In late 2012, the Mexican government implemented a large-scale overhaul of its visa system, which affected all types of visas and permits. For instance, please note that some categories of visas and permits you might still stumble upon in your research are no longer issued (such as the tried and tested FM2 and FM3). The information below is accurate as of February 2016. However, as the Mexican government and diplomatic missions are not always quick to provide up-to-date information in languages other than Spanish, it would be wise to double-check with the Mexican embassy, consulate, or mission in your country. You can find an overview including contact details on the website of the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
If you are going to Mexico as a tourist, or if you would like to engage in non-remunerated business there, chances are that you will not need a visitor’s visa. Quite a long list of nationals need no visa for short trips to Mexico (up to 180 days). On this website, you can choose your country of origin to see if you need a visitor’s visa (also known as an entry permit) in order to enter Mexico for non-work-related reasons. If you are exempt from the visitor’s visa requirement, you simply need to bring your passport. You will then be issued a so-called multiple migratory form (FMM) on the airplane or at the airport, which you need to complete and sign.
If you do in fact hail from a country not exempt and thus need a visa, please consult the website of your nearest Mexican diplomatic body for visa requirements and fees, as fees and the supporting documents necessary for applying can vary considerably depending on the nature of your stay. For stays in Mexico longer than 180 days, nationals of all countries need a visa.
Your Mexican employer has to get in touch with the National Institute of Immigration, handing in several documents that you will need to provide, such as a birth certificate, a marriage certificate (if applicable), and passport photocopies. If the application is successful, you will receive a letter of authorization from the Institute of Immigration and must then apply for a temporary resident visa (which in this case will include the permission to work) at the Consular Section of the nearest Mexican embassy. The application process includes coming in for an interview as well as handing in your paperwork:
Your visa should be ready within two working days. Remember to check whether or not you will need to pick it up in person! Once you arrive in Mexico, you have thirty days to apply for your temporary resident card at the nearest immigration office. This card will allow you to live and work in Mexico for up to four years including renewals. In case you want to stay longer, you need to apply for the permanent resident visa.
There are other cases in which a foreigner can apply for the temporary resident visa. This is the case, for instance, if you have a familiar bond with another person who has either the temporary or the permanent resident visa, or when you have a marital (or equivalent) bond with a Mexican citizen. This visa category is called vinculo familiar.
The cost for the temporary resident visa depends on the lengths of your stay:
Note that the process of getting a visa can be very time-consuming and potentially frustrating.
On top of everything, once in Mexico you will need a Curp Card. Curp is an identity code which is needed in order to have access to most government services in Mexico. To obtain one, it is necessary to present an original and a copy of the visa (temporary or permanent), your passport, and a copy of the latter. You can apply for the Curp card at various government offices. Among many things, the card is necessary to keep record of tax fillings and passport applications.
Most flights to Mexico go through airports in Mexico City, Cancún, Monterrey, or Guadalajara. Only Mexico City (MEX) and Cancún (CUN) service direct flights to and from Europe, Canada, Cuba, and Central and South America.
Because the airline Mexicana went bankrupt in 2010, Aeromexico, founded in 1934, is now the longest-running airline in Mexico. Many of Mexicana’s flights are now serviced by United Airlines, though. Aeromexico used to be state-owned, but a consortium led by Banamex purchased the airline in 2007. In terms of safety, Aeromexico is comparable to major European and US airlines.
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