Penner & Associates - Mexico Law Firm and Business Consulting for Mexico

For professional assistance & information on legal & business matters regarding Mexico and Latin America, please contact:

ATTORNEYS AT LAW FOR MEXICO
Please contact us at our Mexico offices located at:
Apartado Postal No. 9
San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico
TEL. US.: (800) 856-5709
Local Phone (415) 152-3648

e-mail E-MAIL

 

BUSINESS CONSULTANTS FOR MEXICO
REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE ASSISTANCE FOR MEXICO
At our Phoenix or Mexico Offices
P.O. Box 42773
Phoenix, Arizona 85080
Tel: (623) 242-7442

e-mail E-MAIL

OUR MEXICO CITY OFFICES
Montecito no. 38 Piso 37 Oficina 37
Edificio World Trade Center
Colonia Napolis C.P. 03810
Mexico, Distrito Federal

Tel: (55)5351-0438

e-mail
E-MAIL

   

Law Information

IMMIGRATION IN MEXICO

1. For Foreigners to Mexico

Update as of Feb-25-2010

2. For Mexicans Living in the U.S. and Canada

 

For Foreigners to Mexico

Choose One: Introduction , Visa vs. Migratory Status , Generic Relationship Categories
Listing of Non-Immigrant Statuses
, Listing of Immigrant Statuses ,
Resolutions of a General Nature
, Example of Requirements for an FM3

 

Introduction. The Immigration Service ("Servicio Migratorio") of Mexico is part of the country's State Department ("Secretaría de Gobernación"). They maintain offices of Immigration Service in most all the larger cities of Mexico, including the cities that border with the U.S. and Guatemala.

Visa vs. Migratory Status. We should note that there is a difference between a "visa" and an "immigration status". The first is a pre-qualification process that is done in Mexico via the Ministry of Foreign Relations (or indirectly via the Mexican consulates and embassies throughout the world), prior to the entry into Mexico by the foreigner (or for renewal purposes while in Mexico). The second is a status given the individual upon entry physically into the country of Mexico. The need or not for a visa depends upon which country the foreigner is a national of.

Generic Relationship Categories: The are many different relationships of rights that may exist under which foreigners (as a concept) may fall, regarding migration to/from Mexico. The basic groups are 1: immigrants (entering) and emigrants (departing), 2: residents and non-residents, 3: ability to work and non-ability to work, 4: resident immigrant and resident immigrated and 5: Single entry/exist or multiple entries/exits.

1. The immigrants are those entering the country for the purpose of staying for some period of time (from hours to years). The emigrants are those that are leaving the country for the purpose of staying outside Mexico for some period of time (from hours to years).

2. The residents are those that have a qualifying immigration status which will permit them to remain in Mexico as a resident. This normally implies a more permanent stay, and a process of acquiring an immigrated status.

3. Certain migratory statuses will specifically authorize the holders to perform specific type jobs for remuneration. In these cases, it will also identify with whom the immigrant is working (identifying the employer).

4. The resident immigrant is still in the five year renewal process, where he must re-establish each year that his intention, job, employer, domicile, etc. are all still the same, that he has paid his Mexican taxes (if applicable) and has not been outside of Mexico for longer than permitted and request one more year of holding his status. At the end of the fifth year, the resident immigrant may request that he be given a permanent resident immigrant status, also known as the resident immigrated ("residente inmigrado") status. Once he is given this status, he no longer need to go through the annual renewal process and may stay permanently in Mexico under the status he has. The "inmigrado" may leave Mexico for up to 36 consecutive months without losing his status.

5. The several different migratory statuses may permit only a one time entry and exit to and from Mexico while others my permit multiple entries and exits and still conserve the migratory status.

Listing of Non-Immigrant Statuses:

1. Tourists (FMT, "Turista"): Status granted to those persons that enter Mexico for up to 6 months to enjoy the amenities that Mexico has to offer, as a tourist. They may not work (with or without remuneration and can not perform any activity that is normally considered of a lucrative nature).

2. Individual in Transit ("Transmigrante"). Those individuals that are simply passing through Mexico on a transit status are given this status. This is usually for only a few days at most.

