Travelling to Mexico

The list of visa-exempt countries can be found on this webpage. It is necessary to have a passport that will remain valid for at least six months after arrival.

Proceedings

The FMM (Forma Migratoria Múltiple, or Multiple Migration Form) is the tourist information form. It is usually given out on airplanes before arrival or otherwise is readily available in airports or at border crossings.

The card is available in English, Spanish, and Japanese, and filling it out is pretty straightforward. Along with personal information such as your name, nationality, and passport number, you will need the address of where you will be staying in Mexico, so be sure to have that information ready. In rare cases, the officer will ask to see your return tickets and hotel reservation, so have those prepared as well.

The immigration officer will stamp your passport and the bottom half of the FMM form. On both stamps, the officer will write the amount of time you are allowed to remain in the country. It is vital to save the bottom half of the FMM form because you will turn it in when you leave. If you don't have this form, there is a fine of 575 pesos, or around USD 29.

 

For a stay of more than 180 days

If you wish to spend more than 180 days in Mexico, whatever your nationality, you will need to extend your stay as a tourist. The request should be started at the online site of the INM (National Institute of Migration). Documents to be produced are:

Due to Covid-19, this service is temporarily suspended. What you can do is apply for a temporary resident permit, but you will have to visit a Mexican consulate outside the country. It could be your home country but literally any other country in the world. Ensure to check with the consulate first if they offer the services you require, as not all of them have the same capacities or are not empowered to deal with visa applications. Waiting times also might be different from one embassy to another. Also, the requirements of what you have to present on the day of your interview at the consulate will vary according to the country.

Immigration tax

All foreigners have to pay a tourist tax of 533 pesos (about USD 26) to enter Mexico, whether coming by air, land, or sea. This tax is automatically included in the price of plane tickets. If you come by land, you will pay this tax upon leaving. You do not have to pay this tax if your visit is for less than 24 hours.

Airport usage fee in Mexico (TUA)

This ​​is a fee charged by Mexican airports for the use of its facilities, and it has to be paid regardless of the airline that you are flying into Mexico with. However, what is different is that some airlines already include the tax in the ticket price. In contrast, others (most national ones, significantly cheaper airlines) do not, and you have to pay it in addition to the original flight price.

Each airport sets different pricing, and this is probably due to varying flight capacities.

For domestic routes, the price is between 11 USD (Cancun, for example) and 31 USD (Mexico City), and for international flights, between 27 USD (arriving in Tijuana) and 68 USD (for international arrivals into Mazatlan). Generally speaking, the TUA will be somewhat around 29 and 36% of the costs for your flight ticket, and some airlines charge it extra, as we said! So be careful which airline you choose. For example, Volaris and VivaAerobus do not include this fee in the ticket price. So using another airline might be eventually cheaper, but this obviously depends on the day you anticipate your travels.

You can see the complete list on the Volaris website. Prices are subject to constant changes and alone this year they have been rising up to 6%.

Every passenger over 2 years of age has to pay the TUA fee. Diplomats and travelers who are only transiting through Mexico are exempted from this rule.

What items you can bring to Mexico:

What items you cannot bring to Mexico:

Reasons to visit Mexico

Let's now move on to some less technical content and talk about why Mexico is a fabulous idea for your next destination:

It is a tough call on where to start. If you have already been to Mexico, well, you know what we are talking about. It's a place like no other with its own kind of magic.

We thought it would be an excellent point to start with the fantastic Mexican cuisine:

Undoubtedly, Mexicans love eating, and how could they not since Mexico is one of the countries with the best culinary diversity. Every state, and sometimes even each city or region, has its own unique set of dishes, each as unique and delicious as the other one. In fact, UNESCO designated traditional Mexican cuisine as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Traveling around Mexico means eating delicious food while admiring its undeniably beautiful landscapes - which brings us straight to the following reason why Mexico should definitely be on your travel or expat wishlist.

One of Mexico's wealthiest gifts is the excellent variety of different landscapes and, therefore, unique tourist destinations:

You can find pretty much any type of landscape in Mexico. In the northern part, you have mountains and regions where it even snows in winter. You have higher elevations like Mexico City and Oaxaca de Juarez, which offer spring-like weather almost throughout the year, or tropical dream beaches on the Pacific Ocean or in the Caribbean. Mexico has islands, perfect for those who want to escape reality for a bit and explore the coral reefs that surround them. You can either go hiking or choose a destination for water activities and swim with whale sharks or just admire them on one of the many tours off the coast of Baja California Sur. As you can see, you have got plenty of options to select from, but be aware that if you want to explore different parts of the country, you might need some time as it really is vast!

