Moving to Mexico City?
Visas for Expats in Mexico D.F.
Visa or No Visa?
If you would like to travel to Mexico City for leisure, to conduct non-remunerated business, or to get a first impression of what living there is all about, your first step is checking whether or not you will need a visa. If you will be starting a new job in Mexico, you will always require a visa regardless of your nationality (see below).
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 don’t need a visitor’s visa, you can stay in Mexico for up to 180 days. While your passport of course has to be valid for the duration of your stay, Mexican authorities do not require any further minimum period of validity. Once you arrive in Mexico, the only thing left to take care of is completing the FMM multiple migratory form, which is usually issued in the airplane or at the port of entry.
If you do need a visitor’s visa, the process is bit more elaborate and time consuming. Depending on different factors, requirements and fees vary considerably. In any case, you will need to submit a completed application form, your passport (original and photocopy), and a recent photo. Please check with your Mexican embassy for further details.
The Process of Getting a Work Visa
If you will be moving to Mexico to start working there, your employer will first need to get a work permit for you. In order to do this, your employer needs to submit several documents to the National Institute of Migration, such as your birth certificate, marriage certificate (if applicable), and passport photocopies.
If the application is successful, the Institute will send you a letter of authorization, which you need to apply for a temporary resident visa (which in this case will include the permission to work) at the Mexican mission indicated within. Please bring the following items with you:
- a copy of the authorization letter
- a completed visa application
- your passport and a photocopy
- one recent passport-sized photograph
- application fee (to be paid in cash)
Once in Mexico, you need to apply for your temporary resident card at the nearest immigration office within 30 days of arriving in the country. This separate plastic card will allow you live and work in Mexico for up to four years. After this period of time, if you would like to remain in Mexico, you can apply for a permanent resident visa.
Brace Yourself for the Mexican Immigration Law
In 2012 the Mexican government radically reformed its immigration law, which is the law regulating all the rights and obligations for foreigners. As the revised law is quite complex, we strongly suggest either asking your future employer in Mexico City to take care of the administrative side of things, or hiring an immigration lawyer.
We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete.