Mexican Tourist Card (FMT)
All travelers entering Mexico have to get the Mexican Tourist Card (FMT), a card document that must be filled out and stamped upon entry and kept until you leave. These cards are quick to fill out and available at a host of places: official border crossings, international airports, travel agencies, Mexican consulates, airlines, etc. This card is for travelers who are in Mexico for touristic purposes. However, if your travels are for reasons of work, volunteering, journalism, studies, etc., you may need a visa. Check with your nearest Mexican embassy or consulate.
This card details the length of stay, which is filled out by immigration officers. For most nationalities, the maximum stay is 180 days, although for some countries the maximum is 90 days. Unless you specify exactly how much time you need or want, officers will often put a number much lower than the maximum. Ask for more if possible; it's always adviseable to give yourself a bit of extra time, just in case you end up delayed or with changed plans.
The Mexican Tourist Card itself is free of charge; however, carries with it an obligatory tourist fee (DNI, or nonimmigrant fee) of roughly $20. If you enter Mexico by air, the fee is included in your air fare. If you enter by land, you must make the payment at a Mexican bank or border post at some point prior to your re-entry into the frontier zone. If you arrived by land but are flying out, you must pay before you check in at the airport.
Make sure to hold on to your card for the duration of your stay in Mexico, as a replacement - for which you have to contact your nearest tourist office, embassy or consulate for an official authorization to take to the INM - will put a $42 dent in your wallet.
The number of days on your card can, should your plans change, be extended up to the maximum number of days permitted (180 for most countries, 90 for some). The INM has offices in many cities and towns that can administer extensions; the process generally takes just a couple of hours and will cost around $20. You will need a variety of documents, such as your passport and tourist card (originals and photocopies) and at times proof of sufficient funds.
Mexico Visa Requirements
For detailed information on all of Mexico's passport and visa requirements, consult the website of Mexico's INM (National Immigration Institute): www.inm.gob.mx. Be sure to check with your nearest Mexican embassy or consulate ahead of time, as visa and passport regulations and procedures can change at any time.
If you are a citizen of any of the following countries do not need a tourist visa to enter Mexico: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Island, Israel, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, United States of America, Uruguay or Venezuela. However, you will need to present a valid passport and fill out an immigration form for tourists and business trips. These can be obtained in travel agencies, airlines or at the point of entry.
If you are a citizen of any other country, please go to your nearest Mexican consulate to request a tourist visa.
If you are interested in working in Mexico, the process can be a bit tricky and the paperwork a bit more extensive. You need to get authorization to work - in the form of a work visa - from the INM as well as demonstrate that you have an employment offer from an established Mexican business. To study in Mexico, you will need to apply to the INM for a student visa. To do so, you will need to show a certificate of enrollment in a recognized Mexican academic center as well proof of sufficient funds for the duration of your stay.
Note: Visa procedures can take several weeks and you may have to apply for it from within your country of residence or citizenship.
Embassies, Consulates & Consular Agencies
Should you need a visa, find yourself in some sort of legal situation or have a passport mishap, your country's nearest embassy, consulate or consular agency is the place to go. Passport replacement and visa issuance procedures can take anywhere from a couple days up to over a week, depending on your nationality and embassy. Keep in mind that embassies, consulates and consular agencies generally operate between the hours of 9am and 2 or 3pm and close on Mexican as well as their specific national holidays.
The majority of foreign embassies in Mexico are located in Mexico City, easily reached through Puerto Vallarta's bus station or airport. However, most countries have additional representation through a network of consulates and consular agencies that can administer embassy responsibilities and services; these branches are dispersed throughout Mexico's regions and therefore may be nearer and more convenient. In Puerto Vallarta, there are two consulates:
- American Consulate
Zaragoza 160, 2nd floor
Tel: 222 0069
- Canadian Consulate
Fco. Medina Ascencio 1951 L-108
Tel: 293 0099
For full listings and contact information of all foreign embassies, consulates and consular agencies in Mexico, you can consult the national Ministry of Foreign Affairs official website: www.sre.gob.mx (in Spanish & English).