To work and earn an income in Mexico, foreigners must obtain a work visa or permanent residence visa that permits participating in remunerative activities. The process seems complicated, but much of it is usually undertaken by the employing company. 

Expats should also visit the official website for the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs (Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores) for more info.

Work visas

There are several routes that expats can take, but to be granted a work visa, a job must already be in place. This is because Mexican companies need permission to employ foreign workers. Expats may first enter Mexico on a tourist visa to familiarise themselves with the job market, to network and to find employment. Alternatively, expats can find a job in Mexico from their home country. 

Once they have received and accepted an offer of employment, the employing company or person who is based in Mexico must apply to the National Migration Institute to get permission for hiring a non-Mexican employee. The process is not in the hands of the expat, but they must wait until the application has been confirmed.

Once the application is authorised, the expat must apply for the work visa, which is similar to a temporary residence permit, with permission to engage in professional activities and receive remuneration.

These visas are valid for stays both shorter and longer than 180 days. Expats entering Mexico must visit the nearest immigration office within 30 days with their visa and necessary documents to receive a residence card.

Permanent resident visas

Expats can also look into a permanent residence visa. This is for expats who intend to reside in Mexico indefinitely, and allows them to work and receive public healthcare as a Mexican citizen and resident.

*Visa regulations are subject to change at short notice and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.