In this report, I will explain why Canadians and Americans are being denied entry into Mexico. Mexican authorities have also started stopping Americans and Canadians randomly in tourist areas and asking for proof they are in Mexico legally.
After I explain what is happening in Mexico, I will give you my top tips on how to gain entry into Mexico for the full 180 days, and how to not get detained or deported if you are stopped at random by Mexican immigration authorities while in Mexico.
What is Happening in Mexico?
Mexico has suddenly become more aggressive in enforcing its immigration laws. Here are some of the stories Americans and Canadians have begun reporting on social media. But first, I am not telling you that these stories are all 100% true. I think a few of them are either exaggerating the facts or not telling the whole story.
Many people that have been coming to Mexico for years expect everything to be the same. So when an official starts asking them questions, a few get angry at the officials and start saying stupid things that don’t help their case.
A few raise their voice and say things like, “You can’t ask me for a return ticket proof! I have been coming to Mexico for years and nobody has ever asked for proof of a return ticket or onward flight,” or “I have been to Mexico 20 times and immigration has never asked me for proof of where I am staying.”
So at least some of these stories are because people were rude, angry, or arrogant when they addressed the immigration official. Immigration officials all over the world have discretion about who they let enter the country and for how long. So it is a very bad idea to be rude to them.
But I doubt more than 10% of the cases I read online are purely because of rudeness. So this is not the only reason some people are being treated differently. The fact is, things have changed in Mexico and you need to be aware of how to handle yourself differently now.
You can no longer assume things are the same as the last time you entered Mexico. Let me explain.
There are just too many of these reports popping up on social media lately, so you need to know the new dance when you are standing in front of a Mexican immigration official. My goal is to throw enough cold water in your face, so you will take my suggested ideas below seriously.
You need to get ready in case these problems happen to you.
First I will give you 4 sample problems that have been reported by many different people, and then I will tell you how to increase your chances of getting what you want from the immigration official when they are about to do these things to you.
Story 1: An American woman, that had never been to Mexico before, tried to enter Mexico with her printed proof of a return flight to the USA 35 days later. She even had proof printed out of where she was staying during the 35 days she was visiting Mexico. The immigration official only gave her 30 days to be in Mexico, even though her return flight was in 35 days.
This is a worst-case scenario. I will explain later why. I have to stay, I doubt all of the facts of this case were reported in the social media account of the story. But there are cases where an immigration official will refuse entry even if all of that is true. Do you know what they are? I will answer that later in this report, but I will share a few more stories first.
Story 2: An American left Mexico a few days before their 180-day visa stamp expired. They did a visa run to the USA for 7 days and then returned to Mexico to get another 180-day visa stamp. They were given only 7 days upon their reentry into Mexico.
This story is more believable for reasons I will explain in a moment.
Story 3: A Canadian was stopped randomly in Mexico by an immigration official. They were detained and locked up by the official because they did not have the original documents on them that they were legally in Mexico. Since they were unable to prove they were in Mexico legally, they were deported back to Canada.
This story is believable. Mexico, like any other country, will deport people that overstay the time they are given upon entry. But if you have overstayed your visa, I have some tips for you to try to get out of trouble without being detained.
Story 4: An American has lived in Mexico for several years by doing visa runs every 180 days. They tried to do a visa run recently and were only given 14 days to enter Mexico to collect their personal possessions.
If you read on ex-pat social media you will find many stories like this that have been shared over the last 60 days. I only share a few example accounts that I can use to share my tips about how to avoid a negative experience when entering Mexico or being stopped and deported.
Until the last few months, Americans, Canadians, Europeans, and others from favored countries were routinely granted reentry into Mexico with visa-free 180-day stamps, over and over again. Until the last 60 days, Mexican immigration officials rarely reduced the number of visa-free days they stamped in your passport upon reentry. In the past, you also heard very few stories on social media about foreign visitors being stopped on the street and asking for proof of their legality. That has become common now.
In the past, Mexican immigration officials often paid very little attention even if you had reentered many times for back-to-back 180-day visa runs to nearby countries. People from favored nations would just leave Mexico and routinely reenter Mexico after a few days and get another 180-days visa-free with very few questions from immigration officials.
But things have changed over the last 60 days. If you start investigating these kinds of troubling stories, you will find they are happening over and over again to Americans, Canadians, Europeans and other favored nations trying to reenter Mexico.
Nothing has changed, everything is the same
Other people from favored nations are reporting that everything is the same when they re-enter Mexico. They are still getting their 180 days visa run stamps when they reentered Mexico recently.
Some people are commenting and saying these stories are just BS. They have not been stopped randomly and they don’t know anybody that has been stopped. If they are right, then nothing has changed.
But if you ask Mexican immigration agents they will tell you that things have changed and you need to learn the new dance.
Top 10 Tips for Entering Mexico
So here are my tips for how to reduce the chances you will be short-changed on your 180 days. These tips are not 100% guaranteed. They will just increase the chances you will be able to stay longer in Mexico on each visit.
I have been to Mexico at least 20 times in my life. I have only been asked for a return ticket maybe twice in 40 years. That has changed. Officials have always had the right to ask for it, they just rarely did in the past.
