How to get a visa for Mexico: What visa types are available?by Juan José Herranz | March 3, 2022
- 1. Do you need a visa to go to Mexico?
- 2. Types of visas
- 3. How to apply for Mexican visa?
- 4. Who needs a visa for Mexico?
- 5. What do you need in order to apply for a visa to Mexico?
- 6. Can the FMM for Mexico be changed once it has been processed?
- 7. How much is a visa for Mexico?
- 8. How far in advance do I need to apply for a visa to travel to Mexico?
- 9. What are Mexico's entry borders?
- 10. Are vaccines required to travel to Mexico?
- 11. What is the Mexican currency?
- 12. When is the best time to travel to Mexico?
- 13. Is it safe to travel to Mexico?
- 14. Important tips for travelling to Mexico
Do you need a visa to go to Mexico?
The visa for Mexico is compulsory depending on which nationality passport you hold. The FMM form (Forma Migratoria Múltiple) is compulsory for all visitors to Mexico.
If you are from any of the following countries, you will not need a visa to travel to Mexico as a tourist, as long as your stay is less than 180 days. Depending on the nationality of the applicant, the maximum stay can sometimes be 30 days.
The nationalities below must apply for an FMM before traveling to the country:
Argentina, Andorra, Aruba, Anguilla, Australia, Netherlands Antilles, Austria, Bahamas (Commonwealth), Belize, Barbados, Brazil, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Colombia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, United States, Finland, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Marshall Islands, Iceland, Christmas Islands, Azores, Niue, Bermuda, Norfolk Islands, Cayman Islands, Pitcairn Islands, Cocos Islands, Reunion Islands, Cook Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, Faroe Islands, Wallis and Futuna Islands, Guam Islands, Spain, United States Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Falkland Islands, Israel, Mariana Islands, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macao, Martinique, Mahore, Malta, Montserrat, Micronesia, Malaysia, Monaco, Norway, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Netherlands (Holland), French Polynesia, Palau, Poland, Panama, Portugal, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Peru, Romania, Czech Republic, American Samoa, San Marino, Sweden, St. Helena, Singapore, Switzerland, British Indian Ocean Territory, Trinidad and Tobago, Tokelau, Turks and Caicos, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Venezuela.
The initials FMM, meaning Forma Migratoria Múltiple (Multiple Migratory Form), is an official document that allows you to stay legally in the country.
Citizens of the countries mentioned above should fill in the FMM and once it is approved they should show it when they arrive in Mexico, where immigration will stamp it. It is extremely important that you keep your FMM until you leave the country, as you will have to show it again.
The FMM for Mexico is a document that should be filled in and sent to Mexican authorities online.
Once the authorities receive, check and approve the visa, you will receive it and you should print it. Then you must keep it during your whole stay. This document is made up of two parts, one that Mexican authorities will keep as proof and the other one that you should take with you so you can show it at the end of your stay when you leave the country.
The FMM becomes valid when government authorities stamp it upon arriving to the country, either by land or sea. If your nationality does not appear amongst those in the list above, it means that as well as applying for your FMM you should also take the approved FMM to a Mexican Embassy to apply for your visa.
The countries that should apply for the FMM to process their visa at a Mexican Embassy are:
Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Antigua and Barbuda, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Botswana, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Benin, Burundi, Bolivia, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cape Verde, Congo, Cambodia, Congo, Dem. Rep. (Zaire), Cameroon, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, China, Cuba, Comoros, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Dominica, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji Islands, Gabon, Guatemala, Gambia, Guinea, Georgia, Guinea Bissau, Ghana, Philippines, Russian Federation, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, North Korea, Ghana, United Arab Emirates, Equatorial Guinea, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Iraq, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Liberia, Lesotho, Libya, Lebanon, Macedonia, Mauritania, Madagascar, Myanmar, Malawi, Moldova, Maldives, Mongolia, Mali, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Mauritius, Namibia, Central African Republic, Nicaragua, Nauru, Niger, Nepal, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Palestine, Qatar, Rwanda, Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, Solomon Islands, Seychelles Islands, Western Samoa, Sierra Leone, St. Kitts and Nevis, Syria, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Somalia, St. Lucia, Sri Lanka, Holy See, South Africa, Sao Tome and Principe, Sudan, Senegal, Suriname, Serbia, Swaziland, Thailand, Tonga, Taiwan, Tunisia, Tanzania, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Timor Leste, Tuvalu, Togo, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Uganda, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Types of visas
As in any country in the world, Mexico has a series of visas for foreigners.
