To work and earn an income in Mexico, foreigners must obtain a work visa or permanent residence visa that permits participating in remunerative activities. The process may seem complicated at first, but luckily for expats, much of it is usually undertaken by the employing company. 

Work visas

Stamped passport with visa approval by Nataliya Vaitkevich

To be granted a work visa, an expat must have a job offer in place. This is because Mexican companies need permission to employ foreign workers. Expats may first enter Mexico on a tourist visa to familiarise themselves with the job market, network and find employment. Alternatively, expats can find a job in Mexico from their home country. 

Once they have received and accepted an offer of employment, the employing company or person who is based in Mexico will apply to the National Migration Institute to get permission to hire a non-Mexican employee. The process is not in the hands of the expat, so they must wait until the application has been confirmed.

Once the application is authorised, the expat must apply for a work visa, which is similar to a temporary residence permit, with permission to engage in professional activities and receive remuneration. Expats must have a passport that will remain valid for six or more months. 

They will also need to submit a slew of documents, including a signed letter of authorisation from the Mexican Immigration Office with the Unique Processing Number (NUT) and an offer letter. Additionally, expats must submit the Letter of Notification of Authorisation of Visa, which is received by the Mexican employer. 

These visas are valid for stays both shorter and longer than 180 days. Temporary residence visas are typically renewable for one to three years. Expats entering Mexico must visit the nearest immigration office within 30 days with their visa and necessary documents to receive a residence card.

Useful links

Permanent resident visas

Expats can also look into a permanent residence visa. This is for expats who intend to reside in Mexico indefinitely, and allows them to work and receive public healthcare as a Mexican citizen and resident. Expats are eligible for permanent residence visas if they have lived in Mexico for four or more years. 

Permanent residents in Mexico can work in the country without a work permit. After five years of holding a permanent residence visa, holders become eligible for Mexican citizenship. 

*Visa regulations are subject to change at short notice, and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.

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