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Living or Working in Mexico Illegally

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Are you living or working in Mexico illegally? You may be breaking the law if you fit the description of any of these ways expats could be violating Mexico’s immigration laws.

Living in Mexico Illegally

There are three ways that you can end up living in Mexico illegally:

1. You have entered without authority, which means that you have managed to cross the border without passing border controls. This can happen in cases where people are fleeing difficult circumstances. If this applies to you, and you have reason to fear persecution if you return to your home country, you may be eligible to apply for asylum.

2. You have entered Mexico using false paperwork. If you have managed to pass border control with false paperwork, you may now find yourself in Mexico without access to work, support or funds. This is a difficult situation and one that may mean you need to return to your home country, if there are any options available to you. Opening a business without registering it is a similar scenario, as you will see below.

3. You have overstayed the terms of your visa. If this is due to an administrative error, you need to rectify matters as soon as possible. If it is because you are negligent, then you need to take responsibility and get your immigration status straight as soon as possible.

Working in Mexico Illegally

The National Immigration Institute (INM) has recently been actively seeking out new businesses to stamp out illegal working. There is no denying the fact that illegal working does take place. However, most of the businesses in question appear to be small food outlets and real estate services across Mexico.

Unfortunately for the business owner, though, failure to register, pay taxes and/or comply with pertinent laws leads to hefty fines, which may result in businesses having to close down.

Getting registered is not a laborious task but due to the structure of many of these businesses it becomes an oversight, which leads to extortionate fines from the Mexican Department of Revenue, the Secretaria de Administration Tributaria (SAT.) In order to avoid this in the first place, it is advisable to always register your business first with SAT.


  1. Well, I’m not sure at all border crossings but from AZ to Sonora at nogales, there are no border controls. Sure, there is a gate everyone walking thru uses, but there is no official who checks everyone. Once in nogales, SON you can go to the immigration office for a visa OR simply walk away or catch a ride. Only buses actually get stopped and people have to produce paperwork.


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