Like most countries, Mexico has a visa process for visitors. The tourist visa begins with a 7 day option and runs all the way to 180 days. You average fly-in trip lasts for less than a week and that 7-day option is very common. Drivers tend to stay a little longer, especially when exploring Baja and areas well beyond the border.
The Mexican FMM stands for Forma Migratoria Multiple (multiple immigration form) and it’s the tourist visa card you must carry in your passport. They are moving to a stamp version as well so the cards may not exist for much longer. Regardless, you must leave the country before your allotted time expires.
The one exception to needing an FMM applies to short term stays within the “Free Zone” at the border. If you visit along the border and leave within 72-hours, a tourist visa is not needed for Mexico. You must still carry a valid passport however.
Getting Your Mexico Tourist Card Online, In-Flight or at the Land Border
You can get this document in a number of different ways. Choosing largely depends on your mode of travel. Air vs land borders are slightly different. The primary options are:
FMM Online – You can easily grab the permit online but we don’t recommend this route. You will still need to have it stamped at the border to validate your trip. You also have zero flexibility if something arises where you need to change dates. If you are dead set on securing an FMM online – visit this website to complete the process. You simply fill out the info, pay, print and present at the border.
At the Airport – Millions of Americans, Canadians and foreign residents fly to Mexico each year. Typically, the airline staff will pass out Mexico tourist cards during the flight. You can quickly complete the information (name, passport number, dates, etc.) so it’s ready to present. This happens in immigration after landing. If you don’t receive the form in-flight, they have them at the immigration lines. Again, this process is moving towards a stamp system so you may not need the form at all in the future.
At the Mexico Land Border – Many people visit Mexico by crossing a land border. If you walk across or drive across, an FMM is completed at the Mexican Aduana located directly at the border crossing. It’s the same process and card as the airport. Fill out your information on the card, ask for a specific number of days and pay the fee.
You might also secure an FMM visa for Mexico at a consulate but it’s really not necessary. We also want to note that the determination of the number of days is not guaranteed. You can request any number up to 180 days but they can also issue a lower number than desired. It’s not exceedingly common but keep this in mind when planning a trip.
Common Mexico Tourist Card Questions:
We hear some recurring questions about the Mexico tourist cards. While the process is pretty straightforward, it’s important to understand the rules and limitations. Read on to answer your most pressing questions and the ones we often hear from visitors.
How much does an FMM Cost?
Costs are always subject to change but in 2003, you will pay $25 USD for the FMM when flying. The cost is attached to surcharges on your airplane ticket so you won’t need to pay anything after landing. At land borders, the 7 day visa has no cost and everything over that time allotment will cost $25 USD.
Do I need a Cancun tourist card specifically?
Among the most popular destinations, some visitors are under the impression there is a separate card specific to Cancun. Your Mexican FMM is good for the entire country and nothing additional is needed to visit Cancun. Again, you will secure the tourist card at immigration after your flight lands.
What happens to the FMM when I leave Mexico?
As the country changes to a passport stamp system, things will be easier. For those with physical tourist cards, the airline will collect them when departing. At the land border, you can return the card at the Aduana before exiting. If you have a Temporary Import Permit for a vehicle in Mexico, you will need to cancel it in-person. Do these at the same time. If you accidentally forget to return the document, this can be done at a consulate or any border station. With the new passport stamp system, the physical document will no longer be required however.
What if I stay longer than my tourist visa?
Do not overstay your visa! If you stay longer than allowed, you are technically prohibited from leaving without paying a fine. Visit an immigration office to handle the situation and leave the country after paying the fine and clearing the way.
Can I add days to my existing Mexican FMM?
There are no extensions or ways to re-issue without leaving the country. Fly, drive or walk across a border before your FMM expires. You can return on a new tourist card without a waiting period however. This means you have the ability to leave, cancel the existing card and return the next day while obtaining a new card. Keep in mind, constant returns can set off red flags and potentially limit your ability to obtain the higher limits of time.
If you have any questions before crossing a land border, get in touch anytime. In addition to your Mexican FMM, you will need Mexican car insurance (when driving), a temporary import permit and a passport. Otherwise, you are all set to visit Mexico!