Legal Law News

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New Immigration Rules and Procedures for Mexico

Effective April 29, 2010, new rules and guidelines governing immigration controls on foreigners entering Mexico became effective, along with a publication of the National Immigration Institute’s new manual of criteria and immigration procedures. Among other changes, such rules provide for: (i) the creation of an Electronic Immigration Procedures System (Sistema Electrónico de Trámites Migratorios or SETRAM), which will allow interested parties to login in into such system and follow up on various procedures using the Internet; (ii) the establishment of a new category of “generic activities,” which will permit foreigners working or carrying out business in Mexico to do so without any links to a specific employer; and (iii) creates a new immigration form, the Multiple Immigration Form (Forma Migratoria Múltiple or FMM).

The FMM allows foreigners doing business in Mexico to remain in the country for a maximum of 180 days on business visits, technical visits and tourism stays, among others. Furthermore, the FMM will allow foreigners who want to enter Mexico to live and work under the a FMM, and then convert their status to a FM2 or FM3 visa. For such purposes, they will have thirty days after entering with an FMM form to appear at a regional office of the National Immigration Institute that corresponds to their domicile in order to apply for a FM2 or FM3 visa.

Another relevant change is that, effective July 31, 2010, Mexican consulates may not issue FM3 immigration documents under any circumstances. Current FM3 immigration forms, which are in the form of a booklet, will be valid for their current term, but must be substituted at the time one applies for a renewal or change.