Home Expat Blogs The Documentation You Need to Live and Work in Mexico

The Documentation You Need to Live and Work in Mexico

Alfonso Roman, legal blogger for Expats in Mexico
Alfonso Roman

Bienvendios to all of you expats in Mexico and aspiring expats who want to move to this great country. In the months ahead, I will be bringing you timely insights and information on some of the legal issues you may encounter while living in Mexico. Today, I’ll discuss the documentation you need to live and work in Mexico.

As with anywhere in the world, there are different conditions for a foreigner to live and work in the country and enjoy the rights granted by Mexican law so you can be 100 percent secure and protected by it.

Here is how immigration law may apply to you based on your status and situation:

1. VISITOR WITHOUT A PERMIT TO PERFORM PAID ACTIVITIES (TOURIST). It authorizes foreigners to transit or stay in Mexico for an uninterrupted period of no more than 180 days – counted from the date of entry – without a permit to perform paid activities in the country.

2. VISITOR WITH PERMIT TO PERFORM PAID ACTIVITIES. This authorizes foreigners to have job offers, with an invitation from some authority or academic, artistic, sports or cultural institution from which you receive remuneration in the country, or come to perform a paid activity in a temporary season under inter- institutional agreements, for an uninterrupted time not exceeding 180 days, counted from the date of entry.

3. REGIONAL VISITOR. It authorizes foreigners living in neighboring countries to enter border regions with the right to enter and leave the country as many times as they wish, without exceeding seven days and without a permit to perform paid activities in the country.

4. BORDER WORKER VISITOR. The visiting frontier worker is a foreigner whose nationality is one of the countries bordering Mexico, with a permit to perform paid activities related to any job offer they have and with the right to enter and leave the country as many times as they wish, up to one year.

5. VISITOR FOR HUMANITARIAN REASONS. This condition is authorized for foreigners who are included in any of the following:

A) Being offended, victim or witness of an offense committed in national territory.

B) Being an unaccompanied migrant child or adolescent.

C) To be a petitioner of political asylum, refugee or protected by the Mexican State.

6. VISITOR FOR ADOPTION PURPOSES. It authorizes foreigners to remain in Mexico as long as they are linked to an adoption process, until the civil registry has issued a birth certificate of the adopted child and all departure documentation is ready.

7. TEMPORARY RESIDENT. Foreigners are authorized to stay in the country for a maximum of 4 years. It also allows you to have a permit to perform paid activities in the country, as long as there is an offer of employment. Temporary residents also have the right to enter and leave the country as they wish and are entitled to bring the following persons into the country:

A) Their own children, spouse’s children or domestic partner’s children, as long as they are girls, boys and adolescents, not married and under their guardianship or custody.

B) Spouse

C) Domestic Partner

D) Father and/or mother

8. STUDENT TEMPORARY RESIDENT. Student foreigners are authorized to stay in the country until the course, studies, research projects or training that they are carrying out in the educational institutions belonging to the National Education System results in a certificate, diploma or corresponding academic degree. They have the right to enter and leave the country as they wish, with a permit to engage in remunerated activities in the case of higher education, postgraduate studies and research. Likewise, they will have the right to enter and leave the country as temporary residents.

9. PERMANENT RESIDENT. It authorizes you to remain in the country indefinitely, with a permit to perform paid activities in the country.

For expats, it is always important to have the right documentation that best reflects your immigration status and know what requirements the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Mexico needs.

I hope you enjoyed my first blog and I look forward to bringing you many more legal insights in the years to come. Remember that knowledge is power.


  1. Great short description of the immigration visas. I myself came in on a tourist visa then became a temporary resident for 4 years working in several cities as a language teacher. I now have my permanent residency visa and I intend to remain in Mexico for most, if not the rest of my life. Mexico is a welcoming a great place to live and work. I have been in the country now for 5 years and 8 months and I don’t miss the life of hustle, stress and strain I had, before in the U.S. Viva MEXICO!!!!!

  2. I am trying to get information on how I can transfer my credentials in mexico. I am a licensed and registered MRI tech and I am considering relocating to Jalisco. I was hoping to be able to work in my field once I get settled. Can you help me with this or do you know of a resource that I might contact to help? Thank you in advance.

      • Can you please clarify for me what you mean by “apostille”? Also, do you know who the authorities are that I need to contact to have it validated? Here in the united states we have the The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) and each state has its own licensing requirements. Is there something like this in Mexico? Thank you for any help you can provide.

        • The apostille certifies that the signature or seal that is shown on your documents were issued by a public server in the exercise of its functions.
          You have to contact a Mexican consulate where you live or the Immigration Authority in Mexico, then they will canalize you to the authorities that may concern, regarding your career.


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