Entering or Exiting as a Residente

Last Update 28 November 2013


The only people who should enter Mexico as tourists are those who want to leave in 180 days. The law states that if you are a Residente and enter or exit as a tourist then you will have your Temporal or Permanente canceled.

Everyone entering or leaving México is required to fill out an FMM. It is the form used to log travelers’ entries and exits. It is vital that this form be filled out correctly.

Everything is computerized now. The FMM forms are bar coded with individual serial numbers, so they can be scanned into INM's computer system. Your passport, Residente card, and the FMM will be scanned in to the system. So always fill out an FMM properly. You don't want any incorrect information in the system. Immigration is checking and cross referencing the data, so you will get caught if your paper is wrong.

NEVER leave the immigration counter if you were given a tourist visa, and you are not a tourist,. They will try to get rid of you, but once you leave you are stuck and risk losing everything. If your FMM form says 180 days, then they marked you as a tourist. Once you leave they will assume that you did wrong, not them and they will cancel your Residente document.

The FMM form has no place to formally identify what your visa status is, so it is important for Residentes to boldly HAND WRITE your INM card-type ( RESIDENTE TEMPORAL or RESIDENTE PERMANENTE) across the top of both the top half and the bottom half of the FMM. This eliminates (or greatly reduces) the Visitante issue.


For Residente Temporal and Residente Permanente, you must fill out the FMM as you leave Mexico. As you exit, the officials will keep half of the FMM form, and you must bring-back and submit the remaining half to INM when you return to Mexico.


People with travel letters need to get both entry and exit stamps on the travel letter, show it at all times and do not let them take it.


People whose document expired while outside Mexico may enter within 55 days of expiration and MUST show their expired document and not get a tourist card, then apply for renewal within 5 days.

Warning: A new trick is to call people into immigration and deny them the right to an attorney or translator and then trick them into confessing that they entered wrong and have them sign a form all in Spanish, demand your right to an attorney or translator and NEVER accept blame for mistakes done by immigration.  Be careful with what you say, and careful with what you sign, because INM agents do make significant mistakes. If you have a problem with INM, it does not work to try to blame problem on INM mistakes, even when their mistake caused the problems.

There are official INM rules and "standard" procedures for these things, but individual INM offices and individual INM agents still sometimes do whatever strikes them in the moment.

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