Mexican immigration laws and applications for visa’s and work permits may seem complex but if you familiarize yourself with the processes and restrictions the difficulties can be overcome!
If you plan on visiting Mexico for a limited period of time you will be issued with a non-immigrant visa (FMT & FM3). Application forms for FMT and FM3 visa’s can be sought from travel agents, airlines and Mexican consulates.
These are typically issued for periods of 90 days but can usually be renewed for a further 90 days.
This is a short-term non-immigrant visa. With this visa you may visit Mexico for up to 6 months.
This is a long-term non-immigrant visa and allows you to stay in Mexico for up to a year and can be renewed for four further years after that. Once the five years are up a second FM3 can be applied for. There are several categories of FM3 visa which reflect the purpose of your stay including visitor, student, journalist, artist, and athlete. Before you’re granted an FM3 visa you will need to prove you can support yourself financially, and if you intend to work in Mexico you will need to apply for a work visa/gain permission from the Mexican Immigration’s Office.
It’s important to bear in mind that years spent in Mexico with a FM3 visa don’t count towards residency status.
If you intend to seek Mexican residency you will be issued with an immigrant visa (FM2). FM2’s are annually renewable and before you can apply for permanent residency you must live in Mexico on an FM2 visa for a minimum of five years. If you have this category of visa you’ll officially be classed as an immigrant. There are various types of FM2 visa that reflect the purpose of your stay in Mexico including; investor, scientist, retiree, professional, family member, assimilated individuals and trusted personnel. Again, if you intend to work in Mexico you will need to apply for a work permit/ seek permission from the Mexican Immigration’s Office.
If you acquire permanent residency status you will have all the rights of a Mexican citizen, baring the right to vote.
Once permanent residency has been obtained and you have lived in Mexico for five years Mexican citizenship can be applied for. Although marriage to a Mexican national can allow you to bypass the residency requirement to citizenship Mexican law does state that every citizen should know the basics of Mexican history and should be able to speak Spanish. Therefore, in order to obtain Mexican citizenship an exam on these areas must be passed.
To work in Mexico the Institute of Immigration will need to issue you with a work permit. A Mexico-registered employer will need to act as a corporate sponsor for your application. The employer must also provide the Mexican labour authorities with a work permit application accompanied by supporting documentation. The Institute of Immigration will process your case once your application’s been accepted and should get back to you within a month/month and a half. As soon as you arrive in Mexico you must register with the INM. This must be done within 30 days and all other members of your family must also register.
If the application is granted approval your work visa will need to be requested from the Mexican consulate and will be ready a week later. Remember, although spouses and children will receive ‘dependant’ visa’s they will need to apply for work permits separately if they intend to work.