All visitors entering Mexico must complete an immigration form called Forma Migratoria Múltiple (FMM). If arriving by air, an FMM will be issued on the plane; complete it while on the plane. If an FMM is not issued on the plane, they are available inside the airport. If arriving at a land border, forms are available in the Immigration building. Fill in the FMM and hand it and your passport to the Immigration Officer. The Officer will stamp them and keep one half of the FMM. The other half will be returned and should be kept with your passport because it must be handed back upon exit from Mexico.
The FMM allows a maximum stay of 180 days, but it depends on the type of travel, i.e. tourist, transit, work, business, student, etc. The Immigration Officer will write in the actual number of days a visitor can stay. Visitors who check the Tourist (Turismo) box on the FMM should get 180 days. Visitors who check the Transit (Tránsito) box might get fewer days. Note: the form has changed from the image below.
Payment of the DNI Fee
A fee known as Derecho de No Migrante (DNI) or Non-Immigrant Right is associated with the FMM, and in some circumstances it must be paid before leaving Mexico. It’s also known as the Mexican Tourist Tax/Fee and seems to be equivalent to approximately US$20 to $25 (I’ve never seen an exact amount stated anywhere).
According to the Embassy of Mexico in Belize, all foreign nationals who enter Mexico must pay the DNI fee in three different cases:
1. Visitors who enter Mexico and stay more than seven consecutive days.
2. Visitors who enter Mexico and transit through to a third country regardless of the number of days in Mexico.
3. Visitors who enter Mexico with a Forma Migratoria de Visitante Local (FMVL) border card and stay more than three consecutive days.
Visitors who are exempt from paying the fee include:
1. Visitors who enter Mexico, stay for seven days or less, and return to the country of origin.
2. FMVL border card holders who stay less than 3 days.
3. Residence holders formerly known as FM2 and FM3.
Here’s the link to the Embassy website (currently not working):
Most visitors who fly to Mexico don’t have to be concerned about the fee because most airlines collect the fee and include it with the ticket price, so there is nothing to pay upon entry to or exit from Mexico. One exception is Thomson, a charter service in the United Kingdom. Travellers with Thomson must pay a fee (approximately US$48 payable in pesos, USD or GBP) at the airport upon departure from Mexico. For proof of payment, obtain an itemized receipt from the airline. On an itemized receipt, the Mexican Tourist Tax will be listed with a number of other fees & taxes (airport fees, security fees, sales tax, baggage fees, fuel surcharges, etc.). The Tourist Tax is identified with a “UK” code reference. If you don’t get an itemized receipt, ask for one because I carry one with me as proof of payment of the Tax.
Visitors who enter Mexico at a land border will have to pay the fee sometime before leaving Mexico, and the immigration officer should attach another piece of paper showing the amount to pay. The DNI can be paid in pesos at any bank in Mexico (in my experience, it’s only possible with that other piece of paper showing the amount), or at a Banjército at border crossing points, or directly to Immigration upon exit from Mexico. The fee can also be paid at Cancún airport before checking in. Banks will issue a receipt which should be kept with the FMM, and presented to Immigration when leaving Mexico.
Here are two other points from the website:
3. For entries by land or sea of tourists, intransit travelers and businesspersons, when there are no banking institutions or when it is not during regular working hours or days, the payment of fees is made directly to the immigration authority who should issue the form known as “Comprobante” (a receipt) which is proof of payment.
6. The payments does not have to be done exclusively at BANJÉRCITO but it is the only banking institution that has a branch at the points of entry borders.
CROSSING THE BORDER FROM CHETUMAL TO COROZAL
On the Mexican side, the border crossing, known as Subteniente López, is located about 12 km from the centre of Chetumal, and there are now two crossing points each with its own Immigration/Customs buildings and bridge. The original crossing point is less than a couple hundred metres from the original bridge over the Hondo River. When leaving Mexico, the Immigration Building is a small booth (a larger Immigration building for incoming visitors is further along on the opposite side of the road). A bank Banjército is located at the Mexican Customs compound on the opposite side of the road. In May 2014, new Immigration/Customs buildings were opened about 2 km from the original crossing. The new bridge is a few hundred metres west of the original bridge. International buses use the new crossing. Taxis will probably drop passengers at the new crossing unless told otherwise. Chetumal buses stop at the original crossing point. Check Google Earth for satellite images of the crossing points.
Visitors leaving Mexico must first stop at Immigration. Bus passengers get off the bus, without luggage, and present their passports with FMM to the immigration officer. The Officer will keep the FMM, and stamp & return the passport.
Whenever I have crossed, he has always asked (in Spanish) for money. Years ago, it was only 100 pesos or US$10, but now it’s 300 pesos. Beware! This could be a scam. If the DNI fee has already been paid, there is nothing to pay at the border, and here’s where you might have to show the receipt from the airline or bank. THERE IS NO DEPARTURE/EXIT FEE — this has been confirmed by the Embassy of Mexico and the Mexican Honorary Consul in Corozal. Visitors who know that the DNI fee has been paid but can’t prove it, can try arguing (sometimes it works), but it’s likely that some money will have to be paid before leaving Mexico. For a laugh, try asking for a receipt. Visitors who have not already paid the fee, will have to pay it at the border or return to Chetumal to pay it.
Proceed across the bridge to Belize. With luggage, enter the Immigration & Customs building. Citizens of Canada, USA and many other countries do not pay any fees when entering Belize, and their passports are stamped allowing a maximum stay of 30 days. Citizens of some countries require a visa which sometimes can be arranged at the border. If not, it must be obtained before entering Belize. Continue to Customs, and then exit the building. Turn right to find buses waiting in the parking area. If you need to change money, several money changers wait near the Immigration Building. Look for them on the left before you enter the building, or after you exit.
Visitors who want to stay in Belize for more than 30 days can get an extension in Belize. On the last working day before the 30 days is up, go to the nearest immigration office (there’s at least one in each District of Belize) and ask for an extension. The passport will be stamped again, allowing a stay for another 30 days. There is a fee for the new stamps; I think it’s currently BZ$50 (US$25) per stamp for the first 6 months, and BZ$100 per stamp thereafter. Some visitors have been asked to show a return or onward ticket. After 12 months, you might be told to leave the country, or asked if you intend to apply for permanent residency. Note that each stamp requires a half page of the passport.
CROSSING THE BORDER FROM COROZAL TO CHETUMAL
On the Belizean side, the border crossing, known as Santa Elena, is located about 12 km from Corozal. Buses stop in front of the entrance of the Immigration Building. Visitors leaving Belize enter the Immigration building, without their luggage, and present their passports to Belize Immigration. Visitors who have been in Belize for more than 24 hours must pay a fee of BZ$40.00 (US$20.00), payable in BZ$ or US$. This website (currently not working) explains the departure fees:
Exit the building, turn right and look for buses in the parking area. Also look for the money changers. Visitors not returning to Belize should get rid of their Belizean currency because it is difficult to exchange outside Belize. Passengers re-board the bus and proceed across the bridge over the Hondo River.
The next stop is Mexican Immigration. Visitors, with luggage, should first obtain an FMM and complete it. Then present the completed FMM with passport to an immigration officer. The Officer will stamp them and keep one half of the FMM. The other half will be returned and should be kept with your passport because it must be handed back upon exit from Mexico. After your documents are returned, exit the immigration building, and walk ahead to Customs. After Customs, re-board the bus.