Mexico Immigration Is Going Digital. Are Paper FMMs A Thing of The Past?



Because this is so new, and there hasn’t been an official announcement from INM, much of what is written in this article will continue to change as I gather new information. Also, there are only a few airports that I know of rolling out this new process. Some information in this article, such as the QR code process, may not be implemented when you travel to Mexico. Please keep that in mind.

When you travel to Mexico from a foreign country, you are either coming in as a tourist, a resident, or a citizen.

And for as long as I have been alive and can remember my travels to and from Mexico in the last 37 years, you have always needed that piece of paper, known as an FMM, if you are traveling to Mexico as a tourist. And in some cases, when you are a resident- if you exchange your residency stamp for a card. Also known as Canje.

But changes are happening in INM (Mexico’s Immigration Authority), and paper FMMs may be a thing of the past.

A paper FMM

What Does This Mean?

You’re probably familiar with the Forma Migratoria Multiple better known as FMM form.

You can get one if you enter Mexico by land or air. If you are flying, your airline usually supplies you with the form before departing or arriving in Mexico. (*Your airline includes this fee on the cost of your ticket. 🎫)

If you are traveling by car or walking across the border by land, you need to process your own FMM tourist visa at the border or buy it online ahead of time.

But as of the end of July 2022, more and more residents and tourists reported they didn’t receive a paper FMM anymore and were instead given a digital FMM upon arrival. Particularly Mexico City, La Paz, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, And Guadalajara airports.

I, of course, don’t like to take things I haven’t verified as gospel. So I checked with our recommended immigration facilitators in those cities, and sure enough, it checked out.

Residents and Tourists now get a digital FMM instead of the paper FMM when coming through some airports like the ones mentioned.

Something that a lot of us aren’t used to. So, how does it work?

What To Do At Immigration At The Airport

You can always count on Mexican bureaucracy to be messy when they roll out something new. And rolling out a simple procedure like this is no exception.

Most likely because the immigration agents handling the people that come through are sometimes the last ones to be trained on the new process. Sometimes, you and I will be experts at this before they receive any formal training. That’s typical Mexico.

What does this mean for you right now?

Immigration booth at the airport

There is an online portal where you can create an account and upload your documents (passport or residency card), proof of address, and other requirements. It will then give you a QR code which ends up being your future digital FMM– that you present to INM. This isn’t exactly new, considering INM had already been offering this digital FMM to all Colombians traveling to Mexico. But for most of us, it’s a new process.

Here’s what I know:

Currently, when people are flying into Mexico City, La Paz, Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, or Guadalajara, it seems immigration is doing all this for you.

  • If you are a tourist, they will take your passport and digitally give you an FMM in the system, stamp your passport and send you on your way.
  • If you are coming in for CANJE– depending on the airport there are two ways you might get your FMM.
    • If you are given an FMM stamp instead of a paper FMM, make sure immigration marks “canje” on the stamp in your passport. And you will be asked to scan a QR code that will take you to this website where you will need to create an account and validate your passport so you can get your digital FMM. which is needed to make your appointment with INM. Check example below
This is the digital FMM.
  • However, most people coming through Mexico City (CDMX) or any other international airport that are not issuing the FMM stamp are usually given the paper FMM- and with the checkmark for “canje” on it. It is still VERY IMPORTANT that you check for the words “canje” on your stamp or your FMM if you are a resident coming into Mexico for the 1st time with the intent of exchanging your residency stamp for a card.
  • As a returning resident, you must show your Temporary or Permanent Resident Card and passport. Returning residents don’t need an FMM to enter Mexico. Returning residents still have to go to an INM office at the airport before leaving Mexico, but will no longer be given a paper FMM. You will only fill out a form at INM and your passport will get stamped.
This is a stamp in your passport stating you have been authorized to enter and for how long. dates in Mexico are formatted DD/MM/YYYY

Land Borders

And if you’re wondering, as far as I know- land borders are still issuing paper FMMs. So, please don’t forget to go to INM at the border if you are coming in for canje or if you’re a tourist. If you’re a resident, it is not necessary.

If you have more information regarding this process, please comment below and pay it forward. Let us know what you’ve experienced with this new digital FMM. Please give as much detail as possible about the steps you experienced.

Mariana Lima-Lange was born in Mexico and immigrated to the U.S. when she was a child. She spent every summer visiting family throughout Mexico and is very knowledgeable about Mexican culture, lifestyle, and traditions. She is fluent in both Spanish and English.


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