Mexico immigration and naturalization guide for citizens from the United States and other approved countries. Heads Up: Always retain and safeguard the traveler's copy of your tourist card so you may surrender it to Mexican immigration when you depart. You must leave Mexico before your tourist card expires or you are subject to a fine. A tourist card for less than 180 days may be revalidated in Mexico by the Mexican immigration service. Failure to have your tourist card on departure may cause significant delay and missing your flight and fines.
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There are two types of Mexico entry permits: Non-Immigrant and Immigrant. There are a multiple classifications within each category. Making long term decisions about your Mexico Immigration status is an important decision with consequences. Contact the Mexico Embassy or Consulate nearest you for complete and current information. Visit our Embassy section for USA and foreign embassy listings.
Non-Immigrant Permits are generally for people who intend to visit Mexico for less than six months and then depart. Non Immigrant classifications include Tourist & Business Permits, Traveler in Transit, Students, Distinguished Visitors, Local Visitors, Provisional Visitors, Correspondents/Journalists and Religious ministers. U.S. citizens planning to work or live in Mexico should apply for the appropriate Mexican visa at the Mexican Embassy in Washington, DC or nearest Mexican consulate in the United States.
If you're involved in journalism or media, you can be issued with a Correspondents Permit, that enables you to carry out journalism work. The permit lasts for a year, but can be renewed as many times as required, provided that you are continuing your journalism work.
FM3 status is a Document status for a non-immigrant. This visa category permits a stay in the country of up to one year and may be renewed up to 4 times for one year periods each. There are no limits on entry and exits from the country. Different categories include: Visitor (white collar management, technical, professional, member of board of directors), artistic, athletic, clergy, etc. The category of visa depends on the filing request made at the time of issuance. This visa category does not create residency rights and may be for lucrative purposes.
Immigrant Permits are generally for people who wish to live, work, invest and/or retire in Mexico and/or wish to qualify for permanent residence. There are two categories with several classifications within each category. It is highly recommended you seek professional help when considering a long term situation in Mexico.
FM2 status is an Immigrant Visa Category and is most generally used for the purpose of gaining residency status. FM2 status authorizes a stay of one year and may be renewed up to 4 times for successive one year period. At the completion of the 5 years, one may request residency status. This is a subjective decision by the authorities. During the 5 year period the visa holder may only be absent up to 18 months, whether on a continious basis or sporadic basis. If the absence requirement is surpassed, residency may not be requested at the conclusion of the period. This may be for lucrative purposes.
A RETIREMENT VISA allows one to live in Mexico but not to earn money in Mexico. The retiree must prove sufficient resources from abroad to live in Mexico. In some cases, the retiree could act as a part-time professor, researcher, investigator or technician. Valid for renewable one year periods.
The Mexico Embassy in the United States is located at 1911 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20006 (tel. 202-728-1600). Consular offices are located at 2827 - 16th St. NW, 20009 (tel. 202-736-1012), and the trade office is co-located at the embassy (tel. 202-728-1686).
The U.S. Embassy in Mexico is located at Paseo de la Reforma 305, 06500 Mexico, DF. U.S. mailing address: Box 3087, Laredo, Texas 78044-3087; tel. (from the U.S.): (011) (52) 555-080-2000