Most visitors to Mexico for leisure or business 180 days or less can complete Visitors permit, known as Forma Migratoria Multiple or FMM, at the port of entry.
If the country that issued your passport appears on this list of countries, you DO require a visa for Mexico.
If you arrive by land and leave Mexico within 7 days of your arrival date, there is no fee for the permit. If you fly into Mexico from overseas, the fee is usually included within your air ticket’s “fees and surcharges.” The fee is approximately US$25.
Keep Your Visitors Permit (FMM) Safe
Once completed, the immigration official at the port of entry will stamp both halves of the form and hand you the smaller half. It’s important to keep this document safe, as you will need to surrender it when you leave Mexico.
If you are departing Mexico on a flight, your airline will insist you surrender the FMM to them before they allow you to board. If you have a FMM and are leaving the country by land or you should voluntarily surrender your FMM to an immigration official before your departure. Failure to do so might cause delays the next time you try and enter Mexico.
The Visitors Permit is valid for a maximum of 180 days* (about 6 months) from the date you enter Mexico. This allowance is given per entry: every time you exit and re-enter Mexico the 180-day allowance ‘resets.’ (You surrender your current FMM when you leave and get a new FMM when you return.) For example, if you enter Mexico on March 1st, you must leave by no later than August 28th; but if you leave on June 1st, and re-enter on June 18th of the same year, the effective exit date on your new FMM will be December 15th. Be sure to count the days as some months are longer than others.
If you enter Mexico as a tourist or as a business visitor, then the immigration official at the port of entry will usually grant you 180 days’ leave to remain; this will also be written on the part of the form that’s handed to you for safe-keeping, and you need to calculate the exit date accordingly.
The Visitor Permit (FMM) will always expire after a maximum 180 days: it cannot be extended or renewed and you must leave the country before it expires.
*If you visit Mexico on a cruise ship, the permit will be valid for 21 days. If you are only in-transit through a Mexican airport or if you are using a FMM to enter Mexico to exchange a residency visa for a residency card, then the maximum number of days written on the permit will be 30.
If the immigration official at the port of entry writes a number fewer than 180 days on your Visitors Permit, you may apply to extend it to a maximum of 180 days from the date you originally entered Mexico at any local immigration office, provided you intend to stay-on as a tourist or to extend your business visit. In most cases, all visitors are granted the full 180-day allowance at the port of entry, and you must leave Mexico before it expires.
There is no time limit to remain outside the country before re-entering using a new FMM—and thus obtaining another 180 days’ leave to remain in Mexico. Some people have been using this flexibility to stay here longer-term; however, with today’s computerized entry and exit systems, immigration officials at ports of entry have ready-access to your movements through Mexico and ‘perpetual visitors’ — people who continuously enter, stay for a few months, exit and then re-enter Mexico in short order — may now have their intentions questioned at the port of entry. We have heard of cases where people have been turned away; if you intend to stay in Mexico longer-term, we recommend you consider applying for temporary residence in Mexico.
Most people need to begin their application for residency in Mexico at a Mexican Consulate abroad.
If you lose your Visitors Permit (FMM) while you’re in Mexico, you will need to visit one of the local immigration offices situated in towns and cities across the country, or at the airport, and apply for a replacement before you can leave. This will involve some form-filling and filing, and a trip to a local bank to pay your permit replacement fee (about US$40) before you return to the immigration office to receive your FMM replacement.
We sometimes get emails from readers who have arrived home and realized that they still have their FMM tourist permits, usually after driving back across the Mexico-US border. The best thing to do, if this happens to you, is to contact your nearest Mexican Consulate who will advise what to do.
If you overstay the time you were granted on your visitors permit (usually 180 days, see above), you will need to visit an immigration office (or the immigration center at the airport) and pay a fine before you can leave the country. The amount of the fine depends on how long you have over-stayed; it is calculated on a per-day basis and, at time of writing, will not be more than MX $6,000 pesos. As with lost permits, you should arrange to secure your exit visa before your planned flight departure date, as otherwise you might miss your flight.
There is an option to apply for your visitor permit online, make the payment, print-out the form and get this stamped at the border. See the eFMM Application Page on the Mexican immigration site for details, terms and conditions. If you have questions or experience difficulties with the online procedure, please contact the INM directly. Most people continue to complete their FMM in-flight, or upon arrival at the airport, or land/sea border.