Many businesses across the world want to outsource some of their operations and labor to Mexico. Foreign entrepreneurs may also want to open new businesses in the North American country. They may opt for hiring local talents or employ foreign nationals with the required expertise. However, it is to be noted that, under Mexican immigration law, no foreign national can work in Mexico or start a new business without a valid visa.
Visitors with a Mexico tourist visa cannot work and be compensated during their stay in Mexico. However, they can apply for a work visa after they have used the tourist visa.
Compliance with immigration laws is a must, though the immigration authorities have substantial discretion in implementing the rules and regulations. Officers at the National Institute of Immigration oversee the process and have the authority to inspect and review visa applications and their validity.
A foreign national can enter Mexico typically on a temporary basis and must hold one of the following visas:
Tourist visa: Individuals with a tourist visa to Mexico can stay for up to 180 days. They cannot engage in paid employment and have to submit their proof of economic solvency. It is an original letter from the company that the applicant works for with their monthly pay slips and bank statements. Travelers from visa free countries do not need a visa for stays under 180 days.
The work visa. If foreign citizens want to engage in activities that earn them financial gains, they should apply for a work visa. They have to either submit a job offer letter from a Mexican employer or declare an intention to start a business in the country. Prior to this, their employers have to apply for a work permit.
The student visa is for foreign students who plan to do their higher education in Mexican universities. There are two types of student visas – the Temporary Resident Student Visa is for foreign students planning to join courses that will take more than six months to complete and the Visitor Student Visa is for courses that can be completed within 180 days.
The Mexico family visa. Foreigners who want to visit or stay with family members residing in Mexico can opt for this visa. The family member should be a legal resident of the country.
Permanent resident visa. Foreigners planning to live and work in Mexico permanently need this visa.
Mexico Tourist Visas are issued exclusively for short-term visits related to tourism, business, and cultural and sports events. The maximum number of days a tourist visa holder can stay in the country is 180. However, the visiting period is decided by the immigration officers at the entry point of Mexico and can vary from 30 to 180 days.
The visitor who wishes to stay for six months would most likely be asked to present details of accommodation and return tickets. In case tourists want to stay longer than six months, they need to amend their visa.
A foreign national coming to Mexico on a tourist visa will not be allowed to work. A tourist visa is a visitor visa without the authorization to engage in activities that will earn remuneration. There is no option to convert this visa and the visitor will have to leave the country after 180 days. Foreign tourists and business people typically fall into this category.
This is a visitor visa with authorization for paid employment in Mexico. Foreigners who want to be temporarily employed in the country generally opt for this visa. They can stay in the country for up to 180 days. There is neither an option to convert this visa into a regular Mexican working visa nor anyone can extend it. This visa can be obtained through a consulate of Mexico and needs to get approved by the National Institute of Immigrations. In most cases, the visa will be issued within two to three days.
The applicant should submit the following documents:
The National Institute of Immigration issues all types of work visas. The type of work visa can vary. All foreigners who want to work in Mexico should apply for at least one kind of work visa. Those who are working for Mexican companies need a residency visa with permission to work. Foreigners opting for a Mexico temporary resident visa will get a work permit along with it. They can work in the country for up to four years.
Foreign nationals who apply for a permanent resident visa can live and work in Mexico for as long as possible. Most employees will need a permanent visa as it will allow them to leave the country at any time without further visa processes. However, a foreign employee with this visa needs to get official permission to leave the country. This may take up to seven days and the visa will be put on hold during his stay outside the country. Companies planning to send employees to Mexico for work should apply for a temporary visa with a work permit. Individuals cannot apply for the same.
Citizens of foreign countries and their family members who wish to stay in Mexico for more than six months will have to apply for a Mexico Temporary Resident Visa. This visa will help them extend their tourist visa legally and to stay in Mexico for more than six months.
Initially, the temporary visa is issued for a time space of 12 months. After this, they can renew the visa for two, three, or four years. After five years of legal stay in Mexico, these applicants can be naturalized.
Foreigners who hold a Mexican temporary visa are regarded as temporary residents. They can leave and re-enter the country anytime like Mexican citizens. They are also eligible for paid employment in the country provided they get a work permit. Foreigners who hold a Mexican temporary visa can get a CURP (Unique Population Registry) code using which they can legally purchase their own vehicles.
They will also be eligible for discounts generally granted to Mexican citizens in parks, cinemas, and other popular tourist places. However, all temporary resident visa holders, who do not have a work permit, have to apply to the immigration institute to get a work permit through their employer.