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Visas & Work Permits in Mexico

The Guide to Visa Types and Work Permit Requirements

A pivotal part of moving to Mexico is organizing the correct permits. Find out about all the visa types, including the ones you can qualify for as a skilled worker. Our step by step guide covers everything from temporary to permanent resident permits, to the requirements for a work permit, and self-employment visa.

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If you are thinking of moving to Mexico, applying for a Mexican visa is an essential step. In this section, we will guide you through the visa application process, inform you about visa requirements, visa types, fees, and all the ins and outs of this complex part of your relocation journey. We will also discuss in detail the differences between a Temporary Resident Visa, which is offered to people who intend to reside in Mexico for over 6 months, but not necessarily indefinitely; and a Permanent Resident Visa, which is issued to those who have the intention of settling permanently in the country.

Work Permits and Employment-Based Visas

Do you need a work permit and employment visa for Mexico? To work in Mexico, expats will not apply for a work permit in the traditional sense, like they would when working in the US or Europe. Instead, foreigners will need to apply for one of Mexico’s two main residency permit: Temporary residency (Residente Temporal) or Permanent Residency (Residente Permanente) and apply for work privileges.

Mexico Work Permit Eligibility and Types

When a person residing in Mexico on a resident permit, which does not have work permissions, gets a job offer then they must follow different procedures, depending on whether they hold a temporary or permanent permit.

  • If you are a Permanent Resident: you have to notify immigration.
  • If you are a Temporary Resident: you have to request a permission.

If you get offered a job in Mexico: You can get a temporary residency with work permissions if you have a formal job offer. Bear in mind that the employer has to make the application on your behalf. Once the application moves forward:

  • If you are not in Mexico: You have to go to a Mexican Consulate to get a Temporary Resident visa stamp in your passport. When you are already in Mexico, you will then have to swap it for a residency card.
  • If you are in Mexico on a Visitor Visa (FMM): You will have to leave the country, go to Mexican Consulate abroad and get a Temporary Resident visa stamp. Once back in Mexico, you will have to exchange it for a residency card.
  • If you are in Mexico and hold a Residency Card: You must go to your local Instituto Nacional de Migración (INN) to notify them of your employer change. If you do not already have work privileges on your card, you will have to apply for them.

If you opt for working independently, read our section below: Self-employment and Visas.

Mexico Work Visa Cost

The fee to obtain work permissions on a Temporary or Permanent Resident Card are the following:

  • If you apply on a Residente Temporal card, the basic fee is 3,207 MXN (150 USD). Additional fees may incur (e.g. visa sticker exchange fee).
  • If you hold a Residente Permanente card you are not liable for this fee. However, you are obligated to notify the immigration office regarding any changes to your work arrangements.

Mexican Work Permit or Visa Application Form

No matter the type of visa you are applying for, there is only one application form. You can download it herefrom the Mexico Government Website. In the bottom right hand corner, you have to select which particular visa or permit you are applying for.

Mexico Visa Types

Expats can apply to two main types of residency permits in Mexico:

  • Temporary Residency (Residente Temporal);
  • Permanent Residency (Residente Permanente).

There are three main scenarios you may be in:

You Plan on Living in Mexico Part-time and You do not Plan to Work While There

 In this scenario, you can travel to Mexico under a visitor’s visa. However, if you intend to be a regular part-time resident, you should apply for a temporary resident visa.

You Plan on Living in Mexico Full-time and You don’t Plan to Work While There

 This context can be applicable, for instance, to retirees. In this case, a temporary or permanent residency visa is the best suited option for you. Whether you opt for a temporary or permanent one, will depend on your long-term plans and whether or not you have the financial means. If you meet the financial requirements, you may be eligible to directly apply for the permanent option. Otherwise, after four consecutive years on a temporary residency permit, you can apply for permanent residency status.

You Plan on Living in Mexico either Part-time or Full-time and You do Plan to Work

 To work legally in Mexico, you must either have a temporary residency visa with work permissions, or permanent residency.

