Mexico Visas, Work Permits and Migration
The influx of foreign investment and international companies moving into Mexico reflects its growth into becoming the world’s 15th largest economy with a GDP of US$1.27 trillion. Mexico is the major player in Central America with an ideal geographic location for trade and commerce and land borders with the USA and South America and Pacific and Atlantic coastlines.
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into Mexico increased by over US$2,500 million in the final quarter of 2020. The United Nations’ 2020 World Investment Report ranked Mexico 14th in the world for attracting FDI and 6th among developing economies.
But there are still bureaucratic barriers to be dealt with. Companies targeting Mexico for their next global move face unravelling the red tape surrounding work permit, visa, and immigration laws if they intend moving existing staff into any of Mexico’s cities or provincial states. Organizing documentation and dealing with the many layers of Mexican bureaucracy, coupled with migrating staff across the world, needs a designated in-house department. Few companies have the time and resources or want to invest in such an operation.
What Types of Work Visas, and Permits for Mexico are there?
The type of visa required to visit Mexico for work or pleasure depends on nationality, duration of stay and for what purpose.
Tourist Visa: Some nationalities are exempt for short stays of either 180 days, for tourism or business purposes (not paid work) or 30 days for those in transit. Those who are not exempt must obtain a Mexico Tourist Visa (and maybe other approvals) and should contact their local embassy or consulate.
The Permanent Residence Visa: This is for people who want to settle in Mexico for an extended period:
- Those who have relatives in Mexico
- Retirees (also known as the Mexican Retirement Visa)
- Those who have been living in Mexico for some years under a Temporary Residence Visa
Temporary Residence Visa: For foreign nationals who wish to live in Mexico for longer than 180 days (from one to four years). The main categories are:
- Mexico Work Visa: Required for employment. However, first a Work Permit must be obtained by the prospective employer from the National Immigration Institute (NII) on behalf of the employee
- Mexico Student Visa
- Mexico Family Visa
Working Tourist Visa: Allows paid work for up to 180 days but this cannot be renewed and costs around MXN3,314 (US$165). Ideal for seasonal workers, students, and short-term contracts.
All foreign nationals require a Forma Migratoria Multiple (FMM) electronic authority or tourist card i.e., a tourist fee. This is not a visa and is required as well as a visa for some nationalities. The FMM can be obtained online for around MXN594 (US$30).