The legal basis for the right of residence is the Migration Law (LM) and the associated regulation (Reglamento de la Ley de Migración – RLM). The competent authority is the Mexican immigration authority (Instituto Nacional de Migración – INM).
Mexican immigration law distinguishes between non-permanent residents (visitors), permanent residents (temporary residents), and immigrants (permanent residents) for foreign citizens who will stay in Mexico for more than 30 days.
Agreement between foreigners and Mexico
There is an agreement between different countries and Mexico on visa exemption so that foreigners do not have to apply for a visa for short-term visits. In this case, you only need to fill out a tourist card upon entry, which entitles you to a stay of up to 180 days. A passport with a minimum validity of six months and proof of sufficient funds for the duration of your stay (e.g. credit card, traveler’s checks or cash) are required.
For foreign employees, the visa or work permit will depend on the length of stay and the work to be performed in Mexico. Foreign citizens planning a stay of up to 180 days who are business or technical travelers and who do not have a paid job in Mexico do not need a visa. Upon entering the country, only the FMM tourist card must be filled out. However, you must carry with you certain documents, such as a letter of confirmation from the parent company, and sufficient funds. In these cases, a work permit is not required.
For a stay of up to 180 days with remunerated work, a work permit and a residence permit must be requested (Art. 40 LM). The work permit must be requested before the Mexican immigration authorities.
Temporary or permanent residence
If you intend to stay more than 180 days, you must apply for a visa as a Temporary Resident, which entitles you to stay for up to four years. In this case, it is necessary to inform the immigration authorities within 30 calendar days of entry (Art. 59 LM). After four years, you can apply for a residence permit. In addition, if you are going to engage in paid work during this time, you must apply for the corresponding work permit.