Business Visa

If you are going to Mexico for business, note that you will require a visa depending on where you are coming from. For instance, in many cases, you do not need a visa if the duration of the stay duration is under 180 days. This is applicable to citizens and permanent residents of these countries:

  • US
  • UK
  • Canada
  • Japan
  • Pacific Alliance countries
  • Schengen countries

In these cases, you must have a passport valid for at least six months after the intended period of stay. You will also have to show a confirmed return ticket and a Forma Migratoria Multiple (FMM).

Family Visa

In Mexico, Family visas are requested through Family Unit applications. If you have close family connections in the country, you will be eligible to apply for residency. Bear in mind that, depending on the type of family relationship, you may have to demonstrate you have the required financial means. However, the minimum monetary requirements are less strict than for non-family unit applications. Family Unit applications can be made from within the country.

What are Considered “Close Family Connections”?

In some circumstances, foreigners who hold a visitor’s permit, known as Forma Migratoria Múltiple, (FMM) are able to apply for a temporary or permanent residency while in the country.

It is possible to apply for Residente Temporal (Temporary Residency) without leaving Mexico if the applicant is the:

  • spouse of a foreigner who has temporary or permanent resident status;
  • parent of a foreigner who has temporary resident status;
  • children of a foreigner who has temporary resident status,with the condition that they under 18 years old;
  • children of the spouse of a foreigner who has temporary resident status, if they are under 18 years old;
  • foreign spouse of a Mexican National (they are eligible to apply for the conversion from temporary to permanent residency after two years in the country). 

It is possible to apply for Residente Permanente (Permanent Residency) without leaving Mexico if the applicant is the:

  • parent of a foreigner who has permanent resident status;
  • children of a foreigner who has permanent resident status,with the condition that the they are under 18 years old;
  • sibling of a foreigner who has permanent resident status,with the condition that the sibling is under 18 years old;
  • children of a Mexican National in cases in which they are not entitled to Mexican Nationality and with the condition that they are under 18 years old;
  • child of a spouse of a Mexican Nationalwith the condition that they are under 18 years old;
  • foreign parent of children born in Mexico;
  • sibling of a Mexican National (including naturalized citizens) with the condition that the they are under 18 years old.

Mexico Visa Application & Process

Usually, for both a Temporary and a Permanent Residency Visa you will have to apply at a Mexican consulate outside of the country. There are some exceptions, such as for people with close family connections (which we will discuss in the Family Visa section).

Temporary Residence Visa Requirements

The Temporary Resident Visa is granted under different categories, which depend on the activities you intend to participate in while in the country. Under the terms of this type of visa, you are only allowed to carry out certain activities. These undertakings may be for profit or non-profit, depending on the classification of your visa.

The principal criterion to be eligible for of a Temporary Resident Visa is that you have sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay in Mexico and/or have proven steady income.

Permanent Residence Visa Requirements

The Permanent Resident Visa is for those who want permanently residency in Mexico. It is not a requirement to first have Temporary Residency in order to become a Permanent Resident. However, you must fulfill at least one of the following requirements:

  • have close family connections in the country;
  • apply for retirement status and show evidence of having sufficient monthly income or assets to support yourself;
  • have Temporary Resident status for four consecutive years;
  • have Temporary Resident status for two consecutive years, if the Temporary Visa was issued via marriage to a Mexican national or to a foreign permanent resident;
  • meet a minimum score under the Points System;
  • be granted residency via political asylum or on humanitarian grounds.

Mexico Visa Costs

Below are the fees for residency permits in Mexico for the year 2020.

Consulate Fees: When applying for a visa at a Mexican consulate, you will need to pay a consular service of 870 MXN (40 USD).

Residente Temporal (RT): Bear in mind that your first RT permit is always issued for just one year. After this first year you might be granted one, two, or three extra years of temporary residency.

