A Mexico Tourist Visa is the authorization that foreign nationals who are subject to visas need in order to enter the country. Mexico Tourist Visas are simply for tourism, business, visit, cultural/sports events or any other purpose which does not require you to take up paid employment.
In addition to the Tourist Visa, all foreign nationals, regardless of nationality, must also get a Mexico Tourist Card before they enter Mexico.
Though the two sound similar and in many cases go together, they are not the exact same thing.
Who Needs a Mexico Tourist Visa?
You need a Tourist Visa for Mexico unless you are from one of the countries on the table below. Nationals of the following countries are free to travel to Mexico without obtaining a Tourist Visa, provided that their stay is for less than 180 days:
|Any country in the European Union||Andorra||Argentina||Australia||Bahamas|
|Colombia||Costa Rica||Ecuador||Hong Kong||Iceland|
|Marshall Islands||Malaysia||Micronesia||Monaco||New Zealand|
|San Marino||Singapore||South Korea||Switzerland||Trinidad and Tobago|
|United Arab Emirates||United States||Uruguay||Vatican City||Venezuela|
However, even citizens of other countries can be exempt from a Mexico Tourist Visa if they have a Schengen or US visa.
What is a Mexico Tourist Card?
The Mexico tourist card, (Forma Migratoria Múltiple, FMM) is a permit that every foreign national must get before they can enter Mexico. It states the number of days you are allowed to stay in the country, and you must depart before those days are up. The Forma Migratoria Múltiple is a permit that shows that the holder residing in Mexico is simply a tourist and is not allowed to work. You must always keep the card with you.
Everyone who enters Mexico as a tourist must get a Tourist Card. This also includes nationals of the countries that are exempt from Mexico Tourist Visas.
You can get the Tourist Card at a Mexican point of entry upon arrival and some airlines even offer the Tourist Card along with their ticket price. However, you can also obtain a Mexico Tourist Card online up to 7 days before you intend to travel.
The difference between the two is that visa-required nationals have to apply for a tourist visa at an embassy. If they get the visa, then they must also get a Tourist Card. Visa-exempt foreigners, on the other hand, only have to get the Tourist Card before they enter or travel to Mexico – there’s no need for a Tourist Visa.
What are the Requirements for a Mexico Tourist Visa?
The documents you submit when applying for a Mexico Tourist Visa include:
- A Mexico Tourist 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 is valid for at least another six months from the time you will enter Mexico. I must also have blank pages so the visa can be affixed.
- Also, include a photocopy of your passport’s relevant pages
- Passport-size pictures, with the following specifications:
- Recent – no older than six months
- Dimensions: 35 mm x 45 mm
- Taken in front of a white background
- Neutral facial expression
- No glasses or headwear
- Booked return travel ticket, showing when you intend to depart Mexico.
- Proof of sufficient financial means to cover the duration of your stay via bank statements from the last three months.
- Proof of accommodation, such as a hotel booking or the name and address of someone in Mexico (if you’ll be staying with friends/family)
- Employment status documents, such as:
- If you are employed: A letter from your employer stating your position in the company, the time you will be absent, and that they do not object to your absence.
- If you are a student: A letter from your educational institution, confirming your enrollment and providing details of your course.
- If you are self-employed: Depending on your situation, you may submit investment certificates, property deeds, commercial registration, etc
- Cover letter addressed to the Mexico embassy. The letter must explain the reason you are travelling and give details of your trip, such as the dates of entry and departure and where you will stay, etc.
- Mexico visa fee
- If travelling for business or you have been invited by an organization:
- An original invitation or sponsorship letter, which states your full name, the company’s name, and registration, what activity you will be doing in Mexico, and an estimated period of your stay
- Photocopy of the ID of the person signing the letter
- Bank statements from the last 12 months of the company sponsoring you (if applicable)
- If travelling to attend a short-term study course (less than 180 days):
- Acceptance letter from the educational institution
- Proof you can afford the tuition and living costs or proof of a scholarship
How to Apply for a Mexico Tourist Visa?
You must apply for a Mexico Tourist Visa at a Mexican embassy. The application process is as follows:
- Contact the Mexico embassy to set up an appointment. You can find a list of Mexican embassies around the world here.
