These days, not only retired foreigners 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 and then have your own company hire you as an employee. Work permits in Mexico are processed through the Instituto Nacional de MigraciĆ³n (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 appointment for 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 Company 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.

Additionally, you will need to prove that your business has been operating and paying taxes for a minimum of three months. Only then can a Mexican business offer employment to a foreigner, even to 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 its 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.