Which Visa do I Need?

While visiting or residing in Mexico, it is essential to comprehend the differences between the tourist, temporary, and permanent residence visas. Although all visas allow entry into the country, each serves a particular purpose and offers unique rights and perks. It is important to follow the steps of the visa application process for Mexico.

The tourist visa, or FMM, allows travellers up to 180 days to visit Mexico. It is designed for short visits and leisure travel. With the help of a temporary resident visa, people can live in Mexico for up to four years while working, studying, volunteering, or conducting business. The Residente Permanente visa allows a long-term or indefinite stay and authorize people to work, retire, or create a permanent life in Mexico.

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Application Process For The Mexican Tourist Visa

First of all, visitors need to check if they need a visa or if they are from one of the numerous nations on Mexico’s “no visa required” list. Check on the following map if you require a visa to enter Mexico or if you are allowed to fill out an FMM instead.

In case that you have a passport issued by one of the green coloured countries, you do not need a visa to visit Mexico for tourism, business or student purposes or transit for up to 180 days. Usually, visitors can obtain an FMM upon arrival at the port of entry. Yet, FMMs are required less. Nowadays, visitors often only get an entry stamp in their passport.

Typically, the following documentation are necessary when applying for a tourist visa:

  • A passport that is up to six months beyond the length of the anticipated stay
  • A return ticket or other document proving further travel
  • Documentation showing the cost of your stay in Mexico, such as credit card or bank statements

If you need a visa for Mexico, you have to apply at one of the Mexican embassies abroad. You can find a list of the Mexican embassies here.

Depending on the activity you plan to do in Mexico, the immigration authorities at the port of entry may require specific documents to substantiate the reason for your visit:

  • Travel: Hotel reservations, travel plans, and round-trip airline tickets
  • Business: A letter in Spanish from a foreign employer stating that you are an employee and that the employer will pay for the services you will render in Mexico. Furthermore, it must include that you will not receive any payment or salary from a company in Mexico. Besides that, you need a letter of invitation from a public or private institution to perform unpaid activities in Mexico, stating the purpose of the trip, the anticipated length of your stay, and accepting responsibility for your travel and lodging expenses
  • Student: Letter of acceptance or invitation to enroll in courses, conduct research, or engage in academic training for up to 180 days from any institution related to the National Educational System

Click on the following link to see which countries need a visa:
Do I need visa to travel to Mexico? (sre.gob.mx)

Application Process For The Mexican Temporary Resident Visa

Apart from the tourist visa and the permanent residence visa, Mexico also offers a Temporary Resident Visa (Residente Temporal). This visa is intended for visitors who plan to stay in the country for a long time, generally between 180 days and four years. Therefore, the right candidate for this visa is someone who wants to spend a certain amount of time in Mexico working, studying, or participating in other activities. In order to keep temporary residency status, the original visa may be granted for a shorter period of time and may be renewed or extended many times.

You will go through the visa application process, which includes the following, in order to apply for a temporary residence visa for Mexico:

  • Submitting the application at a Mexican embassy or consulate in your place of residence
  • Supplying the required paperwork, such as a current passport, financial stability documentation, and health records
  • Paying necessary fees
  • Participating in an interview and/or giving biometric information (based on the needs of the consulate)

The following types of documentation may be needed for a temporary resident visa:

  • Application forms that are finished
  • A valid passport
  • Evidence of financial stability, proving your ability to sustain oneself while visiting
  • Documentation supporting a valid purpose for a temporary stay in Mexico,
    such as a job offer, enrollment in school, or commercial endeavors
  • Access to health insurance in Mexico
  • Background check for crimes

Temporary residents are entitled to a number of privileges, such as the right to create bank accounts, the ability to work or study in Mexico, and access to public healthcare. They must, though, adhere to a number of requirements, including as reporting any changes to personal information to the authorities, timely renewing their residency card, and abstaining from engaging in illicit activities.

People with Temporary Resident Visas could, in some circumstances, be qualified to submit an application for permanent residency after a specific amount of time. Depending on elements like the visa type and the circumstances of the individual, certain procedures and conditions must be met in order to make the transition to permanent residency.

Click on the following link for more information about the Temporary Visa:
Temporary Resident (sre.gob.mx)

Application Process For The Mexican Permanent Residence Visa

An indefinite stay in Mexico is permitted with a permanent residency visa. With this type of visa it is possible to work or retire in Mexico. It is crucial to keep in mind that the initial visa may contain a number of restrictions or limitations, such as a necessity for temporary stay before gaining permanent residency.

You will go through the visa application process, which includes the following, in order to apply for a permanent residence visa for Mexico:

  • Submitting the application at a Mexican embassy or consulate in your place of residence
  • Supplying necessary papers, such as a passport in good standing, evidence of financial stability, and health records
  • Finishing an interview and making the necessary payments
  • Participating in an orientation meeting once in Mexico

Depending on the precise category you are applying under, different permanent residence visas may require different specific documentation.
Documents that are frequently sought include:

  • Completed application forms
  • A valid passport
  • Evidence of financial stability
  • Evidence of Mexican health insurance
  • Background check for crimes

People who are awarded permanent residency can work legally in Mexico without a work visa. Additionally, they have access to free healthcare, and, after a certain period of time, can seek for Mexican citizenship. The National Registry of Foreigners (RENAPO) registration and residency card renewal are two duties that permanent residents must fulfill.

Click on the following link for more information about the Permanent Visa:
Permanent Resident Visa (sre.gob.mx)


In conclusion, anyone considering a trip to Mexico or a long-term stay must be aware of the variations between the several types of visas available. A pleasant and successful journey will be guaranteed if you approach the visa application process for Mexico with knowledge and preparation.

Read our blog about Buying Property in Mexico as a Foreigner:
Buying Property in Mexico as a Foreigner – Ongresso

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