The fees for exchanging a RT visa, which will be a sticker on your passport, for an RT card, or renewing a current RT card for additional year(s) are the following:

Residente Temporal Fees:
1 year 4,271 MXN (200 USD)
2 year 6,400 MXN (285 USD)
3 year 8,106 MXN (375 USD)
4 year 9,607 MXN (445 USD)
Temporary Resident Student Permit

Those applying for a Residente Temporal Estudiante permit will have to pay the consulate fee of 870 MXN (40 USD). However, no charges apply for exchanging the visa sticke for a card. Moreover, there are no charges for renewing the card for extra years.

Permanent Resident

The fee you incur when swapping the Residente Permanente visa (sticker) for a Residente Permanente card is 5,206 MXN (240 USD). This is also the fee when you convert a temporary residency card to a permanent residency card.

 Exchanging your Temporary Resident Permit to a Permanent One

After living in Mexico for four years under a Residente Temporal or Residente Temporal Estudiante permit, you may apply to swap your temporary residency card to a permanent one. In order to this, you will need to pay 1,325 MXN (60 USD) in addition to the fee for the Residente Permanente card, which is 5,206 MXN (240 USD).

Exit or Re-Entry Permit

 The fee for an exit or re-entry permit is 437 MXN (20 USD). If you have to leave Mexico amid a residency migratory process, you must apply and pay for this type of permit. Be aware that you are in the middle of a regularization procedure, for instance, if you lost your residency card or it expired, you will not be able get this permit. You will have to finish your regularization process and then apply for this permit.

How Much is a Work Permission Fee on a Temporary or Permanent Resident Card?

If you apply on a Residente Temporal card, the basic fee is 3,207 MXN (150 USD). Additional fees may incur (e.g. visa sticker exchange fee).

If you hold a Residente Permanente card you are not liable for this fee. However, you are obligated to notify the immigration office regarding any changes to your work arrangements.

Fee for swapping a Forma Migratoria Múltiple (FMM) to a Family Visa

If you apply to exchange a Visitor’s Visa (FMM) in-country for a residential permit (Residente Temporal or Residente Permanente) under the Family Unit rules you will need to pay a fee of 1,365 MXN (65 USD), in addition the resident card fee listed above.

Mexico Immigration Point System

Back in the year 2012, a clause was added to the country’s immigration reform law, which was formulated to allow foreigners to apply for residency in Mexico under this points-based system. The purpose was to capture the interest of highly skilled, educated and qualified people to fill key positions in Mexico’s workforce. Nonetheless, as of today the point-based system has not been yet implemented.

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Self-Employment Visas for Mexico

If you intend to live and work for yourself in Mexico, you are likely wondering about a self-employment visa. It is better to apply under Economic Solvency or Family Unit and then request to add work permissions.

Mexican Self-Employment Visa Types

To be able to work for yourself, you will either have to hold a Temporary or Permanent Resident Permit with work permissions or work privileges.

Requirements and Process

In Mexico, if you apply for residency under the ‘economic solvency’ requirement, you must prove that you have enough funds to support yourself. For this, you will have to demonstrate that you:

  • have regular income (e.g. from foreign pensions or investments);
  • are in possession of savings in cash or cash-like investments;
  • own Mexican real estate; and/or,
  • have investments in local companies or stock market

The costs will vary depending on the type of visa you are applying for. Please refer to our Visa Costs section.

It is essential that you apply for work privileges or else you will not able to register with the local tax authority or adequately set up your business. The way you apply for the visa will depend on whether you already reside in Mexico with a temporary resident permit that does not have work permissions, or if you are applying from abroad.

Process if you are applying within Mexico
  • Temporary Resident card
  • Proof of visa application payment
  • A letter written in Spanish explaining what your intended economic activity is. You must also state your Registro Federal de Contribuyentes, RFC (tax ID Nº), your location, and any other information you deem pertinent.
  • Copy of the immigration request (done online)
  • The last part of the process in person at the local Instituto Nacional de Migración office (INM).

If you not applying within Mexico, you have several options, which depend on your specific circumstances. For instance, you could apply for a temporary resident visa by proving that you meet the economic solvency requirement.

Self-Employment Application Form

There’s one form for all visa applications. You can download it here from the Mexican Government Website. In the bottom right hand corner, you have to select which visa or permit you are applying for.

