On January 29, 2010, Mexico’s National Migration Institute published a Manual of Criteria and Migration Procedures, which will become effective throughout Mexico as of May 1, 2010. Mexican immigration applications filed before May 1, 2010 will continue to be analyzed and processed according to current policies and procedures.

As of May 1, however, the Manual provides that a single Forma Migratoria Múltiple (FMM) form will serve as evidence of the immigration status of tourists, business visitors, and technical visitors with lucrative activities who intend to remain in Mexico for up to 180 days. An immigration officer may allow a foreign national to visit Mexico for business for 180 days by marking one of three options on the new FMM form: (1) “Business” (“Visitante Persona de Negocios”); (2) “Visitor with Lucrative Activities” (“Visitante con Actividades Lucrativas”); and (3) “Visitor with Non-Lucrative Activities” (“Visitante con Actividades No Lucrativas”). If a business visit extends beyond 180 days, a foreign national must file for a change of immigration status and obtain an “FM3.”

Within weeks after issuing the Manual, the National Migration Institute planned to publish new migration cards to replace the FM2 and FM3 booklets. Changes of activity, domicile, marital status, and other changes, are no longer required to be annotated on the document, thereby allowing foreign nationals to travel to and from Mexico while change of status/conditions applications are pending without having to request exit and re-entry permits.

Finally, the Manual provides that consular posts will no longer issue FM2 and FM3 booklets. Instead, a visa sticker will be placed on the foreign national’s passport upon receipt of a petition approval from the National Migration Institute. The sticker will allow the foreign national to enter Mexico within 365 days of issuance. Upon entry, the foreign national must obtain the new FM2 or FM3 migration card within 30 days.