Visas and Work Permits — 10 min
If you’re hiring in Mexico or relocating an existing employee, they must be eligible to work there.
If the employee is not a Mexican citizen, this means that you’ll have to obtain the correct work permits and visa for them. This can be tricky, especially if you have no prior knowledge of Mexico’s labor and immigration laws. Ongoing compliance while hiring in Mexico also remains daunting for employers, as failing to keep up with employment laws and regulations in Mexico can lead to fines, penalties, or legal issues.
Alternatively, companies can use an employer of record to make it simple to hire in Mexico (especially, if you don’t have a local entity). Remote’s global employment services include guidance from an expert team that can help you sort out the relevant work permits and visas.
In this guide, we’ll explain an overview of work permits and visas in Mexico, and show you the various steps you may need to take to acquire them (depending on your employee’s status). We’ll also discuss how using an EOR makes it quick, safe, and compliant to hire or relocate employees to Mexico.
Mexico’s proximity to the US, both geographically and culturally, makes it a solid destination for employers who want to hire diverse and multi-skilled talent.
When hiring remote employees living in Mexico (or anywhere in the world), employers have to ensure that they are legally entitled to work there. This means they’ll have to assess the employee’s work eligibility and make sure they have all relevant permits and visas to work in Mexico.
In Mexico, the Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM) oversees immigration permits and holds companies accountable if they employ individuals without the relevant work permits. Employers that don’t comply with Mexican immigration laws can face fines, penalties, and legal issues.
Be aware that holding a tourist visa does not necessarily entitle an individual to work while living in Mexico. Many international governments are more strictly enforcing these laws because of the increase in digital nomads.
Mexican citizens are, by default, eligible to work in Mexico (even if they currently live abroad), as are permanent residents. If the employee is neither of these, they will need to obtain a residence visa and a work permit.
The process of checking employee work authorization, verifying their eligibility, and work permit approvals can be a long-winded process that can take a long time. You can make your life easier by signing up for Remote’s EOR services.
Our Mobility team has in-depth knowledge of local employment laws and will be able to handle the employee relocation process for you quickly and compliantly. To learn more, read our blog on how to handle international employee relocation.
To be eligible for a work visa in Mexico, employees will need an official signed job offer from a Mexican employer. For this reason, you will need to establish a local entity or arrange a partnership with a global staffing solution before an employee can obtain a work visa.
Permanent residents of Mexico are not required to obtain a work visa, as the right to work is included in their permanent residency. However, to be eligible for a work visa in Mexico, individuals must be eligible for a temporary Mexican residency.
All non-citizens in Mexico require a work visa or work permit to be entitled to work while staying in Mexico. Employees living in Mexico will need one of the following work permits: a temporary resident visa or a permanent resident visa (more on this below).
Below are details of the two long-stay visa types, employees will need to apply for if they plan to live in Mexico for more than 180 days:
Temporary Resident Visa. This visa is available for individuals living in Mexico between 180 days and four years. After four years, the Temporary Resident Visa cannot be renewed, and the employee will need to return to their country of origin or apply for a permanent resident visa. Holders of a Mexico Temporary Resident Visa will also need a work permit to be legally allowed to work. To be eligible for this visa, employees will have to fulfill one of the eligibility requirements listed in the link in the above section. In addition, if an employee is relocating, the employer must be registered with the INM to issue a valid job offer to the employee.
Permanent Resident Visa. The Mexico Permanent Resident Visa allows an individual to live in Mexico indefinitely or after their temporary resident visa has expired. In addition, an employee possessing this visa does not need a secondary work permit.
To obtain this document, you — the employer — must apply on the employee’s behalf. Individuals cannot submit a request on their own.
To do this, you will first need to be registered as an employer with the National Institute of Migration (NMI) in Mexico. You can then submit your request through the NMI online portal.
Once the request has been authorized, you will receive a case number, known as a Unique Processing Number (NUT). The employee can then use this number to arrange an appointment with their nearest Mexican consulate or embassy. Note that this initial interview must take place in person, in the employee’s country — not in Mexico.
They will also need to provide:
A signed and completed visa application form
A valid passport (with copies)
Proof of residence in their current country
Proof of qualifications and skills, if relevant
Note that, if these documents are not in English or Spanish, they will need to be translated and apostilled.
If the interview is successful, the employee will be issued with a single-entry visa, allowing them six months to enter Mexico. They will then have 30 days from the point of entry to claim their Temporary Resident Card with a work permit.
This permit lasts for up to four years, after which the employee can apply for permanent residency in Mexico.
Remote can assist you throughout this entire process — from establishing the employee’s eligibility to assisting you with the application. To learn more, check out our dedicated guide on relocation below.
Digital nomads traveling to Mexico cannot work and make money while staying on a tourist visa. This means that digital nomads must obtain a different type of visa or work permit if they wish to work in Mexico.
Mexico does not have a specialist digital nomad visa. However, the Mexican government is discussing the potential of implementing such a visa in the future.
Meanwhile, the employee can apply for a Temporary Resident Visa (without a work permit). This visa allows holders to work remotely in Mexico for anywhere between six months and four years, although there are two key caveats to this.
Firstly, your company must not be registered as an employer with an entity in Mexico. If this is the case, the employee will need to obtain a work permit through the process described above.
Secondly, the employee must be able to demonstrate that they can support themselves financially. Different countries have different thresholds in this regard, so the employee will need to check with their embassy when they make their application.
Even if the employee is eligible to work in Mexico, you’ll still need to compliantly hire them in the country via your own legal entity or an employer of record (EOR).
You’ll have to open an entity in Mexico regardless of whether you’re hiring a Mexican citizen, a permanent resident, or a temporary resident on a work permit. There are significant financial and administrative costs if you have to figure out the logistics and paperwork involved in establishing your entity in Mexico.
Alternatively, partnering with a reliable EOR can make global hiring much easier. Remote has deep expertise in global employment regulations, including immigration laws. Our employment experts can take steps to ensure you operate in full compliance with Mexican labor laws and regulations.
To learn more about what EORs are and when to use one, check out our in-depth guide on how to use an EOR in Mexico.
As you can see, there’s a lot of administrative work involved in hiring an employee in Mexico or relocating an existing employee to the country.
To reduce the manual paperwork and legal risks involved in navigating visas and work permits yourself, it’s best to partner with Remote. Our team of Mobility specialists can help you:
Perform employee work authorization checks and help you understand relevant immigration laws that apply to team members
Prepare, process, and submit relevant documentation required for work visa applications
Automatically renew and extend work permits on time and conduct regular audits to verify documentation and adherence to up-to-date immigration laws
Minimize legal risks by ensuring ongoing compliance with labor rules in Mexico
Offer expert advice on the nuances of international hiring in Mexico and beyond.
Read Remote’s comprehensive Relocation Guide for more information about the critical steps involved in employee relocation. Book a consultation with our friendly team for more information about how Remote can help you secure a work permit or visa for team members in Mexico.
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