- Complete the Mexico Visa Application Form. You can usually find the application form on the website of the Mexico embassy where you will apply. You can either complete the form by typing it on your computer (if possible) then printing it or by writing with legible typed letters after you have printed it. The first option may not always be available, so follow the instructions on the form or of the embassy.
- Collect the required documents.
- 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.
- Wait for the visa to be processed.
- Pick up your passport. If the application is approved, the Mexico visa will be affixed to your passport.
Keep in mind: The application process for a visa for Mexico can change slightly depending on the country from which you are applying. Different Mexico embassy offices have their own specific requirements, including the method for paying the Mexico visa fee, their opening hours and days, and appointment requirements. This is why the first step when you apply for a Mexico visa is to contact a Mexican embassy.
Applying for a Mexico Tourist Visa Online
Citizens of Turkey, Russia, and Ukraine are eligible to apply for a Mexico Tourist Visa online if they will travel by plane. This is called the Electronic Travel Authorization (Sistema de Autorización Electrónica, SAE), and is valid for one entry. For a more detailed explanation of the Mexico visa application process, see here.
Mexico Tourist Visa Processing Time
The processing time for a Mexico visa depends on which embassy you apply in. Some embassies process Mexican Tourist Visas in as little as two days, while others may take weeks. It is advisable that you contact the Mexican embassy in order to set up an appointment at least four weeks before you intend to travel.
Mexico Tourist Visa Fee
The Mexico Tourist Visa fee is about US$36. However, the visa fee may change depending on the country in which you submit your application. The payment method also differs from country to country since some embassies may require you to pay upfront via bank transfer while others ask you to pay in cash.
How to Get a Mexico Tourist Card?
You can get a Mexico Tourist Card through one of the following ways:
- If you are travelling by air, the plane crew will distribute them as you are about to land (the price of the Tourist Card is included on the price of your air ticket)
- At an immigration desk at the Mexico airport after you land
- At a Mexico embassy in your country, before you travel
- If you are travelling by sea, you can get the Mexico Tourist Card at the Mexico port of call
- If you are travelling by land, you can the Mexico Tourist Card at the point of entry
- Online. If you apply online, you must print the Tourist Card and bring it with you when you travel.
Mexico Tourist Card Fee
The fee for a Tourist Card can range from $25-$35, depending on your country. However, the Mexico Tourist Card Fees are prone to change without notice.
What is the Duration of a Mexico Tourist Card?
A Mexico Tourist Card can be issued for a maximum of 180 days but it is the immigration officers at the point of entry who decides the number of days you are given. They can give you an FMM for 30, 60, or 90 days as opposed to the full 180.
You must leave the country before the Mexico Tourist Card expires.
Can you Extend a Mexico Tourist Card?
If your Mexico Tourist Card was issued for 180 days, then no, you cannot extend it for longer than that. Anyone who wants to live in Mexico for longer than 180 days, has to get a Mexico Temporary Resident Visa.
However, if the immigration officer at the Mexico point of entry gave you a Forma Migratoria Múltiple for less than the maximum duration of the Card (eg. for 60 days as opposed to 180), then you may be able to extend it to the full 180 days from inside Mexico.
You can apply for an extension of your Tourist Card at an immigration center in Mexico. However, the application is not always successful, since many immigration officers do not issue Mexico Tourist Card extensions.
What Happens if I Overstay my Mexico Tourist Card?
If you stay in Mexico longer than the time your Tourist Card was issued for, you must visit an immigration office in Mexico or the immigration center at the airport and pay a fine. The fine is calculated based on the number of days you have calculated. Then, you must get an exit visa.
What Happens if I Lose my Mexico Tourist Card?
If you lose your Mexico Tourist Card, you must visit an immigration office in Mexico so you can get a replacement. You also have to pay a replacement fee.
Mexico Business Visa
The Mexico Business Visa is one of the most common types of Tourist Visas. They are issued to visa-required foreigners who will enter Mexico with the purpose of conducting business.
The business visa for Mexico is not, however, permission to work and get pain in Mexico. You can only take up employment if you have a Mexico Work Permit.