Mexico,  Work and Travel

Apply for a Work Permit as a Mexican Temporary Resident

You are not allowed to work on a Temporary Resident Permit in Mexico, but you can apply for a Resident visa including a 6 months grace period to see if you want to start a business in Mexico. Once that Visa is granted your Temporary Resident Permit gives you 6 months time to figure out whether you want to start in Mexico or not. But you could also apply for a work permit after you switched your visa into a Temporary Residency. 

When you ask around you probably get 2 answers to the question of whether or not you are allowed to work in Mexico when you are a temporary resident. But when you look closely at these answers they more or less imply the same.

One answer will be: You are not allowed to have income in Mexico

The correct answer will be: No you are not allowed to work in Mexico for a Mexican-based company of Mexican clients.

In my interpretation both say the same: You can work in Mexico on a Temporary Resident Permit as long as you do not earn money from Mexican Citizens or Mexican-based companies.

And when I visit the website of the Mexican Embassy in Den Hague, The Netherlands, I read the exact same thing: I cannot work for a Mexican company or have national clients.

That means you are allowed to work for a non-Mexican-based company, which some people do. Or work online with an international portfolio that holds no Mexican Nationals.

Just in case you want to make things official because for some reason you just want to, because, for example, you can’t guarantee that you will not have Mexican Clients while working online, here is how to apply for a work permit in Mexico when staying in the country on a Temporary Resident Permit.

You Start at the SAT Office

In order to obtain a work permit for online working in Mexico, you have to register at SAT (Servicio de Administración Tributaria). This registration will supply you with an RFC number that you need for paying taxes.

The registration can be done online, but you have to determine which tax regime fits your business best. In order to avoid going through the process over and over again due to changes in your activities, it is wise to think this through very carefully. The best advice on the internet is to consult a tax expert or administration office (accountant). They will help you determine the right description of activities in a broad way, which will fit in the Mexican tax system.

Once you finished your online application you have to visit the SAT office to get your password and e-signature.

Check the rules for visiting your local SAT office online (Google maps > SAT office > Website) maybe you need to make an appointment to visit, otherwise, just get in the queue at the office entrance.

Once this is all done you are ready for your next step: The Immigration Office.

Applying for a work permit at the INM office

This is a list of the documents you need for the INM office

  • A letter in Spanish in which you explain your activities identical to the activities you registered at the SAT Office.
  • The completed online application – printed and signed (you can fill this out on the INM website > Tramites > Work Permit)
  • The tax registration document
  • The temporary residency card and copy (make sure you copy your resident card for your own use because they keep your plastic card)
  • Your passport and copy of your bio page
  • A signed copy of the Aviso De Tratamiento de Datos Personales y Notificación Electrónica, in which you declare that you are aware of the way your personal information is handled during the online process. And in which you grant the Government permission to do so. (Usually, you are asked to sign it at the office, it is not something you can download)

Please be aware that INM offices differ per State and city and that they may require additional information from you, depending on where you apply. You can only apply for a work permit at your local INM office, the same office where you processed your ID card. If you have moved to another location you have to have your address changed first before you can apply. (read also:How to change your address in Mexico at INM Offices)

You will receive an e-mail notification that your “Pieza” is handled and if your work permit is granted you can return to the INM office to process your new Resident ID Card. In most offices in 2022, this process is digital. Photos and fingerprints are taken at the office and in most cases within an hour or so your card is ready.

If not done digital, the processing of your card can take up to two weeks.

You receive your new Temporary Resident Card that will state “Permiso para Treabajar”.

These are the rules of this Permiso Para Trabajar

You can only do the work you registered for if you forgot to register for work or services you have to do the whole process of registering and applying again.

You are not allowed to work for an employer, since you applied for online work and if you accept a local job your employer has to apply for a new work permit.

Any changes in either work, address, personal data, new passport, whatever, have to be registered at the INM office and when work-related also at SAT.

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Digital Nomads and taxes

There are countries that consider their passport holders as taxpayers, no matter where they reside. There are also countries that consider their passport holders no longer obliged to pay taxes in their country of origin and those countries assume you pay taxes elsewhere.

Most of the time the guest country does not bother for taxes or your visa does not allow you to work so you can’t pay taxes. In that case, you move around in that grey area of working tax-free. This can make your product or service financially more favorable for clients since you have financial space to be very competitive.

It is advisable to consult an accountant on tax matters before you jump to conclusions about tax laws, pack your laptop and start working remotely.

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Jeanette, a Dutch female nomad, started to travel the world at the age of 17. Walker of beaches, shell searcher, and iPhone photographer. Always horizon bound preferably on a motorcycle. Currently, she lives in a desert village in Baja California Sur in Mexico. She is an emigration coach and works online.