Mexican Tourist Cards and How to Get One

Woman walking along street, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico, North America
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Ben Pipe/Getty Images

A tourist card, also called an FMM ("Forma Migratoria Múltiple," previously referred to as an FMT), is a tourist permit that is required for all foreign citizen travelers to Mexico who will not be engaged in any type of remunerated work. Tourist cards may be valid for up to 180 days and allow the holder to remain in Mexico as a tourist for the allotted time. Be sure to hold on to your tourist card and keep it in a safe place, as you will need to hand it in when you are departing the country. Foreign nationals who will be working in Mexico are required to obtain a work visa from the National Immigration Institute (INM).

A tourist with a border agent at the US/Mexico Boarder
TripSavvy / Evan Polenghi

Border Zone

In the past, travelers who were remaining within the United States border zone for up to 72 hours did not need a tourist card. (The border zone, comprised of an area roughly 20 km into Mexico from the U.S. border and also included most of Baja California and the Sonora "free zone.") However, now the tourist card is required for all non-Mexican visitors to the country who will remain for fewer than 180 days. 

Tourist Cards

You can fill in the form and you'll receive the card via email. Print off the card and remember that the tourist card must be stamped by an immigration official when you enter Mexico, otherwise, it is not valid. Apply for a tourist card online on the website of Mexico's National Immigration Institute: online FMM application.

Upon arrival in Mexico, you will present the filled-in tourist card to the immigration official who will stamp it and write in the number of days that you are allowed to stay in the country. The maximum is 180 days or six months, but the time actually given is at the discretion of the immigration official (often only 30 to 60 days are granted initially), for longer stays, the tourist card would need to be extended.

You should keep your tourist card in a safe place, for example, tucked into the pages of your passport. Upon leaving the country you must surrender your tourist card to immigration officials. If you do not have your tourist card, or if your tourist card is expired, you may be fined.

If You Lose Your Card

If your tourist card is lost or stolen, you will need to get a replacement. If you applied for a tourist card online, you can simply print a new form. Otherwise, you will need to get a replacement card at an immigration office and for both methods, you may need to pay a fine of up to $60.

Extending Your Tourist Card

If you wish to stay in Mexico for longer than the time allotted on your tourist card, you will need to extend it. Under no circumstances is a tourist allowed to stay longer than 180 days; if you want to stay longer you will have to leave and re-enter the country, or apply for a different type of visa.

Article Sources
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  1. Mexico Tourist Card. "Home." 2020.

  2. Mexico Tourist Card. "FAQ." 2020.