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MEXLAW > Immigration  > Common Questions about Mexican Immigration

Common Questions about Mexican Immigration

We have gathered some of the most common questions we receive from foreigners regarding legal immigration to Mexico.

Do I need to apply for a visa to travel to Mexico?

Contact your local Mexican consulate to keep updated on travel requirements.

The countries listed in this link do not require a visa.


How long can I remain in Mexico on a Visitor’s Permit (FMM) Forma Migratoria Múltiple?

Visitors can stay in Mexico for 180 days; you should advise the immigration officer you would like to stay 180 days, as they may not automatically enter 180 days on your permit.

Can I request an extended stay over 180 days?

No, 180 days is the maximum, after the 180 days you must leave Mexico.

Do I need to keep my half of the Visitors Permit (FMM) given to me on arrival?

Yes, it is important to keep your portion of the permit as you will present it when you leave Mexico.

What do I do if I lose my portion of the FMM?

You will go to the immigration office in town or at the airport and request a new one, you will be charged a fee of approximately 500 pesos for the new permit.

I realize my permit has expired, what process do I need to follow?

Report to the immigration booth at the airport; you will pay a small fine, depending on the number of days it is overdue.  

My 180 days are up; do I need to leave Mexico?

Yes, you will need to leave Mexico; the visitors visa is not renewable in Mexico.

Can I simply leave the country and return with a new visitor permit with another 180 days?

Yes, there is no legal limit or amount of time you must stay out of Mexico before returning.  Many foreigners use this method to avoid applying for residency, but immigration is beginning to monitor this activity and may be inclined to question why you have not applied for residency and even grant you less time on your FFM.

I want to stay in Mexico more than 180 days, how would I proceed?

Consult an immigration specialist to discuss which residency visa suits your situation.

Common residency categories are:

  • Job offer in Mexico
  • Family ties with a Mexican or legal resident
  • Study
  • Investment
  • Retirement
  • Real Estate

Will I have to leave Mexico to proceed with a residency visa?

Yes, you will be interviewed at the Mexican Consulate abroad; at their discretion, the authority will issue a temporary or permanent residence (depending on the consulate).

When I enter Mexico with my interim residence visa, do I need to advise Immigration?

Once you have been approved for your Residence Visa abroad they will stick a temporary permit in your passport,  present this page to Immigration agent upon arrival in Mexico; it is crucial you do not enter as a tourist. You will have 30 days to report to immigration to complete the process.

My spouse is a Mexican citizen how do I apply for residency?

The Mexican spouse would apply in Mexico, and the foreign spouse will attend an interview at the Mexican Consulate abroad, where they will be given an interim visa in order to enter Mexico with the intention of requesting temporary residence, before the Migration Institute.

Does the Temporary Residence include permission to work?

No; only for those who have a job offer.

Renewal of  Temporary Residency

The renewal of the residency is carried out annually (although some are approved for up to three years) before the Immigration Institute in Mexico, meaning you do not need to leave the country. The renewal must be initiated within 30 calendar days before the expiration date.

Permanent Residency

The status of Permanent Resident authorizes the foreigner to stay in Mexico indefinitely with permission to work, with the right to enter and exit Mexico as often as they wish.

How do I qualify for permanent residency?

You may qualify if your status is one of the following;

  • Temporary residence for four continuous years.
  • Temporary residence for two continuous years if you are married to or have family ties with a Mexican.
  • Temporary residence for four continuous years if you have family ties or common-law relationship with a Mexican or foreigner holding permanent residency.
  • You are a descendant of a Mexican national.
  • Your child has Mexican citizenship.
  • Humanitarian issues.
  • Political asylee.
  • Refugee
  • Retiree or pensioner, who is financially solvent, through savings or a monthly pension.
  • By decision of the National Institute of Migration, according to the points system established for this purpose.

What are the primary components for approval of a residence permit?

Employment, financial independence, investments, real estate and family ties.

If I own real estate in Mexico, will I qualify for residency?

Yes, it is possible. Depending on the value of your property, you may be eligible for a temporary or permanent visa. The requirements vary depending on which consulate you visit to initiate your procedure.

I want to open a business in Mexico; can my company employ me?

Yes, as a business owner in Mexico, who wishes to be employed by this business, it is required that you apply for permission to work. Your business will apply for an employer registration at INM (Constancia de empleador), which allows your company to hire foreigners, and in this case, yourself.

Will I qualify for residency through my Mexican corporation?

Once your business has obtained this permission and has been established for at least three months, your company will be able to provide a job offer. With this job offer, you can begin the temporary residency with permission to work visa.

For more information about migrating to Mexico or owning a business in Mexico, send your inquiries to contact@mexlaw.ca