If you’re a foreign citizen headed to Mexico on your next vacation, you’ll need a Mexico tourist card to enter the country.
A Mexican tourist card is easy to get (you can even get it online before you go!), but you’ll want to know a few key things to make your visit to Mexico go a lot smoother.
To help you out, we’ve written up this post answering all your top questions on Mexico tourist cards.
Looking for more Mexico tips? Check out these posts:
- The Essential Guide to Mexico’s ADO Buses
- A Mexican’s Guide to What to Drink in Mexico
- How to Use Money in Mexico
- Guide to Finding Vegan and Vegetarian Food in Mexico
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- What is a Mexico FMM Tourist Card?
- Do I need a tourist card to go to Mexico?
- How Much does a Mexico Tourist Card cost?
- How do I get a tourist card for Mexico?
- Can I get a Mexican tourist card online?
- Mexico Tourist Card Instructions
- Is the Mexican tourist tax a scam?
- What happens if I lost my Mexico tourist card?
- Mexico Tourist Card: Final Tips
What is a Mexico FMM Tourist Card?
The Mexico FMM is a tourist permit and a form that you fill out so the Instituto Nacional de Migración (Mexico’s immigration department) can register your entry into and exit from the country.
The top of the FMM form is retained by immigration (the entry section) and the bottom of the form has a tear-away FMM card (the exit section) that you need to keep for the duration of your time in Mexico to prove your status as a tourist.
TIP: Don’t lose your Mexico FMM card and make sure it’s stamped! Kind of obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people we’ve seen struggling because they don’t have their card. You are required to turn it in to immigration officials upon exiting Mexico as proof of legal entry and not overstaying.
“Mexico tourist card” is the common name for the Mexico FMM immigration form and Mexican tourist permit required for foreigners visiting Mexico. The official government name for the form is Forma Migratoria Múltiple or FMM for short.
I will use these terms interchangeably throughout the post and so will many tourists and immigration officials, so keep in mind that Mexico tourist card and FMM are the same thing. Some people also incorrectly call it a tourist visa, although it’s not a visa.
Do I need a tourist card to go to Mexico?
The FMM card is required for all foreigners from countries that do NOT require a visa for entry into Mexico, including the US, Canada, Australia, UK, and EU.
If you’re from any of those countries, you’ll need a tourist card if you’re visiting Mexico for up to 180 calendar days for tourism purposes. You are not allowed to seek work in Mexico with the FMM. Also, it’s one Mexican tourist card per person, including per child (the customs form is one per family).
Many people ask if you need a Mexico tourist card for Cancun. The answer is yes. Although Cancun is pretty much a world away from the rest of Mexico, it IS still in Mexico. Crazy, but true.
Also, if you leave Mexico to visit a neighboring country, you’ll need to do the process over again and get a new card to re-enter because it’s only good for single entry (except in Baja California).
How Much does a Mexico Tourist Card cost?
As of January 2022, the fee associated with a Mexican tourist card is $638.00 pesos (about $31 USD). Children under 2 years old are exempt from the fee.
If you’re flying into Mexico, the fee is usually included in the cost of your international flight. It’ll show up on your receipt as DNI or Derecho de No Inmigrante fee either in pesos or converted to whatever currency you paid in.
Make sure to bring along a printed itemized airfare receipt as for proof of payment should you be asked to pay the “Mexico tourist tax” (as it is also known) when you leave Mexico. In our experience, you’re most likely to get charged when exiting by land (except US/Mexico border) or by sea. For example, we had to pay the DNI fee when we took the ferry from Chetumal, Mexico to Caye Caulker, Belize.
How do I get a tourist card for Mexico?
It varies depending on your method of entry, but to get an FMM tourist card for Mexico, you’ll need the following:
- Passport (valid for the next 180 days)
- Completed immigration form (FMM)
You may also be asked to show proof of tourist-related activities, such as hotel reservations, return flight, or tour itinerary. Bring printed receipts and/or confirmations, just in case.
Once you have your passport and completed FMM, you can head over to immigration to get your entry stamp.
Remember: The FMM is not valid without an official stamp.
FMM rules at the ports of entry by land vary greatly on the northern vs southern borders of Mexico. For example, there is no tourist fee if you’re crossing the border into the Mexican state of Baja California by land AND only visiting for up to 7 days.
For Northern Borders (Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas): If entering by car, park and walk into the immigration office to get your tourist card and pay the FMM fee at the bank booth.
