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Immigration and Employee Work Permits/ Work Visas

Purpose: Our firm has prepared this document for purposes of advising clients concerning the employment of foreign employees in a Mexican Company. It includes details and costs related to the procedures for registering a Mexican Company to sponsor work permits/work visas, in addition to the procedures for applying for individual work visas for employees. This is a two-step process.

Applying for an employee work permit/work visa involves several procedures, beginning with the completed incorporation of the company. We use the term work permit/work visa interchangeably.

  • The Incorporation of the Mexican Company: The company must be duly incorporated under the laws of Mexico, for purposes of sponsoring work visas and work permits on behalf of its employees. Timeframe for completion 3 to 4 weeks from the time all client documentation is received
  • Obtain Company Immigration Employment Registration: The Immigration Employment Registration (“Constancia de Empleador”) is required for the company to sponsor visas. This involves the submission of documentation concerning the incorporated Mexican company, its office and activities to the immigration authorities. In some – but not all cases – the immigration authorities (“Instituto Nacional de Migración) will perform a site visit. Timeframe for completion – up to 45 business days
  • Obtain Employee Work Permit or Work Visa: The company will then submit an employee work permit/work visa application to the immigration authorities. This requires submission of a description of the worker’s expected duties. The application requires copies of the employee’s degrees and evidence of their educational level. Once the application is approved by the immigration authorities, the employee will need to travel to the Mexican consulate of their choice to complete a visa interview and receive their work permit or work visa stamped in their passport. This process cannot be completed in Mexico and the employee must go to a Mexican consulate outside of the country for the visa interview. Thereafter, the employee has 6 months to enter Mexico. Once in Mexico, the employee must go to their regional immigration office in order to submit their documentation received from the consulate. The office will then provide them with a Temporary Resident Card (this card was previously referred to as the FM-3 card). This process is called “canje”.  Timeframe for completion – up to 30 business days.

Visa for Spouses and immediate family.

Employees are permitted to bring spouses and children along with them. The spouses will be afforded the same status as the employee by family connection (“vinculo familiar”). There are two procedures. Spouses or children may obtain their visas along with the employee at the consulate. Or the Spouse or children may choose to Mexico on a tourist visa and process their own visas and work permits once in the country. In the case of spouses or children, travel outside of the country to the consulate is not necessary as their legal status is derived from the principal employee. Therefore, all procedures here may be taken from within Mexico.

Visa Renewals.

Work permits and work visas should be renewed every year. After for consecutive renewals, the employee will be granted permanent residency (“Residencia Permanente”)  in Mexico and may remain in the country indefinitely, becoming a Mexican citizen after 5 years of having the status as a permanent resident in Mexico.

Employment Requirement.

An employee is required to maintain their employment with the sponsoring company or else they must leave the country before the end of the validity period of their work visa. Otherwise, the employee must seek employment with another company that may sponsor them, which requires notification of change of employer within 90 business days of leaving the previous employment.