These days, not only retirees want to live in Mexico, but younger generations also want to relocate here. Younger generations come without a pension however, and usually seek employment in Mexico. Therefore, they will need a Mexican work visa (permit).

In order to legally work, you can obtain a Mexican work visa in two ways: through a job offer from a Mexican employer, or by opening a business in Mexico. You then have your own company hire you as an employee. Work permits in Mexico are processed through the Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM.)

Mexican Work Visa from a Job Offer

Let’s say you receive a job offer you want to accept. Firstly, your potential employer should apply for your work visa at the INM. This can be done through the INM office directly or by using an immigration specialist. The employer submits various company documents proving its legal existence, that taxes are paid, and the identity of the representative.

Then, once these documents have been approved, you book an interview at a Mexican consulate outside Mexico. Read our article on booking an appointment with Mexitel here.

At this interview, the Mexican consulate inserts a Mexican Visa sticker in your passport. You have 180 days to return to Mexico from that date.

Upon returning to Mexico, do not enter as a tourist. Ensure the INM agent sees your sticker and updates your Forma Migratoria Multiple (FFM) accordingly. They will then allow you 30 days to report to the INM.

This part of the process is called the canje (exchange) and is handled by the immigration office in Mexico. Eventually, you exchange your 30-day visa for temporary residency with permission to work.

Mexican Work Visa as a Business Owner

If you own a business in Mexico, you also require permission to work.

First, your company needs to register for Constancia de Empleador at the INM, allowing it as a company to hire foreigners. The requirements are as follows:

  • Constitutive Act – original and copy

  • Public registry record

  • Fee payments 

  • Up-to-date tax document

  • Annual tax payment

  • Original I.D. of legal representative

  • Proof of residence – current and original electricity or water bill

  • Photos of premises – 3 inside and 3 outside

  • Google maps location indicator

  • Letterheads on opaline paper with colour logo, RFC (Federal register of contributors number), address, telephone number, website, and email

  • IMSS (social security) list of Mexican and foreign employees, specifying positions and nationality 

  • IMSS (social security) receipt

  • Treasury record of business opening

Additionally, you must prove that your business has been operating and paying taxes for at least three months. Only then can a Mexican business employ a foreigner, even the owner.

Temporary Residence with Mexican Work Visa

In both cases, the INM initially issues you one year of temporary residency with permission to work. However, the work permit is not automatically renewed. Therefore, you and your employer/your company should apply for a renewal of the visa before expiry. Occasionally, a three-year visa is offered upon renewal.

Once you have held temporary residency for four years, you either apply for a permanent resident visa, or leave Mexico. Permanent residency entitles you to work and earn an income and this visa never expires.

The INM performs random visa checks on businesses to verify work permits. Obviously, it is not advisable to work in Mexico without the proper documents. Working illegally can result in fines and deportation.

Reminder: if you need to leave Mexico during any process, you must apply for a permission letter to exit and re-enter. Otherwise your procedure will be void.

For a quote or more information about working in Mexico, email Adriana Vela at or call  984 169 5375.