Get 180 Days on Your Mexican Tourist Visa (FMM) – Our 10 Tips

Get 180 Days on Your Mexican Tourist Visa (FMM) – Our 10 Tips

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There is nothing worse as a digital nomad than thinking you’re traveling to Mexico for 6 months, only to have immigration give you 30 days instead of the 180 days on your Mexican tourist visa you were hoping for. It happens, and it sucks, but there’s not a whole lot you can do about it after they stamp your FMM.

Mexico is phasing out the paper FMM

Mexico is in the process of phasing out the paper FMM. Instead, they will be stamping your passport with the number of days. They will still be asking you some or all of the below questions in immigration.

You can be a little proactive, though. We’ve crossed through Mexican immigration so many times I’ve lost count, both by land and air, and we’ve each received 180 days, each and every time. Are we just lucky? I don’t think so.

10 Tips for Getting 180 Days on Your Mexican Tourist Visa (FMM)

180 days on your Mexican tourist visa
My most recent trip into Mexico and 180 days on my Mexican tourist visa.

Digital nomads and perpetual tourists are a bit of a tight-knit group in Mexico. We hear when immigration is cracking down on us and restricting our days. We also hear about what people were and weren’t doing at immigration when they were denied their 180 days.

Using our first-hand experiences, as well as stories from travelers who were refused 180 days, we’ve come up with a list of 10 do & don’t tips for how to get 180 days on your Mexican tourist visa (also known as FMM Visa (Forma Migratoria Multiple)).

One last thing before we get to the tips…

Following these tips doesn’t guarantee you 180 days. These are the tips we use, and they’ve worked every time for us. We’re sure they’ll work for you, also.

But, if you piss off an immigration official, while they’re already having a bad day, you’ll probably be getting fewer than 180 days, if any.

The final decision on if you get 180 days on your Mexican tourist visa is solely up to the immigration official waiting on you.

Now, onto the tips.

#1 For Now, Stay Away From The Online FMM Application

There is an online process to apply for your Mexican tourist visa before you arrive in Mexico. I strongly suggest not using this process. Why?

  • It’s more expensive than just getting your FMM when you arrive in Mexico.
  • The cost of the FMM is most likely already folded into the cost of your flight.
  • It saves you, literally, no time whatsoever.
  • The immigration official may ignore your online FMM and make you fill out a new one.
There is no fee for the tourist visa for entry by plane because it’s already folded into the cost of your plane ticket.

That last point has happened numerous times to people I know. They thought they’d be sneaky, fill out the online FMM, and give themselves 180 days in the country. It just doesn’t work out like that in reality.

Immigration is still going to question you about why you want 180 days. If they don’t like your answers, they’ll throw away your online FMM, make you fill out a new one, and then, most likely, not give you 180 days on your Mexican tourist visa.

Immigration officers in Mexico don’t care if you have an online FMM. They don’t care how much money you paid for it. And they don’t care if you don’t have the money to pay for a new one.

These online FMMs may work for tourists staying just a few days or weeks. For digital nomads or perpetual tourists counting on 180 days, they just create more questions at immigration, and it’s best not to deal with them.

#2 Have Proof Of Outbound Flights

There are two places you may be asked for outbound flights:

  • At the Airport – If you’re flying internationally on a one-way ticket, especially out of Canada or the USA, chances are your airline will want proof of an outbound flight out of Mexico.
  • At Immigration in Mexico – This happens less frequently than at the airport, but it does happen.

We have been traveling non-stop for over 9 years. I have seen so many instances of airlines denying a person onboard their flight because they can’t prove they have a way out of the country they’re flying to. There’s nothing worse than rushing to buy a plane ticket out of Mexico online while your flight to Mexico is boarding.

Helpful Nomad Tip # 4398232

Did you know that websites like Kayak and Expedia offer full refunds within 24 hours of purchase? That could really come in handy in times like this.

Trust me. It’s happened to us and I’ve seen it happen to other unsuspecting travelers also. Always travel with proof of an outbound flight.

Once you’re at immigration in Mexico, it’s unlikely that they’ll ask you for proof of an outbound flight. It does happen though, and it’s becoming more common. We were just asked for proof of an outbound flight on our last trip into Mexico.

If you have a plane ticket out of Mexico, for 180 days from the day you land, you’re more likely to get the 180 days on your Mexican tourist visa you’re looking for.

#3 Have Proof Of Address for Your Stay

I know people who have flown into Mexico 30 times and have never been asked where they’re staying. We’ve been asked numerous times, including on our most recent trip. If you’re going to ask immigration for 180 days on your FMM, you need to prove to them you have living arrangements for that entire time.

