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Mexico Tourist Card For Americans

U.S. citizens interested in traveling to Mexico must abide by the travel requirements set out by the Mexican government. Thankfully, most of the paperwork can be obtained online in a matter of minutes. Printed copies of this paperwork should be made before arrival to secure entrance into the country. Although many of the travel requirements for foreign nationals overlap, U.S. citizens must abide by a few unique laws regarding entering Mexico for extended stays and for work. This guide breaks down some of the basic information that you’ll need to know as a U.S. citizen traveling to Mexico. To plan your trip wisely, read on.

What Is An FMM?

The Mexico tourist card, also known as the Forma Migratoria Múltiple (FMM), is divided into two parts: one part stays with Mexican authorities for validation at the border and the other slip is handed back to the traveler, almost like a receipt. The traveler must always keep this paper with them during their trip. Authorities may ask to see it while traveling, so travelers should always keep it with them. Once the trip has ended, the slip will then be presented upon exiting the country for legal departure. It is important to note that U.S. citizens traveling by land may only enter the Mexican border area with their FMMs. They may not enter the entirety of the country without approval. Those traveling by land must also show proof of automobile registration while in the border region.

How Can I Obtain My Tourist Card?

You can now apply for your FMM card online. You will be able to fill out the form and pay the proceeding fee virtually, eliminating the need to keep cash on hand at the border. For those nervous about the safekeeping of their money while traveling, the ability to pay for this fee electronically provides a hassle-free solution. The electronic form makes it possible to fly on an airline and have more convenience while traveling. Filling out the form takes less than an hour and typically no longer than twenty minutes to complete. The traveler must print a copy and present it upon arrival in Mexico.

How Much Does A Mexican Tourist Card (FMM) Cost?

For U.S. citizens, you can pay for a Mexican visa for 40 USD. The FMM tourist card can be purchased for 29 USD for land crossing and 58 USD for air arrivals. 

Tourist Cards and Visas: Basic Policy in Mexico

While obtaining a tourist card is necessary for foreign nationals to enter Mexico, U.S. citizens may also need a visa to comply with Mexican visa policy. There are more than 130 countries across the world that need travel visas in order to visit Mexico, regardless of the reason for traveling, and there are also visa-free programs for some foreign nationals, such as U.S. passport holders. As long as your stay in Mexico does not exceed 180 days for business or tourism or 30 days for transit, you can travel in Mexico without a visa.

Basic FMM and Birth Certificate Requirements

Although these 180 and 30-day timeframes allow U.S. citizens to travel visa-free in Mexico, it is still required to obtain an FMM tourist card that can be presented at the border upon arrival. U.S. citizens typically receive their Mexican tourist card in a few hours after applying and submitting the form online. For U.S. citizens, if you are traveling beyond 20 kilometers within Mexican land and are staying for more than 72 hours, an FMM is required. Children under 16 years of age that arrive either by land or sea must present their birth certificate (can be an original or a copy) upon returning from Mexico at U.S. customs. 

What If I Want To Stay Longer?

Please keep in mind that the FMM is for single-entry purposes only. This means that should you seek to return to Mexico again, you must reapply for a new FMM every time you visit. For extended stays, relocation, or work and business, U.S. citizens should look into Mexican visa requirements. There are different kinds of visas depending on the reason for your stay. You can discuss specific options by contacting your local Mexican embassy. Travelers with a Mexican visa who stay for more than six months do not need to reapply for a new FMM tourist card. If you stay for shorter periods, you will need to reapply.

What Do I Need For Stays Less Than Six Months?

To legally visit Mexico for under six months, you must have your completed and approved FMM form as well as a valid U.S. passport. These items will then be presented at border control prior to gaining entry into Mexico. Make sure that all of the information on your FMM form is filled out completely and accurately. The information should match what is included in your passport. Failure to complete your form with accuracy can cause your card to be revoked and your entrance into Mexico to be denied.

Should I Register With A Local Embassy?

You can also register with your local embassy for when you’re traveling in Mexico. Registering is helpful as it keeps travelers up-to-date on the safety and security of destination areas and allows for contact to be made in cases of emergencies such as natural disasters, civil unrest, or family passing. Registering with the local embassy will make traveling in Mexico more accommodating. This way, you will be able to contact friends and family should any of these or other relevant emergencies take place while you are out of your home country.

The Main Ideas

Your FMM and valid passport are the minimum requirements needed to enter Mexico as a U.S. citizen. Review the specifics for visa requirements that pertain to your length of stay and reason for travel before booking your trip. Ensuring that your FMM paperwork matches the information in your passport is critical to receiving approval. Take your time planning your trip according to the traveling legalities set out between the U.S. and Mexico to ensure a safe and stress-free visit.

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