Mexican tourist permits, or FMMs (Forma Migratoria Multiple), are required for all non-Mexican citizens entering Baja. As of September 2015, the “free zone” for FMMs (trips within the 20 kilometer border zone for less than 72 hours) is no longer valid and everyone entering Mexico will need to obtain an FMM. A passport or passport card is required to obtain an FMM. Passports and passport cards must be valid for six months or more from date of entry.
If you are driving to Baja and will be there for seven days or less, you may obtain this document for free at the Immigration office at the border. For visits of eight days or more, paid FMM tourist permits (from Discover Baja or the border) are required. Children ages two and older must have an FMM.
The easiest way to obtain an FMM tourist permit is to get one through Discover Baja. The Mexican immigration office has designated us as the only source in the U.S. to obtain your FMM tourist permit before entering Mexico. You will need your passport or passport card, the completed application and the $38 tourist permit fee. Please allow at least two weeks for processing. You must be a member of Discover Baja to enjoy the benefit of obtaining a prepaid FMM. You can stop by the Discover Baja office to have the FMM tourist permits processed or you can scan and email all of the information to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Discover Baja is now able to issue FMMs electronically, which will be emailed to you. Once your permit is issued, you will just need to stop by the immigration office to have your FMM stamped at the border on your way into Mexico. See our directions on stopping at El Chaparral San Ysidro Immigration if you’re not sure where to stop at the border on your way down through Tijuana.
If you do not get your FMM tourist permit from Discover Baja ahead of time, you can stop at the immigration office as soon as your enter the country. There are Mexican immigration offices at every border crossing. The Tijuana Immigration office should be open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. At the immigration office you will present your passport or passport card and fill out a form. You will then need to walk to a nearby bank to pay the $594 peso fee for the permit. Then you will return to the immigration office to get your FMM tourist permit stamped.
If you are flying to Mexico from the U.S., the airlines will provide you with the paperwork for the FMM tourist permit and has included the fee for the card 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 and have it validated at the first port of entry. Discover Baja can no longer issue these FMMs.
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 a separate process. Discover Baja can process nautical FMMs for our members. For more information, see our page on Nautical Sportfishing FMMs.
DB insider tips:
- See the Discover Baja FMM FAQ Page for even more information about FMM tourist permits
- Even with the prepaid FMM through Discover Baja, you will still need to stop at the border when crossing into Mexico to get the FMM stamped with the official date of entry. They will not stop you as you are crossing the border to do this, you need to take your own initiative to stop and find the INM immigration office to get your stamp. Without the official stamp of entry, your FMM is rendered useless.
- You no longer need to return the FMM to immigration when exiting the country or when the FMM has expired. Simply discard the tourist permit once you are past it’s valid use.
- As of September 2015, there is no longer a “free zone” for FMMs. Every non-Mexican citizen entering Baja will need to obtain an FMM regardless of length or location of visit. Also as of September 2015, visitors are no longer required to return their FMM to the Mexican government when exiting the country.
- FMM tourist permits are issued for 180 days. When you stop at the border to get your FMM stamped at immigration, we recommend telling them that you would like the permit for the full six months. This way, you are covered if you decide to extend your trip. If your passport expires before 180 days from the date that you enter Mexico, you will only be issued an FMM for the length of time that your passport is valid.
- Get your FMM ahead of time at Discover Baja and skip the hassle of having to make multiple stops and waiting in long lines.
- Keep your FMM in a safe place. Mexican immigration agents and federal police have the authority to ask for proof of legal status in Mexico at any time.
- For Mexican insurance to be valid you must be in compliance with Mexican laws. Since having an FMM is a Mexican law, not having an FMM can invalidate your insurance and land you in jail.
- Make two copies of your FMM tourist permit before traveling and leave one copy at home and carry one copy with you in a separate place from your actual FMM.
- If you lose your FMM, you will need to go to the nearest immigration office to get a new one.