3. Visitor ("Visitante") (FM3). This is a multipurpose non-immigrant status. It can be used as a business or working status, or as a non-permanent retirement status (see "Rentista" below). The specific element regarding income, is that the paying or originating source is to be foreign. The income should come from abroad, or the money invested in Mexico (on which he may live) should come from abroad. This status is normally granted for one year only. In some cases it can be renewed up to four times. This is used for, among activities, that of the "Maquiladora" industry.

With the advent of NAFTA a status known as the FM-N (N for Nafta) was created. This status is for business people from Canada and the USA for a period of 30 days to do business in Mexico, provided that the foreigner does not earn money (nor receive payment for services) in Mexico. (You can setup a system for direct sales, strike a deal for a sales agent, set up a distributor, or setup a licensing relationship). This basically fits right in with the Visitor status for seeking business opportunities.

4. Minister of Religious Sect or Religious Associate ("Ministro de Culto o Asociado Religioso"). This status is granted for social or religious activities of a religious sect that is registered as such. This status is normally granted for one year only. In some cases it can be renewed up to four times.

5. Political Asylum ("Asilo Politico"). This status is granted those individuals that are seeking protection of their life and/or liberty (some times political activity persecution). There is not set time period given for this status, it is a case by case matter.

6. Student ("Estudiante", FM9). This status is granted those individuals that wish to attend school in Mexico. The period of time is for a long as the courses of study run, plus the completion of tests, acquisition of documentation of completion and registry of title. This status must be renewed each year and proof must be given that the courses taken in the past year were completed. The student should not be outside of Mexico for more than 120 days per year.

7. Refugee ("Refugiado"). This status is given when applied for due to the seeking of of protection for the individuals life, security or freedom because of violence, foreign aggression, internal conflicts or violation of human rights in the applicants' country. There is not set time period given for this status, it is a case by case matter.

8.Distinguished Visitor ("Visitante Distinguido"). This status is given when the applicant deserves special courtesy. This includes those that are of notoriety for their positive activities or state of being, which include those active in science, research, humanities, journalism or by being a dignitary of some sort. This status normally given for 6 months but may be extended.

9. Local Visitor ("Visitante Local"). This status is used when foreigners are arriving at sea ports, airports or border towns and wish to stay for only a very short period of time. The normal stay period given is for 3 days.

10. Provisional Visitor ("Visitante Provisional"). This status is used when the arriving foreigner is doing so at a sea port or airport (not crossing over on a land border port). Here the foreigners documents may be missing some secondary or minor requirements to be sufficiently valid for normal use on entry into the country. This status is normally for up to 30 days, which is sufficient time for him to correct the deficiency.

11. Correspondent ("Corresponsal"). This status is given to individuals to cover special "news worthy" events or to to individuals to act as correspondents on an assignment. This is normally give for up to one year.

Listing of Immigrant Statuses (seeking permanent residence):

1. Retirees or Living off of Resources ("Rentistas" / FMR given under an FM2) : This status is given with the understanding that the individual will normally be living off of pre-existing income (or other source of revenue from abroad or possibly Mexico). Here the party is not permitted to work.

2. Investor ("Inversionista") This status is for the individual that will be investing in some commerce or industry in Mexico, with wealth he/she brought with him/her.

3. Professional ("Profesional") This status is to permit the foreign individual to practice a profession in Mexico, with the prior condition that the professional degree is registered with the Federal Professionals Degrees Registry at the Federal Ministry of Public Education as "permitted to be used or performed in Mexico" .

4. Trusted Personnel ("Cargos de Confianza") This status is for the individuals that are to take post of high level management or other post of great trust and confidence in a Mexican company/business. Known as "Of Confidence" ("De Confianza")

5. Scientist ("Cientifico") This status is for individuals to perform scientific research or teach others of his scientific knowledge.

6. Technician ("Tecnico") This status is for individuals who can carry out applied research in production or that will take a technical position in accompany/business.

7. Family Members ("Familiares") This status is given those individuals that are either the spouse and/or the direct blood descendants. Examples: sons, daughters, nephews, grandchildren and brothers/sisters. There are mores restrictions for those that are not part of the immediate family.

8. Artists and Athletes ("Artistas y Deportistas") This status is given to artists and athletes.

9. Assimilated Individuals ("Asimilados") This status is given to those that do not fit into any of the preceding categories but are assimilated (fit in) to Mexico and will perform some licit, honest and productive activity in Mexico, or for those that are the spouse of or descendent of a Mexican national.

