The Mexican visa system


When it comes to immigration laws, visa applications and work permits, Mexico offers just about as much red tape as any other country in the world. Your first step towards overcoming these obstacles is to become familiar with the Mexican immigration system.

Who needs a visa for Mexico?

Not everybody needs a visa for Mexico. If your stay does not exceed 180 days, you might not need to apply for a visa. Residents from Schengen area countries, as well as citizens from Argentina, Belize, Chile, Costa Rica, Panama, Uruguay, and Venezuela, do not need a visa.

Types of visa

Mexican law distinguishes between six types of visa that can be categorized in the following way:

  • Visitor visas
    • without the right to earn a salary (visitante sin permiso para realizar actividades remuneradas) (valid for 180 days, 10 years for pensioners proving their ability to sustain themselves financially)
    • with the right to undertake paid work (visitante con permiso para realizar actividades remuneradas) (valid for 180 days)
    • visitor for adoption procedure (visitante para realizar trámites de adopción)
  • Short-term residence visas (for stays up to 4 years)
    • temporary residence for students (residente temporal estudiante)
    • temporary residence (residencia temporal)
  • Long-term residence visa (residencia permanente)

Go to the website of the Mexican Ministry for External Relations  for official and up to date information on Mexican visas.

Work permits

If you want to work for an international company in Mexico, you and your company will have to apply for the corresponding short-term residence visa in a Mexican consulate or embassy.

If you want to work for a Mexican company, you and your company will have to apply with the Mexican authorities for a work permit and subsequently for a long-term residence visa.

Further reading

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