Immigration protocols for Mexico for US and UK Nationals

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by Suhas Chaphalkar and Harshini Rathnakaram, 07 March 2018

Mexico is a popular expat destination and there are approximately 2 million expats living in the region. More and more people from across the world are deciding to settle in Mexico and make Mexico their new home. The flow of expats stems from the need for organizations to expand to newer markets based on evolving business strategies. While hiring local talent would suffice certain requirements, others might require hiring experts from foreign lands.

So, if you choose to assign an expat to work in Mexico, how would you go about securing a work permit?

There are standard procedures to be followed prior to hiring an expat or immigrating an expat from another country. Generally, these procedures vary from country to country as well as from nationality to nationality. Similarly, the process for receiving a Mexican work permit depends on the nationality of the employee.

For a US national the procedure is very smooth – the process is quite streamlined and can be compared to that of getting a driver’s license with the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles). Depending on the duration of the work period, the type of visa to be procured will vary.

  • If the duration of work is less than six months, a visitor visa will suffice for a US national.
  • If the organization estimates a six-month stay with an intention to extend the working period for the US national, then the employee will require getting an FM2/FM3 permit. As the employee or the organization is applying for the permit, the employee can continue to stay on his/her tourist visa till he receives his approved application.
  • If the duration of work is more than six months, then a provisional visa will be granted from the Mexican consulate which will be valid for an additional 6 months, post which the expat can convert it into a work permit and continue working.

The process for a UK national is similar to that of a US national, i.e. A visitor visa would suffice if the UK national would like to work in Mexico for 6 months or less. They can also get paid directly from the Mexican organization for the work performed in Mexico.

Generally, in Mexico, there are no dependencies on the work permit to the type of work performed by an employee as long as it follows the local rules and regulations.

While applying for a work permit or visa, employees are requested to provide their basic documents to validate their credentials. Some of these documents include educational certificates, offer letter from a Mexican organization, etc.

One must be eligible based on the minimal education qualification required for hiring. Organizations in Mexico need to establish employee skill matrix for hiring employees from other nations. Once the organization has shortlisted a candidate, the candidate is offered a job by the Mexican organization which is also required by the Mexican Consulate for visa approval.

In some instances, an organization would like to send their employees to Mexico to support a project for their customer whose entity is in Mexico. In such instances, a third-party organization would support their staffing services in Mexico while the business is monitored by the parent organization. The staffing organization would handle the employee’s immigration formalities and onboard the employee on its rolls (Employer of Records Services).

Involving a third-party organization for EOR (Employer of Records) services supports the organization with clarity on timelines, requirements etc. which further enables the organization to focus more on its core business.

For more information, reach out to Irene Jones at

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