Resolutions of a General Nature

1. (note - since a new President of Mexico has entered power in 2001, you might want to verify the continued applicability of the following circular)

DIARIO OFICIAL DE LA FEDERACION DEL 5 DE OCTUBRE DE 1999
PODER EJECUTIVO
SECRETARIA DE GOBERNACION
CIRCULAR número 017/99 del 6 de septiembre del año en curso, relativa al otorgamiento de facilidades a personas de negocios.

CIRCULAR No. 017/99
Asunto: Se otorgan facilidades a personas de negocios.
ALEJANDRO CARRILLO CASTRO, Comisionado del Instituto Nacional de Migración, con fundamento en los artículos 1o., 7o., 13 y 34 de la Ley General de Población; 39 fracción I y 40 fracción I apartado A incisos a y b del Reglamento de la Ley General de Población; artículos 41, 42, 43 fracciones II y IX, 3o., 48 fracciones II y XII del Reglamento Interior de la Secretaría de Gobernación y 3o. numeral 3 y 7o. del Acuerdo por el que se delegan facultades para autorizar trámites migratorios y ejercer diversas atribuciones previstas en la Ley General de Población y su Reglamento, en favor del Subsecretario de Población y de Servicios Migratorios y del Comisionado del Instituto Nacional de Migración, publicado en el Diario Oficial de la Federación el 4 de agosto de 1998, y
CONSIDERANDO
Que el Instituto Nacional de Migración ejerce las facultades que confiere a la Secretaría de Gobernación, sobre asuntos migratorios, la Ley General de Población y su Reglamento y las que de manera expresa le estén atribuidas por otras leyes y reglamentos.
Que dentro de las atribuciones del Instituto, se encuentran la de establecer las condiciones que estime convenientes respecto a la internación, estancia y salida de extranjeros del territorio nacional.
Que en relación con la internación al país de personas de negocios en el marco del Tratado de Libre Comercio de América del Norte (TLCAN) y como resultado del Acuerdo Presidencial para la Desregulación de la Actividad Empresarial (ADAE), se han determinado los siguientes:
I. CRITERIOS DE FACILITACION MIGRATORIA A PERSONAS DE NEGOCIOS.
I.1.-Los "Consejeros" miembros del consejo de administración de empresas, que sean de nacionalidad estadounidense y canadiense, que se internen al país, al amparo de las facilidades concedidas en el (TLCAN), para asistir a las juntas de consejo, deberán ser comprendidos dentro de la característica migratoria de No Inmigrantes Visitantes con la categoría de Visitantes de Negocios, en los términos de lo previsto en el artículo 42 fracción III de la Ley General de Población y señalarse así en el uso de la Forma Migratoria de Negocios (FMN) o FM3 según el caso.
I.2.-Las personas de negocios que se internen al país como No Inmigrantes, en dicha modalidad, y en uso de FMN o FM3, bastará que señalen el nombre o denominación social de la empresa a visitar para que puedan desarrollar las actividades autorizadas, tanto en la matriz de la sociedad mercantil del caso, como en sus agencias, filiales, plantas, sucursales u oficinas que la empresa aludida tenga establecidas.
I.3.-Cuando las personas señaladas en el punto precedente, pretendan visitar empresas distintas tienen la obligación de hacerlo saber a la autoridad migratoria al momento de ser documentadas, a fin de que tal circunstancia se establezca en el documento migratorio que al efecto se le expida. En el caso de que el extranjero se encuentre en territorio nacional y pretenda visitar otras empresas deberá solicitar cambio de empleador al Instituto Nacional de Migración, a fin de que le sea autorizado y anotado en el documento migratorio correspondiente.
I.4.-Las declaraciones fiscales presentadas vía internet por las empresas y personas físicas para efectos del pago de impuestos surtirán efectos legales en los trámites migratorios, siempre y cuando el interesado manifieste bajo protesta de decir verdad de que la copia que se presenta ante la autoridad migratoria, es la misma que se presentó ante las autoridades fiscales.
I.5.-Las copias de las promociones presentadas ante el Instituto Nacional de Migración, únicamente acreditan que se ha recibido por la autoridad para su análisis, sin que prejuzgue sobre el sentido de la resolución.
TRANSITORIO
UNICO.- La presente Circular empezará a surtir efectos al día siguiente de su publicación en el Diario Oficial de la Federación.
Atentamente
Sufragio Efectivo. No Reelección.
México, D.F., a 6 de septiembre de 1999.- El Comision

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*(see the Taxation Section of this web site for differences on residency vs. non-residence in paying income taxes (NonResidency).

