Any foreign national who wants to live and work in Mexico legally must get a Mexico Temporary Resident Visa and a Mexico Work Permit.

There are three types of Mexican visas:

  • The Tourist Visa, which allows the holder to stay in Mexico for up to 180 days for purposes that do not include lucrative activities (paid employment).
  • The Temporary Resident Visa, which is issued to foreign nationals who want to live in Mexico for longer than 180 days. In addition to a Mexico Work Permit, the holder is allowed to live and work in Mexico legally for up to four years, which is known as a Mexico Work Visa.
  • The Permanent Resident Visa, which is issued to foreigners who want to permanently settle in Mexico. This type of visa is most common for retirees, which is why it’s also referred to as a Mexico Retirement Visa. Foreigners with close family ties to Mexico as well as those who have lived in Mexico for a considerable amount of time are also eligible for permanent residency in Mexico.

This article aims to serve as a guide to the Temporary Resident Visa and its types, specifically the Work Visa and Work Permit for Mexico.

Types of Temporary Resident Visa for Mexico

The main types of Temporary Resident Visas for Mexico are:

  • The Mexico Work Visa, which allows the holder to take up paid employment in Mexico. In order to get a Mexico Work Visa, the applicant must initially get a Work Permit. See a more detailed explanation of the Mexico Work Visa lower on this article.
  • The Mexico Student Visa, which is issued to foreign students who want to pursue their studies in a Mexican educational institution. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the Mexico Student Visa.
  • The Mexico Family Visa, which is issued to foreigners who want to join a close family member who is living in Mexico. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the Mexico Family Visa.

What are the Requirements for a Mexico Temporary Resident Visa?

When applying for a  Temporary Resident Visa for Mexico, you must have several supporting documents with you, such as:

  • A Mexico Visa Application Form, printed and signed. If the applicant is a minor, the parents or legal guardians have to sign the application form.
  • A passport or other travel document, which has blank pages so the visa can be affixed.
    • Also include a photocopy of your passport’s relevant pages
  • Recent passport-size pictures
  • Visa fee payment
  • Additional documents related to your purpose of travel, such as:
    • Proof of family relationship, for Mexico Family Visas
    • Proof of enrollment in a Mexico educational institution, for Mexico Student Visa
    • Proof you have obtained a Mexico Work Permit and a copy of your work contract if applying for a Mexico Work Visa
  • Any additional documents that the Mexican embassy asks you to provide.

How to Apply for a Mexico Temporary Resident Visa?

The application process for obtaining a Temporary Resident Visa for Mexico is divided into two parts:

  • Applying for the Temporary Resident Visa at a Mexican embassy
  • Exchanging the Temporary Resident Visa into a Temporary Residence Card at the National Immigration Institute (Instituto Nacional de Migracion (INM)) in Mexico

Applying for the Temporary Resident Visa

The application process for getting a Mexico Temporary Resident Visa is:

  1. Contact a Mexico embassy to set up an appointment. You can find a list of Mexican embassies here.
  2. Complete the Mexico Visa Application Form. You can find the application form on the website of the Mexico embassy where you will apply or at the embassy itself.
  3. Collect the required documents. See the requirements for a Mexico Temporary Resident Visa below.
  4. Submit the application and pay the visa fee. On the date of your appointment, you must submit the documents and application form at the Mexico embassy. You also have to pay a Mexico visa fee.
  5. Wait for the visa to be processed
  6. Pick up your passport. If the application is approved, the visa will be affixed to your passport.
  7. Travel to Mexico and exchange your Temporary Resident Visa into a Temporary Residence Card

Keep in mind: Different embassy offices may have their own different requirements when it comes to the visa application process. This is why it is important to always contact them or visit their website to learn about the specific requirements, opening hours, etc.

Exchange the Temporary Resident Visa into a Temporary Residence Card

Within 30 days of arriving in Mexico with a Temporary Resident Visa, you must apply to exchange it into a Temporary Residence Card. You can get your Residence Card at an office of the National Immigration Institute in Mexico. When you apply, you should have the following with you:

  • The Resident Card request form, which you can download from the website of the Immigration Offices.
  • Your passport with the Temporary Resident Visa affixed
  • The Forma Migratoria Múltiple (FMM) which you received at the airport
  • Payment of the Resident Card
  • A cover/request letter for the Temporary Resident Card addressed to the Instituto Nacional de Migración
  • Any additional documents related to your purpose of travel

Mexico Temporary Resident Visa Processing Time

The processing time for a Mexico Temporary Resident Visa depends on the embassy in which you apply. You can expect to wait anywhere from one week to a month. This is why it is advisable that you apply for a visa at least one month before you plan to travel to Mexico.

