Permanent and Temporary Residents: Procedures to Follow When Flying Out of Mexico

Yesterday, Linda and I flew back to the U.S. to attend to some matters ,and since we have Mexican Resident Cards, that meant following some additional procedures to notify Mexican Immigration (INM) of our departure.

Over a year ago, I discussed the procedures to follow in another article that focused more on the dangers of entering Mexico as a tourist when the person is actually a resident.

I’ll save you the trouble of having to read that one — the Mexican government cancels your resident card and you have to start the whole process all over again outside of Mexico.

Prior to going to the Cancun Airport yesterday, Linda was referring to that article to help her complete the Mexican immigration form. She mentioned that the article wasn’t easy to locate because the title didn’t mention anything about the procedures themselves.

She suggested that I do a separate post with just the procedures and a title that would make it easier for both her and our readers to find the information easily.

Since I have learned from experience that is foolish to tell my wife no, here are the procedures without all the fluff:

Step by Step Process

Before leaving the country by air, report to INM with your resident card and passport in hand. There should be an INM desk or kiosk near the ticket counter (international airports):

1. Pick up an FMM (Forma Migratoria Múltiple) 

This is actually the same form that you would use if you were coming into the country as a tourist, but this time, you’ll be submitting the sections in the reverse order.

2. Fill out boxes 1-8 of Section One and 1-10 of Section Two

Section One is for your return to Mexico and Section Two is for your departure.

That means that your departing flight information will be in Section Two only. You don’t have to worry about filling in the flight information in Section One — at least for now.

3. Present the completed form along with your passport and resident card to the INM agent

He or she will process it and write either RT (residente temporal) or RP (residente permanente) on the top of Sections One and Two in the white margin.

The agent will hand you back both sections of the form. Give Section Two to the airline representative when they ask for it. This is normally done at the ticket counter.

4. Store Section One in a safe place 

Seriously, don’t lose it. You’re going to need it in the future.

5. Upon returning to Mexico, complete the remaining boxes on the form (Section One) and give it to INM

Piece of cake!

Let’s Wrap This Up

If you fly in and out of Mexico on a regular basis, it pays to pick up a stack of these forms and fill them out ahead of time. We keep a stack of them in the drawer at the condo.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Joining our Patreon page will help us keep the blog ad-free and you’ll also get access to our private Facebook groups, exclusive content and live Q&A streaming events. Click HERE for more information.

About the Author

Qroo Paul
Paul Kurtzweil (Q-Roo Paul) was a deputy sheriff in Florida for 25 years before retiring at the rank of lieutenant in 2015. He and his wife moved to Mexico looking to maximize their retirement income. They later started a blog called Two Expats Mexico (qroo.us) to share their experiences, as well as information about the logistical and legal aspects of retiring south of the border.

49 Comments on "Permanent and Temporary Residents: Procedures to Follow When Flying Out of Mexico"

  1. Having read that some agents can mess this up, you should mention that one should verify what the agent puts on the form. (i.e. either RT or RP , anything else should be questioned)

  2. Janice Burrell | May 24, 2019 at 8:31 am |

    Is the “immigration form or card number” in box 8 your Residente Permanente card number?

  3. Thanks for the write up, what about people that passed through the boarder?

  4. Hi Paul,

    Thanks for all your do!

    Yes, indeed this is important to know! I have an additional tip and comment.

    When I fly back into Mexico and they hand out the forms on the plane I get one and keep it for the next time I fly out. That way I can fill it out at home and it makes the process a little quicker at the airport the next time I leave.

    Last time I returned, I left my part 1 portion in my checked bag (Whoops!) so I did not have it for the immigration officer. I was really worried, but I filled out another one on the plane and explained what happened to the officer. It was no problem at all and he processed me right through. Then again, I might have just gotten lucky.

    Kathy

  5. Camille/Daniel | May 24, 2019 at 9:00 am |

    Excellent article and easy to follow…thanks.

  6. Gerald Andres | May 24, 2019 at 9:03 am |

    I have a some what different question. My wife is a Mexican citizen and she just became an American Citizen in January of this year. We’ve retired in Guadalajara. She will be getting her US passport in the near future at the consulate, but it brought up a question. Since she is a dual citizen, would she need to fill out the form the same as I do but just show both of her passports?

    • Let me answer this question, in Mexico she will have to show her Mexican passport, as she is Mexican.

      • And would NOT need to fill out the form, as this form is for FOREIGNERS.

        • Glenda Gabriel | May 24, 2019 at 11:03 am |

          There is another form. The airline ticket counter gives a form to Mexican citizens exiting mexico. The same ticket counter or on the flight home to mx, the flight attendants will give you the same form in reverse to renter Mexico.
          G Gabriel.
          Duel citizen

      • Gerald Andres | May 29, 2019 at 4:24 pm |

        Would she need to show her American Passport for stamping? Aren’t passports a balanced in/out system? Thanks for your input, I appreciate it.

