Do Green Card holders need a visa to visit Mexico?

One of the most common questions we get asked and it is always important to be aware of what documentation is required to visit a country. When it comes to Mexico, it is an incredibly popular destination for many U.S Citizens, particularly when those colder months set in and the temptation of an escape to the sunshine becomes too much.

A country full of delicious food, vibrant culture, beach life and historical wonders, let’s go through what exactly is required for people to visit Mexico who owns a US Green Card.

Do you require a visa?

The short answer is no you don’t require a visa if you are a US Green Card holder. Just for reference, Green Card holders are assimilated US citizen who are permanent residents. However, you still need to remember certain documentation including what is known as a Mexico tourist card. You might see it referred to as a Mexican visa but technically it isn’t. You can definitely enter Mexico without a visa, as well as some other countries and regions including Canada, Costa Rica and the Virgin Islands.

What is a Mexican Tourist Card?

The official term for this tourist card is Forma Migratoria Múltiple or FMM for short. An FMM is an official card that a tourist requires to travel to Mexico for a vacation if you plan to stay for more than 72 hours and travel more than 12km from the Mexican border. This cannot be used if you intend to travel to Mexico for any kind of work.

When you apply for the tourist card, you will need to provide certain documentation and information. Fortunately, this is all a very easy process and won’t take long to get sorted. The information you will need for the form includes:

  • A passport: You must have a valid passport with at least 6 months left on it from the point of entry date into Mexico.
  • An airplane ticket: This is only for those travelling by air, but you must ensure you have a copy of your ticket to hand as evidence of your travel plans. You would need an alternative if you went by sea to a port of entry in Mexico.
  • Your email: Most places will request an email address so that you can receive your confirmation. You can then print this and keep it on your person to show the authorities.
  • A payment method: It depends on where you get your tourist card from. Technically you can access it for free from certain places but this can be time-consuming and confusing. If you use a service to help you, then you will need to pay. As a result, you will need to ensure you have a credit or debit card, PayPal or other payment solution that is accepted.

How to get your Mexican Tourist Card

There are a number of ways that you can obtain your card and each one will have a price ranging from free (or included in your ticket) to approx $40. Choose from one of the following:

  • If travelling by air, some airlines will distribute the cards before landing and the price of this is normally included in the price of your ticket.
  • You can do it online at any point before you travel but do remember to print it off
  • At a Mexican embassy in the United States prior to travelling
  • At the immigration desk at the airport at the point of entry to Mexico. The immigration authorities should be able to help you with this

An FMM is for a single visit to Mexico, so if you plan to travel back and forth on multiple trips then you would need to get a new one.

The official rule states that you must apply for this document within 30 days of your arrival in Mexico, but as always we advise you to get this dealt with before you go so it’s done and out of the way. The document lasts for 180 days from the date of your arrival, so it is perfect even for those long stays.

Do you require a passport if you have a US Green Card?

Whilst holders of a Green Card are equal with US citizens in terms of their right to work and live, it is important to remember to ensure you have a passport from your country of origin that is valid before you travel to Mexico. If you have this and your Green Card then you are absolutely fine to visit Mexico for your next holiday. If you decide to travel without it then you will quickly discover a problem.

If your passport is not currently valid, then you will be required to get this resolved and the best way is by contacting your country’s embassy located in the US. The fees and lead times vary depending on the nationality and government rules so it is important to do this as far in advance as possible so that you don’t end up cancelling your holiday. Our advice is to also register at the US embassy in Mexico to ensure you can get assistance in an emergency.

For those planning on staying in the country for more than a year, but less than two, you will need to apply for what is known as a re-entry permit. This must be done before travelling to Mexico. This is an official document to confirm you will not be giving up your permanent status of residence in the US. Don’t make the mistake of forgetting this part!

If you wish to work in Mexico then you should check out further guidance on the rules and regulations for doing so. In particular, you will need to get a work visa from the National Immigration Institute (INM). This is the only time when a US Green Card holder will need to obtain a visa for their travels.

Summary

Answering the initial question posed in this article, a US Green Card holder does not require a visa to enter Mexico for a holiday. However, there are certain documents that you do need to have prepared to allow you to enter including a valid passport from your country of origin and a Mexico Tourist Card (FMM).

The best advice we can give is to look into this as soon as you decide to book a holiday to Mexico. Getting a new passport can sometimes be a long-winded and painful process, so don’t let this problem ruin your dream holiday. If you’re organised and have everything ready, it is such an easy process to travel down to Mexico and enjoy the sunshine, the culture and its people.