If you are planning on a trip to Mexico and will be flying to the country, you should be aware of a new Mexican immigration form change that may affect you. You no longer will receive a paper form of the FMME (also called a tourist card) to fill out if you are entering Mexico by air and arriving in the following cities:
- Puerto Vallarta
- Los Cabos
- Nuevo Leon
- Mexico City (the new airport, only)
The recent changes mean you no longer need to fill out a paper form given to you by the airline or by immigration when you enter your Mexican destination airport. This “pilot test” is being conducted by INM, Mexico’s immigration service, to help speed up the entries to and exits from Mexico, but only at the airports listed above.
If you are entering Mexico as a tourist, the immigration agent will stamp your passport with entry and exit day when you arrive at your destination. The time allowed in Mexico will be up to 180 days, but the number of days you will be allowed to remain in Mexico will be at the discretion of the immigration agent. The date your tourist card will expire should be written on your passport. After you have passed through immigration you’ll able to get the FMME (electronic Migratory Multiple Form) online at this website. You’ll need to create an account, to validate the account. Once it has been created you’ll find your FMME form ready to download after you follow a few simple steps. The FMME is automatically generated by the immigration agents at the airport after your entry registration to México.
If you are a temporary or permanent resident of Mexico visa holder (visa stamped by the Mexican consulate, NOT TEMPORARY RESIDENT CARD HOLDER) entering Mexico at the airport you must get from the immigration agent the entry date stamp on the temporary or permanent VISA PAGE (no other page). The immigration agent should write the word CANJE (as shown on the image below) and 30 days on it. You must make sure that it’s correctly stamped on the visa page otherwise you may have issues/delays to continue with your residency process before the INM immigration office in México.
If you are a temporary or permanent resident card holder entering Mexico from the above airports, the immigration agent will stamp the entry date on your passport and the letters RT regarding temporary residents or the letters RP for permanent residents. Be sure that entering Mexico at the airport you first show your temporary or permanent residency card and then your passport to the immigration agent so that the agent registers your entry as a temporary or permanent resident, otherwise you’ll be entering Mexico as tourist and you’ll lose your residency status in Mexico.
When leaving Mexico through the cities listed above, you now don’t need to go to the INM immigration desk at the airport to check your exit. Now you only have to check in with the airline and show your residency card and your passport.
If you are a temporary or permanent resident visa holder (visa stamped by the Mexican consulate) and are coming to Mexico to continue with the residency process (CANJE process), you or your legal representative will be able to obtain your FMME through this link.
If you are a foreign tourist in Mexico who recently entered from the above cities, and who is planning to apply for temporary or permanent residency while in Mexico under a category for which you may qualify, you or your legal representative will be able to obtain your FMME through this link.
Now, from my perspective, here are a few pros and cons of the new pilot test program:
- Foreign tourists and foreign legal residents will not waste lots of time filling out paper forms anymore.
- The entry and exit lines through immigration at the airports mentioned above will be faster.
- Immigration agents at the airport will scan your information on your entry to Mexico and will upload your information and generate your FMME (tourist card). You won’t be required to do it anymore.
- The allowance days to remain in Mexico as a tourist will be shown on your passport on the entry stamp by the INM immigration agents from the airport.
- The website you will use to print out the FMME form is in Spanish, which will make it more difficult for the foreigner to get access to this website.
- The new entry stamps on the passports by the immigration agents may be confusing because rarely can you see the days allowed to stay.
- Mistakes can be made. Some immigration agents at the airports are new employees and they may make mistakes, such as wrong passport number registration, wrong trip purpose registration, etc. And of course, those mistakes may affect the INM immigration process. Some processes could be delayed at the INM immigration office until the mistake is fixed, and mistakes could apply to tourists that would like to start their residency process at the INM immigration office. Mistakes could also affect those who are temporary or permanent resident visa holders (visa stamped by the Mexican consulate) who want to finalize their process at the INM immigration office in México. Mistakes may happen during the generation of FMME forms when you create your account online, like the wrong personal information such as passport number, birth date, etc. If you are planning to start some process with the INM immigration office in Mexico it is extremely important to go directly to the INM so that they send the request to fix the issue.
This pilot test that is designed to speed entries and exits at Mexico airports doesn’t have an end date and we don’t know how long it will continue. It could change at any time because it’s a pilot test. Since the implementation of the FMME pilot test in the airports listed above we have seen lots of mistakes in the FMME registration process by the immigration agents and also many tourists haven’t been able to access the website to fill out the FMME.
The test, like all tests, is often trial and error. We shall see how successful it is.
This article is a general explanation for informative purposes. For more information write me to request information specific to your case.