FREE SEMINAR on moving to Mexico on a full time basis - Taxation and visa matters -

I am being shameless here.  I had to look through 200 emailed questions that had been rejected top find one where someone wanted to know about retiring to Mexico.  Why you ask?  Because I and others will be speaking at a free all day seminar on the subject in Vancouver, Calgary AND TORONTO In the next nine days.  This question actually came from someone in upper New York who wants to retire to Mexico because he had seen the information on the International Living site.  I guarantee that the US side of the process will be addressed if one American in the audience puts up their hand when I ask the question.
I am leaving the question out and putting in the information about the seminars and the program followed by my 15 page handout at the seminar.  Of course, if you go to the seminar, you get to hear the talk and ask some questions.  A drive from Buffalo to Toronto is not that far.  Seattle to Vancouver is not that far either.  My kids and I drove to Seattle two weeks ago to see Newfoundland's  GREAT BIG SEA. Remember, I charge $450 an hour to talk on the phone or in my office and I will be talking for two hours here with some questions. Why am I doing this seminar in three cities?  I am going and speaking with the intention of listening to all of the other speakers to learn as much as I can about the subject.  David Holroyd worked for me from 84 to 94 and then moved to Mexico and became a Mexican citizen.  Now he has the best of two worlds.  He gets to live in Mexico half the year and comes up to Vancouver's for 5 months every year to help me with our international tax business.  I just want to learn as much about Mexico as he does. So, although I welcome new business, I am not going with that in mind.  We actually have too many calls as it is.  I just want to LEARN myself for free.
The seminar details and registration can be found at:
Dates & Venues:
  a.. Vancouver - Saturday, October 18, 2008  -- Simon Fraser University, Harbour Centre 
  b.. Calgary -- Sunday, October 19, 2008 -- Delta Bow Valley, 209-4th Avenue SE, Calgary  
  c.. Toronto -- Saturday, October 25, 2008 -- University of Toronto, 89 Chestnut Street  
The actual program can be found at
this is the unformatted information for the agenda.
Winter and Retire in Mexico Seminars
                            2008 Series
Vancouver - Calgary - Toronto
08:00 - 09:00 AM - Doors open and registration 
09:00 - 09:30 Inauguration by the Ambassador to Mexico Emilio Goicoechea.
09:30 - 10:00 Tale of two regions: Puerto Vallarta and Ajijic
Vicky Pratt and Luci Merrit. Two Canadians living and working in Mexico
share their experiences. One lives in a small village in Central Mexico, the
other, in a resort on the Pacific coast. Both regions are popular destinations for
retirement and wintering.
10:00 - 10:30 International Taxes - Truths and Myths (Part I)
David Ingram - Canadian and Mexican taxation expert and media personality
introduces you to the truths and myths of filing international taxes.
10:30 - 11:30 Break for exhibits, etc.
11:30 - 12:00 Healthcare and your Insurance in Mexico
Tom Barroll - A practical presentation by a Canadian expert on healthcare
insurance - living and experiencing the healthcare services in Mexico.
12:00 - 12:40 Legal Aspects of Buying Real Estate in Mexico
Luis Brasdefer - Corporate and Real Estate Law expert established in
Vancouver, takes you through the steps and legal procedures of buying
property in Mexico.
12:40 - 12:50 Financing opportunities available in Mexico
12:50 - 14:30 L U N C H - Mexican Style Sponsored by LERECO
14:30 - 16:00 International Taxes - Truths and Myths (Part II)
David Ingram - A practical look at how to file your Canadian taxes as a
snowbird or resident in Mexico.
16:00 - 16:45 An Insiders View to Relocating and Buying in Mexico
Diane Barroll - Offers an insider's view on buying property in Mexico.
As a professional Canadian realtor living in Mexico, Diane brings a compelling
presentation filled with practical information and advice.
16:45 Draw - Win two tickets to Mexico with MEXICANA AIRLINES
Special Guest:
Cary Mullen (in Calgary)- Two-time Olympic Downhill Ski Champion
Currently holds the World Downhill Speed Record for skiing 97 miles per hour
down the world's most famous ski course in Kitzbuhel, Austria.
