20 March, 2022

When you’re a resident of México, either permanent or temporary, traveling outside the country might be a tad confusing at first. As a visitor you will have filled out the FMM whenever you came into México. Immigration will have kept the top part, and you give them the bottom half when you leave. Other than remembering to enter the dates as DD MM YYYY, and having to keep track of it, the process is pretty easy.

Residents do it the opposite way. When you leave México, you need to stop in the immigration office at the airport and fill out an FMM. The bottom part gets turned in at either the ticket counter or the gate, and then the top half is given to immigration when you return. The video below says that the agent will write that you’re a resident on the form – but I do it myself to make sure it happens. Big letters. RESIDENTE TEMPORAL or RESIDENTE PERMANENTE at the top. On both sections of the form.

This all applies to travel by air. If you drive or walk across the border things change. The immigration office at the cross border express (CBX) from Tijuana to San Ysidro won’t give you a form. At least they didn’t when I used them. And they don’t ask for anything when you return. But what happens if you’re exiting via the CBX, and then flying back in? Who knows! I don’t. Perhaps now that they’re no longer issuing FMM’s for a default 180 days things have changed. Send me an email if you know!

Other land border crossings DO use the FMM, and you’ll have to stop at whatever checkpoint there is where you’re crossing and complete the process – both leaving and entering México.

I bring this process up because doing it the wrong way can cause your residency to revert back to a visitor status. The last time I flew into México I heard the people in the row ahead of me tell the flight attendant that they didn’t need to fill out the FMM’s because they were residents. I thought they’d followed the procedure and just needed to turn the top part in at immigration. Well, they were ahead of me in the line for immigration and hadn’t followed procedures when they left. Immigration was now having them fill out an FMM, and I would bet that they had the fun of going through their residency approval process a second time. It’s an expensive and time consuming mistake.

The bottom line is – if you have any questions at all about this, or any other process, ASK. Get answers before you compromise your residency status.

And here’s a great video from QRoo Paul about using FMM’s when you’re a resident:

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