FM 3 Visa

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Unlocking the FM 3 Visa: Your Comprehensive Guide to Eligibility, Benefits, and Application

Mexico is an enticing destination for business, education, and work opportunities for foreigners. For extended stays in Mexico City exceeding six months, obtaining a Temporary Resident Visa, specifically the FM 3 visa, is crucial. The Mexican Government allows you to stay with a proper visa.

This guide comprehensively outlines the visa requirements for extended stays and emphasizes the role of immigration attorneys in facilitating the visa process. Contact Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law, for specific questions about immigration. Rest assured that when you do, our dedicated lawyers will answer your questions while maintaining a confidential and transparent attorney-client relationship.

What Is an FM 3 visa?

Foreign nationals in Mexico fall into three categories: visitors, temporary, or permanent residents. The FM 3 visa, short for “Forma Migratoria 3,” is a non-immigrant visa enabling citizens of other countries to enter and stay in Mexico for up to one year. Unlike a tourist visa, it caters primarily to work, business, and study purposes, allowing you to travel freely, work legally, get a college degree, and live in Mexico temporarily.

This visa is renewable up to four times, and in the fifth year, holders can opt for a new FM 3 or transition to an FM 2 (permanent resident visa). Those seeking permanent immigration status can directly apply for an FM 2 (permanent resident visa) without a prior FM 3.

Temporary Visa (FM 3) vs. Permanent Visa (FM 2)

For those weighing the decision between a temporary (FM 3) and permanent (FM 2) visa, key considerations include:

Temporary visa (FM 3)

  • It is for those seeking to temporarily live, stay, or work in Mexico (more than 180 days).

  • FM 3 visa holders are allowed to undertake lucrative or non-lucrative activities.

  • It permits multiple entries and exits.

  • It requires proof of sufficient funds before approval.

  • It is applied for at a Mexican consulate outside Mexico.

  • It is initially valid for one year and renewable to maintain legal residency.

Permanent visa (FM 2)

  • It is for those seeking permanent resident status or citizenship in Mexico.

  • You don’t have to be a temporary resident first to become a permanent resident later, although you must fulfill specific requirements to be granted permanency status.

  • It is applied for at a Mexican consulate outside Mexico.

Consider your long-term plans and the permanency requirements when deciding between temporary and permanent visas.

Eligibility Requirements

Article 138 of the Mexican Immigration Law Regulation outlines criteria for applying for a temporary visa:

  • Family relationship with a Mexican citizen.

  • Job offer or work permit from an employer in Mexico or a Mexican entity.

  • Invitation from a public or private institution in Mexico.

  • Sufficient financial capacity to cover stay expenses.

  • Ownership of real property or investments in Mexico.

Financially, applicants must demonstrate a regular monthly income of at least $3,275 for the last six months.

Here are the documentary requirements when applying for a temporary FM 3 visa:

  1. Completed visa application form.
  2. Valid passport or international identity/travel document with photocopies.
  3. Passport-sized photograph adhering to specific guidelines.
  4. Document proving financial capacity or other specified documents.
  5. Proof of legal stay in the country.
  6. Payment of applicable fees.

Additionally, independent professionals seeking work or business opportunities in Mexico may qualify for an FM 3 visa.

How to Apply for an FM 3 Visa

While the application process for temporary residence in Mexico may seem straightforward, it involves several steps, necessitating careful attention to details. Consulting with immigration professionals, such as Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law, enhances the likelihood of a smooth application process.

The step-by-step guide for obtaining a temporary visa in Mexico includes:

  1. Gather the necessary documents. The documents that you need will depend on the purpose of your stay. It is best to check the requirements from the consulate or embassy where you will apply.
  2. Schedule an appointment with the embassy or consulate.
  3. Submit the visa application and supporting documents during the appointment. You may also be interviewed during this time, so be prepared to answer questions related to your application.
  4. Pay the visa fee.
  5. Wait for your visa to be processed.
  6. Upon approval, travel to Mexico within the visa validity period. The visa is valid for 180 days. You will have to travel to Mexico to receive your Temporary Resident Card.
  7. Once you arrive in Mexico, exchange your visa for a temporary resident card within 30 days. You can do this at the Instituto Nacional de Migracion (the National Institute of Immigration office).

The application procedure may vary depending on your location or nationality. Consult with an immigration lawyer for guidance tailored to your circumstances.

Benefits of an FM 3 Visa

As a temporary resident in Mexico, you will enjoy the following benefits:

  1. Stay in Mexico for up to four years, with flexibility for entry and exit.
  2. Eligibility to apply for a work visa.
  3. Open a bank account.
  4. Purchase and register a car.
  5. Obtain a driver’s license.
  6. Register a foreign car and keep your car’s foreign plates.
  7. Be entitled to discounts from certain local businesses.
  8. Get entitled to tax savings.
  9. Have access to the Mexican healthcare system.
  10. Import personal belongings tax-free.
  11. Purchase real properties.
  12. Serve as a stepping stone toward permanent residency.
  13. Unlock education opportunities for you, the visa holder, and your dependents.

Let Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law, Assist You With Your Immigration Queries.

While the process may appear straightforward, challenges in paperwork and bureaucracy may arise during the Mexican visa application journey. Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law, offers invaluable assistance in ensuring the correct steps are taken for a higher likelihood of visa approval.

With a track record of aiding numerous families in obtaining legal immigrant status, our personalized approach distinguishes us as trusted immigration lawyers in Texas. We extend our legal services even to the seemingly simple immigration concerns of our clients. For instance, some clients approach us to request our help obtain travel documents or fill out Form I-131.

If you have immigration-related questions like how can I sponsor a family member or become a green card holder, talk to us, and let us guide you through your immigration queries. Contact us today for a consultation.