from the date you enter Mexico. This allowance is given per entry: every time you exit and re-enter Mexico the 180-day allowance ‘resets.’ (You surrender your current FMM when you leave and get a new FMM when you return.) For example, if you enter Mexico on March 1st, you must leave by no later than August 28th; but if you leave on June 1st, and re-enter on June 18th of the same year, the effective exit date on your new FMM will be December 15th. Be sure to count the days as some months are longer than others.
If you enter Mexico as a tourist, to volunteer, or as a business visitor, then the immigration official at the port of entry will usually grant you 180 days’ leave to remain; this will also be written on the part of the form that’s handed to you for safe-keeping. Check to see how many days you are granted and calculate your exit date accordingly.
The Visitor Permit (FMM) will always expire after a maximum 180 days: it cannot be extended beyond the number of days the immigration official writes on the form (even if this is less than the maximum allowance of 180 days); and cannot be renewed: you must leave the country before it expires.
*If you visit Mexico on a cruise ship, the immigration officer will usually only mark a maximum of 21 days on the FMM. If you are only in-transit through a Mexican airport or if you are using a FMM to enter Mexico to exchange a residency visa for a residency card, then the maximum number of days written on the permit will be 30.
Can a Visitors 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. In most cases, visitors are granted the maximum 180-day allowance at the port of entry; but 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.
How long do I have to remain outside of Mexico before returning under the auspice of a new FMM?
There is no time limit to remain outside the country before re-entering using a new FMM—and thus obtaining another 180 days’ leave to remain in Mexico. Some people have been using this flexibility to stay here longer-term; 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 — may now have their intentions questioned at the port of entry. We have heard of cases where people have been turned away; if you intend to stay in Mexico longer-term, we recommend you consider applying for temporary residency in Mexico.
Can a Visitors Permit be exchanged for a Residency Permit?
In a very small number of circumstances, a FMM can be exchanged for a residency permit in-country, but most people need to begin their application for residency in Mexico at a Mexican Consulate abroad.
Lost your Visitors Permit?
If you 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 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 Visitors 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.
Over-stayed on your Visitors Permit?
If you overstay the time you were granted on your visitors permit (usually 180 days, see above), 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. If you do this and you are flying out of Mexico, we recommend you go to the airport with your expired FMM at least a couple of days before your flight date so that you can attend the INM office and explain your situation; otherwise you might miss your flight.
FMM applications online
There is an option to apply for your visitor permit online, make the payment, print-out the form and get this stamped at the border. 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 INM directly. Most people continue to complete their FMM in-flight, or upon arrival at the airport, or land/sea border.
Documentation: For a summary of the documentation required to enter Mexico, see Documents required for travel and entry to Mexico
Information about entry procedures: To learn about the procedures at the Mexican border see Procedures for entering and leaving Mexico
Residency in Mexico: For information about long-term residency, including permits for living, retirement, and working in Mexico, connect to the Mexico Immigration page and download a copy of our comprehensive Mexico Immigration Guide (eBook).
You can get full details about immigration procedures on your arrival in Mexico on our comprehensive guide to Mexico Entry Requirements.
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