Visiting Mexico As a Tourist
An early consideration for people thinking about moving to Mexico is getting a visa and how to do this. Maybe you’ve been checking websites for information about homes for sale in San Miguel de Allende and are wondering what sort of visa you might need. In our opinion, the first step should be to visit Mexico and learn as much as you can about living here. San Miguel de Allende is a great place to do this because both Mexican and expat locals are friendly and generally happy to share their stories, experiences, and thoughts on living here. And from San Miguel de Allende it’s easy to organize travel to other parts of the country to give you a richer sense of what life in Mexico is like.
Most people arrive in Mexico by plane. If you are traveling from the United States, or Canada, the price of a visitor’s permit is included when you pay for your flight. You receive your visitor’s permit (called an FMM) when you arrive in Mexico and this usually grants a 180-day visit. This document isn’t a visa and usually the only other requirement to enter the country is a valid passport. Make sure your passport has sufficient time before expiring for the length of your stay. If you are entering Mexico by car, you will pass through immigration, and it is very important that you obtain your FMM before continuing. One final important thing to know is when you pass immigration in Mexico and your FMM is stamped, a section will be separated and given to you. Do not lose this document because you will need to provide it when you leave the country. This is how Mexico tracks your visit and confirms you don’t overstay your welcome. If you do lose your FMM you will need to pay a penalty at the airport when you leave.
A frequently asked question is how long you need to be outside of Mexico before returning and obtaining a new FMM. There is no formal amount of time you need to leave. But a continuous series of six-month visits followed by a brief exit might be noticed and result in questions from immigration. We know of young travelers living in San Cristobal de Las Casas, who have exited to Guatemala for a “visa run” being given less than 180 days on their new FMM. The decision to grant a stay and for how long is up to the immigration official who meets you when you enter the country.
In our next entry, we will write more about property for sale in San Miguel de Allende and visa considerations related to this. Thanks for following us and if you have any questions about life in San Miguel de Allende, feel free to contact us.