Even though you probably won’t be stopped or checked when entering Mexico by car, a Mexico tourist card is still legally required, so it’s up to you to make sure you comply with immigration law.
If you’re walking across the border, let immigration officials know you need to get a tourist card. You can also apply for it online (see below), but you still need to stop at the immigration office to get it stamped.
For Southern Borders: Our experience with the southern border was on the Mexico-Belize Border. When we returned to Mexico via Belize on an ADO bus, we were asked to pay the DNI fee upon entry to Mexico and were given a receipt that was stapled to the FMM at the border crossing. If you have any tips for other southern points of entry, please let us know in the comments below!
If you’re arriving by plane, the flight crew will probably hand out the Mexican immigration forms on the plane. If not, you’ll have to pick one up at immigration once inside the airport.
Bring a pen and fill it out BEFORE you get to the immigration official. You won’t be asked to pay for it, since it’s assumed the fee was included in your airfare.
Can I get a Mexican tourist card online?
You can apply for a Mexico tourist card online up to 30 days before your trip by filling out the Mexican government’s official application here.
Just be careful because when I searched for the government official website on Google a ton of imposter sites popped up.
I’m sure they charge some kind of extra fee for their “service” and who knows who your passport number is being given to.
Always use the Mexican government’s official application to apply for your tourist card online. Remember, it’s officially called the Forma Migratoria Múltiple (FMM) and that’s what the header above the application should say.
To apply online, you’ll need your contact info, passport, flight information, and hotel name or address of the place you’re staying. For example, if you’re staying at a VRBO, you’ll need the full address. Visa and Mastercard are accepted as payment.
Print out the completed forms and take them with you to present to immigration officials upon entering Mexico and get is stamped.
Mexico Tourist Card Instructions
If you’re filling out the form in person, you need to write in a lot of the information requested twice. Once on the top portion (entry card) and again on the bottom portion (exit card).
Don’t write anything in the section that says uso oficial, meaning “official use”.
The bottom portion of the form that you keep with you while visiting Mexico is relatively small and easily fits folded inside your passport. Take a paperclip to keep it attached!
Once you’ve filled out the form (and paid, if you’re entering by land), kindly hand it over to the immigration official. They’ll fill in their section’s info, decide how many days you can actually stay, and stamp the exit card for your to keep until you leave.
Make sure to specify how long you’re staying and check the date on the stamp is correct before you leave the immigration official’s desk. Ultimately, the amount of time you’re allowed to stay is up to the discretion of the immigration official.
Headed south of the border soon? Check out these fun things to do in Mexico:
Is the Mexican tourist tax a scam?
I’ve seen tons of forums with people claiming that immigration officials at several ports of exit are running scams by asking tourists for their FMM upon exiting and requesting proof of payment of the Derecho de No Inmigrante fee or DNI (also referred to as the “Mexican tourist tax”).
To be clear, immigration officials asking you to hand in your Mexico tourist card/FMM and show proof of payment upon exiting the country are not running a scam. They’re simply doing their job.
I think the myth of the Mexico tourist card scam started because Mexico just recently started enforcing FMM cards very strictly. Before then, some foreign tourists who had no clue about the immigration requirements were able to enter and exit the country through certain entry points without a tourist card.
When those same tourists return to Mexico, they don’t understand why they’re being forced to pay a fine for missing cards upon exiting, then get upset, and then complain online.
TIP: This is why checking entry and exit requirements for a country you’re visiting is an absolute must before you travel. You should always take it upon yourself to be informed and prepared instead of expecting immigration officials to fill you in and what you need to do.
What happens if I lost my Mexico tourist card?
Umm, please try your hardest not to! It’s a major headache. If you lose your FMM, you need to go to the closest INM (Instituto Nacional de Migración)office or airport immigration office to begin the process of getting a replacement. You’ll also have to pay a fine.
Depending on your location, the process may involve waiting until the local bank is open to pay your fee, and then take a receipt to the INM office to show proof of payment to get the replacement card. All in all, it may take several days to get a new FMM, so don’t wait until the last minute because you may lose your flight home.
Mexico Tourist Card: Final Tips
- Apply online to speed up the immigration process, especially at land borders
- Always check the number of days you’ve been allowed to stay in the country corresponds with your travel plans
- Make sure your card is stamped by the immigration official, otherwise it’s not valid
- Don’t overstay or you’ll risk fines and potential problems visiting Mexico in the future
- Paperclip your card to your passport
- Most importantly: Don’t lose your Mexican tourist card!
What’s your experience with the Mexican tourist card? Share your best stories and tips in the comments below!
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