What is the FMM – Tourist Card?
The FMM Tourist Card is required of tourists visiting Mexico for vacation. Form FMM from the Mexican Immigration Office that documents all visitors to Mexico.
Note: Baja California is a permit-free zone, meaning tourists can come and go with their vehicles without the documents. However, the FMM is required for any stay in Mexico. For stays less than 7 days it is free. Recently the federal authorities have been checking (even going into campgrounds) to validate proper documentation. The Immigration Office (INM) is a FEDERAL entity in Mexico so we recommend everyone follow the Federal Laws, and be grateful for the flexibility and leniency of the Baja State Officials if they are. Just keep in mind that the Federal Government has jurisdiction over Immigration Laws, not the states.
Who needs the FMM – Tourist Card?
Anyone who is not a citizen of Mexico, who visits the country. This includes children, military, disabled, bikers, surfers, expatriates. Only your pets are exempt from this requirement. (See “Bringing your Dog to Mexico” article for more information on pets in Mexico).
When do you purchase the card?
As soon as you enter the country of Mexico you will see the immigration offices (Look for the INM or SAT offices). Park, and register with immigration right then.
Where do I purchase the FMM – Tourist Card?
As of 3/1/2017, you can now purchase online!
If you want to save some time and print our your immigration permit (FMM Online) ahead of time, the Mexican Immigration office has a fillable online FMM form here:
If you are crossing into Tijuana – the other side is called “El Chaparral“. When you fill out the form online it asks which port, select El Chaparral for San Ysidro crossing.
If you are traveling beyond the “tourist zones”, the Mexican Immigration office requires you to purchase this FMM or “Tourist Permit”. The estimated cost is 500 MXN Pesos. (about US$27 as of 6/30/17). If your stay is less than 7 days the permit is free.
Or at the border
As an alternative, you can purchase a paper FMM at immigration when you cross the border, and pay for it at the Banorte/Banamex next door.
As you cross every border crossing you will find a parking area, and immigration offices identified by the INM logo. There should be plenty of parking, simply park, present your national identification and pay the fee (as of May 2015, it is apprxomiately $23 US). They will present you with a card.
How do I purchase the FMM – Tourist Card? What is required?
You will need to show your proof of US citizenship, your passport, or passport card is sufficient. When you receive the FMM Document, take a picture of it or record the document number in case you lose it, they will generate a new one for you. They will also require that you pay for the FMM at the Banorte or Banamex (located within walking distance of every INM Office) and return to show proof of payment.
Yes, this is a process and might feel like a nuisance when all you want to do is check-in to your hotel, put on the bathing suit and relax. But taking this important step can prevent unnecessary headaches once you are in your Mexico state-of-mind. Purchase your Mexican Car Insurance, get all your necessary permits, and truly enjoy a stress-free trip to Mexico.
What about Vehicle Permits
Fortunately, the federal government established Tourist Free Zones so that you can drive freely within the specified area without importing your car. See this article for more information on Vehicle Permit for Mexico.
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