 

Example of Requirements for an FM3

                                                                                NON-IMMIGRANT VISITOR

 FM3  FM3 BUSINESS VISA

 

VALID PASSPORT. MINIMUM VALIDITY OF SIX MONTHS, (AT LEAST ONE BLANK

PAGE TO STAMP THE VISA), PLUS ONE PHOTOCOPY.

2. 2. LETTER OF INTENTION REQUESTING THE FM3, WITH THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION:

1.‑ ON THE COMPANY'S LETTER HEAD

2.‑ CURRENT DATE

3.‑ DESCRIPTION OF PRODUCTS OR SERVICES THE COMPANY W GOING TO PROMOTE OR PROVIDE IN MEXICO.

4.‑ LIST OF COMPANIES TO BE VISITED IN MEXICO (NAME, ADDRESS AND PHONE/FAX NUMBER)

5.‑ LEGAL NAME OF THE APPLICANT

6.‑ THE ACTIVITIES THE APPLICANT is GOING TO PERFORM IN MEXICO.

7.‑ STATING WHO WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SALARIES OF THE APPLICANT WHILE HE/SHE IS IN MEXICO.

8.‑ SIGNED BY AN AUTHORIZED PERSON IN THE COMPANY (NAME AND TITLE)

3. - IF THE APPLICANT W SELF EMPLOYED, MUST PRESENT

LETTER FROM THE BANK STATING THAT THE APPLICANT MANAGES IN

APPROPRIATE WAY HIS/HER ACCOUNT(S). AND A PROOF THAT HE/SHE A BUSINESS PERSON

3A COPY OF THE BUSINESS LICENSE OR THE LOCAL DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE LICENSE

OR CORPORATION COMMISSION REGISTRATION

    4-    4-COPY OF OFFICIAL ID (DRIVER LICENSE OR STATE ID)

5.5.TWO RECENT PICTURES: FRONT VIEW, 1.5 x 1.5 INCHES, COLOR OR BLACK AND WHITE

6.6. VISA APPLICATION (CAN BE OBTAINED AT THIS CONSULATE) IT MUST BE TYPED OR

PRINTED WITH BLUE OR BLACK INK.

7.7.FEE FOR THE FM3 $ 94.00 DLS CASH, MONEY ORDER

US AND CANADIAN CITIZENS ONLY $94.00 DLS., NATIONALS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES,

MAY REQUIRE AN ADDITIONAL $35.00 DLS FOR THE VISA. FEE MAY CHANGE

 

NOTE: FM3 DOCUMENT MUST BE ACTIVATED AT THE PORT OF ENTRY BY MEXICAN IMMIGRATION WITHIN 90 DAYS FROM THE DATE OF ISSUE. OTHERWISE THE FM3 IS VOID.

FOR NON US OR CANADIAN CITIZENS OR NON PERMANENT RESIDENTS IN THE UNITED STATES, IT MAY REQUIRE THE WRITTEN AUTHORIZATION FROM THE I.N.M. (IMMIGRATION AUTHORITY) IN MEXICO CITY, AND THE AUTHORIZATION PROCESS MAY TAKE ABOUT TWO WEEKS.

ALL REMUNERATIVE ACTIVITIES OR THE APPLICATION FOR A POSITION WITHIN THE MEXICAN COMPANY IN MEXICO, REQUIRE THE WRITTEN AUTHORIZATION FROM THE INSTITUTO NACIONAL DE MIGRACION (I.N.M.). THE LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE COMPANY IN MEXICO, HAS TO MAKE CONTACT WITH THE I.N.M. TO GET THE REQUIREMENTS AND APPLY FOR THE FM3 DOCUMENT

      

 

UPDATE 2-25-2010

reprinted from Rocky Point Tides at

http://rptides.blogspot.com/2010/02/changes-in-immigration-procedures-in.html 

First I'll address a change occurring at Mexico's border crossings beginning March 1, 2010. Or at least at some of the border crossings. In all likelihood it won't affect the Lukeville border crossing for short term visitors to Rocky Point, but you should be prepared anyway.

