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Frequently Asked Questions for Immigration and Travel to Mexico

Mexican Flag wavingThere have been lots of changes to the Mexican immigration policies and procedures over the years. Our contributing author, Jacques .E. Beaulne provides us this insightful and authorative question and answer session for gringos living in Mexico.


To enter and during one stay in Mexico, what does one need as far as papers?

A) For a visit of less than 180 days? Passport and the new FMM form filled out on you at all times.

B) For a visit of more than 180 days? Passport, Visa emitted by a Mexican embassy or Consulate and the FMM form filled out, on you at all times.

To be able to stay in Mexico for longer than 180 days what do I need to do?  Acquire a Visa at any Mexican embassy fill out the FMM form and present both along with passport at point of entry and within 30 days request at any immigration office in Mexico an FM-2 or FM-3.

Do I need an FM-3 or FM-2?

A) Because I have real estate property? No, the FMM is sufficient if one is in Mexico for less than 180 days.

B) Because I have a partnership or other business in Mexico? No as long as you are not in the country for more than 180 days but, the Secretary of Economy and IRS Mexico (SAT) do not recognize the FMM thus it is necessary at this time that one who is a partner or in business in his own name has to have an FM-3 in the event that he is not a full time residence, otherwise one should have an FM-2.

C) Because I want to work in Mexico? No as long as you declare on the FMM that you are entering Mexico to work and specify what type of work that you will perform during your 180 day stay. This is according to the manual but in reality one will have to pass an interview at the entry point…

Do I need to be in Mexico to renew my FM-3 or FM-2?
Yes because one has to present new photos, finger prints and signature each time one needs to renew.

Can I get an FM-2 without having had an FM-3? Yes, as long as you prove that you have immigrated to Mexico, in other words that you made Mexico your “Home”.

Are there restrictions when one has an FM-2? The only restriction is that one can not be out of the country for more than 180 days during a continuous 5 year period, either in one or multiple times.

What advantages do I have by getting an FM-2 vs. an FM-3? After 5 years of having an FM-2 one can either choose to be an “Inmigrado” (Immigrant status) or acquire the Mexican nationality.

Is it true that if I married a Mexican person I do not need any immigration papers? No, every foreigner has to have the proper status to be able to be legal, one who does not have will suffer that consequences indicated in the law.

If I am illegal in Mexico can I become legal without any problems? Yes, one can become legal without suffering any consequences if one presents himself to any immigration office in Mexico and ask for “Regularización” of his status.

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Who can arrest and detain me if I do not have any of the required immigration ID papers on me? Any police corps who will remit you to immigration officials in case that you do not have on you your immigration papers.

Can a police officer request me to show him my immigration papers? Not unless you are suspected of having done wrong, but as the saying goes, it is better to cooperate...

Can an Immigration officer request me to show him my immigration papers? Yes at any time.

Can I request an other FMM at an Immigration office once the date which was written on it expires? No one has to exit the country on the last day and then can come back in.


Contact Information

Lic. J.E. Beaulne, LL.B.
Abogado / Avocat / Attorney at Law,
International real estate investor
Member of Lawyer's college in B.C.S. Firm´s Senior Partner, Notaria 8, Planta Alta, suite 4 & 6, Esq., Allende y Serdan, La Paz, B.C.S., Mexico. CP 23000. 24/7
From outside Mexico: 011 52 1 (612) 348-9793
In Mexico:045-(612) 348-9793 cell