Don’t confuse the Mexican tourist visa with the FMM. The Formula Migratoria Múltiple is a document that you must always apply for when travelling to Mexico, whether you need a visa or not. You should apply for this migratory form and it should be approved by government authorities. When this document is approved, you can apply for a visa if you need it due to your nationality or the reason for your trip.
If you are a citizen of a country which only requires the FMM to travel to Mexico as a tourist, once it is approved you will be able to travel without having to apply for any additional documents.
If you are a citizen of a country that requires a visa you should still apply for the FMM and once it is approved you should take the document to the nearest Mexican Embassy to apply for the visa. Once the FMM is approved, the visas that can be applied for are the following:
Mexico Tourist Card (FMM)
The Mexico Tourist Card (FMM) is the most common and most requested one. It is a kind of electronic visa, which allows all foreigners to enter the country both by land and air. It is possible to apply for it online, which is a faster and easier process.
This electronic Mexican tourist card facilitates your entry into the country as it reduces your waiting time upon arrival (the form will be already filled in, confirmed and paid, so you will just need to have it stamped).
There are 3 types of FMM:
- Electronic land entry FMM.
- Electronic air entry FMM.
- Traditional FMM.
Both electronic forms have the same validity as the traditional Mexico FMM, the only difference is that the latter must be filled upon entering the country, at the air, sea and land border entries.
Both systems, electronic and traditional, are valid from the moment that the government authorities stamp it and in both cases they must be kept throughout the duration of your stay. You must hand them in to leave the country.
There is no government fee for the air entry electronic FMM (the government fee is already included in the cost of the flight), but there is a government fee for the land electronic FMM of about 20 euros, which is paid online when filling in the application. Children under the age of two are exempt from paying these government fees.
The documents required for the electronic FMM application are:
- Ordinary passport number.
- Bank card for payment of fees and/or handling fee.
- Valid e-mail address to receive the FMM.
Once the electronic FMM is requested, you have a maximum of 30 days to enter the country and have it stamped, and once stamped, you have a maximum of 180 days to stay in Mexico.
Visitor visa (without permission to engage in paid activities)
This visitor visa provides you with the same privileges as the FMM. You must apply for this visitor visa if your nationality is not compatible with the list of nationalities that can apply for the electronic FMM. This visa also allows you to stay in Mexico for a maximum of 180 days, but it does not allow you to perform any paid activity.
The documents required for the application of the visitor visa are:
- Application Form.
- Photograph (with white background and maximum 6 months old).
- Documents that prove that you have the financial means to cover your stay in Mexico.
- Documents that certify your legal status.
The visitor visa can only be processed in person with an appointment at a Mexican consulate office. The government fees for this visa are 48 dollars.
Visitor visa (with permission to engage in remunerated activities)
This visa allows you to travel to the country and perform remunerated activities, provided that you enter the country with a valid offer of employment.
The documents required to apply for a visitor visa with permission to engage in remunerated activities:
- Application form.
- Authorization from the National Institute of Migration.
- 1 photograph.
It is essential that the authorization process by the National Institute of Migration (INM) is previously carried out by the employer.
The fees for the issuance of the visa are 48 dollars and the costs for the issuance of the migratory document that certifies the condition of stay as a visitor with permission to carry out remunerated activities is 254 dollars.
This visa allows the necessary accreditation by Mexican governmental authorities to stay in Mexican territory for a stipulated period of time. It also allows travel for that period of time to staff in their charge and private service staff of any kind.
An official or representative of an international organization making a transit or private trip to Mexico must also apply for this visa.
The documents required to apply for the official visa are:
- Application Form.
- Note verbale for visa application.
- Valid official passport or Laissez-Passer.
- 1 photograph less than 6 months old and white background.
- This procedure is free of charge, and must be done in person.
Temporary Residence Visa
You must apply for this temporary residence visa when you wish to stay in Mexico for a period of more than 180 days, but less than 4 years. However, this visa is not a work permit.
The necessary documents for the application of the temporary residence visa are:
- Application form.