Cary and his family have chosen Mexico as their second home. 
The following is my handout at the seminar.  It deals with the taxation issues and the visa issues in some detail.  Remember though, that although Canadians can retire to Mexico and never file another Canadian income tax return and collect their OAS and CPP, etc., Americans must continue to file a US Income tax return each year whether they live in Canada, Mexico or Ethiopia.
david ingram's CEN-TA Group  
4466 Prospect Road                                taxman at
North Vancouver, BC, CANADA          voice (604) 980-0321
V7N 3L7                                                 fax     (604) 980-0325     
This is a Home Office - Please do not call before 10 AM and after 9 PM 7 days a week.  That means you CAN call from 10 AM to 9 PM SEVEN days a week (Vancouver or Los Angeles time)
Prepared for 2008 Canada to Mexico  Seminars - Vancouver Calgary Toronto
There is a misconception that Canadians and Americans in Mexico do not have to pay tax.  The REASON? Pure and simple.  Mexico has not been good at catching people.  They are very efficient at getting their money when one sells a property because if the Notario does not collect, the Notario PAYS.  As a consequence the NOTARIO always collects.  The following question and answer went to my free Q & A newsletter at  There is about a 1 in 20 chance that your question will be answered. The following material tries to answer a lot of situations and raises some things to think about.  It starts off  with a question from a Mexican citizen selling his own house when he comes to Canada or the USA and proves that we do go both ways under NAFTA.
 QUESTION: Hello DavidI am a naturalized US citizen  and I just sold my home in Mexico . My question is, will my money be taxed when it enters the USA? I plan to invest the money in a new house .      thanks -----------------------------------------------------------david ingram replies:
There are two problems.
One, unless the home qualified for/as a homestead in Mexico, the sale will be taxed in Mexico.
It used to be that the Mexican home was tax exempt for the Canadian or American  if it was your principal residence for two years but that was canceled in 2002.
What the Mexican Notary (Notarios) decides is critical  - the following was 'lifted' word for word from You may want to read the rest.
Under Mexican Income Tax Law, Notarios are jointly liable with the seller for all taxes due on the sale of real property in Mexico. If Hacienda (the equivalent to the Treasury Department in the US) decides the Notario did not calculate these taxes correctly, the Notario may be required by the tax authorities to make up the difference. Obviously, when they are doing dozens of transactions each year, very possibly involving millions of U.S. dollars, Notarios have to be very careful and will generally take a conservative approach.
The homestead tax exemption is still available to resident taxpayers in Mexico, and it is the Notario who decides who meets the requirements of tax residence. To make this determination, Notarios can base their decision on two different sets of laws: Mexican tax laws and Mexican immigration laws.  The main items would be Article IV of the US - Mexico or the Mexico - Canada Income Tax Treaties (see Canadian version following)
Since the Mexican Notary (Notario) is jointly responsible for the capital gains tax on real estate if it is due, the notary becomes the tax collector for the government.   As a consequence, foreigners are having a hard time  getting a tax free exemption.  San Miguel sales are a crap shoot with some people getting tax free status and others not.  Each case is being dealt with on an individual basis.  In Mexico City, Foreigners are routinely granted tax free status.  In most other places foreigners are being taxed on the sale of their Mexican home.
1.     However, if you are a Mexican National and this is/was your family home, it should be tax free.  
2.   If you have a green card in the US or a PR card in Canada or have been naturalized as a citizen or are resident in wither Canada and the US, you are taxable on your world income and the sale of a Mexican, Canadian, Australian or Ethiopian home/house is reportable and maybe taxable.  However, again, if it is the only home you own and you have physically occupied it for 24 out of the 60 months before sale, in the case of the US, you are eligible for up to $250,000 per owner tax free on your US 1040.
If you are a Canadian and a full time resident of Mexico with a FM-2 or FM-3 visa, you are NOT taxable in Canada under Article IV of the Treaty and will not be taxable on the sale if it is/was truly your personal residence.