And I don’t mean just an email from your mom saying you’ll be staying at her house. Immigration wants to see your name on a receipt for the entire 180 days you’re asking for. On our last trip in, we asked for 180 days, one of the questions we were asked was where we were staying.

They looked at everything…everything. Our hotel receipt for the first three days there. The Airbnb receipt for our next month there. As well as at our apartment lease for the remainder of our time in Mexico. And they were thorough.

Very thorough.

They noticed our lease expired three days before our outbound flight (we’ll just be staying in a hostel near the airport I told them). They also noticed our lease wasn’t signed (we have to do so in front of the notary when we get there). We were prepared and we got our 180 days.

If you’re going to ask for 180 days on your Mexican tourist visa, be prepared to show them you have a place to stay for each of those days.

#4 You May Be Asked Of Proof Of Funds

Again, if you’re a tourist you’re probably not going to be asked for proof of funds for your trip. We’ve been asked twice for it. The first time we were lucky, we had each just exchanged a bunch of USD for pesos, and just showed them that.

Two trips into Mexico ago was a bit more difficult. They asked how many days we would be in Mexico. We replied 180. This always brings up questions, and this time it was how we plan on supporting ourselves while we were here.

The real answer is that we work online and make money that way while we’re here. While that’s the real answer, it is most definitely the wrong answer (we’ll cover that in tip #5). I simply opened my banking app, showed them how much money was in the account, and that was that.

If they don’t think you have enough money to support yourself while you’re here, they may not give you the 180 days on your Mexican tourist visa that you need. This is rare, but it does happen.

#5 Tourism Only

Travelers to Mexico get asked, “what’s your purpose for visiting Mexico?” quite a bit. Here is the one and the only answer you should give…”Tourism”.

That’s it. Just that one word.

“Tourism.”

Don’t say anything else unless they ask you more questions. If they do ask you to elaborate, here’s what NOT to say:

  • I’m pet-sitting while I’m here.
  • I’m house-sitting while I’m here.
  • I work online.
  • I’m a digital nomad here to work.
  • I’m volunteering.
  • I’m looking for a job.
  • I’m looking for business opportunities.

Tourism is all immigration wants to hear. You’re on a tourist visa and some, actually most, of the above answers go against what you can do on a tourist visa.

House and pet sitting is, as far as immigration is concerned, a job. You’re exchanging services for goods or services. That’s a job, and, as far is immigration is concerned, you’re working illegally in Mexico. Not only will you be denied 180 days on your Mexican tourist visa, you may even be denied entry.

Being a digital nomad or working online, could be considered by immigration to be working illegally in Mexico (they don’t know who your employer is, nor do they don’t care). Saying anything about working in Mexico, on a tourist visa, is a very, very, very bad idea.

Volunteering could come with free rent, food, or a stipend. Since this is an exchange of services, it is considered a job and you’re working illegally in Mexico.

Tourism. That’s all you should say. It’s a big country and you need time to explore it.

#6 Make Sure You Have 180 Days On Your Passport

There are many countries whose entry requirements say you need to have 30, 60, or 90 days remaining on your passport before it expires. Not Mexico. All Mexico cares about is if your passport is going to expire before your tourist visa.

If you only have 30 days before your passport expires, you’re only getting 30 days on your tourist visa. That’s it. You can try to argue you’ll get the passport renewed while you’re in Mexico, which is technically possible, but they won’t care.

You’re not getting more days on your tourist visa than you have remaining on your passport.

#7 They May Look At Social Media

I’ve had many immigration officers ask how long I’ll be in Mexico, and not even blink when I say 180 days. 1 time out of 10, though, one of them has questions. And, when I was a newbie traveler, I didn’t have the right answers to these questions, which just prompted more questions.

If you get a very thorough immigration officer that wants to pull you out of the queue, and bring you into an office to question you, which has happened to me personally more than a few times (not in Mexico), you better be prepared.

Immigration officers can and will ask you to unlock your phone. You can complain all you want. They don’t have to let you into the country. Especially if they think you’re there for something other than tourism.

If they look at your social media and see you have posted things like,

  • “I’m going to Cozumel to teach snorkeling”, you’re fucked.
  • “I’m going to bartend at a hostel in Tulum”, you’re fucked.
  • “I’m house-sitting in Puerta Vallarta for 5 months”, you’re fucked.
  • “I’m doing a work-away on a farm in Oaxaca” you’re fucked.
  • “I’m taking massage classes in Mexico City”, you’re fucked.