If you are trying to get a 180-day tourist stamp entering Mexico, you need proof of a return ticket or onward flight leaving Mexico to show the immigration officials. This is proof to them that you are not intending to overstay your 180-day stamp.
I recommend printing it out so you can hand it to them if necessary. There is only one exception. If you have temporary or permanent Mexican residency you will not need a return or onward flight. But everyone else needs this now.
It is possible you won’t be asked for it, but I wouldn’t fly to any country without it anymore.
Before I tell you the second thing you need to enter Mexico, I want you to understand that the world has changed since the Pandemic started. Immigration officials all over the world are now taking their job more seriously. Make sure to watch my video: Travel Warning How to Restart International Travel before you jump on a plane no matter where you are going in the world.
Proof of Where You Are Staying
In the past, I was rarely ever asked for proof of where I am staying when I enter Mexico. I just filled out the entry card I was given on the airplane and walked up to Mexican immigration officials.
But last year, when I flew into Mexico City, they asked me where I was staying. I was following my previous post-pandemic travel warning video, so I had it on me. So don’t be surprised if they ask. They are looking for holes in your story. If you have proof of where you are staying for the entire period you are asking for plus a return ticket on the date it ends, you are increasing your chances of getting the full 180 days.
After I am finished telling you all of my tips about getting into Mexico, I will tell you how to supercharge your chances of getting the full 180 days.
Complete Your FMM Card With 180 Days
Complete your FMM card before you fly to Mexico. You can go to one of the private websites to create and print your FMM card but they are likely to charge you a little more than the official Mexican website, link provided below. If that first official website is down, try this one.
On the official website, you can select an icon to switch to the English language form or whatever language you understand. You can also right-click in Google Chrome and translate from Spanish to English. After completing the online form, you must print it and hand it to the immigration official upon arrival in Mexico.
Some people say you are guaranteed to get the full 180 days if the printed card you hand the immigration official has the full 180 days. But I don’t agree. I believe the official still has the discretion to change the number of days on the form.
I just think that by bringing the completed FMM card with 180 days already filled in, you just make it easier for the official to just stamp the document without reducing the number of days. But they can change it. So smile and answer questions politely when you approach the official.
Complete Mexican Health Questionaire for QR Code
There is no negative COVID test or vaccine requirement to enter Mexico presently. But you are required to complete the health questionnaire before boarding your flight to Mexico. You register yourself here and then complete the questionnaire.
You can then download the QR code onto your smartphone and scan it at the gate for flights within Mexico. You should also print a copy so you can show it to the airlines when boarding your flight to Mexico.
Okay, now it is time to learn how to supercharge your chances of getting the full 180 days when you are entering Mexico.
Supercharge your chances of getting the full 180 days
I am not telling you that you will not get the full 180 days if you do everything I listed above. The immigration officials have almost complete discretion in deciding the number of days. And nobody knows exactly what will work with any given agent that you are standing in front of.
The rules are changed and they are not in writing. The only thing we know for sure, is they are deciding whether or not to short-change you on the number of days.
If they believe you, and they trust what you are saying, they are more likely to stamp your FMM card without changing the number of days. So they are not just listening to what you say, and reading your documents, and looking up your past travels listed in their computer system, and the other stamps in your passport, they are also watching your mannerisms and deciding if they believe you.
If they believe you are a good risk to do what you say, your chances are better to get the full 180 days. But if they think you are feeding them a pile of crap, they are likely to short-change the number of days they give you or deny you entry at all.
When you walk about to the Mexican immigration officer, there are two things you have to get right. One is the back story of why you are asking for a 180-day visa. The other is making sure the agent is clear about how many days you want to stay in Mexico.
You need to have a small piece of paper that has the following information in Spanish, so you are not denied the correct number of days just because the agent didn’t read your documents clearly.
Why? An English couple just flew into Cancun airport with a return ticket in 7 weeks. The immigration official asked how long they would be in Mexico and the couple answered 7 weeks. The official stamped their passport for 7 days.
Many suspect this was just an error of translation. When they visited immigration, they were told the officials’ decisions stand. They would not change it. So they only got 7 days in Mexico. So make to point to this sentence when the agent asks you how long you will be in Mexico. Then hand them your return flight proof.
Mi vuelo saliendo de México es en 62 días. Vuelo desde México el 13 de febrero de 2022. ¿Puedo tener al menos 62 días?
My flight leaving Mexico is in 62 days. I fly out of Mexico on February 13, 2022. May I please have at least 62 days?
So what are these red flags they may be looking for that you are not on the up and up? These are the theories you will read online that people have, but nobody knows for sure.
Theories of Tourist Visa Abuse
You are Not A Tourist: They look at your past history of coming and going from Mexico and they decide that you are actually living in Mexico but you are calling yourself a tourist in your entry documents.
You are just doing visa runs every 180 days so you can avoid getting applying for residency in Mexico. If that is what you are doing, you may eventually run into an immigration official that decides to force you to apply for residency in Mexico.