Another factor is to 'top up' the value of the home on the day you actually immigrated to the USA or to Canada..
So the money itself is NOT taxable when you take it to the USA or to Canada to buy your home there but the Mexican sale itself may be taxable in both Mexico and /or the United States and/or Canada.
Article  IV (2) (a) of the Canada Mexico Treaty  reads as follows
2. Where by reason of the provisions of paragraph 1, an individual is a resident of both Contracting States, then the individual's status shall be determined as follows:
a) the individual shall be deemed to be a resident only of the State in which the individual has a permanent home available; if the individual has a permanent home available in both States, the individual shall be deemed to be a resident only of the State with which the individual's personal and economic relations are closer (centre of vital interests);
b) if the State in which the individual's centre of vital interests cannot be determined, or if there is not a permanent home available to the individual in either State, the individual shall be deemed to be a resident only of the State in which the individual has an habitual abode;
c) if the individual has an habitual abode in both States or in neither of them, the individual shall be deemed to be a resident only of the State of which the individual is a national;
d) if the individual is a national of both States or of neither of them, the competent authorities of the Contracting States shall settle the question by mutual agreement.
As you can see, the two governments have decided what country will tax you on your WORLD INCOME.  They will ALWAYS TAX YOU ON THE INCOME FROM WITHIN THEIR COUNTRY.
So what is taxable in Mexico -
Wages - if you are down there on a working visa and are earning money, you are taxable on your wages in Mexico first.  If you are in Mexico more than 183 days or earn over $16,000 Canadian in Mexico, you are taxable in Mexico first.  However, you are subject to Article XIV of the Treaty which might exempt it if you are in Mexico for less than 183 days and earn less than $16,000 Canadian Dollars. As follows:
Article 14
Income From Employment
1. Subject to the provisions of Articles 15 and 18, salaries, wages and other similar remuneration derived by a resident of a Contracting State in respect of an employment shall be taxable only in that State unless the employment is exercised in the other Contracting State. If the employment is so exercised, such remuneration as is derived there from may be taxed in that other State.
2. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph 1, remuneration derived by a resident of a Contracting State in respect of an employment exercised in the other Contracting State shall be taxable only in the first-mentioned State:
a) if the remuneration earned in the other Contracting State in the calendar year concerned does not exceed sixteen thousand Canadian dollars ($16,000) or its equivalent in Mexican pesos or such other amount as may be specified and agreed in letters exchanged between the competent authorities of the Contracting States; or
b) if
(i) the recipient is present in the other State for a period or periods not exceeding in the aggregate 183 days in any twelve month period commencing or ending in the calendar year concerned, and
(ii) the remuneration is paid by, or on behalf of, an employer who is not a resident of the other State, and such remuneration is not borne by a permanent establishment which the employer has in the other State.
3. Notwithstanding the preceding provisions of this Article, remuneration in respect of an employment exercised aboard a ship or aircraft operated in international traffic by a resident of a Contracting State, shall be taxable only in that State. However, if the remuneration is derived by a resident of the other Contracting State it shall be taxable only in that other State.
Dividends - If you receive Dividends from Canada while living in Mexico, the dividends are taxable first in Canada at 15% and secondly in Mexico.  Mexico will give credit for the 15% tax paid to Canada. See Article XI of the Treaty.
Article 10
1. Dividends paid by a company which is a resident of a Contracting State to a resident of the other Contracting State may be taxed in that other State.
2. However, such dividends may also be taxed in the Contracting State of which the company paying the dividends is a resident and according to the laws of that State, but if the beneficial owner of the dividends is a resident of the other Contracting State, the tax so charged shall not exceed:
a) 5 per cent of the gross amount of the dividends if the beneficial owner is a company that controls directly or indirectly at least 10 per cent of the voting power in the company paying the dividends; and
b) 15 per cent of the gross amount of the dividends, in all other cases.
Interest Paid from Canada to you while a resident of Mexico will be taxable first in Canada at 10% and then in Mexico.  Mexico will give credit for the tax paid to Canada.   See Article XI
Article 11
1. Interest arising in a Contracting State and paid to a resident of the other Contracting State may be taxed in that other State.
