When you travel to Mexico from a foreign country, you are either coming in as a tourist, a resident, or a citizen.
And for as long as I have been alive and can remember my travels to and from Mexico in the last 37 years, you have always needed that piece of paper, known as an FMM, if you are traveling to Mexico as a tourist. And in some cases, when you are a resident- if you exchange your residency stamp for a card. Also known as Canje.
Read more on-What’s An FMM? Do You Need One?
But changes are happening in INM (Mexico’s Immigration Authority), and paper FMMs may be a thing of the past.
What Does This Mean?
You’re probably familiar with the Forma Migratoria Multiple better known as FMM form.
You can get one if you enter Mexico by land or air. If you are flying, your airline usually supplies you with the form before departing or arriving in Mexico. (*Your airline includes this fee on the cost of your ticket. 🎫)
If you are traveling by car or walking across the border by land, you need to process your own FMM tourist visa at the border or buy it online ahead of time.
But as of the end of July 2022, more and more residents and tourists reported they didn’t receive a paper FMM anymore and were instead given a digital FMM upon arrival at certain international airports.
Today, more and more international airports are doing away with paper FMMs and going digital.
I, of course, don’t like to take things I haven’t verified as gospel. So I checked with our recommended immigration facilitators in those cities, and sure enough, it checked out.
Residents and Tourists now get a eFMM (digital FMM) instead of the paper FMM when coming through international airports.
Something that a lot of us aren’t used to. So, how does it work?
What To Do At Immigration At The Airport
You can always count on Mexican bureaucracy to be messy when they roll out something new. And rolling out a simple procedure like this is no exception.
Most likely because the immigration agents handling the people that come through are sometimes the last ones to be trained on the new process. Sometimes, you and I will be experts at this before they receive any formal training. That’s typical Mexico.
What does this mean for you right now?
There is an online portal where you can create an account and upload your documents (passport or residency card), proof of address, and other requirements.
It will then give you a QR code which ends up being your future digital FMM– that you present to INM. This isn’t exactly new, considering INM had already been offering this digital FMM to all Colombians traveling to Mexico. But for most of us, it’s a new process.
If You Are a Tourist
They will take your passport and digitally give you an FMM in the system, stamp your passport and send you on your way. Most of the time you will automatically get 180 days. Not always, but most of the time.
If You Are Coming in for CANJE
depending on the airport there are two ways you might get your FMM.
although MOST international airports in Mexico are now only issuing an eFMM.
If you are given an FMM stamp instead of a paper FMM, make sure immigration marks “canje” on the stamp in your passport. And you will be asked to scan a QR code that will take you to this website where you will need to create an account and validate your passport so you can get your digital FMM or eFMM.
Check example below
DO NOT create an account on this portal until you have been registered by immigration. It could cause problems for you.
- However, most people coming through any other international airport that are not issuing the FMM stamp are usually given the paper FMM- and with the checkmark for “canje” on it. It is still VERY IMPORTANT that you check for the words “canje” on your stamp or your FMM if you are a resident coming into Mexico for the 1st time with the intent of exchanging your residency stamp for a card.
As a returning resident
you must show your Temporary or Permanent Resident Card and passport. Returning residents don’t need an FMM to enter Mexico.
Leaving Mexico As A Resident
Depending on the airport, is how you will register your exit with the Mexican governments. For most airports, you are required to go to the INM offices before leaving Mexico to register your exit. You will get a stamp in your passport and show this to the airline before leaving.
And if you’re wondering, as far as I know- land borders are still issuing paper FMMs. So, please don’t forget to go to INM at the border if you are coming in for canje or if you’re a tourist. If you’re a resident, it is not necessary.
If you have more information regarding this process, please comment below and pay it forward. Let us know what you’ve experienced with this new digital FMM. Please give as much detail as possible about the steps you experienced.