Passport and VISA Requirements for Americans

Things have changed…

You used to be able to get back and forth between the States and Mexico with just your driver’s license.

As of January 1, 2008, all US citizens traveling by land, sea, or air, to and from Mexico require a passport.

So, plan ahead. Get that passport  and then, guard it as you would any of your personal precious objects! There’s going to be a “frequent crosser” card offered this year, for around $50, apparently for people who cross almost daily.  A visa is not required for stays of up to 180 days, if holding a Tourist Card/FMT form issued free of charge by airlines.

Mexico’s Immigration, Visa Permit Policies Are Changing

– VISA’s – 2012

New policies…

…for people moving to Mexico were announced in May of 2011.  Changes should be expected to take effect in late summer of 2011.  Since it took nearly a month for local and regional INM offices to digest and implement the May 2010 changes, it’s a good assumption that it will probably take another few months before the dust settles on this round of changes.

There will be no more FM2′s nor FM3′s.  There are no more stand-alone categories such as Non-Immigrante and Immigrante.  Tourist and other Visitor requirements have not changed much. For the Tourist, you’ll still fill out and use the Visitor’s Permit (FMM), available at the border, from the airline or ship as you travel.

Replacing the FM2 and FM3, are four categories:

Visitante: 6 Types: Non-Working Visitors (tourist), Working Visitors, etc., 180 day limit.

Residente Temporal: (old FM2 and FM3), 4 year limit per visa, Work Permit possible, Leave and Re-enter as many times as desired.

Residente Temporal Estudiante: Covers Student Studies.

Residente Permanente: Several types: Covers the old “Inmigrado” and a few special “No Inmigrantes” (the old FM3s for asylum seekers & refugees), and it appears to cover working “Inmigrantes”. It allows indefinite stays with no need to renew and includes the right to work.

Mexico will introduce a new Points System for permanent resident applicants who would like to be granted residency before the standard four year temporary residency requirements. Points will be awarded based on level of education, work experience, skills in areas related to the development of science and technology, international surveys, and the skills to develop activities that are required by Mexico.

Affecting Ex-Pats:

  1. Permanent residency can be granted after four years of Temporary Residency.
  2. Permanent residency can be granted after:
    1. Two years of marriage or common law relationship with an Mexican citizen, (with that marriage recognized by the Mexican Government by registering that foreign marriage with your Registro Civil), and
    2.  Two years of Temporary Residency in Mexico (concurrent with the marriage).
  3. Permanent residency can be awarded with less than 4 years of residency, if the applicant qualifies under the new Points System.
  4. There will be new ID cards, called “Tarjeta de Residencia” .

It is required that the INM issue implementing regulations within 180 days from May 25, 2011.  BUT…There have been no formal announcements yet of when the new changes will take effect.  All current applications and renewals filed before May 26 fall under the old rules, just like they did with applications and renewals filed before the May 2010 changes. All current Inmigrado and No Inmigrado visas (FM2′s &FM3′s) will remain valid until their expiration dates (see your “Vencimiento” on page 7 of FM2′s – Fecha de Caucidad,) and people holding current FM2′s and FM3′s will only have to comply with the new rules when they apply for renewals under the new system.

At that time,

For a Tourist Visa, you will:

  • Fill out Visa Application form.
  • Apply at the Consular Section in person from 8:30 am to 11:30 am, Monday through Friday.
  • Valid passport and one photocopy of the pages containing personal information, the photograph of bearer and expiration date/extensions.
  • Valid US visa for multiple entries; at least with 6 months of validity at the time of your filing and one photocopy.
  • Valid I-94 and/or I-20 or J1 or I797A Form in original and one photocopy.
  • Letter of verification of employment or Financial records (the last three months of your bank statements, or pay stubs, or credit card statements and the actual credit card) with one photocopy.
  • One (1) front view passport size photos, no glasses.
  • Payment of Consular fee 36.00 dollars. (cash only).
  • Applicants, under 18 years old must present a notarized authorization, signed by both parents or by the one not travel with the minor and legal guardians, granting their permission to get their tourist visa.

And For Retirees, you will:

  • Fill out the Visa Application form.
  • Apply at the Consular Section in person from 8:30 am to 11:30 am, Monday through Friday.
  • Valid passport in original and one photocopy of the pages containing personal information, photograph of bearer and expiration date/extensions.
  • Two (2) front view passport size photos, no glasses.
  • Payment of the Consular Fee: 134.00 US Dollars. Cash Only.
  • Proof of economic solvency: Applicant must prove a monthly income of $1,200.00 USD dollars, approximately, or equivalent in Mexican currency.
  • Police letter clearance
  • If the applicant will be accompanied by members of his immediate family, the minimum income required will be $500.00 additionally per month for each member 15 years of age or older.
  • The documents accepted as a proof are: Last three months of Bank statements, Social Security Statement or Pension Receipts; such documents must be notarized and bear the Apostille Seal (see linked info) issued by the Secretary of State of the State where the documents were notarized.

Please note that the Consular Officers may ask for additional information at the time of the interview.

US Citizens can travel to Mexico without a visa or consular stamp on the passport. It is important to bear in mind that you should always travel outside of the U.S. with a valid US passport or travel Document.

Foreigner of any country, who is a permanent resident of the United States or Canada, can travel to Mexico without a visa or a consular stamp on the passport. However, you should always have with you a valid passport or Travel Document plus the US Resident Alien Card (Green Card) or seal I-555 or Immigrant visa, Permanent Resident Card (Canada).

Addition Feb 3, 2013 – the amount you need to move to Mexico has changed – see –





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