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Immigration In Mexico Is Going Digital. Are Paper FMMs A Thing of The Past?

Because this is so new, and there hasn’t been an official announcement from INM, much of what is written in this article will continue to change as I gather new information. Also, there are only a few airports that I know of rolling out this new process. Some information in this article, such as the QR code process, may not be implemented when you travel to Mexico. Please keep that in mind.

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. Particularly La Paz, Puerto Vallarta, And Guadalajara airports.

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 digital FMM instead of the paper FMM when coming through some airports like the ones mentioned.

Something that a lot of us aren’t used to. So, how does it work?

Most Likely, Immigration May Do All Of This For You

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 documents 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.

Here’s what I know:

Currently, when people are flying into La Paz, Vallarta, or Guadalajara, it seems immigration is doing all this for you.

  • 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.
  • If you are coming in for CANJE– depending on the airport there are two ways you might get your FMM.
    • You might be given the digital FMM, which means they will stamp your passport and write “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. This has been a common occurrence in the Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta airports.
    • However, most people coming through Mexico City or any other international airport 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. Neither do citizens. That also means that regular residents holding a residency card in Mexico no longer have to register with INM before leaving Mexico at one of these airports. More info on that coming soon!

Land Borders

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.

Gracias!

Mariana Lange

Mariana Lima-Lange was born in Mexico and immigrated to the U.S. when she was a child. She spent every summer visiting family throughout Mexico and is very knowledgeable about Mexican culture, lifestyle, and traditions. She is fluent in both Spanish and English.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Andrew says

    Mariana,

    Another great article. Great source and always professionally delivered.

    Columbians = Colombians.

    Andy

  2. Susan Elizabeth Bowron says

    Thank you so much for the information. These details are really important.

  3. Terry Glenn says

    Excellent timely article. Thank you!

    We have temporary residency and will fly to Miami from Guadalajara next Sunday.
    I’ll share our experience with you.
    Terry Glenn

  4. KSR says

    I wonder how people will be given these QR codes ? For people that have a smart phone they could get you to load the QR code into your phone, but what will they do for those folks that don’t have smart phones -give them a paper copy of their QR code ? These could easily get misplaced or lost.

    Also, should we be concerned about the security/privacy of these QR codes ? Anybody with a QR code scanner could presumably scan your code and subsequently find out some private, sensitive information about you.

    • Mariana Lange says

      A lot of it is unknown right now. But great questions

  5. Kathleen says

    Thanks again for keeping things current. I plan on coming into Mexico late this year.

  6. Jo Counts says

    Does this now include flights into and out of Mexico City?

    Thanks

  7. Pop says

    Why did Colombians have this electronic FMM before? Is there some specical agreement or program between MEX and COL where Colombians get special treatment, of have some kind of inside track on immigration processes?

    That reminds me to ask, do you know what temp/perm Visa income requirements are at the Bogota consulate?

  8. Pam Daly says

    Thank you for keeping us so up to date Mariana!
    Love all the information.
    We are planning on moving to the Riviera Maya early next year and thankful for all the tips.

    • Mariana Lange says

      you are very welcome

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