  7. Great article Paul. The reverse order of the same form is among the most confusing things for residents, and sometimes for immigration agents. At the Morelia airport last week, the immigration official refused to accept the top part of the form from a friend returning from Chicago. She filled it out correctly when she departed for the US, but the agent insisted that she fill out an entirely new form, which he marked “visitante” despite her showing her residente permanente card. She didn’t have enough Spanish to insist on talking to a supervisor, and is now negotiating with the Morelia INM office to have the tourist form deleted from the INM computer system. From their reaction, it sounded like this wasn’t the first time their office had to deal with the problem caused by an ill-informed airport agent.

    Returning residents must INSIST on not filling out a new form if they properly present the top of the FMM that they filled out when leaving Mexico.

    BTW, I used to do this form when driving out of Mexico, causing great frustration at the border because they didn’t know how to process it. Finally, the jefa at immigration in Ciudad Acuña firmly told me to stop coming in. They didn’t care about the form for land crossings, only for flights out of Mexico. I’ve done that ever since — just driven out and back in without filling out any forms.

    Ah, México!

  8. Jean F Gauthier | May 24, 2019 at 9:08 am |

    Hi! I was wondering if you have an idear of the logic behind this procedure?

  9. Servando Patlan | May 24, 2019 at 9:09 am |

    If you are not aware, there is another service for those of us living in the Pacific side of Mexico and the United States, called Cross Boarder Express, https://www.crossborderxpress.com/en/ the link has a link for obtaining the FMM Form online and filling it out online to print and take with you. When I returned to Mexico through Cross Boarder Express I showed my FMM, USA Passport and Mexican Temporary Residence Card on the USA side and was told to follow the path for Mexican Nationals at the Tijuana Mexico Airport on the Mexican side of the bridge, where I showed my forms to the agent and I went right through. When the plane landed in Guadalajara the flight from Tijuana to Guadalajara was not considered international I went right to baggage. It was nice for me to do the immigration process at the beginning of my trip instead of at the end.

  10. Diane McNair | May 24, 2019 at 9:14 am |

    I actually printed out your old blog about this and put it in my carry on for reference this trip because I was so scared I would do it wrong. It is invaluable for newbies! Thanks again guys!

  11. Paul,

    I will look forward to a follow up upon your return. I’ve been reading stories of people flying into Cancun and Cozumel being directed to automated immigration kiosks, where a ***tourist*** entry visa is printed. Obviously a big problem if you’re a resident!

    Also, if you happen to be in the process of renewing your visa and need to leave the country, there’s the extra step of going to INM to receive a letter of “Permiso de salida y regreso”. This will take two trips to INM.

  12. We went to Mexico in February and I discovered a Mexican Immigration web site that lets you fill out the immigration form online and print up to 30 days in advance of your travel. It was pretty cool. It also submits your information to Mexican immigration and prints a bar code on the form you print. I presented the form with my passport upon landing, he scanned the bar code, stamp, stamp and I was on my way!

  13. Good info. If you leave from Mexico city the immigration kiosk is after you check in and clear security

  14. michelle mollner | May 24, 2019 at 9:35 am |

    You guys ROCK

  15. Great Info! I save ALL of your Blogs posts, or whatever they call them. Thank you Linda for being the wife you are (I have one of those too) so it will be easier for me to find this at a later date. 😉

  16. Rob Schaible | May 24, 2019 at 9:52 am |

    Hi, In case of very early flight departures, I was concerned the INM counter might not be opened and went the day ahead to deal with the departure procedure. As it turned out I was rightly justified as there was nobody at the INM booth the morning of my flight. Just something to consider. I’m not sure what the procedure would be if I hadn’t done this the day before?

  17. Karen Venzke | May 24, 2019 at 10:09 am |

    Paul, I found a website that let’s you do the tourist card ahead of time..but I don’t know how that affects people with Permanent or Temp Residency cards. Can you find out for us please? https://www.mexicotouristcard.com

    • We checked with INM and we were informed that site is only for the 180 day tourist card.

  18. John Austin | May 24, 2019 at 10:15 am |

    Good to know. I haven’t flown since getting permanent residency. Driving in here at Tijuana they don’t do any visa checks.

  19. Cathy Chase | May 24, 2019 at 10:29 am |

    The online forms are available, in English and in Spanish, at https://www.inm.gob.mx/fmme/publico/en/solicitud.html

  20. Linda Wilson | May 24, 2019 at 10:58 am |

    Hi! Your articles are wonderful and very informative. I look forward to all your blogs. Thank you so much!

  21. Hurrah! Great info. Good work both of you y gracias!

  22. Dana Kerby | May 24, 2019 at 2:04 pm |

    I live near Ensenada, as a Residente Permanente. Several people here have found out the hard way that, when you do have to fill out an FMM, if you for some reason fill out section 9, be sure to mark “other”. That will save heartache, cost of a new RP or RT card, etc.

