How to fill out Mexican Immigration(FMM) and Customs forms.
If this is your first time to Mexico, the immigration process can be a little confusing. There are two documents required for residents of most countries. Citizens of the USA, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and most EU countries do not need visas to enter Mexico as tourists for less than 180 days. Other Europeans can stay for 90 days. Non-US citizens travelling via the US, however, may need a US visa. Here are the two documents required by Mexico:
- The Immigration form (FMM). Each person must have one completed, including children.
- The Customs form. This is one per family. A family member is defined as someone with the same last name living at the same address as the head of household.
The flight attendant will go over the instructions quickly but it's normally done over the loud speaker as the other flight attendants are distributing the documents. It's hard to hear the instructions and a bit chaotic.
This is what the Immigration form(FMM) looks like
Section One is for your entry to Mexico and Section Two is for your return home.
1. Fill out boxes 1-8 in Section 1.
Always sign your name exactly as you signed your passport, nothing more nothing less. Remember to use the dd/mm/yy format for all dates including today's date, birth dates, etc.
2. Fill out boxes 1-10 in Section 2
3. Upon landing and deplaning the aircraft:
There is normally a person at the end of the jetway looking over the FMM forms to be sure they are filled out correctly. They are mostly looking to make sure you filled out section 2 as that is often forgotten. If it is not filled out properly you will be asked to step aside and fill it out. That keeps the lines in immigration moving faster. If you've done it correctly, follow the crowd to Immigration.
The Immigration officer will tear off Section 2 (after stamping it) and return it to you. Put this little piece of paper in a safe place because you will need it when you check in for your departure flight
4. What if you lose that little piece of paper?
Check the night before you leave for the airport. If you've lost it allow extra time at the airport. The lines can be long especially during peak season. You will be directed to an office where they will ask a few questions and charge you the Mexican Tourist Tax once again. (the original tax was included in your airfare). The tax is currently 558 pesos or approximately US$25 to $30 (February 2019)
5. Can I do it online?
Many times the airline doesn't have the forms or don't have enough for all of the passengers. So to save time, you can fill it out online, print, and bring it along with you. As long as you have the correct airline information, you should be able to do this free of charge. The airlines pay the tax on your behalf and roll it into your airfare. The online form does not give you any priority or speed the review process for you.
6. How long is it good for?
The Visitors Permit is valid for a maximum of 180 days (about 6 months) from the date you enter Mexico. This allowance is given per entry: every time you exit and re-enter Mexico the 180-day allowance resets. You surrender your current FMM when you leave and get a new FMM when you return.
Link to the official FMM form below
Now that you've passed immigration, step 2 is Customs
You will normally get a customs form from the flight attendant. There is only one per family required. But sometimes they run out. There is no on-line Customs form, but you can print this document and cut it out of the document.
The Customs form is very straight forward.
*DON'T FORGET TO SIGN IT ON THE BACK SIDE.
*Be sure to declare any food. Don't even think about taking that banana or orange with you
from the plane!
After passing through immigration, you collect your bags and proceed to the exit. You will hand the form to the customs agent and press the button on what looks like a traffic light. A green light means "go" and red means "inspection" in which case, officials perform a quick inspection (Mexico is phasing out the red/green lights but for now they are still operational). Cancun Terminal 4 does not use the red/green light system. But, they may inspect your baggage at their own discretion. The other terminals have not yet phased out the red/green lights.
As a rule of thumb you are allowed to bring into Mexico whatever you need for the time period you will be staying in Mexico. You are not allowed to bring food, fruits and/or products that are not "company" packed and sealed. And if you are bringing food or products, they are only allowed if you need them because of a special diet or for medical reasons.
The same rule applies to medicine. You are allowed to bring enough medicine for the time period you will be in Mexico. If you are bringing an unusual quantity of medicine please bring a doctor's prescription just in case you need to prove the medicine is for your own consumption.
NOTE: The Customs form is not required at Terminal 4, so there's no written declaration.
There's also no red/green light, but as you proceed to the exit, a Customs officer will ask if you have any alcohol or tobacco. All I can say is, answer honestly. Eight packs is below the 10-pack duty-free limit, so you should have no problems by answering "yes", and saying 8 packs. I don't know if you'll still be pulled aside so Customs can confirm what you say.
For more information about airport procedures at Cancun including which terminal each airline operates from, transportation options, and my perspective on clearing customs with medication, check out our blog below.
Now that wasn't so bad, was it? Go get your transportation and on with your vacation.