They can decide to deny you entry if you are an egregious example of using visa runs instead of applying for residency. Or, if they are more polite, they could just give you a few weeks’ entry into Mexico which they know you are likely to use to gather your personal possessions and go back to your home country.
Or, they may decide to just stamp you for another 180 days. It could be that there is some kind of secret policy inside Mexico Immigration that only a few unlikely people per agent per month are denied the 180 days.
This is just conjecture on my part. But just 5 or 10 per month would get everyone talking about it on social media (like what is happening now) and a bunch of people would finally go apply for residency. Bad news spreads like wildfire on social media.
So this could get more people applying for residency in Mexico. By the way, applying for residency in Mexico is no big deal if you fall into this category. I will put a link below to a video I did with a friend that just got his residency in Mexico.
Theories of Working in Mexico without Work Visa
If you are not retired on a pension but are younger and closer to normal working age, the Mexican immigration official may wonder if you plan on working in Mexico.
Mexico has no digital nomad visa yet. But am official might wonder how you are paying for your living expenses in Mexico? They may wonder if you are working under the table for a Mexican company taking a job from a local.
So you should think about what you would say if the conversation goes in that direction. They may not be direct about it. They may just ask what kind of work you do? The best policy is always to just tell the truth.
So think about how you would reduce their fear that you are in Mexico taking a local’s job. If you are staying free at a time share resort, for example, that could raise some questions in their mind. So just think this one through.
So, how do you supercharge your chances of getting the full 180 days?
Be prepared to tell a cohesive story about why you are coming to Mexico for 180 days. For example, we have spent about 12 months of the last 3 years in Mexico. We were touring around Mexico trying to find the best place to retire.
So if an official asked me why I needed 180 days if I were reentering Mexico tomorrow, I would tell the truth. Over the last 3 years, we have visited about 25 cities in Mexico. We are not yet ready to move to Mexico.
We want to visit our top three favorite places in Mexico for a little longer each before making a final decision. Once we have visited our top three places, we will make a final decision between moving to Mexico or the Philippines. We will apply for residency after making that decision.
Without our backstory, they would look in the database and see all the time we have spent in Mexico over the last 3 years. Without me painting the picture for them, they could start thinking we are not really tourists but should be applying for residency at this time.
But now, added by my backstory about why we already spent so much time here over the last few years, yet still want another 180 days tourist stamp, they are more likely to just stamp my FMM card for 180 days without making changes.
Here is another example. Let’s say that I was a Canadian snowbird that flew down to Mexico every year for the last 20 years and spent 3 to 4 of the coldest months in Mexico each year. When they look in my passport and see all the Mexico stamps, they are more likely to see that I am not actually a resident of Mexico. I am just a Canadian that loves Mexico in my winter months.
So the way you supercharge your chances of getting another 180 days is to share the backstory of why you are just a tourist even though you come to Mexico often. But if you are really just a resident of Mexico, living in the same place, and following the same pattern of visa runs every 180 days, you are going to have a hard time supercharging your story. Maybe it is time to apply for residency.
My friend Charles in the video link I gave above explains how to get residency. But what if you don’t have the monthly income or money in the bank to apply for residency? Then I suggest you listen to my video about the other kinds of visas you might qualify for such as student visas, work visas, charitable work visas, or business visas. Or, consider jumping on the slow travel world highway and living on tourist visas for the next 14 years, link provided.
Okay, let’s assume you are in Mexico now. How do you avoid getting deported?
Random Foreigner Stops and Checkpoints
When you are wandering around Mexico enjoying your time there you might now be approached by Mexican Immigration officials and asked for proof that you are entitled to still be in Mexico.
This one is easy to solve. You must present them with original copies of your passport and your stamped FMM card. So you must carry both on you at all times.
I know what you are thinking. I thought you told me never to have my passport or other legal documents on my person as I wander around Mexico? I did. But that has changed. They are stopping people randomly in Mexico and they must have the originals in order to not be detained.
Yes, even though you rarely ever have more than some money and a bathing suit and flip-flops on your person as you enjoy yourself in Mexico. Those days are over. You can no longer just carry a PDF copy of these documents and show them on your smartphone screen.
There are now fake documents all over Mexico so the authorities are only accepting originals now. So buy yourself a waterproof bag and double bag your passport and your FMM card in a sandwich bag inside your waterproof bag and hang it on your neck.
Yes, I know that most of you have not been stopped and that even some of you were able to just show copies when you were stopped recently, but that is no longer guaranteed like in years past. You need the originals now according to the Mexican immigration authorities.
Finally, if you have been in Mexico since 2019 and were stuck there during the pandemic and currently are on an expired 180 visa stamp, you should contact a visa agent in Mexico and apply for the regularization program.
This is program was started because people were not able to leave Mexico during the pandemic. The nice thing about this program, if you are able to qualify for it, is you don’t have to leave Mexico to become regularized. Contact a qualified Mexican visa agent for more details.
Thanks for watching our report, why are Americans are being denied entry into Mexico now?
This is Dan from Vagabond Awake, the Youtube channel for Vagabond Buddha. The world is your home. What time will you be home for dinner?