We have already mentioned it, but once again, this country is pure magic:

Even though Mexico is rich in wonderful sites, certain places stick out for their history, rituals, ecological environments, as well as other characteristics. This is the truth about the 128 so-called Magical Towns (pueblos magicos), which are all very different from one another yet have a lot to offer. No wonder the Mayans and Incas, and other ancient high cultures have set their empires on these particular soils. And this is not some modern wannabe juju. Mexico has a very long tradition of healers that are still highly respected amongst locals.

It is also the most perfect honeymoon destination:

All of the reasons mentioned above combine into the most attractive place to spend your time as newlyweds. You have exceptional cuisine options for romantic dinners. During the day, there is plenty to explore if you are done relaxing in your bedroom at one of the numerous boutique hotels in Tulum or elsewhere. You can go Mezcal tasting in Oaxaca or just enjoy one of the most beautiful sunsets ever somewhere around Cabo San Lucas. There are a vast number of spa hotels that take care of you two, and also many options to go out if you feel like dancing the night away with the love of your life. Plus, the famous tourist hot spots are full of great photographers that can take your picture and turn these days into lifelong memories.

What places you cannot miss out on when you are in Mexico

This choice is all about personal preference and your reason for visiting Mexico.

We have put together a list of some places that we think you should definitely check out and at least try to include while you're in the country.

Let's start with some of the most emblematic states within Mexico:

Oaxaca: The state in the south of Mexico offers pretty much anything, from beautiful mountain regions to dreamy beach sceneries. The flavors of Oaxaca are world-renowned and definitely a big part of this state's cultural heritage. If you're a surfer, this is just the place to be. The monstrous waves of Puerto Escondido have definitely made a name for themselves.

Quintana Roo: Are you looking for a “dream-came-true” beach? Say no more. Quintana Roo's Riviera Mays has it all. You can visit the world-famous Cancun or go further south to Playa del Carmen, Tulum, and Bacalar - the latest addition to the most visited places in this region. Additionally, you can enjoy island life on Cozumel and take exciting diving tours to explore the island's reef.

Yucatan: Visit the famous ruins of Chichen Itza, or check out the small town Valladolid and get some good souvenirs. Another beautiful place to visit is Izamal, the yellow city not far from the state's central city and colonial wonder, Merida.

Guanajuato: The state houses two perls - San Miguel de Allende and the city of Guanajuato. Both offer marvelous views and colonial cobblestone streets that invite you to take a stroll around town.

Jalisco: Are you a fan of tequila? Then you have to visit the city of the same name, Tequila, and enjoy a tour to see the beautiful fields full of agave plants, the base of your favorite shot! You could also visit Lake Chapala and Guadalajara, one of Mexico's most significant cities, or go to the beloved beach town Puerto Vallarta.

Distrito Federal: When locals talk about DF, they mean their capital Mexico City. It's a thriving hotspot with loads of things to explore. Do you like high-end cuisine - make sure to plan ahead. Not only is there a wide range of options, but it's also not easy to get a table, as many of the restaurants here are listed among the best in the world! You have an innumerable amount of exhibitions, art galleries, and museums to choose from, or you could visit one of the frequently happening music festivals. This really is a city that never sleeps and offers activities for the whole family. To name just a few of the most famous sights: Frida Kahlo museum, Xochimilco, and the park Chapultepec with its majestic castle.

The old question: Is traveling to Mexico safe?

There is just one issue that prevents us from giving you a straightforward answer for it - it's one of these yes and no situations.

Like any other country in this world, Mexico has its problems with crime. If you are in Mexico City, for example, a city with 23 million people living there, of course, the chances of getting robbed are higher, but this is just a simple math equation. Wherever there is tourism, there will be a petty crime. And yes, in Mexico, there are two very different worlds getting mixed up - wealthy travelers from Europe, the US, and Canada on one side, and the significantly less earning population of many touristy areas of Mexico.

In general, we would advise you to get in touch with the local Mexican Embassy in your country to ask about any current safety-related issues in Mexico if you are concerned.

Other than that, just behave the same way you would do in any other foreign country: Listen to what locals tell you to do or to avoid, don't go down dark alleys alone at night, do not carry too much cash on you, and store your belongings in your hotel safe. If you follow these very general rules, you should be safe!

Useful links:

List of countries whose citizens require or do not require a tourist visa

FMM Multiple Migration Form

National Migration Institute


Article written by expat.com
Last update on 22 May 2022 13:59:33
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