Traveling to Mexico requires complete preparation. Problems, that in all probability did not even cross your mind when you decided to visit Mexico, will confront you.
Depending on your nationality as well as the purpose of your trip, you may need an entry visa, residence permit and/or work permit.
Living in Mexico is very different from going on vacation to Mexico. You should be ready to take Mexico as it is with all of its difficulties, contradictions and challenges.
Most visits to Mexico are trouble-free however, you should know about the risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including locations frequented by expatriates and foreign travelers like restaurants, hotels, clubs and shopping areas. You need to exercise a high degree of caution due to violence in Northern and Western states of the country experiencing a deteriorating security situation.
High levels of criminal activity, as well as demonstrations, protests and occasional illegal roadblocks remain a concern throughout the country. In recent years, the Mexican authorities have carried out numerous investigations and operations against drug related crimes and terrorist networks. Monitor local news broadcasts and consular messages.
Ensure that your travel documents and visas are current, valid and secured in a safe place. Carry a photocopy of your travel documents in lieu of the originals. Maintain a low profile, vary times and routes of travel, and exercise caution while driving. Making local contacts quickly and seeking support from other expatriates will substantially increase your comfort and safety.
Passport and Mexico Visa
All foreign nationals need to have a valid passport to enter Mexico. Foreign nationals without a valid passport will not be allowed entry into Mexico and will be returned to country of departure. In order to avoid delays and misunderstandings, we strongly recommend that you travel with a passport valid for six months after your arrival date.
Your passport should have adequate un-used pages in your passport, allowing for any necessary stamps upon arrival and departure.
Visa requirements depend upon the foreign individual’s nationality and his or her intended length of stay in Mexico. A foreign national wishing to enter Mexico must obtain a visa.
It is important to obtain in advance the correct visa that gives you the right to work in Mexico. Work permits and residence visas are easy to obtain if you can demonstrate that the relevant skills and experience are in short supply within Mexico.
Foreigners with a visitor status can have a company they want to work for apply for a Mexican work permit with the National Institute of Migration (Instituto Nacional de Migración - INM). While the application is processed, visitors may stay in Mexico until they receive information from INM that they may collect the permit at the consulate of they home country. Then such visitors have to leave Mexico and collect the permit in the home country. Only after that, they can apply for a residence visa.
If you are interested in work in Mexico check for details on the Mexico Work Permit page.
For further information about the Mexico visa, contact the Mexican embassy or consulate where you reside
Nationals of the following countries traveling on regular passports do not require visas to enter Mexico if they are tourists, visitors in transit or business visitors (a fee is applicable if entering by land. For those traveling by air the fee is included in the price of the plane ticket).
EU countries, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Liechtenstein, Macau, Marshall Islands, Malaysia, Micronesia, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Korea, San Marino, Singapore, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, United States, Uruguay, Vatican City, Venezuela
Tourists and business visitors can stay in Mexico for up to 180 days.
Visitors in transit can stay for up to 30 days.
All foreign nationals entering Mexico either by plane or by land should have a tourist card filled out and have it stamped at their first port of entry. When entering by land, you will have to go to the immigration booth located at the border crossing. When entering by plane and transiting through Mexico City, you should stamp your tourist card in Mexico City before boarding towards your final destination.
Some of the documents required by the Mexican authorities for the issuance of a visa:
- Valid passport with photocopy
- Completed application form
- Birth certificate
- One passport size photo
- Proof of sufficient funds (e.g. last three bank statements and letter stating current salary or original letter from the person who financially supports the traveler
- Police certificate of no criminal record
- Original return ticket
- Consular fees (payable by cash or postal order only)
- Most documents issued abroad to be used in Mexico should be legalized by the Embassy of Mexico or one of its Consulates in your home country.
Mexico exit regulations
Foreign nationals who fail to present a valid Mexican immigration document (tourist card/FMM, TRT, TRP or other) when checking-in at the airport may be directed to the Immigration Office, resulting in delays, missed flight, unexpected expenses and/or the imposition of a fine.
Foreign nationals with a resident status in Mexico (TRT, TRP) must fill out a migratory form (FMM) and present it to Mexican immigration authorities when leaving the country in order to register their exit. Immigration booths, located before or after security check in airports as well as at border crossings, can sometimes be difficult to find. The stamped "Registro De Salida" portion of the form must be given to the airline company when boarding the plane or to the border agent when exiting by road. You must carefully keep the remaining portion of the "Registro De Entrada" form and return it to Mexican immigration authorities when re-entering Mexico.
Time to receive a visa is on average 2 days but can be up to 3 weeks, depending on nationality.
The cost of a visa varies, depending on nationality - around US$17 - $30.
To extend your tourist visa, you must apply for an extension at any National Institute of Migration (NIM) office. This process takes only a few minutes and the requirements are as follows:
- Passport and travel document.
- Valid tourist migration form.
- Proof that you have sufficient funds to prolong your stay.
- Payment of fees.
Vaccination certificates are not required.
Keep in mind that while in Mexico, you are subject to local law. Showing contempt to a Mexican government official at the port of entry, or elsewhere, is a serious offense
Other Mexico Visa Info
Good luck with your Mexico visa.