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 –

Read another Visa/passport article by Barbie at

Visa article by Barbie.

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25 Responses to PERMIT & VISA for MEXICO

  1. Ted

    July 26, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    What is the age requirement for a retirement type qualification? I am shortly to be 60 – but my wife is 53. Possible?

  2. Barbie


    July 27, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Retirement age, Mexico, is considered anything over 50 years. So, sure :) Of course that depends on your personal finances. And retirement in the U.S. – now that’s a different story – read the S.S. articles and my Planning Retirement articles for more info. Barbie

  3. Charles Maxin

    July 27, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    What is a police clearance letter? Where would I get one? I had a dui years ago. Would that be a problem?

  4. Barbie


    July 27, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    You can probably go to your local Police Station. A dui is no problem – they are checking for felons. You should have no problem. See if you can get a letter stating you are not a felon. Barbie

  5. Pingback: Mexico Retirement Blog » Blog Archive » Requirements for Visas

  6. Larry

    July 31, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Thank you for the information. I really appreciate yournews letters. Please keep up the great work, and pkease keep me on your list.
    Thanks much

  7. CJ Mines

    August 8, 2011 at 7:42 am

    Hi Barbie,
    This blog is very helpful; however, when I click on the visa ‘application form’ the link takes me to a yellow pages link for employment. Could you send the application form to my email or change your link?

    I am looking to move at the end of this year and need info on Air Freight to Puerto Vallarta. Any blogs on this? Thanks, CJ

  8. Barbie


    August 8, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Hi CJ – The ads which appear on my site, are an automatic choice by Google. I choose Google, but there are many companies who handle the ads you see online…on almost all websites. If you are interested in getting a VISA application – shouldn’t be hard to find online – just put “VISA application” into your search – I just did a test doing that, and I got 66,700,000 choices to go to. That’s 66 million, seven hundred thousand…….choices… Or, even better, head to your bank and see what cards they can offer you – they already know your credit rank. Barbie

  9. CJ Mines

    August 8, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Your article was for a Mexican Visa application for living in Mexico, not a credit card visa. What popped up was totally unrelated, an ad for jobs in Alameda CA.

  10. Barbie


    August 8, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    One more thing – on my site, on the home page, to the top right, put “move furniture” in and click search – you’ll get some info – you also need to read my newsletters – they are all free. Barbie

  11. CJ Mines

    August 8, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    The heading on your website is “Permit & Visa for Mexico” regarding the visa application that I thought I was clicking on. I figured it would be a .pdf file.

    Regarding “moving furniture” I am not moving furniture over the border by land, I am flying boxes of clothing and small appliances by Air and wonder if anyone else has done the same?

  12. Barbie


    August 8, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Yep – the key word apparently being “VISA” .Barbie

  13. Barbie


    August 8, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Okay Readers – anyone help him? Barbie

  14. Cynthia

    September 28, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Does anyone know what this “Police Letter Clearance” is — Have not ever seen this before. How does one get this and where? Do you get it in the US before you are in MX? What if you live in MX year-round and do not have an address in the US anymore.

  15. David

    October 3, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    Hi Barbie,
    I am (was) about to renew my fm3 for the 5th time this November. I had been looking forward to getting my fm2 after one more year. Do you know what will happen now? Do you think I will be granted permanente residente since I have had my fm3 for 4 years? Any insight would be appreciated. Thanks in advance. I really enjoy your informative blog.

  16. Barbie


    October 11, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    Hi Davie, Not sure about that, since the new Visas are here! Hopefully you will be granted your permanent, but you need to check with the officials. Barbie

  17. Dodie Costales

    January 12, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Hi David, I read your blog and was wondering
    what happened on your renewal of fm3. I
    am facing the same issue next month.

  18. David

    January 17, 2012 at 9:47 am

    I was surprised to find out not much seamed to have changed besides the name of the fm3, now referred to as No Inmigrante and fm2 as Inmigrante.
    My last renewal was due about Nov. 1,2011. Its possible that the changes hadn’t gone into effect by then. I did find out that you do NOT have to have a No Inmigrante, old fm3, for 5 years before you step up to an Inmigrante, old fm2. I did get my Inmigrante and look forward to my Inmigrado in 5 years then trying to get my dual citizenship.
    Neither my Immigration lawyer nor anybody at the immigration office knew anything about being able to get a 4 year residente temporal or residente permanente. My Inmigrante is good for just one year and cost about $2800 pesos per renewal. The No Inmigrante would have cost $1250 pesos to renew.
    This was my experience in southern Baja where I spend 3-4 months per year. I would assume it would be the same anywhere in the country. But after all, it is Mexico and you just never know what your gonna get!
    Best of luck to you. Hope this makes at least a little bit of sense.

  19. Tija

    March 8, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    Hi David: My wife and I obtained our No Inmigrante last July 2011. Before that we had the FM3 for one year only. We were told by a good friend in Mexico that we could apply for the Inmigrante in July 2012. I was under the impression that you need to wait 4 years before applying for the Inmigrante. Have you any experience with this? I would be grateful for any help.

  20. 'bella

    March 24, 2012 at 10:50 am

    hi, am interested in the perm visa however.. as a retiree I meat all the requirements but one.. this police letter. exactly what is it supposed to say…
    I have a felony conviction with adjudication withheld from ten yrs past (2002) will this prevent me from moving perm. to Merida? or even getting a 6 mos tourist visa.. thanks.. ‘bella

  21. Barbie


    March 29, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    Hi, I would start with your local police department. They should be able to help you. Do this as soon as possible. Good luck. Barbie

  22. 'bella

    March 30, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Barbie, btdt.. my local police dept have no idea what to do. I guess you must think, like most gringos I am as dumb as a rock. oh well, never mind.. The real anwer is you don’t know how to answer my question.. lmao…
    don’t bother publishing this.. and take me off your theoretical newsletter. it is nothing more than a bunch of advertising…

  23. Barbie


    April 23, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Ouch – oh well, can’t make everyone happy :(

  24. Dj

    January 15, 2014 at 11:38 am

    Been married to a mexican citizen for 22 years. We were married in mexico and lived there for approx 9 years before we moved to the us for the kids education. I had a fm2 and work visa in mexico. Now we are ready to move back but i cant get a passport(not due to anything criminal). Can we do anything.?

  25. Barbie


    February 15, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    If you ever expect to return to the U.S., you better get the passport. Barbie

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