  23. Paul, I normally complete the immigration form online at (https://www.mexicotouristcard.com) when coming into Mexico as a tourist. Once I have my residency card, will I still be able to use the online form?

  24. Susanne Beique | May 24, 2019 at 2:42 pm |

    To add to what Markemmer has said about a land crossing, I recently flew to Tijuana, and from the airport, crossed by foot on the “bridge” to CBX (Cross Border Xpress) on the U.S. side. I kept asking to complete the FMM form (having only travelled by air previously) and was told I did not need it. Needless to say, I was worried because I did not know if I had the correct answer. On the way back in through Mexican immigration, the agent informed me that I just needed to present was my visa card and my passport, no form required. Huge relief, now I know there is a difference between land and air crossings. Hope this might help someone else.

  25. How do you avoid paying the fees that the airlines tacks on for the tourist visa that they include in the airfare price that is not needed when you are a permanent residence?

    • We normally have to pay them and then we file for reimbursement from the airline. We will probably do a future article about this.

  26. Before we understood the procedure for exiting MX with temporary status we did it several times in a year without consequences. Apparently one hand does not know what the other is doing.

    • I’m glad to hear that it worked out for you. We know people who had their cards automatically cancelled by INM.

  27. Great information. Where can i find out more information, specifically, if we drive out of Mexico and the fly in and to another part of the country from the US?

    • Just a thought & not a researched answer but couldn’t you follow the procedure as Q Roo Paul describes and have the INM at the border crossing put the PT or PR in the box so you’ll have the top part of the form when you fly back

  28. Michael Pigden | May 26, 2019 at 8:46 am |

    My wife and I permant residentes. We were leaving Mazatlan, Mexico via air two weeks ago. We went to immigration to fill out the form and then took it back to the airline which then took both sections and kept them. I questioned them but they insisted they were to keeo both sections. I didn’t think too much about it but now I think I screwed up as I don’t have the section to return to Mexico with. Am I going to be refused entry? Anything I can do at this stage? I am a little worried. Thanks

    • You wont be refused entry. Just fill out the top portion again, write RP om top, and tell the immigration official at the airport when you arrive what happened. It will be fine.

  29. Anyone aware of a good immigration attorney who can help with obtaining “residencia permanente” faster than 6 months wait in the state of Q.Roo, either in Cancun, Playa del Carmen or Tulum? Would the same process go faster in Merida? Any helpful information or comments would be greatly appreciated.

    • It has nothing to do with the immigration attorney or specialist, the blame lies with INM personnel. However, there are those who will obtain it for you faster for a fee. What the fee is, in realty, is a bribe to a corrupt official. Unfortunately, corruption is a widespread problem throughout the country.

    • PAUL THANK YOU FOR YOUR REPLY. SORRY FOR DELAY ON MY PART.
      HAVE ANOTHER QUESTION ON A DIFFERENT SUBJECT THAT YOU DISCUSSED IN YOUR PREVIOUS BLOGS.
      AGREE WITH YOU A 100% THAT MEXICO CAN BE DANGEROUS EVEN HAVING VERY STRICT GUN LAWS, AS NORMAL, LAW ABIDING PEOPLE HERE ARE AT TREMENDOUS DISADVANTAGE WHEN IT COMES TO ABILITY TO EXERCISE YOUR RIGHT TO DEFEND YOURSELF, HENCE AFFECTING YOUR PERSONAL SAFETY ALWAYS.
      QUITE A FEW PEOPLE HERE DO NOT GET IT, WHILE LEAVING THEIR PERSONAL SAFETY TO A HAPPENSTANCE.

      QUESTION #1:
      Sedena’s permission to buy a gun requires birth certificate. Can it be substituted by a passport? Is a birth certificate really necessary for a US expat leaving in Mexico. US passport should suffice, no?
      Question #2:
      Beretta px4 Storm or Sig 9 mm Compact or similar product are allowed, I am assuming. As long as the aren’t chambered in Mauser, Parabellum, etc (2 other prohibited calibers mentioned), the are considered legal. Is it correct?
      As a former police officer, I am sure you are aware of restrictions of .380 market in general.
      Thanking you in advance, you provide very helpful information.

  30. Michael Pigden | May 26, 2019 at 10:26 pm |

    Thank you very much for the quick reply re not having the required section of the immigration form. You have reassured us we will be ok. Gracias.

  31. Hello, I have a fight that leaves from Guadalajara and has a layover in Monterey, Mexico before it arrives in Detroit. My question is: can I complete the form and present it to Guadalajara immigration for processing or must the form be presented at the last immigration office before leaving the country, in this case it would be Monterrey?

    • We don’t know, we’ve never connected for an international flight within Mexico. But, let us know what you find out.

Comments are closed.