If you’re moving to Mexico and want or need to work locally, you will have to have a work permit. The most common way to get this process started is with a job offer. That means you will have already had to have been here and interviewed for a job which resulted in a job offer.
If you already have a Mexico visa temporary residency, you can go to your nearest Instituto Nacional de Migracion (National Immigration Institute) INM office with your job offer* and the required paperwork to apply for permission to work in the country ONLY if you are a student or foreign national who has a relationship with a Mexican national or a foreign national with a temporary or permanent resident visa (spouse, offspring or parents).
If you are without a temporary Mexico visa or the necessary relationship status, you will need the same official job offer* and the corresponding paperwork to apply for the work permit at the same time as applying for your Mexico visa outside the country at your nearest Mexican consult.
If you are a permanent Mexico resident you do not need permission to work in the country. You only need to update INM as to any employment changes.
When you apply for a work permit, you are asking for permission to engage in lucrative activities (visitante con actividades lucrativas). How does anyone know if you have permission to work or not?
When you’re approved to work, your INM card will say con actividades lucrativas in their system. Your visa has a barcode. It takes only a few minutes for them to check. If questioned by an INM officer at any time, he or she will ask to see your visa. If you’re working and your card is without permission (sin actividades lucrativas), you’re in for a fair bit of trouble and could be deported.
Living Mexico: Where to look for available jobs in Mexico
To begin the work permit process, you will need at least the following:
The company letter of intention to hire you. This letter will state their intention and relevant details, such as your activities, the duration of the job and how much you will be paid as well as their proof of registry. Make a copy of this letter.
*In Mexico, all companies must be approved and have permission from INM to hire foreign workers.
You will need originals of your birth certificate and anything that is relevant to your profession including degrees, titles and transcripts. You may even be asked to provide high school transcripts.
Remember to bring originals of all items. Once in Mexico you might be asked to have official copies (apostilles) made for the visa application or even for your job. Apostilles are typically cheap and easy to get in the US, but are expensive here in Mexico. You can always do this work in your home city outside Mexico.
You will also be required to show your visa, provide passport sized photos and provide proof of payment.
You will be expected to show up at the INM office in person to complete the process, so be patient. It’s not a fast or easy process, but it’s part of Living Mexico.
Here is the wording taken directly from the INM website:
Work permit for Mexico
According to Mexican Immigration Law which came into force on 9 November 2012, foreign nationals who are going to undertake “Lucrative Activities” the Mexican company/Institution must request the work permit at the National Migration Institute in Mexico www.inm.gob.mx
Visitor to perform lucrative activities in Mexico
“In the case of visitors entering Mexico to perform lucrative activities, the application for the entry permit is made directly before the National Institute of Immigration by the Mexican party interested in the visit of the foreign national. Foreign artists hired to perform presentations in Mexico as well as foreign nationals hired to work in Mexico request an entry permit from the INM”. (The process in Mexico it takes approximately 30 days).
This authority will send you a notification confirming that you have 15 days to come to the Consulate in order to issue the visa. Useful information about requirements and offices addresses of the INM can be found on www.inm.gob.mx
Once the Consular Section receives the entry permit directly from the National Institute of Immigration, (INM) the foreign national must apply in person at the Consulate and hand in his/her a) passport valid with photocopies of the pages where the personal details and holder’s photograph are found, b) Application form. It is recommended you fill in the form in Microsoft Word version, one recent (less than 30 days as of the date of application) equal passport size frontal photograph, without glasses, uncovered head and white background (when applying a visa), and payment of Consular fees . Processing time.- It takes two working days to issue the visa.
- If this office has not received the entry permit from the INM, it is recommended that the foreign national does not buy flight tickets.
- In case of any error on the entry permit, the Mexican party must apply for its correction at the INM and requests a new entry permit be sent to the Consular Section.
- As soon as you receive the authorization from the National Institute of Immigration, you can send us an email attaching the notification from the INM, so we will give you the appointment for the following one or two days. Please note that every applicant must come in person.
- This is a single entry Visa and will allow the applicants to enter to the country to exchange it for a Temporary Resident Card within 30 days upon their arrival at the nearest migration office (INM). The temporary resident card will be valid for one year and multiple entries.
- In order to obtain the Temporary Resident Card, the applicant must pay the migratory fees in Mexican pesos at the National Institute of Migration.