In recent years Mexico has made considerable efforts to develop its business environment. A number of influences, including improved macroeconomic stability and a much-needed increase in infrastructure spending, have encouraged foreign direct investment, which grew in 2010 despite the economic crisis. It is arguably easier to do business in Mexico than in any other Latin American country, due in part to innovations such as online tax payments and fewer requirements for start-ups.

In this context, corporate immigration is an increasingly significant factor. Members of a company's board of directors and offcers need not be Mexican citizens or reside in Mexico. However, board members and officers who plan to carry out obligations and exercise authority in Mexico require a permit from the immigration authorities. Many entrepreneurs are unaware of the immigration law implications of starting a business in Mexico. This case study illustrates the simple procedure.

A US citizen incorporates a Mexican company as the new chief financial officer (CFO). His position as CFO will last for at least five years and his salary will be paid by the Mexican company. He will need to travel both within and outside Mexico; therefore, he should obtain an FM3 work visa.

In accordance with new immigration policies in Mexico, it is advisable for the new CFO to obtain a legal entry permit for foreigners, as a non-immigrant visitor engaged in profit-making activities in Mexico. The first step is to apply for the appropriate documents, both with the Mexican company and as a foreign worker. The documents must demonstrate his ability to perform the activities in question and his compliance with the relevant formal requirements.

The CFO must apply for a work visa to the regional bureau of the National Immigration Institute, which will issue an official notification within three or four weeks. This notification allows him to visit any Mexican consulate in order to collect the visa, presenting a valid passport, a copy of the notification and the relevant fee.

When he travels to Mexico, the CFO will be presented with a multi-use immigration form at the port of entry. The immigration official at the port of entry will tick the box on the form that clears the CFO for the issuance of an FM3 visa; the CFO then has 30 days to request issuance of the FM3 at a local immigration office.

For further information on this topic please contact Edgar Mayorga at Goodrich Riquelme y Asociados AC by telephone (+52 55 5533 0040), fax (+52 55 5525 1227) or email ([email protected]).