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NEWS & POLITICS - Changes in Immigration Procedure

Changes in Immigration Procedures
Effective May 1, 2010
by Jacob Sapochnick

Mexico’s National Migration Institute has published its Manual of Criteria and Migration Procedures. The Manual will be enforced as of May 1, 2010, throughout the 32 delegations of the National Migration Institute in Mexico. Courtesy of AILA member Enrique Arellano.

The intention of the National Migration Institute is to clarify, streamline and simplify processing requirements for each immigration category. Applications currently being processed and those filed before May 1, 2010, will be analyzed and processed based on current policies, practices and procedures.

Some of the most relevant aspects of the Manual are the following:

• All migratory forms for tourists, business visitors and technical visitors with lucrative activities, who intend to stay in Mexico for up to 180 days, will be replaced by a single “FMM” form (“Forma Migratoria MĂșltiple”). The FMM will serve as evidence of the foreign national’s immigration status while in Mexico;

• The business visitor criteria are clearly defined. This new FMM form has an option for choosing the purpose of the visit as business (negocios), which once the foreign national enters Mexico, the immigration officer will grant a 180 days stay.

• There are three different options that the immigration officer might mark and that will grant the foreign national 180 days: a) Business (Visitante Persona de Negocios), b) Visitor with Lucrative Activities (Visitante con Actividades Lucrativas) and c) Visitor with Non-Lucrative Activities (Visitante con Actividades No Lucrativas). Any of the previous allow the foreign national to visit Mexico for business, either for working purposes or only for meetings.

• In case the purpose of the business visit extends more than 180 days, the foreign national will have to file for a change of Immigration status to obtain the correspondent FM3.

• The ABTC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation business travel card) criteria are clearly defined;

• In the following weeks, the National Migration Institute will publish the formats of the new migration cards that will replace the FM2 and FM3 booklets. Changes of activity, domicile, marital status, etc., will no longer have to be annotated on the migratory document, thereby allowing the foreign national the ability to travel in and out of the country while a change of status/conditions application is in process without having to request an exit and re-entry permit;

• Consular Posts will no longer issue FM2 or FM3 booklets. Instead, the Consular Post will place a visa sticker on the foreign national’s passport, upon receipt of the petition’s approval from the National Migration institute. The sticker will allow entry into Mexico within 365 days of issuance. Upon entry, the foreign national must obtain the new FM2 or FM3 migration card within 30 days.

Jacob Sapochnick is recognized as one of the most innovative, up-and-coming Immigration Lawyers in the nation. He devotes 100 percent of his practice to Immigration Law, representing corporations, hotels, restaurants and other organizations, as well as entrepreneurs and individuals worldwide. He also provides legal support and representation in family-sponsored immigration matters.

Copyright Mexico Living Guide April 2010


  1. What are these new FMMs going to cost?
    What is needed for a non-Mexican national to buy or sell a house in Mexico?

  2. All foreign nationals entering Mexico must obtain the new Multiple Use Immigration Form (FMM) upon arrival at a Mexican port of entry. The types of business and work activities foreign nationals can perform under the FMM, however, depend largely on their nationality. Certain foreign nationals will be permitted to work on the FMM without the need for additional employment authorization; others may be required to obtain work authorization. All FMM holders who are placed on a Mexican company’s payroll or who otherwise receive payment from a local source while in Mexico, regardless of nationality, require work authorization in addition to the FMM, despite contrary language in the new rules.

    We are working on an upcoming feature on all the new immigration rules and the new visas.