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Visa-Free Entry to Mexico Explained

Mexico, a beautiful Latin American country, is one of the world’s most preferred travel destinations. International travelers who are interested in exploring the country must comply with the travel requirements set out by the government of Mexico. 

Foreign tourists except those from visa-free countries need to get proper permission like a visa or electronic travel authorization to enter the country. 

Though, travelers from visa-free countries are not required to apply for a visa, they should abide by certain unique rules to enter and remain in Mexico. Read on to know about these rules to plan the trip wisely. 

Who is Eligible for Visa-Free Entry?

Citizens of over 60 countries are eligible for visa-free entry to Mexico. The government also allows permanent residents (from most visa-free countries) visa-free entry to the country for short-term stay that does not exceed more than six months for tourism, business and transit. 

They can enter Mexico visa-free as tourists and to attend business events.

They can also transit visa-free through Mexican airports. Transit visitors from these foreign nations can stay up to 30 days in Mexico. 

The visa-free countries include the United States of America, European Union states, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, United Kingdom, Vatican City, Peru, Japan, Israel, Argentina and the United Arab Emirates.           

Along with travelers from visa-free countries, foreigners holding diplomatic or service passports issued by certain foreign nations can enter Mexico without a visa.

Diplomatic or service passport holders represent their nations in Mexico.  Some of the eligible foreign nations are India, Russia, Indonesia, Thailand and Cuba. 

Note that all international travelers including those from visa-free countries need a FMM (Multiple Immigration Form or Forma Migratoria Multiple) commonly known as a Mexican tourist card to cross Mexican borders by air and land. 

What is a Tourist Card for Mexico?

It is a travel authorization issued to foreigners to remain in the country. Some international travelers need a FMM to enter Mexico.

The government of Mexico has made the application process online.

The document can be used only for the purpose of tourism, business and transit and for short-term visits that do not exceed 180 days. 

Note that a FMM is not a visa or a replacement for an embassy visa. Travelers from visa-required countries should get a visa to enter the country apart from their FMM. Citizens of over 130 foreign countries need a visa to enter Mexico.

If a traveler from a visa-required country loses his/her FMM, he/she needs to leave Mexico and apply for a new FMM. 

Documents Needed by Travelers from Visa-Free countries 

Citizens of foreign nations that are eligible for visa-free entry to Mexico are required to submit documents to prove their nationality and citizenship. 

They need to provide their passports, permanent residency or green card. 

How To Apply for a Mexican FMM? 

Visitors can fill out the Natvisa form for the FMM. Then, pay for the processing fee using a valid credit or debit card.

The FMM card will be delivered to the applicants’ email address within a couple of days. 

Applicants should download the card once they receive it in their email address. They also need to take print copies and should show the same to the immigration official at the port of entry.

The print copies can be in color or black and white. 

How Long Can I stay in Mexico with FMM?

Normally, the maximum number of days a foreigner can stay in Mexico with his/her FMM is 180. However, the actual number of days can also be less than this. 

As per the renewed visa policy of Mexico, foreign visitors holding a FMM card may not be allowed to stay for six months by default. 

Immigration officials at the port of entry stamp the number of days a foreigner can stay in the country.

The decision is made based on their discretion. Visitors must let the officers know their plans before they stamp the maximum duration of permitted stay. 

Note that a FMM card does not guarantee entry to Mexico. Foreigners from visa-required countries should provide a visa along with the FMM card at the port of entry. 

Immigration officers reserve the right to ask a foreigner many questions with regard to the purpose of visit, duration of stay and others. They can issue or deny foreign travelers the permission to enter the country. 

They also can request information about economic solvency. Travelers should answer their questions truthfully. Dishonest answers may result in the denial of entry permission to Mexico. 

Note that a tourist visa or FMM card does not grant permission to work or engage in gainful business activities in Mexico. 

Can I Extend the Mexico FMM Card?

The FMM card is issued for a single entry. It cannot be extended or renewed. If a foreigner wishes to stay in Mexico more than permitted duration of stay, he/she needs to leave the country and apply for a new FMM card or Mexican tourist visa. Otherwise, foreigners can apply for a temporary resident permit. 

It is important for foreigners to keep the FMM card until they leave the country. Airlines or immigration staff at the departure counter will ask them to surrender their stamped FMM cards. They can board their onward flight only after that. 

Visitors are highly encouraged to surrender their FMM cards voluntarily before leaving the country, failure of which can create issues if they want to apply for a new FMM card.  If at all they forget to do so, they can contact the nearest Mexican mission. Most missions ask them to mail the FMMs to the embassy.   

If they lose the FMM card while in Mexico, they have to visit a local immigration office and apply for a replacement. Most of the Mexican cities and towns have a local immigration office. They may need to fill out a physical form and pay a processing fee. 

What Happens If A Foreigner Overstays? 

If a foreigner overstays his FMM validity, he/she will have to pay a fine at the immigration office or a immigration kiosk at the airport before leaving the country. 

The fine amount depends on the number of days he/she overstayed. 

Get Ready to Visit Mexico

Visiting Mexico can be a life changing experience. To make it seamless, it is important for foreigners to keep all the documents in order.

They are also advised to register their trips with their embassy. This will come in handy in the event of a medical or other emergencies like natural disasters and war.   

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