Mexican Tourist Cards and Getting One
A tourist card, also termed an FMM (“Forma Migratoria Multiple” or FMT previously), is a tourist permit that is needed for all foreign citizen travelers to Mexico who will not be doing in any kind of remunerated work.Tourist cards can be valid for no longer than 180 days and allow the person to remain in Mexico as a tourist for the allotted period.It must be handed in when before the tourist can leave the country.
Years ago, travelers who stayed within the United States border zone for up to 72 hours were not obliged to get a tourist card.These days, the card will be required of any non-Mexican tourist who remains in the country even for a period less than six months.
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A tourist card can be obtained for a fee of about $23 USD.When traveling by air or on a cruise, you will have paid your tourist card fee as part of the cost of your trip.If traveling over land, you can secure a tourist card at your point of entry or from a Mexican consulate before you leave for Mexico.In that case, you will need to pay for your card at a bank in Mexico as soon as you arrive.
But Mexico’s National Immigration Institute (INM) now lets tourists apply and pay for their card online no earlier than a week prior to their arrival in Mexico.
Don’t forget that your tourist card needs to be stamped by an immigration official upon your arrival in Mexico; otherwise, it will not be valid.
The maximum length of your stay is 6 months or 180 days, but the actual time given is at the immigration official’s discretion (usually from 30 to 60 days initially); for a longer stay, the tourist card will also have to be extended.
Make it a point to keep your tourist card in a safe place because you will need to surrender it to immigration officials before you depart.If you can’t give them your tourist card or if your tourist card has expired, you might be fined.
What to Do If You Lost Your Card
If your tourist card is missing for any reason, you have to pay a fee to get a new one at an immigration office, or you could be fined as you’re leaving Mexico.
Extending Your Tourist Card’s Validity
If you want to stay in Mexico for longer than the time provided on your tourist card, you can apply for an extension.However, a tourist can never be allowed to stay longer than 180 days; if you want a longer stay, you will have to depart and then reenter the country, or just get a different type of visa altogether.