If you’re planning on going to Mexico for your vacation, you’ll need to apply for a tourist card or “Forma Migratoria Multiple” (FMM). The FMM is a mandatory entry requirement for all foreign travelers who are coming to Mexico for the purpose of tourism.
Tourist cards are valid for a period up to 180 days and can only be used for a single entry. In the past, travelers who planned to remain within the United States border zone for no longer than 72 hours did not need the tourist card. However, as of September 2015, that policy ended, and currently, all foreign nationals traveling to Mexico as tourists must obtain an FMM if they’re remaining in the country for fewer than six months.
Getting your Mexico Tourist Cards can be accomplished by completing a simple online application form prior to traveling. The online application can be found on the website of Mexico’s National Immigration Institute. In order to apply for your tourist card, you must have the following items to fulfill the requirements:
- Identification document (passport or passport card if arriving by land)
- Email address to receive the your approved Mexico Tourist Card
- Payment method (a valid credit or debit card)
As of January 2020, the fee for a tourist card was about $30 U.S. If you’re flying to Mexico from the U.S., the airlines will provide you with the paperwork for your tourist card and will include the fee in the price of your ticket. If you do not get your card before arriving in Mexico, you can stop at any immigration office as soon as you enter the country.
Get your stamp
Once you receive your Mexico Tourist Card via email, print the card. You will need to present it to an immigration official upon entering the country. The official will keep the “ENTRY” part of your form. The EXIT part will be stamped, and you’ll keep this section while you’re in Mexico.
While it’s true that Mexico Tourist Cards are valid for a maximum of 180 days, the time actually given to you is at the discretion of the immigration official stamping your card. In many cases, you’ll be initially granted 30 days to 60 days; for a long vacation in Mexico, your tourist card will probably need to be extended.
Keeping your Mexico Tourist Card safe is important because, if your card is lost or stolen, you’ll need to pay a fee to get a replacement, or you may be fined when leaving the country.
Enjoying your vacation
If you plan on extending your stay, you must extend your tourist card. To do this, you’ll need to visit the nearest immigration office where you will be asked to show your tourist card and passport as well as proof of sufficient funds. After filling in the necessary form, you’ll take it to a bank to make a payment and then return to the immigration office.
For extended vacations in Mexico that exceed the 180 day limit, you’ll need to leave and re-enter the country with a new tourist card or apply for a different type of visa.
Whether you’re vacationing in Mexico for a long weekend or are planning on staying for several months, staying safe on vacation in Mexico ensures that you’ll have a great experience.