A Mexico visa is not required for visitors. The standard tourist visa, called an FM-T, is valid (or extendable) for six months without further possible extensions and is free. If you wish to stay longer than 90 days, you need to seek permission to remain in the country.
Mexican visa and immigration procedures vary. The first step is to find a good immigration attorney who speaks English. Interview at least two and do your due diligence. It’s a good idea to talk with expats that have been through the bureaucracy before you. On the whole, though, the country makes it easy for expats to move to Mexico.
The rules for residency visas changed substantially in November 2012. Beginning at that time, all existing expats with FM2 (immigrant) or FM3 (nonimmigrant) visas were converted to the new temporary and permanent-resident visas. The process was simplified and easy, except for the usual bureaucratic glitches, and current holders of temporary-resident visas still have a simplified process to permanent-resident visas with the right to generate an income in Mexico.
The first step towards obtaining a visa is to visit either your local Mexican consulate, or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website and download the visa application form. You will need to provide passport photos and the administration fee.
Other information that you will need to provide includes, a photo copy of the first two pages of your passport and a letter from your bank to say you have the required funds.
Most expats choose the Permanent Residency Visa. To qualify you need to be retired, and not earning any income from within Mexico. The permanent Retirement Visa comes with a path to citizenship.
You will need to show prove an income of 400 times the Mexican minimum wage.
To apply for the Temporal Visa you will need to provide proof of income. This visa is divided into two main categories.
To apply for the Work Visa, you will need to be the holder of a work permit. In most cases, the Mexican company hiring you will handle the application on your behalf.
The Student Visa is for international students wishing to study at a Mexican University. If you are studying in Mexico for more than 180 days, you will need this visa. If you are studying for less than 180 days and are from a friendly country, you can study without the visa.
The retirement visa lasts for up to 4 years. You can qualify by purchasing a Mexican property of more than US$215,000. Other ways to qualify are to prove a monthly income of more than US$1,600. You also need to show proof of a bank account with a balance of more than US$24,000 over the past 12 months.