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A Comprehensive Guide To Mexican Visas For Expats

5 min read

A Comprehensive Guide To Mexican Visas For Expats

Mexico is a unique expat haven that beckons with its magnetic allure. A staggering 91% of expats who moved here have fallen in love with this country. And it’s no wonder why.

From its diverse landscapes and cities to the warmth of its people and lively celebrations, Mexico stands tall as a dream destination for those seeking an escape from the ordinary. 

However, it’s not just a major vacation spot – it goes beyond that, catering to a wide range of expat aspirations. Whether you want to retire and enjoy the tranquillity of Mexican shores, work as a digital nomad surrounded by a vibrant culture, or invest in real estate, Mexico embraces expats from various backgrounds, showcasing the country’s commitment to attracting foreign capital and talent. 

I’ve already talked extensively about Mexico in previous podcast episodes of The Expat Money Show and even wrote a book on how to move to this country. You might already have had a taste of Mexican culture and lifestyle, having visited or lived there for a while and want to fully immerse yourself in this nation. If that’s you, we’ve got you covered.

In this article, we’re delving into the different routes to obtain Mexican residency and visas. Regardless of your situation, you’ll secure your Mexican residency the fastest way possible. 


Riviera Maya, Mexico - While you are on a tourist visa, you are not allowed to participate in paid activities, so your time in Mexico will be for leisure, exploration or personal growth

Riviera Maya, Mexico


The tourist visa, also known as the visitor visa, opens up a world of experience in Mexico for expats. With this visa in hand, you can enjoy the charms of this country for 180 days maximum. 

If you’re undecided, this is an excellent opportunity to explore the culture, landscapes and people’s hospitality. You can indulge in multiple activities such as tourism, volunteering and pursuing short courses of a duration of under six months. This visa is also allowed for transit purposes or attending business meetings, making it a versatile option. 

However, engaging in paid activities while on this visa is not allowed, so your time in Mexico will be about exploration, leisure or personal growth. During this time, if you need or want to work for non-Mexican companies, you’ll pay taxes to the country your reside in.

Upon arrival, immigration officials will determine the duration of your stay. Carry copies of your travel reservations, itineraries, letters of invitation and other relevant documents, serving as valuable evidence and supporting the purpose of your travel.



The temporary resident visa is for those who want to stay in the country for over 180 days and under four years, making it a more long-term option. It’s important to note that the visa is initially valid for six months and includes only one entry. 

Once you arrive in Mexico, you must present your temporary resident visa at the National Migration Institute (INM) within the first 30 days. This will allow you to receive a temporary resident card, serving as your official document to live in Mexico for up to four years and permitting multiple entries during this period. 

This visa will not allow you to engage in any paid employment or receive compensation from a Mexican individual, company or entity. Therefore, this visa is better suited for digital nomads. 

Despite the work restrictions initially imposed, obtaining a temporary resident visa and applying for a working permit is possible once you are in Mexico. Nevertheless, keep in mind that engaging in work activities is strictly prohibited by the Mexican immigration authorities until they formally issue the work permit. 

With this visa, you’ll get a chance to immerse yourself in Mexican culture, beautiful landscapes and friendly people for an extended period, making it a brilliant option for expats seeking to call Mexico their temporary home. 


Guanajuato, Mexico - The temporary resident student visa gives you the opportunity to dive head first into your academic endeavors while experiencing the rich Mexican culture, exploring landscapes and interacting with locals

Guanajuato, Mexico


The temporary resident student visa is appropriate for those accepted to study at a Mexican institution for over six months. This visa is specifically designed to accommodate students wishing to pursue their education in Mexico for an extended period. 

Much like the temporary resident visa, the temporary resident student visa grants you a single entry into the country. Once you have arrived, you must complete the necessary formalities within the first month. You’ll get a resident student card at the INM, acting as the official document that allows you to stay in the country for more than six months and enter Mexico multiple times. 

With the temporary resident student visa, you’ll have the opportunity to fully immerse yourself in your academic endeavours, experience the rich Mexican culture, explore scenic landscapes and interact with friendly locals. 


Related content: The Beauty Of Living In Mexico


Campeche, Mexico - The investor visa allows you to stay in Mexico for a long period, providing enough time to manage your investments and contribute to the countrys growth

Campeche, Mexico


The temporary resident visa with a work permit, also known as a work visa, is the ideal option for individuals seeking to enter Mexico and engage in paid activities. This visa grants not only entry but also a temporary resident card that enables you to work legally during your stay. 

