Does Mexico offer digital nomad visas? Many countries have implemented this type of visa–programs to attract foreign visitors while allowing them to stay for an extended period of time. Mexico is a true paradise for digital nomads, remote workers and anyone willing to escape their country. But does the country have a long term visa option that allows you to stay and enjoy everything it has to offer?
Mexico doesn’t have an official digital nomad visa. But most digitals nomads residing there can stay visa-free for up to 180 days. Some will however need to apply for a tourist visa of the same length. Mexico also offers temporary residence permit options for digital nomads.
Indeed, Mexico had already been a choice for location-independent professionals for many years. Moreover, with the pandemic, many professionals from around the world got the opportunity to work remotely and eventually move to other countries like Mexico. It has been a top choice for many due to its more relaxed entry requirements throughout the pandemic.
In this article, you will learn what visa and residence options Mexico is offering to digital nomads in 2021.
Digital nomad visa in Mexico: the basics
As of the writing of this article (September 13th, 2021), Mexico doesn’t offer a digital nomad visa. Nonetheless many digital nomads, remote workers and expats have still been able to relocate to this country for an extended period of time.
Despite the fact that a dedicated digital nomad visa doesn’t exist in Mexico, many foreigners eventually figure out how to live there long term. This gives the country a vibrant international community in several cities, such as Playa Del Carmen and Mexico City.
Digital nomads can stay for longer periods of time simply by taking advantage of temporary residency opportunities for a six months-long visa. Mexico is also located close to the Caribbean, so doing visa runs or relocating to other destinations in the area is pretty easy.
How to stay as a digital nomad in Mexico?
An absence of an official digital nomad visa doesn’t mean that you can’t stay as a digital nomad in Mexico. In fact, many foreign nationals who are location independent do.
Stay as a tourist for up to 180 days in Mexico
It is possible to stay in Mexico visa-free for up to 6 months, and it’s absolutely legal. US citizens, among others, don’t need a visa for a stay up to 180 days.
However, some foreigners will need to apply for a tourist visa before arrival, which will then make a stay for up to 180 days possible. It’s one of the longest tourist visas in the world.
You can see the exact list of people who have to apply for a Mexican visitor visa before arrival and those who don’t need to at all. In general, citizens of the US, European Union, EFTA, Canada and Australia can visit Mexico visa-free for up to 180 days.
During this time, you can freely perform your remote job or any other professional activity online.
A stay longer than 180 days will require one to do a border run or apply for residency. At the end of the 180 day period, you can then:
- Cross a land border to the U.S., Guatemala or Belize and return with a new visa upon arrival back to Mexico
- Fly to any country and return with a new 180-day visa upon arrival back to Mexico.
- Apply in Mexico for another tourist visa if they are still available as they have been temporarily offering this as a result of the pandemic.
- Overstay the duration of the visa and pay a small fine on the way out of flying out of the country. If you’re driving or walking across the border, there’s a chance you will pay no fine.
Residence permits for digital nomads in Mexico
If a stay for up to 180 days sounds too short, you can apply for a Mexican residence permit. Mexico is an extremely welcoming country. Even retirees can obtain residency. The application can be done quite easily.
The country has special options available to expats with foreign income or savings, and you don’t need to apply for a work permit in order to work online from Mexico.
This applies if the company you work for, or the clients of your own business, are based abroad and you receive income from a non-Mexican banking account.
A work permit will be necessary under the following conditions:
- Performing some paid activity for a Mexican company.
- Registering as self-employed in Mexico.
- Having Mexican clients.
- Getting paid in Mexico with a paycheck drawn from a Mexican bank.
Temporary residence permit in Mexico for digital nomads
Mexico offers a temporary residence visa intended for people who wish to stay anywhere as long as six months to four years. This type of visa is renewable and gives you temporary residency status for at least one year. After five years of temporary residency, foreigners can apply for naturalization and citizenship.
Temporary residence visas are categorized as such:
- Mexico Student Visa
- Mexico Work Visa
- Mexico Family Visa
The temporary resident permit will give you some additional benefits in Mexico, including:
- a work permit if needed
- The ability to rent, buy or register a car in your own name
- unlimited entries to and from Mexico
- entitlement for a Mexican bank account, driver’s license, etc.
- entitlement for a permanent residency after spending 4 years under the temporary residency
This residence permit is preferred by long-term remote workers, expats and digital nomads alike.
Residence permit application process
Generally, the process to apply for a temporary residency in Mexico consists of two steps:
1. Apply for the temporary resident visa at a Mexican embassy in your home country or country of residence.
2. Apply for the temporary resident permit in Mexico.
When applying for a residence permit as a digital nomad, the Mexican government wants to see adequate funds or recurring income from a non-Mexican bank account. Hence if you are working for a remote company or having your own business, it shouldn’t be a problem.
The country also wants to make sure that you’re able to support yourself without seeking local employment. Foreign employees can do this by showing their pay stubs from their current employer.
Income sources can range from:
- passive income, etc.
Mexico’s official website states this as:
- a regular monthly income
- cash savings or investment fund balance
- an officially assessed value of a home you own in Mexico
- a minimum level of capital investment in Mexico
Even retirees with enough savings can qualify, which is why so many people move to Mexico.
The main requirement of a Mexican temporary resident visa for digital nomads is:
- To have a monthly income of $2,237 in proof of savings, or a minimum of $37,289 per year.
Keep in mind that you’re not allowed to seek employment from any Mexican company to obtain a temporary resident visa. You can however earn income from businesses based overseas. With a few exceptions, the temporary resident visa cannot be issued in Mexico. You must apply at a Mexican consulate or embassy outside of the country.
When applying for a temporary resident visa at a Mexican embassy, you will need to bring with you the following documents:
- Visa application form.
- Original valid passport or a comparable identity document for travel, as well as a photocopy of the page with the photo and personal data.
- A confirmation of your appointment.
- One photo, typically passport-size.
- An original, as well as a copy, of the legal permit to stay in the country where the appointment is taking place.
- Cash payment for visa fees ($36).
- Financial proof including a total bank balance of more than $37,289 over the past 12 months, or a monthly income of more than $2,237 over the last six months.
Once you have gathered all the required documents, you will have to book an appointment with the Mexican embassy and show up to apply and complete an interview. The visa application and processing can take up to one month.
Once you’ve done that, collect your visa and travel to Mexico.
For the second step of obtaining a Mexican residence permit, you will need to apply for a temporary residency card in Mexico.
When applying for a temporary residency card in Mexico, you will need to:
- Download the resident card request form from the website of the Mexican Immigration Office.
- Fill out a “Forma Migratoria Mútilple” (FMM) form which you receive at the airport.
- Check how many days are written on the FMM, because you will need to complete an application for a residency card within that period (usually 30 days).
- Pay for the resident card, which will range from 3,000 to 7,000 Mexican pesos.
- Get a cover/request letter for the temporary resident card addressed to the Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM).
- Submit these documents in person at the INM building.
- Wait for another appointment to collect your temporary resident card.
And done! Now you can stay as a digital nomad in Mexico for up to one year and extend your permit at the INM for up to 4 years without leaving the country.
How to get a remote job and work from Mexico?
If you want to become a digital nomad and work remotely from Mexico, but don’t have a suitable job, apply for one with us! At Support Adventure, we hire talented people from around the world, allowing them to work from anywhere. We’re known as the expat outsourcing company, and we mostly have open positions for IT helpdesk support. So if you have experience or even an interest in IT, don’t wait and apply for a remote job with us.