There is a lot of confusion about visas and the FMM in the blog post I read on the internet on this subject. Even I made the mistake in the beginning. For it is so common for countries to work with a visa and not with permits. Mexico works with both, and only a few countries need a Visa, most passport holders can enter Mexico without a visa for 180 days using a visitor’s permit called FMM.
FMM or Visa, what is the Difference?
FMM stands for Forma Migratoria Multiple, which means as much as “Multiple Entry Form”. You get this from your airline company or cruise company and fill it out before passing through immigration. Arriving by land, you get one at your border crossing at your point of entry.
Once stamped it is valid for 180 days, but you have to check the time given to you by the immigration officer
The FMM allows you to stay in Mexico for 180 DAYS! Do not make the mistake to think that it is 6 months since some months have fewer days. You can not extend it. You have to leave the country before the expiration date which is written on the FMM by the immigration officer. There are penalty fees for overstaying. Each time you leave Mexico you will receive a new FMM, with a new exit date.
A visa for Mexico is only for those passport-holders that are not on the visa-free list. They should apply for a visa before visiting Mexico.
Everyone who wants to stay longer than 180 days in Mexico has to apply for a visa also
For people with a pre-approved visa from an embassy applying in Mexico for a resident visa please read the entry process in this blog:
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When traveling to Mexico using an FMM you may have to proof upon request:
an outbound ticket
travel itinerary (hotel booking or proof of stay, scheduled reservations)
a passport valid for 6 more months upon arrival
one empty page for your entry stamp
If you arrive by land and depart within 7 days your FMM is free. If you fly into Mexico or arrive on a cruise ship the fee for the FMM is included in the ticket. If not the fee is around 25 US$.
The FMM is also your exit permit
The FMM form has an upper and lower part. Upon entry, the immigration officer will stamp both parts and hand you the lower part (Please note that for resident cardholders this process is different!!!) The part will contain the date you entered the country. You have to keep this part safe for you need to hand it in when you want to leave the country. You cannot leave Mexico without it!
If you lose your FMM, you have to go to the INM office and request a new one. there is a penalty for losing your FMM.
When you fly out of the country or leave on a cruise, your exit part of the FMM will be taken upon check-in. When you leave through a land border you have to give it to the immigration officer yourself. If you fail to do this you may not be able to enter Mexico the next time.