Mexico is a country of great contrasts and tremendous beauty. Not only is it rich in history, but it has some beautiful tourist resorts and some of the most spectacular beaches in the world. Mexico is in North America and is bordered by the United States to the North, and Guatamala and Belize to the South and the Gulf of Mexico to its East.

It is not cheap living in Mexico, however it costs a lot less than it would to live in Canada or the USA. There are reports from the US embassy in Mexico City that there are around 1000 000 Americans living in Mexico. There are also apparently around 500 000 Canadians living in Mexico at least on a part time basis. I have also heard reports that one can live comfortable in Mexico on around $25,000 t0 $30,000 for a single person, or $30 000 to $35 000 for a couple, a year, in many parts of Mexico.

Foreign people move to Mexico for a number of reasons, some professional, some personal and some for a combination of both. One does however need to remember that moving to a foreign country can be daunting and is not always as glamorous as you may want it to be. It is important to remember that living in Mexico is not like living in Canada or the USA. If your motivation for moving is just around the cheaper cost of living or the weather, think carefully about this, also if your only experience of living in Mexico has been at beach resorts or tourist destinations.

Living in Mexico is very different from going on vacation to Mexico. In order to be able to adjust to life in Mexico you need to be flexible and adaptable, you need to want adventure in your life and you need to genuinely like the culture and the people, order to be able to adjust to life in Mexico. As a whole, life in Mexico is a lot slower than the USA and Canada. Things can take a lot longer to get done than what you are accustomed to, and you can find that things that are promised are not always delivered on at the promised time. This can be frustrating, for those not accustomed to this. However once you accept that this is the way things work in Mexico and do not try to fight the system, you should be able to adjust.

Safety in Mexico is often a concern for those considering relocating to Mexico. There are stories of people being murdered and issues around crime; however it appears that the majority of these crimes are drug related. Mexican people as a whole are extremely warm, friendly and hospitable. The majority of them will make you feel welcome and help you where they can. At the end of the day the traditions, the culture and the people of Mexico make it an intriguing place to visit and work.

Mexico plays a key role in the global mining industry, in terms of revenue, reserves and production. Because of it is a country rich in mineral reserves, it has attracted some of the biggest foreign and domestic investments in mining, and offers tremendous opportunity for mining expatriates. What one needs to remember is that as with any country there is a process that you will need to follow in order to able to work in Mexico. Allo’ Expat Mexico had some interesting information and tips available for those wishing to work in Mexico. They said as follows:

Work permit in Mexico
The prospective employer in Mexico must submit a work permit application to the appropriate labour authorities in Mexico. Upon acceptance of the complete application package the Institute of Immigration (INM) will analyse the case and issue a final resolution in 30 to 45 days. Once the application is approved the employee will have 90 days to 6 months (depending on each case) to appear before the Mexican Consulate with jurisdiction over his/ her place of residence to request the visa. The visa is issued in 3 to 4 days from the time the application is filed at the Consulate.

“Regularization” of immigration status from Visitor status to Work Status

A foreign national employee may convert his or her immigration status from a visitor status to work status while remaining in Mexico. The employee can be present in Mexico while the work permit application is being processed; however, the employee will have to wait until the work permit application is filed at the INM to be able to start work. In these cases, once the work permit application is approved, the employee MUST make a personal appearance at the INM to obtain his/her FM-3 immigration document.

Types of Work Visas

The major types of Mexican employment visa categories are as follows:

A) FM-2 Visa – For foreigners who have family ties to Mexico or have work in the country over 5 years;
B) FM-3 Visa – For foreigners who will be paid locally, import household goods or transfer to Mexico with family members.

The General Process

A Mexican corporate sponsor is required to prepare a work permit application on behalf of the employee. The work permit application is filed with the Instituto Nacional de Migracion (“INM”) in Mexico. Once the work permit application is approved by the INM, the approval notice is sent to the foreigner so s/he may apply for his/her visa at the Consulate with jurisdiction over her/his place of usual residence.

