Mexican immigration law does not permit any non-resident worker from engaging in business in Mexico without a valid visa, so compliance with these requirements must be ensured before hiring foreign workers. The foreign national may enter Mexico, typically on a temporary basis, and must holds an authorized visa, although the Mexican immigration authorities have substantial discretion in applying immigration law and regulations. Immigration agents currently have formal authority to carry out an inspection review to request information from foreigners entering Mexico, such as an invitation letter from a Mexican company.
There are three categories of foreign nationals according to Mexican immigration policy: unrestricted, regulated and restricted which apply different rules for each category. The issuance and supervision of visas and entry/exit of foreigners into Mexico is regulated by the National Institute of Immigration (Instituto Nacional de Migración, INM) as well as Mexican consulates.
1. Issuance of job offer
The employer must issue a job offer for the foreign employee that states that the foreign national will assume a position in the company in Mexico for the purposes of work. Under the Federal Labor Law (FLL), the employer must ensure that at most 10% of the business entity is composed of foreign nationals, and that any technical positions occupied by foreign employees cannot be filled by a Mexican national. In addition, the employer must ensure that the hired foreign national must train Mexican employees in their area of expertise.
The offer letter must state general information on the position, such as activities, the duration of the work and salary.
The employer must also provide a “Proof of Registry” certificate as evidence that the employer has permission from the government to hire foreign workers. This certificate is obtained during the incorporation process. Under Articles 194 and 195 of the Rulings of the Immigration Law, the National Immigration Institute (Instituto Nacional de Migración, INM) is allowed to perform routine verification visits to confirm that the employer has immigration compliance to sponsor foreign nationals.
Documents required by Employer:
2. Application for work permit
The employer must submit an application for a work permit to the INM for each foreign employee that will be hired, accompanied by the relevant documents. The INM will analyse the application and company on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the employee’s nationality, nature of work, and other factors. The INM determines the approval status within 30 to 45 days, and upon a successful application an approval notice is sent to the foreigner and employer.
The employer and the employee should await the approval of the work permit before proceeding with other arrangements.
Documents required by Employer:
Documents required by Employee:
Time: 30 – 45 days
3. Visa application and interview with Consulate
Once the work permit has been approved, the INM will notify the local Mexican consulate that the employee’s work permit has been approved. The employee must submit the necessary documents to the consulate along with the visa application. Once the documents have been approved, the consulate will schedule an appointment for an interview to approve the visa.
It should be noted that the employee will require the results of a medical examination before the date of the interview, so it is the responsibility of the employee to be examined at least five days before the interview.
Certain nationalities are exempted from visa on certain migratory categories, so the consulate should be consulted prior to application.
Documents required by Employee:
Time: 1 – 3 business days
Cost: Dependent on visa type and consulate. Approximately $2, 565 pesos (U.S consulate)
4. Travel to Mexico
Once the interview process is cleared, the employee may collect the work permit and visa from the consulate. The next step is to travel to Mexico.
Upon landing, the Migration Official at the port of entry will determine the duration of stay in Mexico for the foreign national depending on their visa type. Tourists and business visitors are allowed up to six months’ stay, including the Visitor Visa with Permission to Engage in Lucrative Activities (visitante con actividades lucrativas). Any employee staying longer than 180 days must apply for temporary or permanent residence.
Upon arrival, individuals visiting Mexico for less than 180 days on a leisure or business visa must obtain a landing card, known as a Forma Migratoria Multiple (FMM) and must be kept until departure.
5. Registration in Mexico
When the employee and their family arrive in Mexico, each member must register with the INM within 30 days. Family members are granted a dependant visa and must apply for work permits separately if they wish to work.
Once the employee registers their presence in Mexico, they may commence the employment arrangement for the time specified with the employer.
Time: 5 – 8 days
Once you get in touch with us, one of our consultants will take all the work off your hands, coordinate with our local partners to get all the required permits organised, provide the processing time, costs, document-checklist and keep you informed through the process. Contact us to know more.
|Category||Description of Visa|
|Non-Working Tourist Visa||
This is known as the “Visitor Visa without authorization to perform activities remunerated in Mexico”. This category of visa applies to foreigners who intend to stay in Mexico for a short duration and do not have permission to engage in activities to receive remuneration in Mexico.
The foreign national may stay in Mexico up to 180 days with this visa. There is no option to extend the visa or convert it into a working visa.
Nationals from certain restricted countries are required to apply for this category at a Mexican consulate or embassy prior to travel into Mexico. Non-restricted nationals may enter Mexico without a visa by completing a Multiple Immigration Form (FMM) at the port of entry.
Foreigners who are classified as tourists or businesspersons are grouped into this category as they may not engage in work for remuneration, although may engage in limited business activities such as business meetings, conferences and negotiations. Examples of permitted activities include conventions, fairs, expos, education, or visits of an informative nature.
Cost: US$17 – US$30. In some circumstances, the fee is included in the flight price under taxes and fees.
Time: Up to 3 weeks depending on nationality.
|Working Visitor Visa||
This is known as the “Visitor Visa with authorization to perform activities remunerated in Mexico (vistante con actividades lucrativas)”. The working visitor visa is the most common type of visa for the employment of foreign nationals on a temporary basis.
The foreigner may stay in Mexico for up to 180 days with permission to be remunerated in Mexico for activities carried out in the country. There is no option to extend the visa or convert it into a working visa.
This visa can only be obtained through the Mexican consulate or embassy with the approval of the National Immigration Institute (INM).
Time: 2 days
|Temporary Resident Visa||
Also known as the “Residente Temporal” visa, this visa is applicable to employees who intend to stay in Mexico for more than 180 days but less than 4 years, and may involve work that is remunerated or not. This visa is typically issued for employees who have a longer term arrangement with a Mexican employer.
The visa is issued only for the purpose for obtaining a Residente Temporal permit. Within 30 days of arriving in Mexico, the visa holder must apply for the Temporary Resident Permit. The employee is granted unlimited entries and exit from Mexico.
Typically, the temporary resident permit will only be granted to those who have investments in Mexico, have been invited by a Mexican company to engage in work activities, has real estate in Mexico or have family in Mexico.
If the purpose of the temporary resident visa is to engage in work with remuneration, the application must be submitted to the INM for approval. Otherwise, non-remunerated activities may be applied through a Mexican Consulate or Embassy.
The validity duration for the Temporary Resident visa depends on the intended length of the foreign worker’s assignment in Mexico. Any temporary visa issued for less than four years may be renewed up to a maximum of four years. Renewal requested must be made 30 days prior to the expiration date. The temporary Resident visa may not extend past four years, although it may be changed to a Permanent Resident visa upon request.
Time: 1 – 10 business days
|Permanent Resident Visa||
Also known as the Visa de Residente Parmenente, the Permanent Resident Visa allows foreigners to remain in Mexico for an indefinite period of time. It is suitable for employees who are seeking permanent residency status in Mexico or those who are seeking eventual Mexican Citizenship.
There are certain requirements to be granted a Permanent Resident visa, including family connections in Mexico, sufficient monthly income to support themselves or have 4 years of regular status as Temporary Resident.
Both the Temporary Resident visa and Permanent Resident visa allows the renewal of the visa within 55 days of expiration if the visa holder is not in Mexico during expiration.
This visa can be applied for in person at a Mexican Consular office.
Cost: $4,289 pesos
Time: 3 – 4 weeks
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