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Before Arriving

If you’re planning to stay in Mexico City for any length of time, and lots of people do, then there’s a smart way to do it. Because the FMM is not extendable, those who want to “really stay” in Mexico City need to begin the process in a home county.

Temporary Residency Status (Visa)

The Forma Migratoria Multiple (FMM) is the basic travel or “tourist visa” that everyone gets upon entering the country.

  • Residents of Canada, the USA, Japan, the UK, countries of the Schengen Area, and countries of the Pacific Alliance (Chile, Colombia, and Peru) will qualify for the FMM. You’ll also qualify with a visa for travel to any of these countries. Those with an APEC Business Traveler Card (ABTC) approved by Mexico will also qualify.

The 180-Day FMM

Important: Those who plan to remote work from Mexico City are not guaranteed the full 180-day visit period. Immigrational officials determine the length of stay you’re granted when you enter the country.

Too many entries and exits from Mexico may result in your receiving a lower maximum stay. The FMM is also not renewable or extendible as it was in the past. Newer digital FMMs default to a maximum 30-day visit period. These are being phased in by the Mexican Immigration Institute, but you’ll always want to

Longer-term Residency Status

The process for applying for first-time Temporary and Permanent Residency Visas needs to be begun outside of Mexico. This can be done at a consulate’s office in your home country. Temporary resident permits are renewable, and provide you with legal non-immigrant status. A first issue of the permit will always be for one year. After that it may be renewed for one, two, or three years.

  • Work permissions must be applied for in tandem with the residency visa. Again, applicants will need to leave Mexico to receive a residency permit with or without a work permit. This permit is NOT necessary if you work for entities or persons outside of Mexico, and receive payment outside of Mexico.
  • The INM will likely ask for proof of solvency for the residency permit. After four years, the holder of a temporary resident permit may apply for permanent residency status.

Mexican Embassies and Consulates Around the World

Mexico operates 50 consular offices in the United States and six in Canada. Mexico is also present in 24 European countries and 22 in Asia and the Middle East.

Applications for Temporary Residency Status begin at these locations.

The process of applying is simple and applicants are generally notified of the status of the application within a few weeks.

LOCATEL Call Center

Any and all questions as to your relations with the City or Federal Government should be directed to 311, Locatel. City call-center operators are on hand 24 hours a day.

Practical Planning

Mexico City offers a full range of mid- to longer-term housing options. Renters are protected under the same rules governing Mexico’s enormous hotel industry and those rules protecting renters in Mexico City’s neighborhoods.
Utilities are almost always included.

Most rental properties will include water. Many modern short- and mid-term rental units will also include internet. But you’ll need to check prior to signing a contract.

  • Formally leased properties in Mexico City will often not include a stove, refrigerator or laundry equipment. These tend to be available only in short and mid-term rental units.
  • In the event that you do need to contract electricity, the process is quite simple. The Compañía de Luz y Fuerza (CFE), covers all of Mexico City:
    https://app.cfe.mx/aplicaciones/ccfe/dondepagar/donde-pagar.aspx
  • In the event that a rental does not include internet service, the City is served by a broad range of providers. The most popular are:
    • Total Play
    • Infintum
    • Izzi

Cellular Service

You’ll want to check with your provider prior to arriving in Mexico. Most North American plans include Mexico in their coverage area. For travelers from further afield, a range of providers will sell you a low-cost chip upon your arrival. The most popular providers are:

  • AT&T
  • Telcel
  • Movistar

Driving

Mexico City will honor any international driver’s license for the purposes of operating a vehicle within the City. As a state issued ID, most visitors will want to carry their license, in lieu of a passport, during visits to the City.

Property Ownership

For those interested in longer term investment, or retirement in Mexico City, the City does not fall within the Restricted Zone that affects international borders and coastal areas of the country. Foreign nationals enjoy full property rights even without residency. (See above.)