The complete guide to visa types and work permit requirements in Mexico 
Whether you’re planning a short trip to Mexico or would like to permanently move to the country, chances are you’ll need to apply for a visa and work permit. Given that this is a very bureaucratic process that is known to confuse many, it’s a good idea to arm yourself with knowledge.
Fortunately, this Pacific Prime Latin America article helps you do just that by providing an overview of Mexico visa types, visa requirements, and visa costs, as well as how to apply for a visa.
Mexico visa types
First things first, are you planning to go to Mexico on holiday? Or do you want to live and work in the country? This will determine which Mexico visa type will be most suitable for you.
Tourist card and Visitor visa
Mexico allows citizens of some countries to travel to the country for short-term purposes without requiring a visa (up to 180 days). Check whether your country or city-state of nationality is included in the table below:
European Union citizens
Trinidad and Tobago
|Colombia||Liechtenstein||Palau||United Arab Emirates|
|Hong Kong||Malaysia||San Marino||
Note: If your country is not included, but you hold a multiple entry visa for the USA, Canada, Japan, the UK, or the Schengen area, then you may qualify.
Mexico tourist card (also known as Forma Migratoria Múltiple, FMM) requirements
If you don’t need a visa to visit Mexico, you’ll be issued a Mexico tourist card upon arrival. For those flying, the cost will be included in the airfare. Otherwise, you’ll pay out of pocket.
This card is a permit that every foreign national must get before they can enter Mexico. The permit will state the number of days you are allowed to stay in the country. If you are issued a tourist card, then you must always keep it on you at all times.
How long can you stay in Mexico as a tourist?
If you are applying for a tourist card or visitor visa, you can only stay for up to 180 days or 6 months.
Mexico visitor visa requirements
If you are required to apply for a visa to visit Mexico, you’ll have to contact the Mexican embassy to apply for a visitor visa. Here are the documents you are required to prepare when applying for a visitor/tourist visa:
- Valid passport with at least 6 months of validity
- One of the following documents:
- Certificate of employment – Original letter in English from the company, describing your position and monthly salary, or
- Original letter in English from the school, indicating that you are a full-time student
- Bank account statements (last 3 months). For applicants under 25 years old, it is possible to present their parents’ account statements
- Application form duly completed (check with your local Mexican embassy)
- 1 color photograph (passport size, face uncovered, and white background)
Both the tourist card and visitor visa can be used for tourism, business, and transit, as well as other purposes, as long as you stay for less than 6 months. You aren’t allowed to work in the country. But if you want to legally work in Mexico, you can do so, provided you are on a temporary or permanent residence visa.
Temporary residence visa/card
To stay in the country for longer than 6 months, but shorter than 4 years, you’ll need a temporary residence visa from the Mexican embassy, which should be swapped for a temporary residence card once in the country.
You should apply for this visa if:
- You would like to study in Mexico.
- You would like to work in Mexico (Note: You must already have a job offer, as your employer will have to apply for a work permit for you from the Instituto Nacional de Migración).
- You would like to join a family member in Mexico.
Permanent residence visa/card
For those planning to live in the country permanently, you’ll require a Mexico permanent residence visa, which is swapped for a permanent residence card once you are in the country.
You should apply for this visa if:
- You want to retire in Mexico.
- You have close family ties in Mexico.
- You have lived in Mexico for a minimum of four years as a temporary resident.
- You have lived in Mexico for a minimum of two years as a temporary resident, based on being married to a Mexican citizen or permanent resident.
If you would like to take up employment as a permanent resident, you will be allowed to do so without needing to get a work permit.
How to get a Mexico visa
Once you have identified which visa type is most appropriate for you, you should contact the Mexican embassy in your country (or one that is closest to you) to set up an appointment. You will have to complete an application form, make an appointment, submit the application form and required documents, and pay for the visa cost.
Mexico visa costs (as well as documents and process) may vary depending on the country you’re applying from and/or your nationality. To give you an idea, here’s what you’ll need as a minimum if you’re applying for a temporary residence visa from the United States.
Visa cost: USD $36 – 48
Visa application form, valid passport and copy of the main page, one passport size color photo, US visa/residence permit (for non-US citizens), proof of economic solvency in the form of:
- Original and copy of proof of your personal investment accounts or personal bank accounts with a monthly balance of at least USD $32,426 during the previous 12 months of statements (bring the last 12 months of bank statements).
- Original and copy of documents showing that you have a job or pension that yields a monthly income of USD $1,946 after taxes during the previous 6 months (bring the last 6 months of your payslips and the bank statements that show the direct deposit of your salary).
Note: The information on this page is correct at the time of writing and subject to change without prior notice. For up-to-date information, please contact the Mexican embassy in your country directly.
Get in touch with Pacific Prime Latin America
If you are planning to visit or move to Mexico, apart from sorting out visas and work permits, it’s also worth looking into the country’s healthcare system. Even though expats are eligible for public healthcare under the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (IMSS), many prefer to secure private health insurance plans in order to access the private healthcare sector.
Need to secure a health insurance plan for your time in Mexico? You can get in touch with Pacific Prime Latin America. As a global insurance broker with over 20 years of experience, we can leverage our close partnerships with top insurers and offer you vetted plans including expat health insurance, family health insurance, retiree health insurance, and more.
Contact us today for a FREE quote and plan comparison!
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