- Valid passport during the period of stay.
- 1 Photograph.
- Documents that prove that you have sufficient financial means.
The government fee for this visa is 48 dollars and it must be processed in person at one of the 148 Consular Offices that Mexico has abroad.
Visitor visa for adoption procedures
This visa allows you to travel to Mexico to visit places authorized for the international transit of people for adoption purposes. In order to apply for this visa, you must be resident of a country that belongs to the Convention on the Protection of Minors and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, or a country subscribed to the adoption agreement with Mexico.
The necessary documents for the application of the visitor visa for adoption procedures are:
- Application form.
- Valid passport.
- Adoptability or pre-assignment report issued by the National System for the Integral Development of the Family (DIF).
- Acceptance of the placement of the child and of the continuation of the adoption procedure issued by the Central Authority of the Receiving State.
- 1 Photograph.
- Document proving economic solvency.
The cost of the government fees for the visitor's visa for adoption is 48 USD and must be applied for in person at a Mexican consular office.
Border Worker Visitor Card
This visitor card is exclusive to citizens of Guatemala or Belize who want to work in Southern Mexico.
This visitor card for border workers grants work permits in the states of Chiapas, Campeche, Tabasco and Quintana Roo, as long as a person registered with the National Migration Institute offers a job opportunity for the applicant.
Documents required for the application of the card for a citizen of Belize:
- Passport or identity and travel document, valid and in force.
- Citizens over 16 years of age and under 18 years of age, must present a document stating the authorization to work in national territory, granted by their parents or by those who exercise parental authority or guardianship over them containing certification from justice of the peace.
Necessary documents for the application of the card for a citizen of Guatemala:
- Personal identification document or passport.
- Minors must present a birth certificate, issued within six months of birth.
- Those older than 16 and younger than 18 years of age, must present a document in which the authorization to work in national territory, granted by the persons who exercise parental authority or guardianship over them in the presence of a notary.
The border worker card costs 476 Mexican pesos and must be paid in person at one of the locations for the international land transit of persons in the states of Campeche, Chiapas, Quintana Roo and Tabasco of the United Mexican States.
Temporary Resident Student Visa
This visa must be requested for studying in Mexico.
Documents required to apply for a temporary resident student visa:
- Application form.
- 1 photograph.
- Document that proves the student’s financial solvency.
This visa costs 48 dollars and must be applied for in person at one of the Mexican consular offices that the country has abroad.
Permanent Resident Visa
This is the visa you must apply for if your purpose is to stay indefinitely in the country.
Necessary documents for the application of the permanent residence visa:
- Application form.
- 1 photograph.
- Document that proves your economic solvency.
- Document that accredits your legal stay.
This visa has a cost of 48 dollars and must be processed in person at one of the Mexican consular offices abroad.
How to apply for Mexican visa?
The FMM can be applied for online or in person once you arrive in Mexican territory. It is advisable to apply for it online so you can enter the country with the approved FMM and avoid any potential issues upon arrival.
If you need a visa to enter Mexico and once your FMM has been approved, you can apply for it in person at one of the 150 Consulate Offices that Mexico has outside their territory.
Who needs a visa for Mexico?
All foreign citizens must apply for an FMM to get into Mexico. Depending on your nationality, the amount of days or the reason for your trip, you can also apply for a specific visa.
What do you need in order to apply for a visa to Mexico?
The Mexico visa requirements vary depending on the type of visa we need. However, you must always have the FMM approved by government authorities and you should have a passport that has at least 6 months validity past the date of your trip.
Can the FMM for Mexico be changed once it has been processed?
No, it's not possible to change the FMM once it has been sent back to you by government authorities. If there are any mistakes you will have to apply and process it again and also pay the fees if there are any.
How much is a visa for Mexico?
Don’t confuse the Mexican FMM with a specific Mexico visa. The cost of government taxes for the FMM depends on the type of processing:
- Electronic FMM, entry by land, has a cost of 20$USD
- Electronic FMM, entry by air, has no cost at all.
If the visa is processed through a specialized agency such as visagov.com, there will be a processing cost that should be added to the cost of the visa.
The cost of government fees for specific visas is:
- Visitor visa (no permission to carry out paid activities), has a cost of around 48 USD.
- Visitor visa (with permission to carry out paid activities), has a total cost of around 300 USD.