Basic Requirements to Qualify

To qualify as a sponsor of an FM-3 work permit, the basic requirements for the Mexican company and the assignee are as follows:

1. The Mexican entity must be duly registered in Mexico and evidence that all corporate income taxes are paid;
2. The employee must possess relevant professional experience, along with a university-level degree. In lieu of a university degree, the assignee must possess considerable professional experience.

Mexican Corporate Documents Required for Work Permit

The sponsoring Spanish employer must present the following documents:

1. Copy of the Articles of incorporation and amendments
2. Proof of payment of quarterly taxes.
3. Copy of the legal representatives ID.
4. Letters of support signed by the legal representative.

Home Company Corporate Documents
The employee’s home company must execute a notarized letter confirming the employee’s proposed position title, job duties and location of work in Mexico. This letter must have an Apostille or Mexican legalization affixed.

Employee and Family Documents
a. An original university diploma or transcript, or notarized photocopy of the employee’s university degree/transcripts, with an Apostille affixed.
b. Copy of the employee’s and each family members full passports (all pages, including blank pages).
c. Current resume.
d. Confirmation of job title, job descriptions and salary details in Mexico.
e. Birth certificates with Apostilles for the foreigner and his family.
f. Marriage certificate with Apostille.

General Processing Times
The normal time to assemble the corporate and employee’s personal documentation is approximately three to four weeks. Once the FM-3 work permit application is filed with the INM, processing of the application by the Ministry will take 30 to 90 days.

Validity of the Work Visa
The FM-3 work visa is generally valid for an initial period of one year, with yearly one-year extensions possible. The FM-3 can be renewed for a total validity of five years.

Documents Required to Apply for a Work Visa
Once the INM issues the approval notice, the employee and each accompanying family member generally must submit the following documents to the Mexican Consulate when applying for the visa:
1. Original passport valid for a minimum of 6 months.
2. Four (4) passport style photographs.
3. Application form.
4. Approval notice from the INM
5. Consular fee.

Note: Each Consulate may have slightly or widely different document requirements. It is best to check these application requirements with the Consulate once the Consulate has confirmed receipt to issue the work visa.

Registration for Residence Permit
Once the employee (and family) arrives in Mexico, the employee (and each family member) must register with the INM.

Timing Restriction to Register
The employee (and each family member) must appear at the INM to register within 30 days of the employee’s and each family member’s arrival into Mexico.

Penalties for Non-compliance
Employer: A fine equivalent to 100 times the minimum wage is levied against a contravening company. The company is not restricted from hiring any other foreign nationals. However, this type of infraction could be included in a record, hence slowing down the adjudication process for any future immigration application submitted by the company.
Employee: A foreign national in violation of the terms of his authorized stay will be expelled from the country.

Family and Dependents
Spouse and Children
The accompanying spouse and children should be named on the application of the employee’s work permit application, as the INM will approve the employee and family members together. Once the work permit application is approved, the family’s visa applications can be filed simultaneously with the employee’s visa application.

Unmarried Partners (Opposite-Sex)
Mexico may grant unmarried partners dependant visas based on the length of time the couple has been together and whether or not they have children.

Unmarried Partners (Same-Sex)
Mexico will not grant the same sex partner a dependant visa.

Ability to Work
Spouses and dependents are not granted immediate work authorization as a derivative status of the employee. Spouses and dependents must obtain their own work visas in order to secure employment in Mexico.

3 Responses to “Foreigners considering working in Mexico, what you need to know”

  1. laurie

    Though none of my family is in the mining industry, we found this extremely helpful, as we are returning to Mexico to visit friends who inform us that they can not find employees right now, and that there may be positions available for foreigners. This is a stroke of good luck for us, as we desperately need a change of pace, and love this particular place in Mexico. It looks like this information is a couple years old, but is definitely enough to get us started.

  2. Sharon Wegner

    Based on this information, it appears that the Mexican government has very specific regulations and restrictions for foreign nationals to be able to work in Mexico – very unlike in the United States.


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