Home How To Guide How to Get Your Visa for Working Remotely in Mexico

How to Get Your Visa for Working Remotely in Mexico

by Brent May

Whether you would like to get a visa to live for a while and work remotely in Mexico or you come to Mexico regularly but always leave before your 6-month tourist visa expires, this article is for you.

You’ve always wanted to live at the beach? You’re thinking of heading south? Why not? Remote work, lower cost of living, amazing beaches, sunshine and blue skies year-round, all the tacos, ancient archaeological ruins, cool colonial cities, warm expat communities. It’s a long, long list of positives. This is why my wife and I, Erin, decided to move to Mexico permanently over a decade ago.

If you’re a digital nomad and you are already in Mexico without a visa or if you are looking to get to Mexico with a visa, this article will outline the steps to getting the visa that’s right for you.


The Lowdown on the 180-day Tourist Visa or FMM

Up until the fall of 2021, tourists could enter Mexico and were almost always automatically given a 6-month or 180-day tourist visa. You could stay easily for 6 months. Times have changed. The pandemic has changed some things and while the official rule still is that as a tourist you could receive a 180-day tourist visa at immigration when entering Mexico, the reality is that you now must explain your intentions, show a return flight and all of your accommodation reservations for your 6-month stay.

We have kept the pulse on this and reports have it that even providing this proof for your 6-month stay may not be enough for the immigration agent to give you a 180-day stay. This has become a little tricky for remote workers with no guarantees of receiving a stay as long as they’d hoped for. But the good news is that there is a fairly easy and sure solution.


Just get your visa.

When you go through this 2-step process, you will not be at the whim of the immigration officer and find yourself with a 2-week stay instead of the 6 months you were hoping for and you will have a visa for one year that can be easily renewed.


How do I get a visa for Mexico?

If you are a digital nomad, a retiree or a person with a steady income (or economic solvency) and you would like to live in Mexico or stay longer than 6 months, you will need to apply for a visa before entering Mexico. If you are already in Mexico without a visa, you will need to go to another country, not necessarily your home country, to go through this process. There are no shortcuts here. You cannot apply for this visa in Mexico. You must obtain your entry visa outside of Mexico.


Step One

Either in your home country or another country with a Mexican Embassy or Consulate, you will need to apply for a Temporary Resident Visa. This is an entry visa that allows you entry to Mexico to be able to start Step 2 of the process to finalize your longer-term stay. Once you obtain this visa in your passport, you have 6 months to get to Mexico.


How To Get Your Entry Visa

Check with the Consulate or Embassy where you will apply for your visa. You will find a complete list of required documents on their website. We recommend you also email just to double check the list especially if travel is required to visit your Consulate. Keep records of your email conversation so that you can show the list of documents you were asked for in case there is some discrepancy.

Generally, you will show the following documents.

You will need:

  1. A visa application form
  2. Your passport
  3. If you are applying in a country that is not your home country, you will need to show proof of legally being in that country
  4. An id photo measuring 9 cm x 3.1 cm
  5. You will pay a fee associated with the type of visa you are applying for, approximately $48 USD
  6. As a digital nomad, you will need to prove economic solvency. You can either show monthly income of approximately $2600 USD for the past 6 months. You will prove this with your last six bank statements. Or you can show a minimum balance of approximately $45,000 USD for the last 12 months also by providing your last 12 bank statements. These amounts are valid in March 2022.

Once you have gathered all of your documents and made sure you meet the visa requirements (check minimum income with your consulate), you will make an appointment at the consulate. Most consulates require you make an appointment online. Their website will take you through the steps.

Show up to your appointment with several copies of your documents.

Requirements change. The minimum income requirements change. Be sure to verify.

Consulates will receive your paperwork and then give you an appointment to stop back by and pick up your passport with the visa. This time frame varies from same day to 1 to 3 days. When you call ahead, be sure to ask them about the timeframe for picking up your passport once you’ve dropped off your documents.

Now you have your visa in hand. It’s a sticker covering a page in your passport. This visa gives you six months to get to Mexico.


Entering Mexico

When you enter Mexico with your visa, be sure the immigration agent sees your visa.


Step Two

As a word of caution, when you arrive in Mexico to your new town, you need to go to the INM within 30 days. Some people decide to travel before getting to their destination. If you pass this time, they may cancel your visa and you will need to leave Mexico. We highly recommend getting to your destination and getting your immigration papers in order before you do anything else.  Also, most INM offices now require an online appointment. If you are applying in a large city, check the appointment availability before leaving your home country. Sometimes appointments may be 6 weeks out while you still need to get to the INM within 30 days of arriving. So in some places, you should make your appointment before you leave your home country.


Applying for your Temporary Resident Card or Tarjeta de Residente Temporal

What will you need to do at the immigration office in Mexico?

As a digital nomad with an outside source of income, you will apply for a Tarjeta de Residente Temporal or a Temporary Resident Permit. You may also qualify to apply for Tarjeta de Residente Permanente directly in some cases but usually only as a retiree.  You can check those requirements here.

This process will likely involve 2 to 3 trips to the INM. Arm yourself with patience, be kind and you will have a successful experience.

Again, within the first 30 days of arrival (we recommend within the first week,) get yourself to the INM. Take all of the documents you needed to apply for the visa in Step one. Make copies.

When you have all of the papers, they will be accepted and the INM agents will create your file. At this meeting, they will create a bank invoice. Take it to one of the banks they list who will accept to process the INM invoice. (Not all will. Make sure you listen carefully to the list they give you.) Head to the bank and pay your fee. Take your receipt back to the INM. They will then guide you through the rest of the process.

Be clear on their opening hours and what day/time you’re expected back. They will eventually give you online access to your file to check the status of your permit. Log in with the information you receive via email. Through this portal, you will see when you can return to pick up your card.

This card will be valid for one year. You can then renew it for one year at a time or for 3 years. You may hold the Tarjeta de Residente Temporal for a total of 4 years. If you have fallen in love with Mexico, you will then apply after those 4 years for a Tarjeta de Residente Permanente. Here is a link to the documents required when you change your status from Temporary to Permanent:



Can I work in Mexico with my Temporary Resident Permit?

What if your situation has changed and you decide you want to work in Mexico? The Tarjeta de Residente Temporal does not give you permission to work. If you evolve towards wanting to work in Mexico, visit your INM office and they will guide you through the process of changing the status of your permit to allow you to work. It’s always better to do it legally instead of just winging it or not doing anything. There is a path that allows this and it is not overly complicated.

If you are not a digital nomad and are leaning towards working in Mexico, next month we will cover how to get a work visa for Mexico.

If you have decided to invest in Mexico and buy a home or rental property, get in touch. We have luxury beach homes, comfortable condos and up and coming projects in development on the Oaxaca Coast and in Yucatan State!


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