A vast country stretching for over two million kilometers, Mexico has much to offer to every tourist – a nature lover, foodie, or history aficionado. Mexico is known for its gorgeous beaches, serene colonial towns, lush forests, majestic mountains, quiet deserts, colorful festivals, delicious cuisine, abundant shopping opportunities, and ruins of Mayan cities. There is much to explore and experience.
Holidaymakers visiting the breathtaking cities and countryside of Mexico often decide to stay back for a few more days. They must have their papers in order, including their tourist card. Visitors from countries that do not need a visa to enter the country can get an FMM card or an ETA. However, travelers from other nations will have to first apply for a Mexican tourist visa on top of the tourist card.
Read on to find more helpful information for international travelers.
Though they sound similar, they are different. The Mexico Tourist Visa is an authorization document issued to foreign citizens who need a visa to visit the country. They are issued exclusively for short-term visits related to tourism, business, and cultural or sports events. Visitors with this kind of visa are not allowed to take up paid employment. This visa is issued by the embassy and has a traditional application process.
Citizens from some other countries are free to travel to Mexico without obtaining a traditional Tourist Visa, provided their visiting time does not exceed 180 days. They can get their tourist permit while crossing the borders. Regardless of nationality, all foreign nationals should procure a Tourist Card to enjoy a legal short-term stay in the North American country.
The Mexico Tourist card or FMM is a visiting permit that every foreign tourist must obtain. Immigration officials at the point of entry will write the number of days a visitor can stay in the country, and he/she must plan their return journey before the date.
Some tour operators will provide the card that is included in their tour package. Airlines also may provide the FMM card during the flight. However, this practice is being phased out. It is advised to apply for the card online before the trip, and it usually takes less than a day.
Citizens of the US and Canada need valid passports to get tourist cards online.
The maximum number of days a visitor can stay in Mexico with a tourist card is 180. However, the number of days granted is based on the sole discretion of the immigration officials at the entry point. This can vary from 30 days to 180 days. If the visitor knows the intended duration of the stay, they should mention it to the immigration office before the passport is stamped.
If the visitors want to stay for six months, they may be asked to present details like accommodation and return tickets. If a traditional visa is obtained, the duration of stay is specifically stated on the visa. This will depend on the Mexico visa policy that applies.
The maximum time a tourist can stay in the country is six months. If anyone wishes to stay for longer than the card validity period, they need to extend their tourist card. There are two ways to do this. If tourists want to stay longer than six months, they can amend their tourist card. For this, they need to leave the country temporarily and obtain a new FMM when they return to Mexican borders.
They can directly approach officials at the nearest INM office to request an extension of the tourist card. They will have to submit documents to prove that they have enough funds to sustain themselves. They will also have to pay a fee to extend the card.
If the citizens of countries that need no visa in Mexico have overstayed their tourist card validity, they can directly go to the immigration center at the airport and pay a fine. The fine will differ and is calculated based on the number of days that he/she overstays. It is advised to arrive at the airport early enough to pay the fine to avoid delays in the travel plans.
If they are leaving the country by land or water, they may not be asked to pay a fine since there is no immigration process involved in crossing borders. They may have to do so in the future as the details of their overstay will be registered in the records of Mexican immigration.
How to renew a lost Tourist card? In addition to the passport, tourist visa, and proof of economic solvency, the applicants should carry a report of damage or theft filed by a designated officer to the immigration office. The applicant may be asked to pay an additional processing fee.
To extend a Mexican tourist visa, the travelers will have to demonstrate that they have no intention of taking up paid employment in the country. They will also have to submit proof of income to support themselves during their stay.
If foreign nationals want to travel to and from Mexico without much hassle, they can apply for a Temporary Resident Visa.
The documents required for renewing the Tourist Visa are as follows:
Where to find an immigration office. Immigration offices can be found in all major Mexican cities, including Aguascalientes, Baja California, Puebla, Michoacán, Morelos, Coahuila, Colima, Guanajuato, and Guerrero. It is always better to approach the immigration office that is near to you.
It is strongly advised to extend the tourist visa before its validity expires. The visitor’s stay after that is deemed illegal and may have serious consequences, like hefty fines and deportation. This may take away the visitors’ trusted tourist tag and affect their future trips to Mexico. When and if the visa validity expires, contact the Mexican immigration authorities and apply for renewal.