Being a foreigner here in Mexico, in order to work you have to get a working Visa; also known as an FM2 or FM3. When I first arrived it was actually extremely easy for me to get my FM3 as the company that I started working for had a lawyer with immigration connections and it only took a few days for me to get all the papers in order. Unfortunately it is not that easy anymore. Due to recent immigrations laws, people wishing to stay and work in Mexico now need to apply for their working visa before they even arrive in the country. They are also now requesting, although it is not yet an official requirement, that people speak at least basic level spanish before entering the country to work. It is worth mentioning that you are able to enter Mexico on a tourist visa and stay for up to 6 months however you are not allowed to work during this time.
Unlike most other countries where, once you have the visa you are able to work anywhere you wish, here in Mexico the working visa is job specific so it makes it extremely complicated if you start working in a place or a position that you are not happy with as it can take up to 3 months to change the details on the visa itself and the law states that you are not allowed to work during this process. This can either mean that the company hiring you is not willing to wait 3 months for their new employee or simply you do not have enough money to survive the 3 months without any form of income.
I have actually been very lucky during my time here and all of the jobs I have had have been brilliant and I’ve loved them, I’ve only ever changed jobs due to a better offer coming along rather than for my own personal preference. When applying for a job here in Mexico it is worth asking if the company has an immigration lawyer and if the company itself will be willing to cover your immigrations costs as it can work out to be rather expensive. The visa is only valid for 1 year, so you are required to renew it every year.
The FM3 visa is the initial working visa here in Mexico and after an established period of time (usually 5 years) you are able to change your imigration status and apply for an FM2 which is essentially the same however it restricts the amount of time you are able to leave the country at any given moment but it does provide you with additional benefits such as being able to apply for credit. The process used to be Fm3, Fm2 and then Mexican nationality however they have no introduced an additional stage which is permanent resident, this is the stage that I am at now. Being a British citizen I am able to have dual nationality so my ultimate aim is to adquire Mexican nationality as well as my own however there are many countries that don’t allow dual citizenship and therefore it will be up to the individual if they are willing to give up their own nationality in order to take Mexican nationality or if they will just keep their original passport and remain in Mexico on a visa basis.
The immigration laws are always being changed and updated so it is advisable to continuously check with the local immigration office or if you have an immigration lawyer they should advise you of any giving changes. The information above is applicable for the immigration offices here in Playa Del Carmen and Cancun however immigration offices in other parts of the country may have their own set of rules and requirements.