Visa, FM3 – Part 2 of 3


Part 2


Hi everyone – are you ready for part two that I promised You?  Here we go… 

About FM3 Visa ‘s

The FM3 visa card, (temporary resident) is good for up to one year.  

You can apply for an FM3 card at any Mexican Immigration office in Mexico. 

An FM3 is a one-year permit allowing you to reside in Mexico.  Just like the Tourist Card, the FMM, the FM3 classifies you as a non-immigrant. 

An FM3 must be renewed each year, as long as you continue to reside in Mexico. After your fifth year with an FM3, you can either opt to change to an FM2 status or simply request a new FM3…and renew again for 5 years…forever. 

visa fm3

narrow streets of San Filipe

When you enter and exit Mexico, if you have an FM3 or FM2 visa, they stamp that instead of your passport. 

An FM3 allows you to take your vehicle into Mexico.  This privilege is confirmed as long as your FM3 is valid. 

An FM3 does not allow you to work – there has to be a work visa attached to an FM3 if you wish to work in Mexico. 

You probably will want an FM3 for Retirees, (doing no work for money) depending on your desired length of stay in Mexico, and whether you want to eventually live full time in Mexico. 

An FM3 card is now gray in color.  The text is in both Spanish and English, and states on the back “The holder of this document is a temporary resident of Mexico”. 

To procure an FM3 visa you need three copies each of:

  • A letter in Spanish addressed to the proper immigration authorities, that contains:
    • your full name;
    • current address;
    • a request to change your immigration status from Tourist to FM3 visa;
    • a statement to the effect that you have annexed all pertinent paperwork.
  • Passport;
  • Your current FMM visa;       
  • A copy of your main passport page with photo and details;
  • Your most recent bank statement (online printout is accepted);
  • An original + one copy of one of your most recent utility bills – which confirms your name and address;
  • Five required photographs;
  • a letter you write stating you are an upstanding citizen, witnessed by two Mexicans.

The fee is approximately $120. USD 

Spouse, also applying for an FM3, needs all the above, plus your original marriage certificate translated and authorized at a Mexican Consulate. 

There is no longer, as of 2010, a reduction in the monthly required income for owning and occupying a home in Mexico. 


FM3 visas are no longer available from consulates outside of Mexico. If you apply there, you will receive a sticker in your passport. With that, you can apply for an FMM when you enter Mexico, then you have 30 days to exchange that for an FM3 (or an FM2), as stated in my prior article under “FMM”. 

Now, you have submitted all you requirements, the immigration office keeps the originals, and two sets of copies.  The third set of copies is for your file – just in case. 

Then, you supposedly have been notified that your application has been accepted, there is still another step: 

You will need:

  • Photographs – 3 of the right profile, 4 from the front, black and white…no glasses, no jewelry, hair back from the face.
  • Secure from the immigration office, or a stationery store, Form SHCP-5.  If you need help filling it out, ask the immigration office for the name of someone who can help – there will be a small charge for that help.
  • Your Letter of Authorization for your FM3 – original and two copies.
  • Two copies of each and every page of your Passport book.
  • With your authorization letter, you will receive an FM1 form – make sure all information is correct, and then make two copies.
  • You then have 45 days (from receiving your authorization letter) to submit this documentation to your local immigration office.


fm3, visas

Another resort in Mexico

I do make a disclaimer here – I’m no lawyer – this info is offered to you in an attempt to make things run a bit smoother for you in transition – contact an attorney if you have questions.


Do you have a question about retiring to Mexico? 

 You can do a search with the search box at the top-right of my site.  Type in the subject you are curious about, and you’ll find my articles involving that subject.  In fact, it will probably bring up multiple articles (1,2,3, etc.) which appear toward the bottom of the articles. 

You can also just scroll down, and on the right hand side of my site you will see “Things I Write About” …it’s a long list – and you can just click on what you’re interested in – or better yet, make it a plan to read everyone of my articles – from start to finish – like I always say, research, research, research – it’s a great way to start. 

If you still haven’t found your answer,  just ask me!  If you don’t see the “write a comment” section below, click on Read Full Article and scroll down. Share your thoughts and concerns with me. I will always reply to you personally. 

FM3 VISA article by Barbie.

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