2. However, such interest may also be taxed in the Contracting State in which it arises and according to the laws of that State, but if the beneficial owner of the interest is a resident of the other Contracting State, the tax so charged shall not exceed 10 per cent of the gross amount of the interest.
Royalties (Art XII), Capital Gains (Art XIII) , Director's Fees (Art XV), Art and Sports Performers (Art (XVI)  and 
Pensions  (ART XVII) are all taxable in Mexico.
In the Case of Pensions, Canada and the US will withhold 15% first and Mexico will give credit for the tax paid to Canada when you prepare your Mexican return.
Article 17
Pensions and Annuities
1. Pensions and annuities arising in a Contracting State and paid to a resident of the other Contracting State may be taxed in that other State.
2. Pensions arising in a Contracting State and paid to a resident of the other Contracting State may also be taxed in the State in which they arise, and according to the law of that State. However, in the case of periodic pension payments, the tax so charged shall not exceed the lesser of:
a) 15 per cent of the gross amount of the payment; and 
b) the rate determined by reference to the amount of tax that the recipient of the payment would otherwise be required to pay for the year on the total amount of the periodic pension payments received by that individual in the year, if that individual were a resident of the Contracting State in which the payment arises. 
3. Annuities, other than pensions, arising in a Contracting State and paid to a resident of the other Contracting State may also be taxed in the State in which they arise, and according to the law of the State; but the tax so charged shall not exceed 15 per cent of the portion thereof that is subject to tax in that State. For the purposes of this Convention, the term "annuities" means a stated sum paid periodically at stated times during life or during a specified number of years, under an obligation to make the payments in return for adequate and full consideration (other than services rendered), but does not include a payment that is not a periodic payment or any annuity the cost of which was deductible for the purposes of taxation in the Contracting State in which it was acquired.
4. Notwithstanding anything in the Convention:
a) war pensions and allowances (including pensions and allowances paid to war veterans or paid as a consequence of damages or injuries suffered as a consequence of a war) arising in a Contracting State and paid to a resident of the other Contracting State shall be exempt from tax in that other State to the extent that they would be exempt from tax if received by a resident of the first-mentioned State; and 
b) alimony and other similar payments arising in a Contracting State and paid to a resident of the other Contracting State who is subject to tax therein in respect thereof, shall be taxable only in that other State. However, where a deduction or a credit for alimony or a similar payment is not allowed for the purposes of taxation in the Contracting State in which such payment arises, such payment shall not be taxable in the other Contracting State.
There are another  22 articles.  You can read them all at
Be careful. Do NOT listen to your cousin when he says he keeps his money in the Bahamas and there is no withholding tax there and he doesn't pay tax on his Bahamas or Panama or Swiss bank account or tax on his dividends from his account on the Isle of Mann.
You ARE taxable on your WORLD income if you retire to Mexico or are there more than 183 days a year.  However, the weather and the cost of living can make it more than worthwhile.
