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!