Mexico Work Permit
Living in Mexico is not the same as going on vacation to Mexico. In order to be able to adapt to life in Mexico you have to be flexible and adaptable, and also you need truly like the culture as well as the people.
Jobs in Mexico require more than the Mexico work permit - they need thorough preparation. You should be ready to take Mexico as it is with all of its difficulties, contradictions and challenges. Issues that in all possibility did not even cross your mind when you began the Mexico job search will confront you.
Do not take too lightly the influence the Mexico work permit can have on the end result of your adventure! Think for example, you can experience the unfamiliar immigration requirements and practices, strange job application procedures, bizarre job selection trends and weird management culture.
Most visits to Mexico are trouble-free but you should be aware of the risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by expatriates and foreign travelers like restaurants, hotels, clubs and shopping areas. In recent years, the Mexican authorities have carried out a number of investigations and operations against terrorist networks.
You should 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. Also monitor local news broadcasts and consular communications.
Ensure that your travel documents and visas are current and 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 the other expatriates will significantly improve your comfort and safety.
Mexico has visa waiver agreements with many European, North American and South American countries for tourist visas.
Depending on your nationality and the purpose of your trip, you may need an entry visa, residence permit and/or work permit.
To be able to work in Mexico you need a Mexican work permit from the Institute of Immigration ("Instituto Nacional de Migración" - INM). While using work permit, you can make application for a residence visa.
The work permit is not a separate document. It is just a change to your activity status on your visa.
Job seekers from abroad must find an employer willing to apply for a work permit and visa to the INM office on their behalf well in advance of the job’s starting date.
For the application, the employer has to submit various documents, e.g. a proof of tax payments, a list of employees and their nationalities, the personal identification of a designated representative. Furthermore, you need to submit a copy of your passport or other ID.
The employer must make an application for the work permit with a proof that no Mexican is able to do the job. It takes about four weeks to process the work permit application. Normally, the foreign worker will receive work permit valid only for one employer and for an initial period of one year. Temporary residents can apply for one, two or three years extension. After four continuous years, you will be able to apply for a Permanent Resident Visa, which will allow you to reside indefinitely in Mexico.
To qualify for a work permit you have to possess relevant professional experience, along with a university-level degree.
You must provide proof of your ability to do the job for which you are requesting a work permit. The nature of this proof will vary depending on the job as well as local requirements by your INM office. In general, this includes college degrees (diplomas), professional certificates (TEFL for teachers), etc. The consulate or embassy will be required to authenticate these documents.
In practice, Mexico only issues work permits to highly qualified personnel, executives, researchers, trainees and workers in fields where there is a labor shortage in Mexico.
Employee and they family documents required by INM
- Legalized original or transcript, or notarized photocopy of the employee’s university diploma/degree.
- Copy of the employee’s and each family member passports (all pages, including blank pages).
- Employee current resume or CV.
- Employer's confirmation of job title, job description and salary details in Mexico.
- Legalized birth certificates for the employee and family members.
- Legalized marriage certificate.
The major types of Mexican Work Visas
- The Temporary Resident Visa (formally the FM2/FM3 Visa) is the primary visa type for those who are looking to visit Mexico for more than 180 days for any time up to four years.
- FM-2 Visa is for foreigners who have family ties to Mexico or have work in the country over 5 years;
- FM-3 Visa is for foreigners who will be paid locally, import household goods or transfer to Mexico with family members.
If you want to be employed by an international company in Mexico, you and your company will have to apply for the appropriate short-term residence visa in a Mexican consulate or embassy.
If you want to work for a Mexican company, you and your company will have to apply with the Mexican authorities for a work permit and subsequently for a long-term residence visa.
You need to have a job offer or work contract from a company registered in Mexico to apply for a work permit. The employer has to make an application for the work permit at the INM office. Upon acceptance of the application, the INM will issue a decision in 30 to 45 days.
You will have 90 days to 6 months (depending on a case) to collect your visa with work permit in the Mexican consulate of your home country. You may stay in Mexico on a tourist visa until this time. Then you have to leave Mexico and apply for the work permit at the Mexican consulate of your home country.
The employee and each accompanying family member generally must submit the following documents to the Mexican Consulate when applying for the work permit:
- Original passport valid for a minimum of 6 months.
- Four (4) passport style photographs.
- Application form.
- Approval notice from the INM.
- Consular fee.
You can expect to receive the work permit within 3 to 4 days from the time of the application.
Within 30 days of your arrival in Mexico, you and your family members must register and apply for the temporary residence card at the INM office. Once you entered Mexico, you should not exit again until you receive the residence card. You should apply for a special exit/re-entry permit if you must travel.
Your spouse and children will normally get dependent visas but not a work permit. If your spouse wants to work in Mexico, s/he will have to apply separately for his or her own work permit.
Foreigners found working without a valid work permit will be deported
To work legally in Mexico you must have a "Residente Temporal" visa with endorsement authorizing you to work at a specific job for a specific employer. Legally, you cannot change jobs or employers without getting a new endorsement. You may only change employment after the new employer has obtained a work permit for you.
Most employers, who are subject to heavy fines if they hire illegally, will not offer a job to a foreigner who does not possess a work permit. In addition, any work “on black” will never qualify you for a work permit. Furthermore, such unofficial employment can quite often lead to exploitative working conditions. If you are caught working without a permit by "La Migra", you will be deported - usually with just enough notice to get your personal belongings.
Many health and technical professions in Mexico are regulated. Meaning - you have to register with the appropriate body prior to work legally.
For further information about the Mexico work permit, contact the Mexican embassy or consulate in your home country
Other Mexico Work Permit Info
Do not forget to take a look at Mexico dress code because how you dress is the one of the most important attribute in being hired.
Check the job interview tips do's and don'ts, and find out why people are not hired for available jobs.
Good luck with your Mexico work permit.