Note that it’s your employer and not you who must apply for the work visa. They must be registered with the INM and request the visa on your behalf. Once the INM authorizes the request and issues a Unique Processing Number (NUT), you must attend a consular interview. If the interview is successful, you’ll get a work visa. 

This visa is valid for six months and allows for a single entry into Mexico. Once in the country, you must present your visa at the INM within the first 30 days. This is essential to get a temporary resident card, which serves as your official document to legally stay and work in Mexico for an extended period of up to four years. The duration of your stay is typically subject to your employment contract.

If you’re considering the work visa, make sure that your employment is INM-registered and willing to initiate the application process on your behalf. By adhering to the proper procedures and fulfilling the requirements, you can make sure that your time in Mexico is a legally compliant experience, allowing you to work while immersing in this vibrant country. 



If you want to stay in Mexico for more than 180 days and up to 4 years due to investments made within the country, the temporary resident investor visa is the best option. 

This visa allows you to stay for an extended period in Mexico, providing ample time for you to manage and oversee your investments and contribute to the country’s economic growth. 

However, you’re not allowed to engage in any paid work during your stay in the country. This visa is aimed at foreign individuals who have undertaken investments in Mexico as outlined in Article 107, Fraction VI, of the Migration Law Regulations. Namely, you can opt for one of the following investment routes:

  • Invest no less than MXN 3,457,400 ($202,03 USD) in a Mexican company;

  • Possessing real estate properties or trusts (fideicomisos) valued at more than MXN 6,914,800 ($404,06 USD);

  • Invest in a Mexican company that employs at least three people directly. 


With the temporary resident investor visa, as a foreign investor, you can actively participate in the Mexican economy, making valuable contributions to various sectors and fostering a robust and mutually beneficial relationship between Mexico and other countries.  


Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - The permanent residence visa is intended for foreigners who wish to reside in the country for more than four years and fall into the categories of_ retirees or blood relatives of a Mexican citizen

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico


The permanent residency visa is intended for foreign individuals who wish to reside in the country for more than four years and fall into one of the following categories: those who have retired or those who are blood-related (child, parent, or sibling) to a Mexican citizen or a permanent resident of Mexico, making it their new long-term home. To qualify for this visa, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Apply for the visa;

  • Copy of current passport;

  • One recent passport-size photograph; 

  • Prove your nationality or legal status in the country where you’re applying for the visa;

  • Demonstrate sufficient economic means to support yourself during your stay;

  • Pay the required fees as stipulated by the Federal Law of Rights ($51 USD);

  • Submit supporting documentation based on one of the following scenarios: if you’re a retiree or pensioner or if you have family ties with a Mexican or foreign resident with permanent resident status or a holder of a temporary resident visa.


Related content: Mexico Permanent Residency Made Easy


Cancun, Mexico - Whether for new adventures or work, study or investment opportunities, Mexico has a visa that fits your needs

Cancun, Mexico


In conclusion, Mexico beckons with its magnetic allure, offering a unique expat haven that captures the hearts of many. Whether you seek adventure, education, work, or investment opportunities, Mexico has a visa tailored to your needs. Embrace the warm culture, explore scenic landscapes, and contribute to the thriving economy. Your Mexican dream awaits, so take the next step and secure your visa. 

Also, remember that I wrote an entire book on how to move to Mexico, so if you want to learn more, grab your copy here.



I help my clients to move offshore for freedom, privacy and autonomy by focusing on the immigration, legal, and tax issues that you will face when becoming an expat. If you would like to work one-on-one with me on getting out of your home country (or setting up a Plan-B location), then read this important letter and fill in an application form to become a Private Client. My fees are not cheap; however, I can assure you that when you work with a professional firm like ours, the results will be worth it.



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Mikkel Thorup

Written by Mikkel Thorup

Mikkel Thorup is the world’s most sought-after expat consultant. He focuses on helping high-net-worth private clients to legally mitigate tax liabilities, obtain a second residency and citizenship, and assemble a portfolio of foreign investments including international real estate, timber plantations, agricultural land and other hard-money tangible assets. Mikkel is the Founder and CEO at Expat Money®, a private consulting firm started in 2017. He hosts the popular weekly podcast, the Expat Money Show, and wrote the definitive #1-Best Selling book Expat Secrets - How To Pay Zero Taxes, Live Overseas And Make Giant Piles Of Money, and his second book: Expats Guide On Moving To Mexico.

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