- Official visa, with no government fees.
- Visa for temporary residence has government fees of around 48 USD.
- Visa for the adoption process has government fees of around 48 USD.
- Border worker visitor card has a cost of 476 Mexican pesos.
- Visa for temporary student residents has government fees of around 48 USD.
- Visa for permanent residency has government fees of 48 USD.
Bear in mind that you must add the compulsory FMM fee to these government fees.
How far in advance do I need to apply for a visa to travel to Mexico?
The FMM is a process that you can do online and usually takes around 48 hours to receive a resolution.
However, if you have to process your visa through the embassy, you should process it at least 3 months in advance. Remember that before you apply for your Embassy appointment, you should have an approved FMM application.
What are Mexico's entry borders?
Mexico has 2 mainland borders. To the north, it borders with the United States, and to the south with Guatemala and Belize. Otherwise, the country is surrounded by water, namely the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean.
To apply for the FMM for land entry, you must enter Mexico exclusively through the borders of these states: Baja California, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, Sonora and Tamaulipas.
Are vaccines required to travel to Mexico?
It is not necessary to be vaccinated against any disease to travel to Mexico, you do not even need to be vaccinated against Covid-19. The only thing you will need to do is fill out a form with the your flight information and some personal questions, nothing else is required.
However, it is strongly advisable to travel with the normal vaccines, and if possible, with the Covid-19 shot to avoid any unnecessary mishaps.
What is the Mexican currency?
The legal currency in Mexico is the Mexican peso. One Mexican peso is equivalent to 0.043 euros or 0.048 dollars.
When is the best time to travel to Mexico?
Mexico's climate is varied and depending on the season and region it can change. The Tropic of Cancer crosses the country and divides the country into different climate zones. In the north the weather is cooler and drier while in the south it is more tropical, hot and humid.
The high season in Mexico is from December to April and temperatures are usually around 24°C. The climate is drier so it can be very pleasant.
The low season in Mexico is in May and June. The temperatures rise, so it is a good time to visit the Riviera Maya because the rains have not yet started and it can be a bit cheaper than usual.
As you can see, depending on the season, you can visit one area or another of Mexico, so it´s always a good time to travel to this incredible country.
Is it safe to travel to Mexico?
Mexico is a fascinating country and is one of the 10 most visited countries in the world. Generally speaking, it is a safe country to travel to.
Tourist areas are a safe and wonderful destination. Avoid, however, conflict zones:
- Rural areas of Sinaloa State.
- Tamaulipas State.
- Juárez City.
- Rural areas of Chihuahua State.
- Northern zone of Veracruz State.
If you want to get out of the main tourist areas, the best thing to do is to hire an excursion and avoid travelling on your own.
The violence in some Mexican states is caused by drug cartels, not by average Mexican citizens. For tourists, Mexico is as safe as anywhere else in the world, as long as you avoid remote rural areas and lonely roads at night.
As it is common in main tourist areas all around the world, you should keep an eye on your belongings, walk around without excessive jewelry or large amounts of money, and be vigilant with cameras and cell phones.
Important tips for travelling to Mexico
- It is advisable to travel to Mexico with travel medical insurance.
- You must keep the FMM, as you will need it to leave the country.
- Scan all important documents such as passport, FMM, medical insurance, etc., to have them electronically accessible, in case you lose your physical copies.
- When renting a car to move around, you must be careful. Mexican traffic police have been reported to bribe and blackmail tourists to get an extra tip for their job.
- For currency exchange, the most convenient and cheapest way is to withdraw money from the ATM directly in the country. Do not carry pesos from your country of origin, and do not change money in Mexico.
- Get a SIM card upon arrival if you are planning to leave a tourist resort.
- When travelling by taxi, make sure you know the price of the trip before getting in. Platforms such as Uber are highly recommended, as they come with a fixed price.
- Always drink bottled water, the water in Mexico is not drinkable. Be careful with the ice in the drinks outside the hotel resorts.
- You should not forget the adapter for Mexican plugs, which are type A and 110V.
- Tipping is not mandatory, it is included in almost every bill.
- Always travel with sunscreen. The sun is very strong in the country.
- The spicy food is not a myth. Be careful with what you eat if you have a delicate stomach, because the food is very spicy.