Up until this past Thursday, August 20th there had been an extra step some tourists would have to take at the airport when visiting Cancun, but now Cancun has scrapped the mandatory arrival FMM form and is granting Americans a fast-track entry process. This is welcome news for those that have had to wait in line for an hour or more to fill out paperwork upon arrival and departure from the country. And if that wasn’t hassle enough, they also had to carry a special “tourist card” that, if lost, could cause even more delays and other issues.
While the FMM document, or Forma Multipla Migratoria, could also be filled out and submitted electronically, many travelers would end up filling out the form in person. This would result in delays getting through immigration that, now, the Mexican government has decided are unnecessary. This comes after receiving multiple requests from businesses and agencies in the Mexican Caribbean tourism industry.
The executive president of the Mexican Association of Travel Agencies in Quintana Roo, Sergio González Rubiera, says the change could reduce the immigration process to just minutes. This is compared to the typical wait time of approximately an hour, according to Rubiera. The executive president of AMAV also pointed out that the same new system will be available in other Mexican airports as well.
With the new system, American tourists entering the country will receive a stamp rather than a separate card that they have to carry. Not only was this card inconvenient due to the wait time associated with it, but also because losing it could lead to more delays, and, even more money. This is because tourists were required to present the card upon leaving the country as well and if it was lost or stolen the visitor would incur a $25 tax and have to have another card issued.
Now, according to Rubiera, “normal tourists who come on vacation will not have to fill out any form, either printed or electronic and everyone will be granted a residence permit for 180 days.” Of course, there are some exceptions to the rule, as tourists from a handful of countries are only issued 30-day visas and will still have to submit a form. Brazil, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, and Venezuela all fall into that category.
Mexico gets more visitors from the United States than from any other country in the world, with Canada as the next runner-up. In 2021 more than 12 million tourists visited Cancun and millions have already visited the Mexican Caribbean vacation destination this year. And the city continues to grow in popularity every year so those numbers are going to keep climbing.
Streamlining the process of entry by eliminating the tourist card will help relieve some of the pressure on already overwhelmed airport staff. Furthermore, it will relieve a little stress for tourists and it will save them time. Currently it is suggested that on the day of departure travelers should get to the airport 3-4 hours prior to their flight time, but if predictions are correct, the new process should reduce that by an hour.
Mexico has been popular among American tourists for a long time now but even more so since the pandemic. This easier access to entry shows just how important American tourism in Mexico is and will continue to be. It is surely a win for both countries.
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