The Facts of Mexican Immigration Law

Posted on May 22, 2010


Some facts about Mexico’s Immigration Laws

Americans may work in Mexico for three months Under a tourist Visa which can be legally renewed for three more months. After that, you must leave the country while applying for a permanent work visa called an “FM3.” The FM3 has a standard six-month approval process.

To apply for the FM3, *ALL* of the following notarized original documents (not copies) are mandatory:

  • U.S. Passport
  • Valid, current U.S. state-issued Driver’s License
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate (if accompanied by spouse)
  • High school transcripts and proof of graduation
  • College transcripts for every college you attended and proof of graduation
  • Two letters of recommendation from supervisors you worked for at least one year
  • A letter from your local Chief of Police certifying that you have no arrest record in the U.S. and no outstanding warrants and, are “a citizen in good standing”
  • * A letter you must write about yourself that clearly states why there was no Mexican citizen with your skills and why your skills are important to Mexico.

All of the above must be translated into Spanish, certified as legal translations by the Mexican government, and notarized, all at your own expense.

The standard FM3 application file is approximately 1.5 inches thick. The documents must be filed by you, in person, at no less than 11 different Mexican government office locations. You must be photographed and fingerprinted at least three times at each location.

You must attend and show proof of attendance of a class given by the Mexican government, at your expense, that teaches you the Mexican laws on taxes, labor, housing and criminal law, and you must sign an affidavit that you agree to abide and obey every law or agree to face legal consequences.

You must sign an affidavit swearing that you will not participate in any protest against any of the Mexican government’s actions and acknowledge that doing so is a felony.

The entire process costs you more than $4,000 US Dollars.

You must pay and file Mexican income tax annually using the FM3 license number as your ID number.

The FM3 is valid for three years and renewable for two more after paying another $2,600 in government fees. It is a felony to remain in Mexico after the total of five years and Mexican citizenship must be obtained (which is an even longer and more expensive process – in ADDITION to the FM3 application process.

Violation of Mexican immigration law carries a mandatory minimum penalty of $12,500 US Dollars and federal imprisonment for six years.

Leaving the country requires turning in the FM3 to a certified government officer and certifying that you were leaving no debts behind and no outstanding legal affairs (warrants, tickets or liens). Any belongings are held by the Mexican government until you provide this departure documentation.

All of this information, and more, can be found at

Now, tell me again how unfair the United State’s immigration policy is.

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