The new regulations, announced earlier this month by Mexico's National Migration Institute, state that U.S. citizens traveling to Mexico "by air, land or sea" must present either a valid U.S. passport or passport card or other "trusted traveler" ID such as a SENTRI card, etc. U.S. permanent residents must also present documents proving their status. Since everyone needs those documents anyway to get back into the U.S. it should not be an issue.

The regulations will not be applied to short-term visitors along the northern border or to cruise ship passengers who briefly disembark at various locations. Does that apply to short-term visitors-- such as Spring Breakers-- going as far south as Rocky Point? Probably, but have your ID ready at the border anyway just in case. As always, you do not need a Mexican tourist card to visit Rocky Point for 72 hours or less (that's 3 days, bunky).

As usual, you will pull up to the border crossing, where you may or may not be asked for a passport, etc. You will get either a red light or a green light; if it's green you just pass on through, if it's red you'll be waved over to the side where a usually-cursory inspection will be made of your car to insure that you are not bringing drugs or weapons (or other illegal things) into Mexico. I can't emphasize strongly enough: DO NOT BRING ILLEGAL DRUGS INTO MEXICO! Not even a lowly roach that you may have forgotten about in your glove compartment. Just don't do it.

The regulations will also not apply (at least not yet) at the Baja California crossings at San Ysidro and Otay Mesa, because Mexico lacks the infrastructure to enforce the regulations at such busy ports. That may change in the future as the federal government rolls out a new electronic inspection system, known as SIAVE, at its land border crossings as a means of detecting illegal weapons and other contraband.

Taking effect on May 1, 2010 are some broader changes in its migration procedures, recently published by Mexico’s National Migration Institute. These changes are intended 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.

These changes affect actual immigration status, such as visitor, business, permanent residency, etc.

I talked about the changes to the basic tourist visa, called the FMT, in an earlier post, A Heads Up on the New FMM Tourist Permit, and those changes will take effect on May 1. The FMT will then become the FMM. To clarify, here's what those changes mean according to Jacob Sapochnik at Visa Lawyer Blog. (There's a lot of good information in that website; you might want to bookmark it for future reference.)

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 Múltiple”).


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 3 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 FM2 and FM3 booklets will also be different. First off, you will no longer be able to get an FM2 or FM3 at Consular Posts. Instead, Consular Posts will place a visa sticker on your passport once the National Migration Institute has approved your petition. That sticker will allow you to enter Mexico within 365 days of issuance, and once you're in the country you'll have 30 days to get the new FM2 or FM3 card.

There will be other, mostly positive, changes, too that will make life easier for the government and the FMM, FM2/FM3 card holders. For full details on those changes as they occur, I'd keep an eye on that Visa Lawyer Blog. There are also businesses in Rocky Point (and other Mexican cities) whose purpose is to help you through the paperwork, and these businesses can save you a lot of time and frustration. Don't be afraid to use them!

 

 

For Mexican Nationals Living in the U.S and Canada (and elsewhere)

On March 20, 1998, Mexico revised it's Nationality Law to permit those persons that were Mexican nationals but may have lost it or never had it officially recognized, to either recover it or have it recognized. This is basically for the large group of Mexican nationals that live abroad. This change revokes the previous view that you could not have dual nationality* (Mexican and some other) and provides the means by which you can conserve both the Mexican nationality* and the other foreign nationality.

There is a five year period (starting March 20, 1998) during which those that had lost their nationality* can file to recover it.

These Mexican nationals with dual nationality must, while in Mexico, identify and conduct themselves as as Mexicans.

* Nationality as used in this context is to differentiate between those that are citizens of two or more countries (with passports or official statements of citizenship from these countries) and those that have only Mexican citizenship. They determine that if you are a citizen of only Mexico then you can vote in elections in Mexico. However, if you are a citizen of two or more countries (including Mexico) and reside abroad, you have the Mexican Nationality (right to have a Mexican passport and be a Mexican national) but you can not vote in Mexican elections.

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