Estate Tax
I read that Mexico does not have an estate tax. Is that true?  If so, then if someone buys property in Mexico and then that person dies, what happens to the property?  I appreciate your time in responding to my query. Please call me if you need me to elaborate on my request for information. Regards,PXXXXXXCBC TORONTO 416-205-xxxx========================david ingram replies:I do NOT consider myself the ultimate source for Mexican tax information.  However, if you goto Google and type in Canada Mexico income tax expertI come in as one, two three and four.  AND if you use Canada Mexico US income tax expert,I still come in one, two three and fourThe truth is that the taxation of Canadians in Mexico is very hit and miss.  Most Canadians are NOT paying the tax they should be paying.  But then, few Canadians are paying the tax they should be paying to the United States either.  The following should help you with your story. If you need anything further, feel free to call me at (604) 657-8451.  I do not have a message system.  If it just rings or I do not answer, it is because I am busy and I leave it up to you to call back.  I have had to take this stand because I get some twenty phone calls and another twenty to one hundred email questions a day.  It is impossible to get back to people.   On the other hand, if you phone the office at (604) 980-0321, Gillian Bryan, Peter Ingram, David Holroyd (Mexican Citizen) or Mitchell Ingram can just about always look after a serious matter for me. The Following should answer your enquiry:Mexico does not have an Estate Tax.  It does have a capital gains tax which affects the sale of the property.  Unlike Canada and the United States, Mexico has an inflation index which acts to increase the ACB (adjusted cost base) of the property so that you only pay tax on the profit adjusted for inflation.  Let us assume that you bought a condo two years ago at $100,000 and then sold it at the end of the second year. Inflation during that period was 11% and 10% respectively. The price would be adjusted to $111,000 the first year and to $121,100 for the second year.  If sold for $221,100 the capital gain for Mexican purposes would be $100,000 and the profit for Canadian purposes would be $121,100.In addition, if the appraised value of the condo was only $200,000, you have the option in Mexico of using that as the sales price so for Mexican tax you would be reporting $78,900 and for Canada you would still be using $121,100.  Do not ask me why the Mexican Revenue People allow the lower figure.  It is a peculiar Gallic custom unique to Mexico.And, just to confuse the issue, if your son or daughter or other direct family member happened to have lived in the Mexican condo full time for the last two years, there is a further exemption and the property is exempt from Mexican income tax but still subject to Canadian Income tax. There is no limit on the amount of gain that can be tax free in Mexico and this would apply if you used the property part time for twenty years but full time for the last two years of ownership.  And, Of course, if you did not own a house in Canada, there is nothing stopping you from claiming the Mexican house tax free as your principal residence for Canadian Tax purposes.The tax rate starts at 3% and rises rapidly to 35% which results in a higher capital gains tax than Canada's Rate.In general, if a Canadian sold a property and made $100,000 and paid $25,000 tax to Mexico, there would be Canadian Tax because most provinces have an effective highest rate of tax on a Capital Gain of about 22% so the Tax paid to Mexico would wipe out the tax owing to Canada. I will explain the 22% Canadian Capital Gains tax in this manner.  We tax one half of the Capital Gain at the taxpayer's highest marginal tax rate which is 43 to 46% depending upon which province you are in.  Therefore, the example of $100,000 capital gain which Mexico taxed at 25% for $25,000 of tax, Canada would tax $50,000 at 44%  for a net of 22% of $100,000.  Canada would allow a foreign tax credit for half of the $25,000 paid to Mexico and there would be no or very little tax paid to Canada.Last but not least, when the Canadian dies and owns property in Mexico, the property would transfer to his or her heirs with no estate tax in Mexico.  Canada would deem the property to have been sold at death and the estate would have to pay any capital gains tax owing on any accumulated capital gain "unless" the property was left to a spouse, in which case the capital gain would be deferred until disposition by the surviving spouse.Hope this helps you PXXXX!The following is the front page of the Vancouver Mexican Consulate and gives a general overview of the visa rules to go to Mexico.
      You can read it yourself at:
      Canadian and U.S. citizens, as well as minors, do not require a visa to visit Mexico for up to 180 days; however, the immigration officer at the port of entry will determine the exact authorized period for each tourist, which is up to a maximum of six months. Visitors are required to have a Mexican tourist card, which can be obtained upon presentation of proof of citizenship (i.e. passport, birth certificate or citizenship card, plus a driver's license or an official I.D.) The Mexican tourist card can be obtained at this Consulate, airlines or at the port of entry.
      Landed immigrants of Canada traveling to Mexico as a Tourist.
      The National Institute of Immigration of the Ministry of the Interior in Mexico through this Consulate General of Mexico in Vancouver, informs that starting on December 1, 2003, landed immigrants of Canada do not require a visa. However, they do need a tourist card, which may be obtained at this Consulate, airlines or at the port of entry, and they must travel with the following:
        a.. Valid passport 
        b.. Landed immigrant ID card 
        c.. Round trip ticket 
        d.. Proof of economy solvency (credit card, traveler's cheques, etc.) 
      If a visa is required, the following are needed for the Tourist Visa application:
      1. - Application form. 
