Mexico - Visa
Your passport must be valid for at least 3 months after the date of entering the country.
If you are planning to come to Mexico for less than six months, what you need is a tourist visa also known as FMT.
You may obtain one at a Mexican Consulate or via a travel agency. Depending on your nationality, you may also be able to have one issued at your port of entry to the country (Mexican airport, border, etc.).
You will be requested to fill a form stating your full name, nationality, birthdate, gender, destination, reason to visit, etc.
Should you decide to stay longer than six months -and after obtaining the FMT for six months- you may request an extension of the term. It is recommended that you request this extension fifteen days prior to the expiration of your visa. To request the extension of your FMT, these are the documents to have available:
Your passport and a photocopy
The original FMT
A letter requesting the extension of the term.
Upon leaving the country, you will have to return the FMT to the authorities. Keep it in a safe place so you don't lose it. The tourist visa for Mexico does not allow you to work in the country. Please note that certain nationalities have restricted entrance to the country. In such cases you must be invited by a family member, a friend, or a corporation. Request the visa from the Mexican authorities. The visa will be granted as long as all the requirements are fulfilled.
Employment Based Visa
Non-immigrant or FM3 visa
This type of visa grants the permission for an individual and his/her dependents to stay for one year, with the option of renewing annually. After the fifth year, you may apply for an immigrant visa (FM2), or you may request to continue with a non-immigrant status.
This visa is provided to those interested in becoming permanent residents. It grants immigrant status, but the permanent resident status must be requested after five years of living in Mexico. A relative, under the immigration authorities, is a person who lives under the financial sponsorship of a spouse or an immediate relative who has immigrant status or is a Mexican citizen. Children and brothers and sisters of the petitioner may be admitted (as dependents) under the same migratory status when they are minors, unless they have a physical handicap that prevents them from working or are full-time students.
Immigrants can leave the country without affecting their migratory status for the following periods:
90 days yearly the first and second year, and no more than 18 months during a 5 year period.
To apply for a job-based visa, you will need the following documents:
- Official form named "Solicitud de Trámite Migratorio"
- Original passport
- Letter requesting to be admitted into the country, addressed to the Instituto Nacional de Migracion. The letter must state the reasons for coming to live to Mexico, as well as the specific activity and migratory status.
- You must have a job offer before you apply for permission to work. This offer must be written on the company's official letter head, include your full name, the position you will hold, the date you will begin (you may not work until you have the permission, but the process of obtaining the visa may extend beyond the date on which you supposedly begin employment as long as you started the application process before such date), and the amount of money that you will earn.
Start your application process no sooner than (or no later than!) 30 days before your supposed start date of work, as visa applications are not accepted before this time period.
Documents needed to support this application are
- A photocopy of the i.d. of the person who signed the job offer letter. If this person is a foreign him/herself, you will need a copy of his/her FM2/FM3.
- Depending on the activity of the company, you could also be requested to show some legal documents of the company, like their last tax report, their incorporation certificate, etc. Sometimes companies prefer to send those documents rather than handing them to you.
FM3 - As a 'non immigrant' you don't acquire residency rights, but you may leave and enter the country freely.
FM2 - As an immigrant you have a restricted number of exits from the country. In the case that you leave the country for more than 18 months in a period of 5 years, you will not be able to apply for the permanent resident status. In case you stay outside the country for more than 2 years you will lose your immigrant status.
In both cases (as an 'immigrant' or 'non-immigrant') the law considers almost the same immigration qualities (Características Migratorias), being able to perform about the same lawful activities. Both have to be renewed annually. We recommend that you renew at least 30 days before the term expires, to avoid penalties and fines.
To be sure that you are complying with the most recent Mexican laws regarding the above matters, it is strongly suggested that you contact:
- Mexican Immigration Office
Col. Los Morales
(Delegacion Miguel Hidalgo)
Tel: + 52 (55) 5387 2400
or the nearest Mexican Consular representative