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Tourist Card – FMM: Your Essential Guide to Entering Mexico



Mexican Tourist Card
FMM

Planning a trip to Mexico? Whether it's your first visit or you're a seasoned traveler, understanding the entry requirements is crucial. One key document you'll need is the Forma Migratoria Multiple (FMM), also known as the tourist card. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about the FMM, from what it is to how to get one, and some essential tips to ensure your journey is smooth.





How to get FMM
FMM requirements

What is an FMM?

The FMM, or Forma Migratoria Multiple, is a tourist card required for most foreign visitors entering Mexico. It's an official document issued by the Mexican government that allows you to stay in the country for up to 180 days for tourism, business, or other short-term purposes. However, it's important to note that the duration granted is at the discretion of the immigration officer, and it can sometimes be less than the maximum 180 days.



Validity of the FMM

The FMM typically allows a stay in Mexico for up to 180 days, but this period can vary. Recently, many tourists have reported being granted shorter stays, sometimes as brief as a week. The FMM is valid for a single entry, except in the case of Baja California, where it may be used for multiple entries.



Obtaining the FMM

Where and How to Get the FMM

You can obtain an FMM at any Mexican border crossing, airport, or consulate. The process is straightforward:

  1. Fill out the form: You can complete the form online or in person.

  2. Pay the fee: The cost of the FMM is 717 pesos (approximately $37 USD).

  3. Keep your FMM safe: You'll need to present it when you leave Mexico.





Electronic FMME

Overview of the Electronic FMME

The electronic version of the FMM, known as the FMME, is available online. While it offers convenience, there are some potential drawbacks to be aware of. For example, some websites charge exorbitant fees, and not all online sources are legitimate. Additionally, at many airports, physical FMMs are no longer used, making the online version less useful in certain situations.



Advantages and Disadvantages of Using the FMME

Advantages:

  • Convenience of applying online

  • Avoids potential delays at the border or airport

Disadvantages:

  • Risk of fraudulent websites

  • Additional fees from some online services

  • Not always recognized at all entry points



Tips for Getting the Desired Length of Stay

To increase your chances of getting the length of stay you desire, it's helpful to have a brief note written in Spanish ready to present to the immigration officer. This note should state:

  • The number of days you request

  • The reason for your visit

  • Details of your accommodations

  • Your return flight information

Present this note before handing over your passport.



FMM online application
FMM validity

Risks of Online FMM Applications

Applying for an FMM online can be risky. Some fraudulent websites charge as much as $200 extra. It's also worth noting that an FMM is typically included in your airfare, so there may be no need to apply online. At many airports, FMMs are no longer used, and you'll need to stop at the border for a date stamp regardless.



FMM Procedures at the Border

When entering Mexico via a land border, it's crucial to get your FMM stamped. This stamped portion is proof of your legal entry and will be required when you leave the country. If your FMM is about to expire, you'll need to return to the border before it does, as it's not possible to extend or renew it from within Mexico.



Temporary Program: Regularization

Explanation of the Temporary Regularization Program

Mexico has a temporary regularization program that allows certain tourists to transition to a temporary resident visa. This program is available at some immigration offices and does not require financial proof. To qualify, you must have entered Mexico before 2022 and have proof of entry, such as a passport stamp.



Dealing with Expired FMMs

If your FMM expires while you're in Mexico, you must visit an immigration office at the airport before your departure. There, you can pay a fee (currently 687 pesos) for another period of stay. However, this is not a way to extend your tourist time in Mexico; it's merely to legalize your status for departure.

Necessary Documents for Tourists



As a tourist in Mexico, you must always carry:

  • Your passport

  • The original FMM tourist card (if issued)

  • An entry stamp in your passport

  • A printout from an airport scanner indicating your entry date and exit deadline




FMM Requirements at Different Entry Points

Entry at Border Crossings

When entering Mexico at a border crossing, you will be issued an FMM. Ensure it's stamped and retain it for when you leave.


Entry at Airports with Passport Scanners

In airports like Mexico City and Cancun, passport scanners will issue a receipt that you need to keep for your departure. Temporary or permanent residents should avoid these scanners to prevent confusion regarding their residency status.


Entry at Airports Without Passport Scanners

At these airports, your passport will be stamped with your entry date and the date by which you must leave Mexico. Typically, this period is 180 days.


Entering Mexico with Pre-approved Residency

If you have a pre-approved temporary or permanent resident visa from a Mexican consulate, you must finalize the process upon entering Mexico. You'll receive an FMM marked CANJE, indicating you have 30 days to start your visa process in Mexico. Failure to do so will require starting the residency process over at a consulate.


Exemptions from the Mexican Tourist Visa

Certain nationals do not need a visa to enter Mexico for tourism, business, or transit if they have a valid passport from specific countries (e.g., USA, Canada, Japan, UK, Schengen Area countries). Additionally, permanent residents of these countries can also enter Mexico without a visa.


Conclusion

Navigating the requirements for entering Mexico can seem daunting, but understanding the FMM process is essential for a hassle-free trip. From obtaining your FMM to ensuring you have all necessary documents, being prepared is key. Remember to carry your FMM and passport at all times, and be aware of the rules regarding your length of stay.


FAQs

What is the cost of the FMM? The FMM costs 717 pesos, roughly equivalent to $37 USD.


How long can I stay in Mexico with an FMM? You can stay for up to 180 days, but the actual duration is at the discretion of the immigration officer.


Can I extend my FMM while in Mexico? No, the FMM cannot be extended or renewed from within Mexico. You must return to the border before it expires.


What should I do if I lose my FMM? If you lose your FMM, you should report it to the nearest immigration office and obtain a replacement.


Are there any exemptions to the FMM requirement? Yes, travelers from certain countries or those with specific residency statuses are exempt from needing an FMM for short stays.

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