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Residency Permits: Temporary and Permanent

Do you need to know how to obtain a Mexican temporary or permanent resident permit? We have compiled the information on requirements, fees, and more.

Temporary Residence Visa Requirements

The Mexican Government grants the Temporary Resident Visa under different categories, depending on the activities you intend to participate in. These activities may be for profit or non-profit, depending on the classification of your visa.

The main requirement for you to apply for a Temporary Resident Visa is that you must have sufficient funds to support yourself while in Mexico and/or that you demonstrate that you have a steady source of income.

How to Obtain Permanent Residency in Mexico

The Mexican Permanent Resident Visa is for those who want to permanently reside in the country. It is not a requirement to first have Temporary Residency in order to become a Permanent Resident. However, you must fulfill at least one of the criteria listed below.

Permanent Residence Visa Requirements

  • Have close family connections in Mexico.
  • Apply under retiree status and prove that you have enough monthly income or assets to support yourself.
  • Hold Temporary Resident status for four years in a row.
  • Hold Temporary Resident status for two consecutive years, if you obtained the Temporary Visa through marriage to a Mexican national or foreign permanent resident.
  • Obtain residency on humanitarian grounds or through political asylum.

Spouse or Fiancé Visa Process in Mexico

If you are married or living with a foreigner with a Mexican Permanent Resident Visa, you must provide the following documents (originals and copies):

  • marriage license, proof of domestic partnership, or equivalent legal document issued by a recognized authority;
  • permanent resident visa of the foreign partner;
  • proof of economic solvency.

How do I Prove Economic Solvency?

Below are two ways of proving economic solvency.

  • Proof of investments or bank accounts, for the past twelve months, with monthly average balance equivalent to one hundred days of general minimum wage in Mexico, which is around 12,300 MXN (570 USD).

OR

  • Documents that demonstrate that the applicant has employment and a monthly income or a liens free pension, for the past six months, which comes up to the equivalent or more than hundred days of general minimum wage in Mexico.This total is around 12,300 MXN (570 USD).

Spouse, Fiancé, or Family Visa Requirements

  • If you have a close relationship with a foreigner living in Mexico with a temporary resident card or temporary resident Card for study purposes
  • If you are married or live with a foreigner who holds temporary resident card or temporary resident card for study purposes, you must provide a marriage license, a document that proves a domestic partnership, or an equivalent legal document.
  • If you have a foreign child who holds a temporary resident card or a temporary resident card for study purposes, you must provide the child’s birth certificate.
  • If you have a foreign father or mother with a temporary resident card or temporary resident card for study purposes (if the applicant is a minor and is not married and is not married), the applicant must show their birth certificate.

OR

  • If the applicant is the child of the spouse or partner of a foreigner with a temporary resident card or temporary resident card for study purposes (if the applicant is a minor and is not married). They must show the applicant’s birth certificate and the parent’s marriage license or domestic partnership papers.
  • You must show a valid temporary resident card or temporary resident card for study purposes of your relative.
  • If you have a relationship with a foreign person who has a temporary resident card for study purposes, you will need to show a letter from the institution confirming that they are currently studying there.

If you are married or living with a foreigner who holds a Permanent Resident Card you must show the following documents (originals and copies):

  • marriage license, proof of domestic partnership, or equivalent legal document issued by a recognized authority;
  • permanent resident card of the foreign partner who is married or living with a Mexican Citizen.

If you are married or living with a Mexican citizen, you must provide the following documents (originals and copies):

  • marriage license, proof of domestic partnership, or equivalent legal document issued by a recognized authority;
  • your partner’s document proving Mexican citizenship;
  • birth certificate;
  • passport or voter’s card.

Bear in mind that in Mexico, there’s one application form for all visas and permits. For your application for a temporary or permanent resident permit, you can download the form here. You will see that on the bottom right hand corner, you have to select which particular visa or permit you are applying for. For fees for permanent or temporary resident permits refer back to the Mexico Visa Cost section.

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Updated on: June 29, 2020
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