      2. - Valid passport (minimum validity of six months from the date of entry).
      3. - One recent front -view passport- sized photo. 
      4. - Canadian Visa. (Multiple entries)
      5. - U. S. Visa if your flight stops in the United States. 
      6. - Bank statement or international credit card.
      7. - Round Trip ticket or itinerary from a travel agency. 
      8. - Consular fee, as established at the time of application.
      Canadian citizens or landed immigrants who wish to enroll in a Mexican college or university to commence or continue studies, to conduct research to obtain a graduate certificate or to earn credits, must obtain a student visa. The following documents are required:
      1. - Visa application form.
      2. - Acceptance letter from the school or university in Mexico that the applicant wishes to attend.
      3. - Two recent, passport-sized photos (1.5 sq. in., no eyeglasses).
      4. - Bank statement or letter from the student's parent, sponsor or legal guardian certifying that he/she will receive at least US$300.00 or its equivalent in Canadian dollars, per month. This document must be notarized and authenticated. 
      5. - A consular visa fee in Canadian funds is required for certain nationalities.
      Within 30 days of arrival in Mexico, the student must register at the National Registry of Foreign Citizens, National Institute of Immigration of the Ministry of the Interior (Instituto Nacional de Migración, Secretaría de Gobernación). In Mexico City, this office is located at Homero 1832, Chapultepec Polanco, Miguel Hidalgo, CP.: 11570, México D.F. To register outside of Mexico City, please contact the regional offices of the Ministry of the Interior. 
      A person entering under a student visa who would like to engage in an internship program after his/her study program must change his/her migratory status at the Mexican National Institute of Immigration of the Ministry of the Interior.
        a.. This FM-3 permits the applicant to stay in Mexico for a period of one year, and permits multiple entries during the time is valid. 
        b.. The FM-3 is renewable four times.  A renewal is granted by the Ministry of the Interior (Secretaría de Gobernación) and must be applied for through any Immigration Officer while in Mexico. 
        c.. The student visa must be used within 90 days after the day of issue. 
        d.. Students are not allowed to work or engage in any remunerative or lucrative activity, unless an internship participates as part of the study program. 
        e.. A student enrolling in a Spanish language course that will not count for any credits, and that lasts a maximum of 180 days, may enter as a tourist. 
        f.. Consular fee in Canadian funds can be paid in cash or money order payable to the Consulate General of Mexico. 
        g.. A student's wife and children may also be admitted and will be issued similar documents.  Proof of relationship must be presented (Marriage or Birth Certificates).  Financial resources equivalent to another 25% of US$300.00 per dependent must be presented. 
        h.. Please note that foreign students in Mexico are require to be registered in the "Registro Nacional de Extranjeros" within the following 30 days after their arrival. 
      Foreigners wishing to enter to Mexico for certain business activities, (such as to attend business conferences, negotiate contracts, purchase goods for export, interview partners, sales or manufacturing representatives, or to investigate mining exploration,) may apply for a multiple entry visa at this Consulate General upon presentation of the following documents:
        a.. Application form provided by the Mexican Consulate. 
        b.. Valid passport (minimum validity of six months from the date of entry). 
        c.. Two recent front -view passport- sized photos. 
        d.. A letter from the company represented or by the interested individual if traveling alone, stating the specific purpose and the length of the trip, and guaranteeing that wages and all expenses will be paid by the company or the individual and not by anyone in Mexico. 
        e.. A letter from the company's bank attesting to the financial situation of the company represented or of the interested party. 
        f.. Payment of the consular fee, as established at the time of application. 
      Foreigners wishing to enter Mexico in order to perform specialized services in the fields of industry and trade, can obtain the necessary entry permit from a Mexican Consulate upon presentation of the following document, in addition to the documents mentioned above for the FM3 Visa:
        a.. A letter from the Mexican company stating the need for a specialized technician for a specific type of work, and addressed to the Consulate General of Mexico. 
      Canadian and U.S. citizens intending to do business or to explore the market, do not require a visa to enter to Mexico but need to fill out a form called "FMN 30 days" that can be obtained free at this office, airlines or at the port of entry.