If you’re not giving an immigration officer the answers they’re looking for on why you want 180 days in Mexico, they may dig deeper. Including going through your social media accounts. Make sure you’re not posting anything on there that would violate the terms of a tourist visa.

#8 Don’t Take Tourist Visa Shortcuts

Taking shortcuts to get more time in Mexico can get you arrested, denied re-entry, or banned from ever visiting the country again.

What do I mean by shortcuts? Well, when you spend enough time in Mexico you learn a few tricks to “renewing” your tourist visa, including:

  • Crossing the border from Mexico into another country for an hour’s long lunch, and then returning to Mexico for another 180-day tourist visa (called a “border run”).
  • Taking the ferry from Chetumal, Mexico to Belize for a night, and then returning to Mexico for another 180-day tourist visa.
  • Going to the ferry terminal in Chetumal, getting an exit stamp out of Mexico, then waiting for the ferry from Belize to unload so you can get in line with them for a new 180 days on your Mexican tourist visa.
  • Taking a trip to your taxi driver’s cousin’s house who works for immigration and will just give you a new tourist visa that he accidentally brought home with him (which coincidentally has all of your info on it).
  • Take a trip to the border, go through the exit process, then instead of entering the other country, you just go to the “enter Mexico here” line for a new Mexican tourist visa.

All of these shortcuts are quite easy to do, and many, many people do them to extend their stay. I knew a guy who spent three years in Mexico using these shortcuts. It, eventually, did not end well for him.

Having a passport full of nothing but entry\exit stamps, just from Mexico, is a sure way to be denied another 180 days on your Mexican tourist visa.

#9 Learn Some Spanish

Sadly, there are digital nomads, expats, and perpetual tourists that have spent years living in Mexico and speak little, to no, Spanish. At least learn a few words for fuck’s sake. It makes life so much easier.

And, if you’re asking immigration for 180 days on your Mexican tourist visa, it may be essential. Again, I have made many, many trips into Mexico. I never once remember a Mexican immigration official asking me questions in English. Not once.

If you’re here on vacation and don’t speak a word of English, you’re probably going to get 180 days on your Mexican tourist visa, no questions asked. If you have 20 different Mexican entry stamps in your passport, you’re going to get some questions. And they ain’t gonna be in English.

We’ve been questioned many times about why we want 180 days on our tourist visa. We’ve always been able to answer these questions. And we’ve never been denied 180 days.

If you’re not able to understand what immigration is asking you, or if you can’t answer them in a language they can understand, they may just get fed up and give you however many days they want. And it probably won’t be 180.

#10 Kill Them With Kindness

I have seen tired and weary travelers, so close to their final destination, have a complete and total breakdown at immigration. International travel is stressful, I get it. But taking that stress out on an immigration official, who is questioning you on your visit, is no way to get 180 days on your Mexican tourist visa.

Slapping your passport down on the counter and blurting out, “180 days” in English, also isn’t going to cut it. These immigration people deal with thousands of idiots a day. Make their day less pleasant than it has to be, and you might just find yourself with a 10-day tourist visa.

You don’t have to be smiling like an idiot when you approach immigration, but try not scowling or acting exasperated or impatient because you just waited two hours in line. People pick up on that shit.

Instead, try:

  • greeting them with a “buenas dias\tardes\noches”.
  • addressing them by their title, “buenas dias, senior(a)”.
  • asking them for a favor, “senior(a), un favor por favor”.
  • and then politely and humbly ask them for 180 days, preferably in Spanish.

This is what we do each and every time we go through Mexican immigration. And it’s worked every single time (sometimes there are more questions asked, sometimes not).

I have also seen people in immigration act like demanding babies, be denied 180 days and have a full-blown meltdown for not getting it. More than once.

Go into immigration with a shitty attitude and act like you’re entitled to 180 days, and see if that works better than asking politely and killing them with kindness. Please leave a comment below and let me know how that worked out.

Getting 180 Days on Your Mexican Tourist Visa isn’t Guaranteed

If you’re in Mexico on a quick vacation, nine times out of ten you’re going to get 180 days on your Mexican tourist visa without a single question. Appearing as a digital nomad or perpetual tourist, with dozens of Mexican stamps in your passport, is going to skew those odds. And not in your favor.

We use each of the above tips, every time we enter Mexico. I feel confident that if you follow these tips, you shouldn’t have a problem getting 180 days on your Mexican tourist visa. Be prepared, though. Even though the above tips improve your odds of getting 180 days, they’re not a guarantee.


Have so tips on how to get 180 days on your FFM? Let us know in the comment section below!


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