Mexico Simplifies Visa Procedures
Mexico's National Immigration Institute (INM) has announced a range of amendments to its immigration and internment procedures to be implemented starting May 1, 2010. Although the amendments do not significantly alter the core rules and regulations which underpin current immigration law, the changes will make the paperwork and procedures less complicated for foreigners wishing to enter Mexico; particularly for those coming to Mexico to do business and those who wish to live, work and retire here.
The current entry form completed by all foreigners entering Mexico and traveling beyond the 20km ‘frontier’ zone, known as FMT-Forma Migratoria Turista-will be replaced by a FMM, or Forma Migratoria Multiple.
The new FMM will cover visits of up to 180 days for tourists, business visitors and technical visitors, with sections on the form for each category type. Business and technical visitor categories are clearly defined and the entry extension to 180 days is a significant change to current regulations which allow business visitors only a 30-day window to remain in the country.
The new FMM forms are scheduled to be introduced on May 1 and the new FMM-based procedures will be available to visitors who are passport holders of countries eligible for entry to Mexico under the current FMT. People entering Mexico as well as those who have applications for FM3 and FM2 visas in process to April 30, will be treated and processed under the current procedures.
For people who are staying in Mexico longer than 180 days using FM3 or FM2 visas, the current paper booklets will be replaced with plastic cards, and holders will no longer need to have their change of address, change of business activity, marital status, et al, annotated on the document proper. Resident foreigners will still be required to file notification of changes in personal and professional circumstances, but the procedures which required the surrender of the document to the institute for a period of up to several weeks while changes were annotated will no longer be required.
Mexican consulates based overseas will no longer issue FM visa booklets. They will, instead, issue a sticker that is placed into the applicant’s passport once the INM has approved an overseas application. The applicant will then need to enter Mexico within 365 days and obtain the new FM visa card within 30 days of internment, by visiting a local office of the INM.
Tourists: If you enter Mexico as a tourist, your entry will remain virtually unaffected by the new procedures. You will simply need to complete the ‘Tourist’ section of the new FMM visitor’s card (which replaces the FMT) at the port of entry, and when you enter the country you will be granted leave to remain in Mexico for no longer than 180 calendar days.
Business Visitors: If you visit (or plan to visit) Mexico to undertake business activities or to undertake work in Mexico for periods of 180 days or less, you will enjoy greater flexibility by way of these new arrangements.
Long Term Visitors and Residents: If you remain in Mexico for longer than six months, there are some welcome simplifications being introduced to the FM3 and FM2 visa procedures, especially in relation to doing-away with the process of surrender and re-issue of paper booklets.