      The FMN form can be granted upon the presentation of a passport, or a certified copy of a birth certificate or citizenship card, plus a recent picture identification and letter from the company.
      For stays longer than 30 days, the interested parties should follow the procedure mentioned to obtain a business visa. (FM3).
        a.. The applicant must understand that it is entirely up to the Consulate General of Mexico to determine which classification is applicable to each case, and which is based on the initial declaration by the individual on their intended activities in Mexico. 
        c.. The consular fees mentioned are in Canadian dollars, and are quoted at the present rate of exchange and subject to change. 
        d.. They can be paid by company check, money order, or cash (when applying in person); personal checks are not accepted. 
        e.. The visas should be used within 90 days after date of issue. 
You can find an FM3 application at
Question from
I am a Canadian who wants to retire to Mexico.  Can it be done?
david ingram replies:
 Certainly!  An American or a Canadian can retire to Mexico quite easily with the acquisition of an FM-2 or FM-3 visa.
 David Holroyd who works here during the tax season is a good example.  He decided to move to Mexico back in 1994. Today, he is a Mexican Citizen living in Guadalajara who comes up and helps me out for six or seven months.  The only thing wrong for David is that he is here for half the winter when it is definitely warmer in Mexico.
 A tourist needs an FMT visa and it is important that it not be lost because it has to be turned in when you leave the country.  Typically FMT's are issued for 90 days if you arrive by plane and up to 180 days if you arrive by automobile.  If you go by plane, you can renew the FMT for an additional 90 days by visiting any Mexican Immigration office. Whatever you do, do NOT work with an FMT.  Do NOT even volunteer at a local animal shelter or library. You can get the FMT application at the airport as you board your flight at any Mexican Consulate or at the border if you drive over.  It is available on the ship if you are on a cruise.  If you are sailing your own boat, make sure you have it in your possession BEFORE sailing into Mexican waters. i.e. stop at a border point and get it as you enter.
 If you want to go for up to a year as a non-immigrant, you require an FM-3.  This visa can be renewed on an annual basis and after 5 years, you can upgrade to an FM-2 or just renew the FM-3 -  The FM-3 is a non-immigrant visa that does NOT allow you to work or perform ANY services - DO NOT work with an FMT either. 
 If you obtained your FM-3 through a Mexican Consulate, you must register it with a local Mexican Immigration Office within 45 days of entering Mexico.
This is an immigration visa which must be renewed for five years before you can apply for a permanent resident status. You will likely want to use a Mexican attorney to help you with this one for the first year.
 The visa MUST be obtained through a Mexican consulate 
 There are 4 in Canada at:
710-1177 West Hastings St., Vancouver, B.C. V6E 2K3
Tel: (604) 684-1859 * Fax: (604) 684-2485
Ottawa (Embassy of Mexico)
45 O'Connor Suite 1500, Ottawa, Ont. K1P 1A4 Tel: (613) 233 8988 * Fax: (613) 235 9123
199 Bay St., Suite 4440, Commerce Court West
Toronto, Ont. M5L 1E9
Tel: (416) 368-1847 * Fax: (416) 368-8141
2055 rue Peel, Suite 1000 Montreal, Québec, H3A 1V4 Canadá
Tel: (514) 288 2502 y (514) 288 2707 * Fax: (514) 288 8287
There are four in Arizona alone at:
1201 F Avenue, Douglas, AZ 85607
Tel: (520) 364-3142 * Fax: (520) 364-1379
571 N. Grand Ave., Nogales, AZ 85621
Tel: (520) 287-2521 * Fax: (520) 287-3175
1990 W. Camelback, Suite 110, Phoenix, AX 85015
Tel: (602) 242-7398 * Fax: 242-2957
553 S. Stone Ave., Tuscon, AZ 85701
Tel: (520) 882-5595 * Fax: (520) 882-8959
E-mail: contucmx at
and ten in California and an embassy in Washington and an excellent Consulate in New York (my favourite)  You can find lots to deal with.
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