As of September 2015, INM (Mexico’s immigration department) requires that all U.S. and Canadian citizens have an FMM tourist permit any time they are in Mexico. Below are answers to frequently asked questions about the FMM tourist permit. To obtain a prepaid FMM tourist permit through Discover Baja, saving you time and hassle at the border, or for more information about FMMs, see our FMM Tourist Permit Page.
FMM Tourist Permit
$500 pesos at the border
$35 prepaid FMMs for Discover Baja members
Valid for up to 180 days
Free FMMs available for stays of seven days or less
What is an FMM tourist permit?
The FMM, Forma Migratoria Múltiple, is a tourist permit or tourist card that allows citizens from the U.S. and Canada (as well as from other countries that are listed here) to travel in Mexico. While often called a Mexican “visa,” the FMM is not a visa and is completely different from the Mexican visa that is required for citizens of specific countries listed here. U.S. and Canadian citizens do not need a visa to travel in Mexico, but they do need an FMM tourist permit.
Who needs an FMM tourist permit?
All U.S. and Canadian citizens over the age of two, without a Mexican temporary or permanent resident card, need to obtain an FMM tourist permit when entering Mexico. Other non-Mexican citizens from the countries listed here need an FMM as well.
Do I have to get a FMM tourist permit when I go to Baja?
Yes. Mexican law requires that tourists from the U.S. and Canada have an FMM tourist permit for any trip into Baja. You may encounter INM checkpoints along the peninsula where they will ask to see your passport and FMM. If you get into an accident in Mexico and you don’t have an FMM tourist permit, you are not considered to be in accordance with Mexican law, and therefore your Mexican auto insurance can be rendered invalid. Each individual must have their own FMM, including children ages two and up.
What about the “free zone” for short trips just across the border?
As of September 2015, there is no longer a “free zone” and every person entering Baja, regardless of destination or duration of trip needs to obtain an FMM. If you are only going to be in Mexico for seven days or less, you can get a free FMM, but you still need to stop at the border to fill out the paperwork to obtain the permit.
How much does an FMM cost?
Discover Baja members can get their prepaid FMMs through Discover Baja for $35. If you obtain your FMM at the border, it costs $500 pesos (as of January 1, 2017). If you will be in Mexico for seven days or less, you may obtain a free FMM at the border.
How long is the FMM valid for?
The paid FMM tourist permit is valid for a period of up to 180 days (as long as your passport does not expire before that time) At the border, they will ask you how long you would like the permit for and you should ask for the full 180 days. The free FMM is only valid for seven days or less.
Can I use my FMM for multiple entries?
While the old law said that FMM tourist permits were only valid for one use into Mexico, the INM has recently said that FMM tourist permits can be used for multiple entries in and out of Mexico, through the end date of the permit.
What do I need in order to get an FMM tourist permit?
You will need to have a passport or passport card. Keep in mind that since passport books and passport cards have different numbers, you will need to carry whichever one you use to obtain your FMM (ie you can’t use your passport book to obtain the FMM and then just carry around your FMM with your passport card).
Where do I get an FMM tourist permit?
You can obtain an FMM at the immigration office as you cross into Mexico. Discover Baja members can also obtain prepaid FMMs through Discover Baja, saving time and hassle at the border.
What is the process to get an FMM?
You will need to stop at the border as you cross into Mexico. You will look for the INM/SAT Aduanas building (immigration and customs). You will first go to INM where you will fill out the paperwork for the FMM. Then you will need to go to Banjercito where you will pay for the FMM. Once paid for, take your receipt back to INM to complete the process and get your FMM stamped by immigration. Discover Baja members can save time and hassle at the border by getting a prepaid FMM through Discover Baja and will just need to get the FMM stamped when entering Baja.
Do I have to stop at the border to get my FMM? Can’t I stop farther down to get one?
You must get your FMM stamped at the border when entering Mexico. You are no longer allowed to get an FMM for land travel at immigration stations farther south. The INM office in Ensenada now only processes nautical FMMs for visitors entering Mexico by boat. The San Ysidro El Chaparral border crossing in Tijuana is open 24/7, 365 days a year, so there should be no problem with getting your FMM at the border no matter what time you’re crossing into Baja.
What if I’m entering Mexico by airplane or boat?
If you are flying to Mexico on a commercial flight from the U.S., the airline will provide you with the paperwork for the FMM tourist permit and has included the fee for the FMM in the price of your ticket. If you are flying from Tijuana, you can obtain your FMM tourist permit from Discover Baja or at the Tijuana airport.
If you are crossing into Mexico by sea, and going south of Ensenada, you can get an FMM through Discover Baja and have it validated at the first port of entry (Ensenada). If you will be crossing into Mexico by sea, but not going south of Ensenada, and not stopping on land, you will need to obtain a nautical FMM tourist permit which is an entirely different process. Discover Baja is now processing nautical FMMs for our members. Please note that it takes 48 hours to obtain a nautical FMM. For more information, see our page on Nautical Sportfishing FMMs.
Do my kids need an FMM?
Any children over the age of two years old need to have an FMM (and therefore a passport or passport card).
Do I need an FMM tourist permit if I have temporary or permanent resident card (formerly known as FM2 or FM3)?
No. Your temporary resident or permanent resident card already functions as your permit to be in Mexico. You do not need to obtain an FMM tourist permit on top of this, and in fact, can be fined for having more than one permit at a time.
If I am applying for a temporary or permanent resident card, do I need to get an FMM?
No. After you submit your documents for a temporary or permanent resident card, you will receive your visa inside your passport. You need to stop at an immigration office at the border where they will provide you with an FMM at no cost to you. You will exchange that FMM for your resident card at the immigration office closest to your Mexican residence.
Do I need to return the FMM?
As of September 2015, you do not need to return your FMM to the INM upon leaving Baja by land (contrary to what it says on the back of the permit). After they have expired, you may shred or discard them.
To obtain a prepaid FMM tourist permit through Discover Baja, saving you time and hassle at the border, or for more information about FMMs, see our FMM Tourist Permit Page.