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MEXICAN VISA & ENTRY REQUIREMENTS - Immigration

The following information is for those of you who have decided that Mexico really is the place to be and applies both to people coming down for a short visit as well as people desiring to become permanent residents.

This article contains information on the - FMT, - FM3, and FM2.
The $ amounts are valid until June 2001.

Please keep in mind that requirements are constantly changing, and the information in this page should be used as a useful guide rather than absolutely accurate and current.


FMT

What is it?

An FMT is a tourist visa for people traveling to Mexico. Although this Visa can potentially be valid for 180 days, it is at the discretion of the Immigration officer. Normally the time period is related to the purposes of your journey. Usually the visa is approved for a maximum period of 90 days if you arrive in Mexico by plane for a vacation, after which it can be renewed for an additional 90 days at any Mexican Immigration office. If you are crossing the border in an automobile you can request the full 180 days. There is no guarantee that the full 180 days will be given.

What do I need to get one?

Proof of citizenship - this can be either a passport or a certified copy of your birth certificate accompanied by a photo ID. A passport is the document of preference.

Be prepared to fill out the information requested which includes your place of birth, your destination and the reason for your visit.

Where do I get one?

You can pick up a blank FMT form at any Mexican Consulate or at the travel agency issuing your plane ticket. If they do not provide you with one or you simply forget to ask for it, you can pick one up at the check in counter at the airport or on the plane while en route to your destination. If you are coming to Mexico via automobile, you can request an FMT form at the border.

Do I need it?

Yes! You will not be allowed into the country without it and, since you will have to turn it in upon returning home its strongly recommended that you don't lose it. Should it get stolen, report it immediately to the nearest Mexican Immigration office and be prepared to show proof of citizenship as well as your airline ticket, if you came to Mexico by plane.

Limitations

A tourist visa is simply a permit to enter the country as a visitor. While you are here you may not work and the amount of "stuff" you can bring with you will be limited to just about what you would need for a 15 to 30 day stay. If you are planning on being in Mexico longer than the time allowed by the FMT, you will want to consider the other alternatives listed below.


FM-3

What is it?

An FM-3 is a one year permit to reside in Mexico. This document makes the holder a No Imigrante (Non-Immigrant) like the tourist card but, unlike the tourist card you are allowed to live in the country for an extended period of time. The document must be renewed each year as long as you continue to reside in Mexico. After your fifth year you can either upgrade to an FM-2 or simply request a new FM-3.

The following information applies to persons who will be considered Rentistas meaning you will not work in Mexico.

Where do I get one?

You may apply for an FM-3 at any Mexican Immigration office within Mexico or at any Mexican Consulate.

What do I need to get one?

Follow this two step process.

Step 1

You will need to submit the following:

  • A letter in Spanish addressed to the proper immigration authorities - check with your nearest Mexican Consulate about this.

  • The body of the letter must include your full name*, current address, a request to change your immigration status from Tourist to FM-3, and a statement to the effect that you have annexed all pertinent paperwork.

  • A current and original tourist visa.

  • Your passport.

  • Proof of income. This figure changes constantly. It is based on minimum wage (250 times the minimum wage in Mexico City) and fluctuates with the exchange rate. The current amount is $8,700.00 pesos per month for the applicant and $4,350.00 pesos per month for each dependent. This proof could be in the form of a bank statement showing your investments generate that amount or more, it could also be a letter from your consulate stating you receive social security, a pension, etc.
    The administrative "Fee" is $680.00 Pesos.

  • The monthly income requirements are reduced by 50% if you own and reside in your Mexican home. If this is the case, be sure to include a notarized copy of either the deed (escritura) or trust.

  • All that is required is proof that the minimum income is deposited in any financial institution, anywhere with credibility, be it the US, Europe, or offshore institution. Even a stock brokerage account, showing the requisite income, has proved sufficient, both in obtaining an original FM-3, both within Mexico at the local immigration office and at an overseas Mexican Consulate.
  • If you are married and your spouse also wishes to apply for an FM-3, have your original marriage certificate authorized and translated at the Mexican Consulate nearest the place of marriage.

  • Submit a letter signed by you and two Mexican witnesses stating that you are an upstanding citizen living harmoniously within the community. Include with this a copy of each witnesses' photo ID.


Once you have all of the above mentioned items, make three copies of each and submit your package to immigration.

Normally, immigration stamps the original documents plus two sets of the copies with the date it was received. They keep the originals and one set of copies, the second set is for your files. It is habit to make the third set of copies as things can sometimes get misplaced.

Step 2

Once you are notified that your application has been accepted, pull together the following:

  • Black and white passport size photographs (4 x 4 cm.) - 3 right profile and 4 front, no jewelry or glasses, hair off the forehead.

  • Form SHCP-5. These forms are readily available through immigration or in Mexican stationery stores. Hint: If you are doing all of this yourself, the people at immigration are very nice and can direct you to someone who can help you fill out the form.

  • Your letter of authorization for your FM-3 - 1 original and 2 copies.

  • 2 Copies of your entire passport.

  • Include the FM-1 form you received with you authorization letter and 2 copies. Review this to make sure the information is correct as this is the information that will be typed into your FM-3 book.

Submit all of the above documentation within 45 days of receiving your authorization letter to the person with whom you are working at immigration.

Do I need it?

Yes, if you are planning on living in Mexico more than 180 days per year.

Limitations

As specified above, you will not be able to work if you are classified as a rentista. If you are moving to Mexico because of work, make sure your employer helps you make all the arrangements necessary to allow you to get working papers or check with your nearest Mexican Consulate as to what is required.

Things to Remember:

If our obtained your FM-3 through a Mexican Consulate in your country, you must register it within 45 days of your arriving in Mexico with the local Immigration office.

Your FM-3 is to be renewed annually for a period of five years. After five years you may apply for an FM-2 or simply apply for a new FM-3.

The FM-3 allows you to bring your vehicle with you across the border. As long as your FM-3 is valid, so is your car legal within Mexico.


FM-2

What is it?

An FM-2 is a one year permit to reside in Mexico. Unlike the FM-3, however, this document makes the holder an Imigrante (Immigrant). The document must be renewed each year as long as you continue to reside in Mexico. After your fifth year you can apply to become an imigrado - immigrate into the country.

Where do I get one?

You may apply for an FM-2 at any Mexican Immigration office within Mexico.

What do I need to get one?

For the moment, it is recommended that you find a good Mexican attorney to help you through the process. An FM-2 is harder to obtain than an FM-3 because it is meant for people who desire to make Mexico their permanent residence.

  • Proof of income. This figure changes constantly. It is based on minimum wage (400 times the minimum wage in Mexico City) and fluctuates with the exchange rate. The current amount is $13,780.00 pesos per month for the applicant and $20,760 for a married couple. This proof could be in the form of a bank statement showing your investments generate that amount or more, it could also be a letter from your consulate stating you receive social security, a pension, etc.
    The administrative "Fee" is $1,471.00 Pesos.

  • The monthly income requirements are reduced by 50% if you own and reside in your Mexican home. If this is the case, be sure to include a notarized copy of either the deed (escritura) or trust.

  • All that is required is proof that the minimum income is deposited in any financial institution, anywhere with credibility, be it the US, Europe, or offshore institution. Even a stock brokerage account, showing the requisite income, has proved sufficient, both in obtaining an original FM-3, both within Mexico at the local immigration office and at an overseas Mexican Consulate.

    Do I need it?
  • Not necessarily, it is simply another option. The advantage to an FM-2 is that after renewing it consecutively for five years, you become eligible to immigrate into the country.