Home Expat Blogs Avoid Trouble When Visiting Mexico: Fill Out the FMM Tourist Card

Avoid Trouble When Visiting Mexico: Fill Out the FMM Tourist Card

Aerial view of Palacio de Bellas Artes in downtown Mexico City
Credit: Sergey Novikov | Bigstock
Spencer McMullen blogs on Expats In Mexico
Spencer McMullen

If you are coming to Mexico in 2017, please make sure you completely and accurately fill out the FMM tourist card you are given by flight attendants or Mexican Immigration officers. Many who come to Mexico often don’t take this seriously, but they should.

The FMM (Visitante) is an immigration form for stays in Mexico of less than 180 days. It’s primarily used for tourists and business travelers whose purpose is non-paid or non-profitable activities. You’ll be given an FMM form to complete on your plane or point of entry. If you stay more than 180 days you’ll need to apply for a temporary visa.

The Mexican government charges about US$20 for the card. If you travel by air, the cost is included in the price of your ticket. When you pass through Immigration at the airport or port of entry, the FMM is stamped and you will receive your half. Importantly, hang on to your half because you will need it to leave Mexico.

If you lose your half of the FMM, you’ll need to go to the nearest Immigration office and apply for a replacement before you can leave the country. The cost of replacing your lost FMM is about US$40.

Here’s how to fill out the FMM:

First, fill out your name (first, middle and last) exactly as it appears in your passport. Always sign your name exactly as you signed your passport, nothing more nothing less.

Second, fill out the form properly. If it’s in Spanish, ask how to do it. One of my clients who came to Mexico to buy a home had his permit rejected by the Mexican government because he put his first name where his last name should have been. And, he wrote his nickname where it asked for his first name.

Third, If you have a permanent resident visa or temporary resident visa, show that document to the immigration official and write Residente Permanente or Residente Temporal, whichever applies to you, on the top of each part of the form so Immigration does not mistakenly check you in as a tourist, which cancels the document you hold.

Fourth, if you enter Mexico by car fill out the bank form to pay your FMM and write your name as it appears in your passport and keep the original receipt.

Also, we recommend married couples each pay separately to have an individual receipt with their name on it. Failure to do this often leads to paying the fee again.

Immigration can be very picky, so avoid any issues that may arise from not properly filling out your FMM form. You’ll be glad you did.

Prospero Año Nuevo!


  1. Excellent article. Good information! Thank you!

    Spencer is it critical to us as US citizens to have our marriage document papers down here in Mexico? I have heard it rumored that if one of us passes it is necessary?

    • Sharon, Spencer’s response: While not critical it can be helpful, especially if your wife doesnt use your last name to prove you are married, if one needs to make healthcare decisions for the other or if one dies and you need to pass the property onto the other person or need to file a probate case. Best to get a recently certified copy and have it apostilled or legalized (if from Canada) to have in a file folder in case you need it some day in the future.

  2. Does anyone know how it’s possible to return FMM card without traveling to Mexico if you forgot to turn it in on the way back to the US (via car)? I went on business and may again in the future but probably not before the 180 days is up. I’ve already tried my local Mexican Consulate and they were no help.

  3. I’ve completed my FMM electronically believed I had completed it correctly so downloaded it. I have seen that place of residence is not the UK but UAE what should I do do another application or just leave it until I arrive in Cancun. I am so worried I won’t be allowed in

    • Wendy i have done the same i have put wrong flight details .can you tell me what you did about yours?did you fill in another one?

  4. I did my sons fmm permit online and for some reason i put his first and last name where it says names and on surname i put his first name again. do you think that will cost him trouble? should i do another application? Im so worried we will have problems.

  5. Hi! On the FMM form where it asked for the Hotel Name, Street and Number, there are only 40 characters. We’re staying at the Moon Palace Cancun. Is filling that in enough? There isn’t enough space to fill any further details in the box? Please advise, thanks in advance!

  6. When asked for the flight number, is it the flight number on the arrival date? The form asks for your arrival date and the date you are leaving. Right after that, it asks for the flight number. It’s not clear if they want the flight number on arrival or is it the flight number when you leave?


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