Mexico Temporary Resident Visa fee

The fee for a Mexico visa is around $36. However, the visa fee may change depending on the country in which you submit your application, as does the payment method. Some embassies may require you to pay the fee upfront via bank transfer while others ask you to pay in cash.

You will also have to pay for the Tourist Card once you land , which may be between $15-$30. The prices for a Mexico Tourist Card may change slightly from time to time.

Additionally, you also have to pay a fee for the Mexico Temporary Resident Card at the INM. You have to pay a processing administrative fee as well as the fee for the card itself. The price of the Temporary Resident Card depends on the number of years it is issued for, and ranges from 3,000 to 7,000 Mexican Pesos.

What is the Duration of a Temporary Resident Visa Mexico?

The duration of the Temporary Resident Visa itself is 180 days. This is why once you arrive in Mexico you must apply to turn it into a Temporary Resident Card within 30 days.

The Mexico Temporary Resident Card is valid for one year on the first issuance and can be renewed for another one, two, or three years.

After four years of living with a Temporary Resident Visa, you become eligible to apply for Permanent Residency.

How to Renew a Temporary Resident Visa for Mexico?

At least 30 days before your current Temporary Resident Card expires, you must apply for a renewal at the Instituto Nacional de Migración. You can renew your Temporary Residence Card for up to four years, which is when you can get a Permanent Residence Card.

How to Apply for a Mexico Work Visa?

The application for a Mexico Work Visa is the same as for all other types of Temporary Resident Visas (see above). However, the difference is in the process before you apply for the visa.

Before you submit a Mexico Work Visa application at the Mexican embassy, your employer has to get a Work Permit on your behalf from the National Immigration Institute. This means you must already have a job offer in Mexico beforehand. As such, the application process for a Mexico Work Visa is:

  • Find a Mexican employer
  • Your employer obtains a Mexico Work Permit for you
  • Within 15-30 days of obtaining the Work Permit, you must apply for a Temporary Resident Visa from a Mexican embassy abroad
  • Once you enter the country, you must get a Temporary Residence Card from the National Immigration Institute

How to apply for a Mexico Work Permit?

It is your employer who applies for the Mexico Work Permit on your behalf. When they apply, they must submit the following documents at the National Immigration Institute:

  • The Mexico Work Permit Request Form
  • The original job offer/contract, stating the full details of the job: your salary, the duration of your work, your position, the company’s address, etc. The letter must be written on the company’s letterhead.
  • A full photocopy of your passport
  • Your original diplomas, transcripts, and other certifications (legalized)
  • Your CV
  • Documents related to the company that’s hiring you, such as:
    • The Articles of Incorporation
    • A list of the employees and their nationalities
    • Proof the company’s paid the due taxes
  • Documents regarding your financial status (bank statements, pay slips)

If the Work Permit application is approved, you will receive a Unique Processing Number (NUT) in a letter format which you must present to the Mexico embassy when you apply for the Temporary Resident Visa.

Can You Work in Mexico With a Visitor Visa?

If you intend to work in Mexico for less than 180 days, then you may apply for a “Visitor Visa with authorization to perform remunerated activities”. This type of Mexico visa allows the holder to work, but only for the 180 days that it is issued. Once it expires, you may not renew it.

You may apply for a Working Tourist Visa at a Mexico embassy with approval from the National Immigration Institute (INM).

However, if you enter Mexico with a regular Tourist Visa or Tourist Card, then you are not allowed to work.

What if I Lose or Damage my Mexican Resident Card?

If you lose or damage your Mexican Resident Card, you must visit the local immigration office and apply for a replacement. You must have the following documents with you:

  • Your passport (original and a photocopy)
  • Residence card replacement fee
  • Three pictures, two showing you face-front and one from your left side profile
  • If your resident card was damaged: Submit the Tourist Card (FMM) and your entrance Visa along with the residence card
  • If your resident card was stolen/lost: Submit the Tourist Card (FMM) and your entrance Visa
  • Form to request immigration procedure stay (here)
  • Any additional documents the immigration office may request

If you lose or damage your Mexican Resident Card while you are abroad, you must approach a Mexican embassy to request a replacement.